AFT - American Federation of Teachers

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Project Ideas for Writing

Use these ideas to engage students in writing, to customize lessons or initiate projects for your students. Be sure to bump project expectations up or down so they are rigorous but appropriate for age and achievement levels.

Shared events. Is something going on in the school or community that affects the students? Whether it is a measure of discontent over conditions or something worthy of celebration, students can explore the roots of the condition, devise an action to make it better or analyze how a high moment came about and how to make others happen.

Improve group relations. Is there friction among students or groups of students? Have students think and write about causes and possible actions to improve relations. Share these thoughts, hold discussions or debates and present possible solutions.

You, the editor. Scavenger hunt for writing in newspapers and magazines, even blogs, that is unclear, ambiguous or open to misinterpretation. How would you edit it? (Jay Leno Headlines books are a great source of poor and ambiguous real world writing.)

Picture it as a play! Turn a book, event or concern into a play. Enact the play for an appropriate audience.

Tourist Guide to Your City. Create a tourist guide for your city. This requires research, discussion, writing, design, manual or computer production. What is worthy of being part of a guide? What will make it easy for visitors to use?

Report a storyline (book) as if it were a current event. Create a newspaper or a series of stories that run on the front page.

Character’s diary retells a story. Pretend individuals or group members are characters in a story. Each records the story from his/her point of view. A good basis for discussion.

The book in poetry. Create poems that capture a book. Use haiku, limerick or longer forms.

Letters to legislators. Create a letter-writing campaign around issues of importance to the students or community.

Children’s book creation. Help younger children learn by creating a book for them.

Produce a newspaper for the school or after-school program. What might be included? Special projects? Profiles of students or staff? Problems? Concerns that have been taken care of? Events to look forward to? Include photos, art work, student essays or poetry.