If you are looking for extension ideas for using writing prompts in your upper elementary classroom, consider some of these fresh ideas!
One of the observable traits of many great teachers is the ability to look at a situation or a resource and consider all the ways that moment or that lesson can be optimized for the benefit of their students.
I am truly amazed by the creativity of the teachers. When faced with so many students, personalities, needs, and interests, teachers find amazing ways to support their students.
Today, we are hoping we can take a little pressure off by providing some additional ideas you can use as you integrate our Holiday of the Day Writing Prompts into your classroom activities. With daily holiday activities on high-interest (if not obscure) holidays, these writing prompts are fun additions to the upper elementary classroom all on their own, but when you start adding these extension ideas for using writing prompts, they can get even more interesting and engaging!
Extension Ideas for Using Writing Prompts
Create a broader audience
Often adding an outside audience or creating an opportunity for the student to ‘perform’ gives students more incentive to improve upon their writing and allows them the opportunity to share their ideas with others. Here are some ways you can change up the ‘audience’ for these writing prompt activities.
#1 | Display printed student writing prompts around the room for other students to read and comment on.
#2 | Give students time to share their responses in small groups.
#3 | Pick a few students each day to share their thoughts.
#4 | Get the families involved by making the holiday of the days you’ll be discussing in class or those that fall on the weekend known to the families of the students. Then give kids the opportunity to write about or talk about the holidays they celebrated with family over the weekends.
#5 | Have students share their writing prompt responses via video using a program like FlipGrid. Give students time to go through and watch the videos of their peers talking about their ideas. These videos could also be shared with parents.
Discussion and Collaboration Extension Ideas
When considering some good extension ideas for using writing prompts in the classroom, extending the activity to include speaking or listening to others’ ideas is a great way to introduce new perspectives to students as they consider their own thoughts and feelings on a topic.
#1 | Spend time discussing prompts as a class and giving students time to brainstorm together before beginning the writing process.
#2 | Give students time to exchange writing with others and provide feedback or comment on others’ ideas.
#3 | Have students practice writing in pairs or in groups. Working together with multiple perspectives and a singular goal will provide good opportunities for healthy collaboration and teamwork.
#4| Use the Holiday of the Day Writing Prompts to engage in community-building activities, special celebrations, or even to bring in special guest speakers or professionals. Nothing better than bringing in a baker on National Donut Day.
Extension Activities for Advanced Learners
We all know how powerful differentiation can be, so some of these extension ideas for using writing prompts may provide a little more rigor and/or interest for some of your advanced learners.
#1 | Ask advanced students to pick a holiday they are interested in researching a little more about the day to share with the class. They could even create a slideshow or video, or writing prompt of their own to present it.
#2 | Give students the space and freedom to explore art, coding, building, or research-related projects that would allow them to connect some of their other interests with the topic they are writing about. Other types of projects are highly encouraged if it piques a student’s interest or allows them to connect one of their non-school passions with the topic.
#3 | Look for opportunities for advanced learners to expand on a topic or provide anecdotal information that could provide more context or interest to a holiday. This may include researching the history, putting together ‘fun fact’ lists for different topics, or even creating informational posters to hang up during specific holidays.
Extension Activities for Skill Practice
Lastly, we have some extension ideas for using writing prompts that will allow students to practice other skills not expected as part of the original task.
#1 | Use the writing prompts to practice editing.
#2 | Use the writing prompts to practice other ELA skills like figurative language or different sentence patterns.
#3 | Adjust requirements daily that limit the number of sentences or words students can write to work on and expand on the concept of word choice.
#4 | Use the Holiday of the Day Writing Prompts to make connections with learning in Social Studies and Science. When connections are available, jump on them and give students some time to explore.
A Few Final Thoughts…
Although many of the ideas on this list directly tie back to the Holiday of the Day Writing Prompts, many of them can also be used for informational writing prompts unrelated to holidays. If you want to learn more about the Holiday of the Day Writing Prompts or take a deeper look into what is included, check out this blog post.
Remember, sometimes less is more, so play around with the idea and try to mix just a couple into your writing prompt activities this month! Then next month you can try a few more.
Since we know you are brimming with ideas that we may not have on this list, if you come up with any fun extension ideas for using writing prompts in your upper elementary classroom, let us know, and maybe we can add even more to our list!