Writing Goals and Reading like a Writer

Daily Prompt #7: Inspiration

Write about what inspires you. Be as specific as you can, writing in either list or paragraph form.

Take five minutes.

Before we start talking about writing goals, let’s talk about what you’re already good at as a writer. In your notebook, write down 1-3 aspects of writing you feel you have strength in. We’ll brainstorm some ideas now to get you thinking.

Okay, now let’s talk about what want to improve upon: your writing goals for the semester. What are they? Why have them? How can you create useful ones?

Once you come up with them, write down your goals on the inside of your notebook cover, and be prepared to share one.

One of the best ways to get inspired to write is by reading the works of writers. Let’s talk about what it means to read like a writer.

Now, let’s practice this concept by analyzing the first lines of several books.

With the time remaining, write as many “first lines” as you can for potential stories, trying a few difference techniques (for example, describing setting, dialogue, sharing statistics, plot details).





If I Were a Book Title

Daily Prompt #6: Catharsis 

Catharsis – the process of releasing, and thereby providing relief from, strong or repressed emotions.

It’s time to unleash any thoughts you have about the week or upcoming weekend.


Write for 7 minutes about anything you need to get off your chest.  The goal is to write the entire time.

Need inspiration? Here are some wise words from a famous writer.

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”  ~Maya Angelou


Today, let’s start by sharing our Found poetry! Set it out on your desk and we’ll do a gallery walk.

Guess what?  There’s going to be a book written about you!  What’s the title?  
Come up with at least one idea that you think each of the following people would suggest.

* Yourself
* Your mom (or dad or guardian: your choice)
* Your best friend
* Your worst enemy (or someone who doesn’t really care for you or someone who doesn’t really know you)
* Your pet (or your favorite toy or possession)

Now, pick your favorite and make a book cover. Be sure to include the title as well as the author. For example, “by my dog,” or “according to me.”

When you’re done, hang it in our classroom!

Blackout Poetry

Daily Prompt #5: Inspired by Literature

Listen as I read to you a little haiku.

After I’m done, write a response to it. What did you you visualize as you listened? Is there a hidden story within it? Does it remind you of anything? Explore what the poem got you thinking about it.

Write for seven minutes.


Alright, folks! We’re going to have some fun with blackout poetry today. I’ve got copies of pages from some famous books. Let’s recreate something from them!

Found Poetry

Daily Prompt #4: Writing from a Word

Write for five minutes (no stopping) about whatever comes to mind after seeing this word.  Don’t over think.  Just write.


What is Found poetry?

Here are some samples:

Sample #1

Sample #2

Sample #3

Even cooler! Here are some samples from students:

Midnight Thoughts

From The Mysterious Affair at Styles, by Agatha Christie, pg. 240

Winter’s Hand

As you can see, there are many ways to create Found poetry.


Now for the fun part.  I have a bunch of old magazines and books in the back of the classroom.

Go and make your own Found poetry on your notebook covers (or on the inside cover if you prefer)!

Consider taking a picture of your poetry.  You might want to post it on the blog you’ll be creating in the next couple of weeks!

Starting your Writer’s Notebook

Welcome students!  It’s time to start creating your writer’s notebook.  To do that, you’re going to engage in a few writing exercises today.  These are strategies we will continually use throughout the semester.

Okay, it’s time to start your first notebook entry.  Here goes…

Daily Prompt (DP) #1:  

On the first page, write your name at the top.  Nickname, full name – you decide.

Underneath it, write whatever you want. Write about the history of your name, the significance of it, what you like/don’t like about it, other people you know with this name, names you wish you had, etc….  Poetry, prose: don’t over think it; just start writing.  You could even draw.

This entry will be an optional one to share.

*Returning Students: imagine your name has been taken away from you and replaced with a number. Explore how that would affect you.


DP #2: Writing from a List:

Select your own topic for a list, then make that list.  A list should have at least 5 items.  Give the list a title.


Now, pick one of the items on your list and begin free writing about it.  You have five minutes.

This entry will be an optional one to share. 

DP #3: Questions:

Write down a question you have to which you do not know the answer.





Now for the fun part!  Pass your notebook to someone sitting next to you and attempt to answer his/her question.  Write your response in his/her notebook.


“You MUST read this book!”

Good afternoon class!

To get you brainstorming about books that have affected you, start filling out the handout, “If I Were a Bookshelf.” We’ll place these in the classroom so you can inspire your peers to read your favorite books. Because being an avid reader is so important to being a great writer.

We are also going to create a contract for the class.  We will all be signing it.

Don’t forget your journals tomorrow, so we can officially start writing!


First Day: Welcome!

Welcome to our class blog, students!

While I take attendance, please respond to the following on a post-it note:

Why I Write

It’s optional whether you put your name on it, but you will be sharing it with the class.

In case you ever need to access it quickly, here is our syllabus.

Here is a copy of my parent letter as well.

Today, we are discussing why we write, an important question to ask yourself. You may be surprised that your reasons will change from time to time.

Remember, everyone needs a writer’s notebook by Wednesday and signed parent/student contracts are due Friday.

Here’s to a great semester of writing!