English teachers have the tough job of helping students grow their comprehension, grammar, argumentation, and persuasive writing skills. While literary analysis, research papers, and basic essays are important in that journey, sometimes creative writing projects can provide students with a nice break from the more mundane aspects of writing.
Creative writing projects serve multiple functions. While utilizing their creativity and individuality, students will also learn the ins and outs of writing and crafting an argument. And, students will usually learn about other topics while they’re working on the project as an added bonus.
These types of projects can be more long-term and require students to plan accordingly, allowing them to learn time management and planning skills. Meanwhile, the level of effort required will most likely help them learn class material more effectively.
If you’re looking for some fun ideas for creative projects to complete with English students, here are three comprehensive options that will help students improve their reading and writing skills, draw on their creativity, and learn new skills in the process.
Create a Website, Blog, or Podcast
During this project, students will create a website, blog, or podcast based on an area of interest in their lives, a historical or cultural topic of their choice, or a theme related to a book or set of books they’re reading in class.
The type of website, blog, or podcast they are allowed to create is up to you and the parameters of your classroom. But the project will allow students to ultimately make some choices about how they want to present information.
The benefits of this project are nearly limitless, since students will learn to synthesize and communicate information, write their own copy, and exercise their creativity and individuality. Students will be able to take ownership of the information they choose to share on their website, blog, or podcast.
Depending on the type of project they choose, they will also learn the technical skills required to create these mediums. Of course, you as the educator can choose a medium that you are confident you can help students create or even possibly find a way to partner with another educator to combine coursework with this project.
Students can either work independently or in groups, especially for the podcast, which will also help them practice accountability and teamwork.
And, if they are required to create a project based on material they’re reading in class, they will have a completely new understanding of the material and remember it potentially for the rest of their lives.
Give a Speech or Presentation as a Book Character
This is a fantastic project for English teachers who want students to really connect with reading material. For this project, educators can require students to choose their own author or books to read and then choose a character from a book to embody, or they can ask students to all read the same book and choose a character from that book.
Students will have to understand the story itself and also do some deep thinking about the character they choose--their personality, wardrobe, speech patterns, interests, etc. This will help students better understand character development and how people might act based on their circumstances.
Students will also need to write their own presentations or speeches, allowing them to practice their writing and communication skills as well.
Of course, this might be a more difficult project for shy students, but theater enthusiasts will love it, and other students will gain public speaking skills from having to step outside of their usual comfort levels.
You might even invite parents and students from other classes to come watch the students’ speeches or presentations as their book characters, adding stakes and a finality to the project.
Turn a Book Chapter into a Short Film
An effective way to help students better understand the theme and meaning of a text is to have them work in groups to turn a chapter of a book into a short film. You could even allow students to choose to turn material into a talk show or reality show to add more creative elements and variety to the project.
This will require students to understand the text they’re reading in a deeper way than if they were just discussing the material, taking a test, or writing a standard essay. Students will have to write scripts for their short film or talk show and create a concept for their reality show, which will help them learn more about writing in a different format.
Then, students can choose which role they want to play in the project, whether they want to spend time behind the camera writing, producing, directing, or filming or if they want to act in the film.
They will have to understand character relationships and development and choose the tone they want their film or show to take that will accurately represent the book--or represent the book in a more abstract, thematic way.
Students will enjoy watching all the group films and shows together and understand the book in a completely new way. They are likely to remember the project for years to come!
These are just three ideas out of endless possibilities for creative writing projects your students will love. Perhaps reading about these ideas will spark your imagination and help you come up with a project all your own!
Hopefully, these creative English projects will allow you as the educator to also have more fun teaching and shake up the environment of the classroom for both you and your students.