Creative writing isn't just for the artists and the dreamers. Incorporating creative writing assignments into an eighth-grade lesson plan can help students strengthen their writing by improving their command of language, sentence structure and narrative devices. Some creative writing prompts can also reinforce information they are learning in other classes, such as assignments concerning historical figures or works of literature. In addition, creative writing allows students to have fun and stretch their imagination.
Not only is historical fiction popular -- thanks to stories like "The Other Boleyn Girl" and "Game of Thrones" -- but it also offers teachers the opportunity to bring history to life. Assign students some historical fiction of their own. Choose historical events or figures that they are studying, such as the Civil War or Abraham Lincoln, and ask them to create their own fictional story based on these events or characters. You can also allow them to choose their own historical inspiration.
Fictional Memoir or Journal
Similar to historical fiction is the fictional memoir or journal. Students can select a historical figure or a literary figure and create an imagined memoir or journal based on details they know from their life. The fictional piece can focus on a specific period in the person's life, such as the two weeks leading up Dr. Martin Luther King's assassination or the childhood of Benjamin Franklin. The assignment could be a large project or year-end assignment, or it could be just a brief couple of pages to cover a shorter period.
Fan fiction has earned its own place in literature. Works like "Wicked" and "50 Shades of Grey" show that starting out with already established characters and story lines can lead to something new and different. If your eighth-graders are having a hard time coming up with their own stories, ask them to create fan fiction based on one of their favorite books or TV shows. They'll likely be more excited about the assignment, and it could help them find their voice and their confidence as writers.
Some famous works of literature were set in the future. Take for example, "Brave New World," "1984" and "Fahrenheit 451." Some students will begin reading these works in the eighth grade. Use them to inspire students to think about what changes they think the future will bring. Ask them to write a short story about this future world, how it is different and what has caused the change. Students can attach a social message if they like, or they can let their imaginations run wild with creating the new world.
- Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images