I always assign creative writing activities on the first day of school. For instance, I wanted the students to share something from their Summer vacation right after lunch this particular school year.
However, one of my students had a hard time with the assignment.
“I can’t do this!” John said, slamming his pencil down. “These writing assignments are just too hard for me,” he continued.
“What is it about the assignment that makes it too hard for you, John,” I said.
“I’m just not good at writing, and I don’t know what to write about,” John said.
Writing is one of the hardest tasks for children who have special needs. The process of getting their thoughts and ideas down on paper is overwhelming for students.
Creative Writing Activities for a Special Needs Student
Although writing can be a tedious process, there are many different ways for students to express themselves through writing. Here are five great writing activities I found that have worked with my special needs students.
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5 Writing Activities Your Special Needs Students Will Enjoy
#1 Comic Book Writing
I have found that some of my students love writing comic book stories. They don’t feel overwhelmed like they do when they are assigned a five-paragraph essay. In addition, it is a creative way to practice writing in smaller sentences.
You can find comic book-creating websites or templates online to help you plan the assignment. I have found that Make Beliefs Comix is a great online resource for those wanting to explore and write creatively. I have a student who uses this website, and he loves being able to create his own comic book.
#2 Writing Skills Activities
There are many ways to practice writing skills. However, as a teacher, I always think of ways to get my students to work on their sentence structure that is not so boring or overwhelming.
Ideas for Practicing Sentence Structure
- Give them a topic that they have to write about in under 100 words.
- Provide them one word to write a paragraph about what they know about that word.
- Give them unique writing prompts that could have fun and creative endings. For example, “If they were to have a dinosaur for a pet, what would they do with their dinosaur?”
- Have them map out an outline of their paper using a specific topic.
- Do a brainstorming activity using their research topic.
#3 Memory Writing
Memory writing is an activity where students can reflect on something they read earlier in the week. The reading could be something that they read or experienced in reading groups.
The students have a time limit to reflect and write so that everyone has an opportunity to write about what they remember. This creative writing activity is important because it encourages students to recall their memories, which builds stronger connections in the brain.
#4 Reading Response Journals
As a student, I hated work that seemed like a waste of time. One thing that I remember was that each week we had to write a reading response about something that we had read that week.
A reading response journal is a series of entries from students’ reflections, opinions, and reactions to readings. This active learning technique encourages them to examine things thoroughly and relate what they’ve read to their prior knowledge and experiences.
Tips for Reading Response Journals
- Let your student know this is his journal. No one else has to read it, and he will not be graded on what he writes in it.
- Give ample time for each student to write in their journal immediately after reading time when it is fresh on their mind.
- Provide journal prompts so your students aren’t sitting there staring at the blank page, overwhelmed with what to write. Here are a couple of reading response journal prompts:
Although I was not a fan of it as a child, this is an excellent way for a student to read a story and learn how it relates to real-world experiences.
Lastly, another creative writing activity that is fun and gets children to think creatively is something I call “rewrite.”
Many stories over the years have been rewritten with new endings. For example, Cinderella is a story that has multiple different endings.
Give students a short story to rewrite that would change the story in some way. This assignment can be an excellent writing activity to teach them about plagiarism. In addition, you can instruct them on the best way to write the story without copying the author’s ideas or information.
What Creative Writing Activities Do You Use In Your Classroom?
Writing can be difficult for special needs students. However, creative writing activities can be a fun way for students to learn the basics of writing. Choose from any one of these five writing exercises, or try them all!
No matter which you choose, we’re confident that they will help your student develop their language skills in ways that are both enjoyable and challenging.
Do you have an idea for another creative exercise or activity not listed here? Drop it in the comments below so we can add it to our list. We look forward to hearing how this helps your students!
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