Students respond to a writing prompt. Then they try to identify the classmate who wrote each response. In the process, they learn a lot about one another.
author, writing, writing prompt
In this lesson, the teacher provides students with a writing prompt. Students use the prompt as the starting point for a creative writing activity. Depending on the age of your students, they will write a sentence or paragraph or essay in response to the prompt. After the writing, the real fun begins. Display the students anonymous paragraphs and see if students can figure out who wrote each piece.
A Sample Lesson
Provide students with the writing prompt
If I was an animal, I would be a(n) _____.Depending on the age of your students, they will use that prompt to write
Be sure you explain the idea behind the lesson before they write. It is important that students do not share with their peers what animals they have chosen. You might have students type their stories so their handwriting doesn't "give them away." They should not sign their work on the front; instead, they should write their names in pencil on the back of their work.
After students have completed their writing, post all their work on a bulletin board. Assign a number to each piece of writing, and post that number next to the writing sample. Then give students time to read the pieces and to match each one to a classmate. You might provide a printable page that has on it numbers that correspond to the numbers on the bulletin board; next to each number on that page students will write the name of the classmate they think wrote the sentence, paragraph, or essay.
How many students were correct in guessing about half of the authors? Did anyone correctly guess the authors of more than half of the pieces?
Extend the Lesson
You can use this idea from time to time. Simply vary the subject of the writing prompt. For example, you might use some of these writing prompts in this or future "Who Wrote That?" activities:
As an alternative, you might use one of Education World's "Writing Bug" writing prompts. In all cases, encourage students -- especially older students -- to think a bit outside the box; not to give the "stock answer" that might be expected as a first response.
You might provide a writing rubric that details what you expect from your students' writing. That rubric will vary depending on the grade you teach.
See more Lesson Plans of the Day in our Lesson Plan of the Day Archive. (There you can search for lessons by subject too.)
For additional language arts/reading lesson plans, see these Education World resources:
Copyright© 2006 Education World
Originally published 04/12/2006
Last udated 11/24/2008