Some where along the way I learned about this great writing activity that really gets your student's brains moving.
- lined paper or writing notebooks (whichever you use for your class)
Tell your students that today they are going to be such "hot writers" that their paper may actually catch on fire! (It really grabs their attention...lol)
The basic gist of the activity is that students will write for a length of time and they are not allowed to stop writing at all. If they run out of ideas they just keep re-writing the last word they wrote. The idea is NOT to create a cohesive piece of writing but to see how much writing you can get done in the time limit.
Start with 30 seconds- any longer is too long, even for the older intermediate students until you have done this a number of times. Have the students place their pencil on the page and start the stopwatch. The students will write for 30 seconds until you yell "stop!" They should count up their words, write the total beside their writing and draw a line underneath.
Repeat! You can slowly up the amount of time students are writing by 30 second increments. Every once in awhile you can also have a student share their writing with the class for a fun giggle. "Apple, apple, apple, balloon, monkey jumps, piano, dog, dog, dog, dog..."! The idea is that the students are trying to increase their word count each time. Students will love the challenge of this, just check every so often that they are writing REAL words!
Once your students are pretty comfortable with hot writing start to encourage them to write a mini-story each time you time them, probably once you are up to 1-2 minutes of solid writing. It's interesting to see the types of stories that come out of the hot writing.
Other ideas you can try are to have a writing prompt and everyone writes on the same topic- just wait and see the variety that happens! Also, once students can write for 4-5 minutes you can introduce a new word at every 30 second interval that they must incorporate into their stories!
Mostly, have fun with it! Hot writing is great to break through writer's block, as a quick review of a previous science or social studies lesson, and just for fun.