Creative Writing Prompt

My girlfriend Jen aids with 3rd and 4th grade classes at a Connecticut School. At about this time of year she must participate in the miserable administration of standardized testing.

One part of Connecticut’s standardized testing methods are writing prompts. The students are given a brief scenario and are then encouraged to write per this prompt for 45 minutes. The younger students are given exciting fictional prompts like “Your friend gives you a pair of socks that will turn you into whomever you want when you put them on. Tell us what happens next!”

Older students are given really boring prompts like “Make an argument for or against extending the school year.”

No thanks on that last one.

All this led me to an idea: I thought it might be a fun exercise to give a writing prompt. I’ll have Jen pull out an exciting 3rd grade writing prompt from some past year and then I will post it. I encourage each of you to write for 45 minutes about this topic and submit it to me. I will post all submissions. The only rule is that you can only spend 45 minutes on your creative writing attempt.

I will do it for sure, and hopefully you will too! Let me know if you’d like to participate. I’ll probably have this happen next week some time.

6 thoughts on “Creative Writing Prompt

  • 3/7/2013 at 6:36 pm

    I will get to work on this. If there is an interest, I will also offer some quick writing tips on such things as entertaining beginnings, exploding the moment, slow motion detail and extended endings.

  • 3/7/2013 at 7:47 pm

    Are there any limitations on the writing? Can be a narrative or are Dialogues allowed? Does it all need to stay in one perspective? Does the 45 minutes need to be written in all one block? Can I do 15 minutes a day for three days? I could be convinced to partake in this if I can fit 45 minutes in my busy, busy, BUSY schedule.

  • 3/7/2013 at 10:25 pm

    District assessments in public schools are done in one 45 minute sitting. It is suggested that students use 5 minutes to plan, 10 minutes to write their beginning, 20 minutes to write their middle, 5 minutes for their ending, and 5 minutes to re-read and make any last minute changes. However, in training, we do break stories up into smaller chunks of time.

    Elements that are encouraged include action, elaboration, the use of 5 senses, dialogue and thoughts or feelings of the character narrating the story. It is also recommended that students focus on one main character, one main event, and one setting. This has to be reiterated frequently as fourth graders tend to immediately want to discover a time machine or portal that takes them to some crazy alternate universe where they encounter all sorts of interesting characters, and it is simply too much to describe with enough detail in such a short time period.

    In addition to the prompt itself, students are trained and encouraged to use a pre-writing plan. They receive practice using a variety of graphic organizers to help them jot down ideas which will keep them on the right track in a timed situation.

    After the prompt is completed, it is scored based on a 6-point rubric (1 being the lowest and 6 being the highest). Items taken into consideration include elaboration, the use of general versus specific details, the fluency of the writing, and whether or not it is clear to understand. The prompt is read by two trained readers, who each provide it a score based on this rubric. The two scores are then combined to receive a number out of 12. The goal score for the state of CT is an 8 out of 12. This would mean that each reader would assign the story a 4 based on the 6-point rubric.

    If Mike is interested, I can bring any stories submitted here to teachers in my school to score, so that the writers will get an authentic, state of CT public school prompt score for their contribution. See how you stack up against the 9-year olds out there!

  • 3/8/2013 at 12:55 am


  • 3/11/2013 at 3:42 pm

    I’m pretty sure THIS IS WHAT I LIVE FOR.


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