Writing Ideas, Skills and Interesting Links

Table of Contents

100 best first lines from novels

30 Ideas for Teaching Writing

The National Writing Project's 30 Ideas for Teaching Writing offers successful strategies contributed by experienced writing project teachers. Since NWP does not promote a single approach to teaching writing, readers will benefit from a variety of eclectic, classroom-tested techniques.
Few sources available today offer writing teachers such succinct, practice-based help—which is one reason why 30 Ideas for Teaching Writing was the winner of the Association of Education Publishers 2005 Distinguished Achievement Award for Instructional Materials.
These ideas originated as full-length articles in NWP publications (a link to the full article accompanies each idea below)

Writing Prompts/Journal Topics

Daily Writing Prompts

Words Like

is handy little website for those times when you need a thesaurus. Words Like works in your choice of two ways. You can browse the word clouds or simply enter a word in the search box. Any word that you click on in either the word cloud or in the list generated by your search will lead you to at least one word with a similar meaning. Definitions are provided for every word on Words Like.

Big Huge Thesaurus

is a must add to your classroom publishing center. The tag line of Big Huge Thesaurus says it all: “synonyms, antonyms, and rhymes (oh my!)”. Big Huge Thesaurus goes beyond other online thesauruses by giving students a wealth of synonyms (for each part of speech), words that sound like the original word, and rhyming words. When students find a word that they are curious about, they can click the link and it will send that word through the Big Huge Thesaurus.

Writing Resources

Cybrary Man's Educational Web Sites
The internet catalogue for students, teachers, administrators & parents.
Over 20,000 relevant links personally selected by an educator/author with over 30 years of experience.

Pic Lits - Inspired Picture Writing

PicLits is an interesting website that aims to provide inspiration for writing short stories. PicLits tries to accomplish this goal by providing users with images upon which they can build their writing. To get writers started, PicLits provides a list of words which can be dragged and dropped into sentence form. If you don't need a word list, you can select the "freestyle" option to begin free-form writing.
The idea of PicLits is not to write a full story within the images, but rather to use the images as the inspiration for longer pieces. Users of PicLits can create a free account in which to save their work.
If you like short personal narratives, make sure you read the about page on PicLits.

Helpful Handouts from Mrs Cassidy

Mainly writing but some other areas of English as well.

Writing Fun by Jenny Eather

This is the new address for this great site!

Descriptive Writing

Web English Teacher links

Figurative Language

Whenever you describe something by comparing it with something else, you are using figurative language. Any language that goes beyond the literal meaning of words in order to furnish new effects or fresh insights into an idea or a subject. The most common figures of speech are simile, metaphor, and alliteration.

Using Myst 3 for Descriptive Writing

From Tom Barrett

Image Chef

Image Chef is a great little web tool that takes words and transforms them into a graphical image. Image Chef is similar in look to Wordle but works a little differently. In Wordle, the size of the word changes based on how frequently the word was used in the text. In Image Chef, the word size doesn’t change based on how frequently it is used in the text. Image Chef takes the words typed in a text box, and displays them in a word mosaic. Image Chef has a variety of shapes and symbols to choose from. Any text entered will be displayed in the shape selected. Registered users can also create their own shapes to display text graphically. Image Chef has the added bonus of graphically displaying text inside letters. The look of the image can be changed by adjusting font, text color, background color, and symbol or initial. Individual words can be highlighted by changing the color and clicking on a word in the mosaic. Word mosaics can be shared on blogs, emailed, printed, or saved on Image Chef.

Writing Websites

OpenZine: Create Online Magazines For Free

OpenZine lets you easily create online magazines without having any knowledge of web design or development. It is a WYSIWYG based service where you can create as well as publish a web magazine by inserting text, images and videos.
Creating a magazine is simple, just choose from 10 different layouts and start adding content for different sections of the magazine like “Head feature”, “Main Feature” or “Sub Feature”. You can have multiple main features or sub features in your magazine. A rich text editor allows you to enter formatted text, links and images as part of your content. You can also create a cover page and add Issue title, Issue summary and Issue tags to make your magazine more professional and give it a proper flow.
external image openzine1.png


Dictionary of English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions

Idiom Site

Voice Grabber

So, you fancy yourself a writer, eh? You say you write for a living?
Then, why do you keep repeating the same words over and over again?
Well, lets put an end to that! Maybe we can help you improve your writing skills or at the very least show you a great new tool. A new website called www.VocabGrabber.com is a great tool to help you see the errors of your ways in writing. This fresh, new service allows you to enter a block of text into a box and hit a button that says Grab Vocabulary.
VocabGrabber analyzes your text and spits back a word cloud of terms used. From there, you can click on words and see synonyms as well as how many times you used a certain word.
You can click on words to see their relationship to other words. It is a great tool for any writer – even if you are a seasoned paid writer!

Essay Map

Essay map is an intuitive online essay planner for students. Students do not to have sign up for an account or register an email address. They simply enter their first name and topic and away they go. Students can move between screens as their ideas develop and become clearer. The only downside is that essay maps cannot be saved. However, they can be printed out before exiting.
external image essay-map-1.jpg


Tikatok™ is where kids channel their imagination into stories – and publish those stories into books for you to share and treasure with friends and family.
Tikatok’s Classroom Program is a unique literacy program that gets students excited about reading and writing. Students write and illustrate original stories and have them printed into professional quality books they can be proud of.
external image logo.png
Check out this review by iLearn Technology


New prompts everyday - questions, challenges. Something students could respond to and then compare their responses with those on the website. You need to register to see the daily prompts!

Quotes Daddy

Something else that students could respond to!

Writing Prompts, Idea Generators

From Learning in Maine wiki - HEAPS of other useful topics here too!

Literacy Net - News Story Archives

Story Modules and Comprehension Activities
Story Modules: Text
Story: As provided by CNN SF and CBS 5. Intended for adults with moderate reading and speaking comprehension skills including advanced ESL or non-native English speakers.
Abridged Story: Modification of original story text by simplifying complex ideas and sentences, exchanging advanced words with less difficult ones, and change difficult concepts into precise terms. Intended for adults with low reading comprehension skills including beginning ESL or non-native English speakers.
Story Outline: Outline summary of basic edited story elements.

Great Multimodal Starting Points for Writing -Text Number 7

This might just be Text Number 7 in my collection of great multimodal starting points for writing. Spotted on You Tube Today and having thoroughly enjoyed its puns and back story, am beginning to wonder what it might offer as a starting point for persuasive writing or perhaps as a stimulus presenting one perspective for a discursive text.

Literacy Works - Learning Resources

Though the intended audience is adults, instructors and learners (of all ages) are encouraged to use this material to promote better literacy. Each module includes the full text of each story and interactive activities to test comprehension. The learner can choose to read the text, listen to the text, and view a short video clip of the story. Each module is designed for ease of use so the learner can use it independently. The instructor can also incorporate any story into class activities and lesson plans.

Story Arts Online Storytelling in the Classroom | Lesson Plans & Activities
Story Library | Articles | Links | Curriculum Ideas Exchange
Storytelling Store | Story Arts Theatre

20 Basic Plots for Story Generators

Lists the different types of plots for narratives

Adventure Island

Adventure Island is a web-based tool for classes, schools and groups to create an interactive online island that other people are able to visit and explore. You can create descriptions for each area of your island, and these can be written in either the style of a story, diary, guide or game, as you wish. You can include on your island areas that will trap an unsuspecting visitor, and force them to start again, as well as including four clues that, once found, will allow the visitor to escape from the island and get back to civilisation.

Writing Fix

Lots of useful links here

The Write Place

Teachers, we've created this site to help you and your students get the most out of the WRITE! Foundations and Models for Proficiency Series. Click a link below for online writing activities, printable graphic organizers, writing prompts, and other helpful resources.

Language is a Virus

Cure writer's block with creative writing games, brainstorming widgets, poetry generator, character name generator - Heaps of resources and links here!

Writing Trait Lessons

Lessons, ideas for writing,

Lightning Bug

Your writing partner, helping you write a story from start to end.
The Lightning Bug Teaching Portal audience includes teachers in primary and secondary schools, universities and home school educators.
Heaps of ideas here - worth a look!

Write It

From Scholastic

The Digital Narrative

Launched July 08
The Digital Narrative is a new resource for teachers and authors exploring the use of new media forms in story writing.
The website offers a Media Library of free web based applications suited to story telling and exploring narrative structure in new forms.
A Teaching Method portal that includes numerous suggestions for presenting digital storytelling in the classroom.
A list of Resources to other prominent digital story websites and an increasing number of examples of digital stories.

Technology Appetisers for Writing

6 + 1 Writing

From the Web English Teacher. Lots of links here PLUS links to other English resources!

Six Traits

OWL (online Writing Lab) for elementary students. Some useful info here ( student samples link doesn't work!)

Newspapers From Blogs

Create a newspaper from your blog -Instructions on how to do this are here
This is my try at creating a newspaper from my two blogs

Writing Fun

A site by Jenny Eather which has information on text types, downloads and printables

The Story Starter

The Story Starter provides 345,935,040 creative ideas for writers of all ages. All of the story starters are randomly generated. The story starters can be used for short stories, novels, plays, scripts, or just for fun.

Writer's Block

Cure writer's block with creative writing games, brainstorming widgets, poetry generator, character name generator

Find a Story Map a Story Tell a Story

Find a Story... Map a Story... Tell a Story invites you to choose a story that matters to you and using an online mapping tool like Community Walk, Wayfaring or Google Maps, create a StoryMap that will place your stories within a geographical context.


StoryMaker is a simple tool for creating digital stories. Using audio, pictures and text you can create storyboards, slideshows and much much more. To create your own StoryMaker file, just click on the ‘Create a new StoryMaker file’ button below and follow the instructions that follow. You will be asked to input some data and upload your audio file. You audio file can be anything from music to conversation and your images can be absolutely anything you want. Once you do this you are free to proceed to StoryMaker and let your imagination run wild! Your StoryMaker files can be created in one visit to StoryBox or can be saved and worked over several visits. Once you are happy with your work you can add your story to StoryBox to share with others. For more detailed step by step instructions please click on ‘help’ at the top of this page to take you to the StoryMaker How To guide.


Visual Storytelling

FIve Frame Stories

Tell a Story in 5 Frames has two important parts. The first part is creating and telling a story through visual means with only a title to help guide the interpretation. The second part is the response of the group to the visual story. The group response can take many forms such as, a poetic or prose rendering of the visualization, a critique on the structure of the story, comments on the photograph, or other constructive forms of response. Telling and enjoying stories should create entertainment for the group as well as offer insight into the universal elements that help create a story for an international audience. The more people who respond , as either story tellers or respondents, the greater the reward for all.

Six Word Story

Create a six word caption to accompany a photograph.

A photo that needs 6 words

Photo a day for Schools

More ideas on things to do with photos

Elements of a Story

Takes the parts of the fairytale and explains what makes the story work. Great for planning the writing of your own stories.

Daily Writing Tips

Categories include - Book Reviews Expressions Fiction Writing General Grammar Grammar 101 Misused Words Punctuation
Spelling Vocabulary Word of the Day Writing Basics


Type in a word below to find its rhymes, synonyms, definitions, and more:

Academic Essay Writing

Intended for ESL but some useful ideas for all students


MagCloud enables you to publish your own magazines. All you have to do is upload a PDF and we'll take care of the rest: printing, mailing, subscription management, and more.

How much does it cost?

It costs you nothing to publish a magazine on MagCloud. To buy a magazine costs 20¢ per page, plus shipping.

Writing Effective Paragraphs

10 Digital Writing Opportunities You Probably Know and 10 You Probably Don’t

From Tom Barrett, ICT in my Classroom blog

911 Writers Block

An usual approach to getting kids writing - they will need computer access for this!

Creative Writing Promptsfor your Students' Daily Journal

Creative Writing Journal Prompts

Fifty (50!) Tools which can help you in Writing

Roy Peter Clark from Poynter Institute has posted up 50 tools that can help you when you do any kinds of writing. This is a extensive list of writing tools, but by no mean you need to apply all of them when you do any writing.

Interactives - Elements of a Story

external image intro.gif

Creative Writing Promptsfor your Students' Daily Journal

Research and Writing Step by Step

Automatic Text Summariser

Enter the text in the box provided and then give the number of sentences you want it summarised into.

Great Summary
GreatSummary can summarize text from web pages or text pasted from another document. To Automatically find the Highlights of a document, follow the steps below:

KidPub, Publisher of Stories, Books, Poetry, and More For Kids, By Kids


Literary Grafitti

A collection of Y7 descriptive writing
Based on Myst (computer game)

Three Panel Book Review

Telescopic Text

An excellent visual tool for showing students how adding specific nouns etc adds interest to the sentence

Why & How: Computer Games & Writing?

by KimP, Australia

Writing Resources

From The Learning Place, Queensland

Outta Ray's Head - Writing

Welcome to Teaching That Makes Sense
Writing PDFs avaliable

Writing Strategies
PDFs for download

Useful for instructional writing models and ideas

30 Ideas for Teaching Writing

National Writing Project Resources Topics

Descriptive Writing

Writing Resources for Grade 8 - 12

Journal Writing

Writing Prompts for Intermediate Students

Kill Adjectives and Adverbs - Descriptive Writing Tips

Writing Essays - Ideas

Creative Writing How to Kick It Up a Notch!

Creative Writing Ideas
The following ideas are only a few ways that you can inspire and morivate your students to produce interesting outcomes

Ten Creative Writing Activities

Fostering Creative Writing

Creative Writing

The Building Blocks to Children's Creative Writing Teaching Creative Writing in the Elementary School Scriptito's Place - Vangar's Creative Writing Resource Center John Hewitt's Writer's Resource Center Resources for Writers and Illustrators Creative Writing for Teens PIZZAZ! Creative Writing and Story Telling Ideas Practical Teaching Ideas on Writing Creative Writing Tips Creative Writing Online The WriteGallery Creative Writing Web site Creative Writing

Student Writing Models USA (exemplars)
Grades 1 - 12

Peer Edit With Perfection- Teaching Effective Peer-Editing Strategies

Peer editing is a very effective way to help students improve their writing. In this lesson, students use a three-step peer-editing process that consists of compliments, suggestions, and corrections. They practice the techniques on sample student writing and view a PowerPoint tutorial to help reinforce the process. In conclusion, students use their knowledge to create a peer-editing assessment tool.


Pic Lits is a really neat creative writing site that provides pictures and a word bank for students to create a enriched sentence or sentences about the picture. “The object is to put the right words in the right place and the right order to capture the essence, story, and meaning of the picture.” Students can choose to only drag words from the word bank to create their sentence or compose a sentence freestyle.
Students can use Pic Lits individually on computers, as a whole class with a projector, or as a creative writing center in the one or two computer classroom. When using Pic Lits as a class, choose a picture for the day and have students write their sentences on paper using words from the word bank. Take turns sharing to hear the combination of words and the different meanings that students gathered from the picture. This is a great writing exercise to use in your classroom every day!
Students can sign up for a free account and save each Pic Lit they create. At the end of the year, each student can create a book of their Pic Lits to take home for creative inspiration.

Noteworthy Sentences

If your sentence fits in more than one of the following categories, you may list it in each applicable category, or you may choose the one in which it seems to best fit.
This blog is both a forum for collaboration and a resource for language arts teachers to use. Please use the sentences you find here as models for exploration and imitation in your classrooms, and add to them as you find strong examples through your personal and class readings. Scroll down or click here to view and/or add to the noteworthy sentence categories.

Sentences that take your breath away

Strong Leads in General

Strong Leads for Imitation and Extension

Good Endings

Sentences that "take you there"

Great for Imitation

Easy to Imitate

Parts of Sentences
Structure of Sentences
Length of Sentences
Syntax Techniques
Figurative Language
Sound Devices
Literary Techniques
Plot Devices (particularly effective or unique examples)
Sentences with correct use of particular Punctuation

Some Writing Links to Investigate

What Else?

An English wiki

What Else 5 Writing

Welcome to our daily lesson summaries. Each day we focus on a writing trait and the writing process

50 Free Resources That Will Improve Your Writing Skills