One of the resources I found through the National Writing Project is the book by Hank Kellner, “Write What You See.”  I used this in 6th grade, and it most certainly could be used in a much larger grade span.  The book comes with a DVD of more than 100 photos, each page detailed with open ended questions, possible word choices and really provide students with that visual “hook” that encourages their creativity.  It was very successful in the classroom, students LOVED thinking about the pictures, groaned when they had to stop writing, and loved to share at the end.  For our students who are immersed in a digital society, this is a perfect fit over the plethora of writing prompts out there that confines a writer’s imagination and creativity.

This morning I posted a picture I took early this morning of a little field mouse and a hunk of swiss cheese (See Stories From Everyday Life). What student wouldn’t look at that picture and not come up with a story beginning?  Of course I should tell you that this particular field mouse was captured by Felix the cat, who then chased it around Mom’s kitchen, who made me scream and spill my coffee down myself, who was then chased by one cat, one woman in pajamas and one woman fresh from the shower.  Eventually he was whisked outside to the front steps. All the while we chased him, I was pleading with him “Choose Life!”  “Choose Life!”  We thought it only fitting that the poor little fella be compensated with a piece of baby swiss for surviving the ordeal.  So you see it is true, a picture can say a thousand words!  If you aren’t lucky enough to have the book I recommended, I have found some great photos on the web, and have created my own tips for students.

Happy Writing from USM!!