Use Writing Sparks to Inspire Student Writers

Use Writing Sparks to Inspire Student Writers

Writing Sparks is a free online resource that teachers and students can use to inspire creative stories, news articles, poems and opinion pieces. I recently learned about this website from first year teacher, Ginny Neal Snead from Georgia, who tried it out with her fourth grade class and loved how easy it was for everyone to use.

Use Writing Sparks to Inspire Student Writers: Writing Sparks is a free webtool teachers and students can use to help with the writing process

Half the Battle is Coming Up with IDEAS

Often times beginning writers have a hard time coming up with what to write as well as how to expand their writing. Writing Sparks helps alleviate that struggle by providing "sparks" that activate creative ideas. When you first visit the website you are prompted with:


When you click the Teachers button you will need to select the age of your students.

Next you will be prompted to select what kind of spark you are looking for:

Then you will need to choose how long you want to "spark" for:

Project the next screen for the whole class to see. Writing Sparks will generate a prompt for the class. Here is an example of a writing prompt for 7 and under:

Have students take out a notebook/piece of paper for their planning. You could even opt to have them using a digital collaboration board for their planning and brainstorming. Click HERE to read more about how to use collaboration boards for the planning stage. When you click Begin Planning, Writing Sparks will start a countdown and display random words/images. 

In the example above, I was only given 2 minutes to brainstorm. Personally I think younger students need more time than 2 minutes. I would do the 2 minute session and then come together as a class to discuss ideas and then send students back to continue.

The next step is to have a class discussion about a question that relates to the prompt. Writing Sparks will give you the discussion question along with a countdown timer:

Then the writing happens! Once you click Begin Writing, the countdown timer you selected in the beginning will start and some helpful tips will begin to be displayed. Students can either write in a notebook or use a word processing document to type their story.

Students really enjoy seeing what their "prompt of the day" will be and Writing Sparks really makes the planning and brainstorming phases exciting and fun!


The other option you can select when you first visit Writing Sparks is Students. This is great for independent practice! Students will select the type of writing piece they will work on:





I LOVE how students can use the right hand side to plan/brainstorm with the structure Writing Sparks provides. As they begin writing their story on the left hand side, Writing Sparks automatically does a word count in the lower left hand corner.

Students can save their writing as a PDF. There is not a way for them to save their work to continue working on at another time. Everything would have to be done in one sitting.

I think this easy to use writing tool is a great way to SPARK the creativity in our students. Use it everyday or just once in a while to jazz up your writing time.

Keep your students writing with my Digital Writing Journal Bundle for Google Slides™. Read more about why digital writing journals are beneficial HERE.

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