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Creative Writing Activity: New Uses For Old Things

By Kellie Hayden

Creative writing should help develop the students' imaginations. Try this lesson with elementary, middle school or even high students. The teacher can use every day items to inspire students to write good descriptive pieces.

Creative Use Writing

Capture the students' imaginations with this creative writing lesson: old items, new uses. Use the writing process to help students write Think About It! a great descriptive essay and use a rubric to assess their final product.

Gather Found Objects

Planning is key for this lesson to be successful. Collect enough objects and/or gadgets so that each student or small group of three or four students can touch, feel and view the items while writing.

Suggestions for items: channel changer, cheese grater, stapler, ratchet wrench, pastry cutter or mixer, electric pencil sharpener, finger nail clippers, toolbox, flashlight, old hand-held video game, round brush, eye-lash curler, measuring spoons, electric mixer, three-hole punch, etc.

Pre-writing: Brainstorming Ideas

Step 1 --Tell students that some of the best inventions are secondary uses of an object. Back when cell phones were new, who thought that people would want to send text messages? The phone is for talking, not typing. Now, many phones have an added key pad to make it easier to text.

Step 2 -- Place all of the items on a table. Discuss their current uses. Give them an example of how a cheese grater is made to grate cheese into smaller pieces. It can also be used to make clothes "vintage." Rubbing it on jeans creates holes and wear marks. A student could create a whole new wardrobe with the cheese grater or even a business.

Step 3 -- Students need to select an item. Allow time for students to rummage through the items to select one.

Step 4 -- Students then need to create a list of possible other uses for the item.

Organize Ideas

Step 5 -- Students then need to organize their list into an essay. They could select three new uses for item or go more in-depth and write about one new use. Students should write a minimum of a three paragraph descriptive essay. The essay should have an introduction, body and conclusion.

  • The introduction should include a thesis statement, explaining the new uses for the item. It should also tell what the item's current uses are.
  • The body can describe the new uses for the item. This can be one to three paragraphs.
  • The conclusion should wrap up the essay.

Write a Draft

Step 6 -- Students need to write a rough draft of the essay.

Edit Writing

Step 7 -- After students have completed the rough draft, they need to edit their work. They should check for creativity, organization, adequate support, coherence, style, writing conventions.

Students can trade papers and do peer reviews.

Write Final copy

Step 8 -- Students need to write a neat final copy in pen or type it.

Assess Writing

Create a rubric to assess the essay. Criteria for the rubric could be creativity, organization, adequate support, coherence, style, and writing conventions.

Students need a change of pace from time to time with an unusual creative writing lesson: Old items, new uses is the basis for a lesson to spark imaginations and maybe even a new invention.