October 17, 2019

Three Tips to Use Writing Prompts in Your Class

How to Use Visual Writing Prompts in Your Class.

Using visual writing prompts in your classroom will inspire your students to dig deep and come up with new and imaginative stories. But- the image you use is important if you want students to develop new and exciting ideas.

Tip 1: Don’t use clip art!

Please! Use colorful images that have details. Ones that have a number of things going on- we can’t write if we are not inspired. The writing prompt image should ideally have color, details, and be able to be interpreted in different ways. Like this one:


“Why can’t I get comfortable?”

Tip 2: Start with a quote- to enhance the image.

Maybe it’s a sentence about the image. Or some dialogue from the person/animal in the image. (Personally I love dialogue- it brings the viewer right in.) The sentence should be ambiguous in a way. For example, for the image of the sheep riding the tractor, we could say “They rode as fast as they could, but he was catching up to them.” Well, who is he? What are they fleeing? Do they look scared?


Let’s go for a ride!

We can’t be sure with the ambiguous text, but yours students will come up with the answer.

What if the quote was…

“Their mom looked everywhere for them. It was almost time.”

Can you come up with the story for this image?


“Their mom looked everywhere for them. It was almost time.”

Tip 3: Use a list of questions to jumpstart the conversation.

I have made a list of story starter questions that can go with any image- even videos, to get the creative writing process going. Some questions can refer to time, like, What happened five minutes before this picture was taken? Five minutes after” or talk about feelings, ‘How is the main character feeling? How do you know from the image?” This encourages the viewer to look carefully at the image for clues.


“She forgot to set her alarm so she…”

Bonus tip: Want even more? Try Journal Buddies, which has thousands of free writing prompts available.

Use a colorful detailed image and never hear, “I don’t know what to write!” again!

Have any other ideas for writing in your class? Write a comment and I’ll be sure to get back to you.


Download my free eBook, "How to Use Art to Inspire Creative Writing". I hope it helps you the way it has helped my students.
I've compiled numerous tips and techniques to get the best creative writing from your students. Get them to think critically!
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