Time to share some of my favorite assignments at this point in the teaching the writing process.
One of my favorite activities is The Song Review. Below you will find the form I use, you are free to use it or revise it to fit your lessons. The basic idea is for students to choose one of their favorite songs to analyze it using the six traits of writing. It is interesting to see how difficult the students find this activity. Not because it is difficult to fill in the form, but the switch in thinking it takes to see a song as a piece of writing.
SongReview (PDF file)
Deciding on what order the song uses, the types of introductions and conclusions, and conventions are the areas that cause the most problems. Part of the issue is what genre of music they choose. Country music tends to tell stories more, while hip hop breaks lots of convention rules. Students enjoy this activity, but it does challenge them to see how the writing process is more than just essay writing.
I also like to use movies or TV shows in different ways. If you are using an LMS you can embed videos into assignments or even quizzes. For example I used the intro to Over the Hedge as a quiz question covering the types of introductions. In fact, I had a whole section of the quiz devoted to using videos as the foundation of quiz questions about different aspects of the writing process.
Another favorite activity is my Skittle Organization (follow the link to the Snapguide for directions). I usually buy the snack size packets and give the students two packets. Yes, they enjoy eating them afterwards, but I gives me a reference point to use throughout the semester when talking about the different orders or grouping information.
Even though creative assignments can be a challenge; I believe that it is worth it because the creativity builds a deeper understanding of the writing process. Students start to see the components, like introductions, in the media around them. They start to appreciate how important those elements are for their own writing.
Share any fun, creative assignments you use in your lessons in the comments below.