As a teacher and writer, I have a passion for getting kids hooked on writing (and reading.) I've found that many times, all it takes is getting a kid hooked on one genre of writing. In fact, many of my boys end up LOVING poetry...I share some different poems with them that would interest them (look up "creepy pizza"...that always gets them going). It also helps to use different formats to help them be successful (look up diamonte format for elementary students.) Some of my kids love writing narratives that include them, their friends, and sometimes...their teacher! Once students get hooked on a format, I can take two approaches in class for prompt writing. Prompts can be a useful tool, but often I either give students the topic and allow them to write whatever genre they want that we've studied, or give them the format and allow them to generate the topics. This makes it more interesting for kids and gives them ownership in their work.
Sometimes games can be interesting...have the whole class/small groups write a story by rotating who writes the next sentence. Some kids write me a weekly prompt that asks me to add to it at the end and they pick up where I left off the next week. As I said...as a teacher, first get them to LOVE writing...it doesn't have to be great at first. But once you get them to love expressing themselves, you can work on the format, grammar, etc...and they'll be more receptive to feedback.
Other things my fifth graders have loved: Give them pictures of interesting scenes and have them write the description. Have them write from the voice of someone in the picture. Have them draw a picture (of an alien or something) and a descriptive paragraph, then have a partner try to draw the same picture using ONLY the descriptive paragraph for directions. (They love that either way...either they're close and proud of that, or completely off and think it's funny...but it allows for a good teaching opportunity.) Have students write the "next chapter" of a story they're reading. All of these are different ways to engage young writers.
Hope that helps,
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