Igniting Critical and Creative Thinking

Back to School Activities and Writing Prompts – September Writing Center

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This Write a School Tale Writing Center will motivate even your most reluctant writers. It provides CHOICE and includes the TOOLS and GRAPHIC ORGANIZERS necessary to plan and write great stories about school. This writing center is great for Back to School, but it can be used all year long! I wrote this unit for primary students, but it can be used with students in grades 1-5.

Kids love writing about school! This resource contains plots about funny, sad, and exciting school events. With so much emphasis on social emotional learning, this is a great resource for writing about kindness, cooperative learning, getting along with others, and so much more! These stories will give you so much insight about your students’ values, interests, and fears.

Students can select the setting, plot, and characters for their story which allows each student to create their own unique story. . No more having each student respond to the exact same writing prompt!


Students often struggle with writing because they are told to just “start writing.” The graphic organizers included allow the students to think about their stories and plan before they actually begin writing. There is also a writing checklist so students can make sure they have all the necessary elements in their story before they submit the final product.

TIP: Do not put out all the cards at any one time in the center. Too much choice is overwhelming, especially for younger students. There are enough cards so you can put out a few each week. I would select 6-8 problem cards at any one time to put out.


  • A poster about the elements of a School Tale
  • 20 Setting, 52 Character, 80 Problem/Plot Cards, and 40 Item Cards
  • Charts for Transition Words, Vivid Verbs, and Sensory Words
  • Graphic Organizers for Story Map, Story Summary, and Sensory Words
  • Checklist for your story
  • themed papers for students to write stories in two styles and both color and b/w


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Susan Morrow

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