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We celebrate teachers who have created their own websites about teaching writing:

Always Write
(Grades K-12)

Start to Learn

(Primary Grades)

Making Mathematicians

(Grades K-12)

Learning is Messy

(Grades 4-6)

Write in the Middle

(Grades 6-8)

Writing Prompts: For the Left Brain
inspiring students with structures and frames when beginning new writing

WritingFix believes this:  No one writes with just the left side of his/her brain. The human brain is too complex and too cross-wired to ever believe that.

We do believe this too: Ideas that spark a writer's inspiration can start on the left-side of the brain.  And for that reason, all writing activities categorized on this page celebrate a left-brained approach to beginning a piece of writing.  This page celebrates approaches that are structured.  This page celebrates approaches that are logical.   Devote part of your journal or your writer's notebook to ideas produced by left-brained prompts. 

We hope the prompts below help launch a writing idea on the left side of your brain. These left-brain friendly writing promps are sorted into the following seven categories:

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A book recommendation:

For left-brained planners: Writing Frames
by Jean L. Pottle

Left-Brained Strategy #1...Start with a List!

A simple writing technique:  1) Take an interesting topic; 2) create a list of things that match the topic; 3) prioritize the list; 4) write a draft that explores one, several, or all the items from your list.

"Last year, my teacher made us cluster, which I don't like.   This year, we make lists, and I'm doing much better now."

--Daniel P., 4th grade WritingFix user

Left-Brained Strategy #2...The Start & Stop Game!

WritingFix's Start & Stop Games remain one of our most popular interactive writing games.  A simple idea: your writing's first and last sentence must contain the same word, phrase, or clause...Press the buttons and let our Start & Stop Games give you interesting words, phrases and clauses to spark your planning.

"It's funny but when I plan where my writing will start and stop before I even write, then starting is easier.  And knowing how to stop my writing makes more sense to me."

--Mike R., 9th grade WritingFix user

Left-Brained Strategy #3...Imitate Real Writing Creatively!

There are interesting authentic writing structures that can be imitated in a brain-challenging way.  These exercises all suggest an interesting structure; the writer provides the original topic.  Imitate...to flatter your original ideas.

"Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery."

--attributed to Charles Colton's The Lacon

Left-Brained Strategy #4...Step-by-Step Mini-Workshops

WritingFix's Step-by-Step Mini Writers' Workshops  are some of our favorite teachers' best writing exercises, presented in a step-by-step script format.  Teachers, writers or students can click the button when they're ready for the next instruction.  Let the interactive script take you from pre-write to a completed draft.

"And, step by step, since time began, I see the steady gain of man."

--John Greenleaf Whittier, poet

Left-Brained Strategy #5...Playing with the Language

Good writers play with language.  When you realize that words can be treated like toys, you are on your way to becoming a better writer.  WritingFix shares many suggestions on methods that will help you see how words can be treated like "toys."

"I like to play around with new vocabulary words before using them in my actual writing.  I don't know why.  Once I've played with them, it feels like I have earned the right to write with them."

--Tami L., 12th grade WritingFix user

Left-Brained Strategy #6...Story Challenges with Pre-Planned Paragraphs

These are fun and interactive prompts that encourage thoughtful paragraphing from writers who don't quite "get" the paragraph yet.  Many more are currently being developed.

"Some writing teachers I know make fun of the hamburger paragraph, because you never see a hamburger paragraph in real writers' works.  But I'm the kid who would have never learned how to paragraph at all, if I didn't have a teacher who gave that hamburger structure to me. The trick was that later I had another teacher teach me how to move beyond that type of paragraph."

--Corbett Harrison, Northern Nevada Writing Project

Left-Brained Strategy #7...Structured Poetry Challenges

Real writers know that great prose is improved with the occasional poetic device slipped inside.  All writers should try a little poetry every once in a while...no matter what they're writing.  Our left-brained poetry prompts rely on logic and structure being in place before the poetry can happen.

"Writing poetry is the hard manual labor of the imagination."

----Ishmael Reed, author

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Please, share the resources you find on these pages freely with fellow educators, but please leave any page citations on handouts intact, and please give authorship credit to the cited teachers who created these wonderful lessons and resources. Thanks in advance for honoring other educators' intellectual property.

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