Stick Around & Write Something: A Writing Prompt for Teenagers

“It begins with a character, usually, and once he stands up on his feet and begins to move, all I can do is trot along behind him with a paper and pencil trying to keep up long enough to put down what he says and does.”

― William Faulkner

There is never a dull moment when you work around, and with, teenagers. After teaching high school for two decades, I honestly cannot imagine doing anything else.

A few years ago I learned an important lesson. Never underestimate the power of stickers when it comes to teenagers. One day my 9th grade students were addressing envelopes to mail letters and I offered them stickers to attach to their envelopes. They were delighted and even the unruliest of students became quiet as they intently selected the perfect sticker combination to decorate their correspondence.

This year I had a Donors Choose project funded that included, you guessed it, stickers. A few weeks ago creative writing students were overjoyed when I offered them stickers to adorn their Chromebooks and/or journals. However, first I made them write.

The following was their prompt on Google Classroom:

Attached you will find an assortment of images. Choose one of the collections of vinyl stickers and imagine that the stickers are attached to someone’s: computer, water bottle, locker, or another personal belonging. Allow these collection of stickers to tell a story. Imagine what these images say about identity and personality.

I then posted the following images:

The Sweet Life
All who wander are not lost.
Rocket scientist, or bust!
Home Sweet Home
Stand tall, my dear.
Art is life…
Adventure Seeker

This prompt works well with students who are visual learners. It provides them with a place to start writing and helps them flesh out a character.

For other teachers reading this, I hope your students enjoy this writing prompt and that it inspires them to be creative. I would love to hear from you in the comment section. As I always tell my students, our words matter.

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