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Five Digital Projects for Writing Classes

Jayne Miller wrote this on Apr 2, 2015

Chalkup’s discussion and collaboration spaces are made for student writing projects. They’re like peas and carrots. Peanut butter and jelly. Persuasive essays and Chalkup rubrics. (Too much?)

These spaces have proven to be effective platforms for sharing feedback, workshopping new ideas, and testing out creative, collaborative writing assignments. Try one of these projects or prompts with your students next time you’re looking to push their creative writing skills.

Classwide Short Story


Start a fresh discussion thread and write one sentence to kick off the story. The class is tasked with finishing the narrative one sentence at a time, student by student. The only rule is that everybody needs to contribute at least three sentences and the story must have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Students are allowed to break off into separate discussion threads to strategize, but the master thread is where the action happens. Bonus points for adding images in the discussion space to support the action in the story.

Peer Inspiration

The first assignment is simple. Students must brainstorm three unique elements. For example: a horse, a ham sandwich, and Flag Day. Or perhaps: a football, a plane ticket, and a fire hydrant. Here’s where the fun starts. After everyone has submitted three unique elements in a Chalkup discussion space, have them look one comment down on the thread. The comment posted directly after theirs contains the three elements they must work into a short story. The student who posted the last triad gets the elements listed by the first student.

This idea is also a great opportunity to work in peer review in our collaboration space. Try matching up reviewers by assigning each student to read the story inspired by the elements they listed.

Compare Notes


Everyone gets the same prompt for a piece of flash fiction. Perhaps they must write about a picnic that’s interrupted by a thunderstorm or a student who forgot to do their homework. Next, it’s into the Chalkup discussion space to share each story and discuss the differences in viewpoints across the class. How did the same prompt look when captured by each student? What interpretation was the most surprising? The most suspenseful? The funniest?

Stay in Character

Here’s a unique way to practice character-building. For the duration of the class, students will use a dedicated thread to create and develop a one-of-a-kind character. They’ll do this by contributing to the thread solely as that character. Each week students will answer a new character development question from the perspective of their fictional friend: Where are you from? What’s your favorite food? What makes you angry? This will build to a final story assignment that stars the protagonist they’ve been working on all semester.

Pen Pals


Keep the momentum going from your last writing assignment with this follow-up project. Students are paired up. After sharing their stories with one another, the team is tasked with writing a letter from a character in one story to a character in the other. Students can brainstorm how their stories could connect, which characters to use, and what a conversation between those characters would look like.


Topics: Student Engagement, Chalkup, Class Discussions