Writing on the fly.

We’ve been struggling with the timeliness of creative writing assignments.  So, today we tried something different.  I provided them with an adventurous writing prompt and 15 minutes to write a paragraph telling what had happened next.  I modified this from the excellent writing thoughts over at Montessori Muddle.

Our prompt began:

The phone rang and the voice on the other end said, “They are coming.”  The phone went dead. . .

Here are several of the children’s thoughts.  Remember perfection was not the day.  Throwing something down on paper in a mere 15 minutes was the goal.


As soon as the phone went dead, it started to ring again.  I said hello.  The woman on the other side was apologizing so profusely that it took her five minutes to get around to telling me what went wrong. Apparently she had hung up the phone too fast because it was her first day on the job and she was very nervous.  Se got around to telling me what in fact was coming was two hippopotami I had ordered two weeks earlier, one from Mississippi and the other from Norway.  They were arriving by helicopter to my house in a couple of hours.  I thanked her and hung up.


As Steve stood at the street corner, his cellphone rang.  “They are coming,” croaked the voice on the other side.  Then the phone went dead.  Steve heard sirens off in the distance and picked up the black duffel bag and ran. The sirens got closer and three police cars screeched around the corner.  Steve broke the nearest car window, got inside and hot wired it.  He slammed on the gas and sped off with the stolen weapons and money.


I put down the phone with fear. “What does that mean,”  I asked myself.  I picked up the phone again and called 911, but my line was dead.  I looked out side even though I didn’t want to see anything.  It is too dark to see anything.  The only light is on my neighbor’s porch.  I walk back in thinking it is just a practical joke.  I turn on the TV.  There is only static.  THUMP!  The house shakes.  I hear screaming.  I look outside; everything is flames.  A large mechanical foot is in the street.  Then flames shoot at my house.  I run outside.  Then everything collapses.  What is that? What. . . .


I was sleeping.  Then suddenly I heard the telephone.  It said,  “They’re coming.” I hid under the bed.  Then I was taken, put in a van, and brought to a building.  I couldn’t see.  It was my birthday.  Everybody took of their masks and said, “Happy Birthday!”  It was a surprise birthday party!


The light went out; it had been a stormy day and it was 10:30 in the middle of January.  Suddenly the fire went out.  I got up.  I poked the fire, but not a coal was on fire.  I slowly walked to my window.  I opened it.  Cool air blew into my face.  But after a minute of silence, I heard bombs, guns, crying, screaming, sirens.  But over the noise I heard something I wished I hadn’t – Hitler’s voice.  My town was under attack by the Nazis. I heard a boom and fire rose as pieces of the city call flew everywhere.  I quickly ran from the window but I was crushed.  I woke up in the hospital.  The destruction outside was horrifying.



Filed under AV, BR, DW, JV, LR, Writing

3 responses to “Writing on the fly.

  1. Do you know the book Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg. My students- 4-8 have adored these over the years. I like the portfolio edition because it has posters of each page in the book. My students love how different each of their stories are, and they never tire of starting a new one even if they have done the picture before. For whatever reason I find that a lot of teachers don’t know this book at all.

    • EV

      I’m intrigued. I’m off to go look it up.

      • EV

        Is it ok to use “up” at the end of the sentence here? It just sounds wrong to try to word it any other way. Ugggg. When we mix two language families together, weird rules ensue and they all have exceptions.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s