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4th and 5th Grade Writing Activities for Substitute Teachers

Updated: Jan 27

This article is dedicated to providing a toolbox of effective time-filling writing activities tailored to upper elementary classrooms, ensuring that every moment is an opportunity for learning and literary exploration.


Here are some fun and engaging time filler activitity ideas for your 4th or 5th-grade writing classes:


Fun Writing Activity Ideas for 4th & 5th Grade Students


  1. Finish the Story: Begin a story with a few sentences and have each student take turns adding a paragraph to continue the narrative. The challenge is to keep the story cohesive and interesting.

  2. Character Interviews: Ask the students to choose a character from a book they've read or one of their own creation. Then, have them interview the character, with one student playing the interviewer and another playing the character. This encourages creative thinking and character development.

  3. Writing Relay: Form teams and have students write a sentence or paragraph of a story one after the other. The catch is that each student can only see the last sentence written by the previous student. The result is often a humorous and unique story.

  4. Describe the Setting: Provide a picture of a unique place or scene and ask students to write a paragraph describing it, focusing on sensory details and vivid language.

  5. Sensory Writing: Challenge the students to describe an object, place, or experience using all five senses (sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch). This activity encourages descriptive and creative writing.

  6. Write a Letter: Have the students write a letter to their future selves, reflecting on their goals, aspirations, and what they hope to achieve by the end of the school year.

  7. Historical Journal Entry: Choose a historical event and ask the students to write a journal entry as if they were a person living during that time. This can lead to historical empathy and creative writing.

  8. Reversed Story: Have students write a story or paragraph backward, starting with the conclusion and working their way back to the beginning. This unique approach can spark creativity.

  9. Create a New Ending: Provide a short story or an excerpt from a book and ask the students to write a different ending to it. This encourages critical thinking and creativity.

  10. 5-Word Story: Challenge the students to write a complete story using only five words. This activity hones their ability to convey meaning concisely and creatively.

  11. Debate Time: Engage students in a friendly debate on a thought-provoking topic. For example, "Is it better to be an only child or have siblings?" Students can take turns presenting their arguments in writing.

  12. Alternative Endings: Provide the class with a well-known story, and ask each student to write an alternative ending. This encourages creativity and critical thinking.

  13. Character Swap: Have the students choose two characters from different books or stories and write a scene in which these characters meet and interact. How would their personalities clash or mesh?


These activities engage 4th and 5th-grade students in creative writing, storytelling, and critical thinking without requiring any additional supplies, making them ideal for filling time in the classroom.



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