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5-Minute Film Festival

5-Minute Film Festival: 7 Video Writing Prompts for Young Authors

Looking for a new way to spark creativity in your students' writing? Try these video writing prompts.

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National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is coming up, but the time is always ripe for encouraging students of every age to write. And how better to pique their interest and power up their pencils (or keyboards!) than with a video writing prompt? Just about any short, intriguing video can be made into a great writing prompt with the addition of a choice question or two, but I've put together a list of favorites discovered around the web. Happy writing!

Video Playlist: Video Writing Prompts for the Classroom

Watch the first video below, or watch the whole playlist on YouTube.

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  1. "A Cloudy Lesson" by Yezi Xue (01:58)

    Short student films can provide ample fodder for creative work as illustrated by this whimsical thesis animation by Yezi Xue. Plus, it's free of dialogue, so students can write their own!

  2. Crossroads Video Writing Prompt by Denise M. Cassano (01:47)

    Arts educator Denise Cassano creates short films filled with ambiguous images meant to encourage critical thinking. Check out this worksheet of questions to accompany her illustrations and this article she wrote for Edutopia about using art to inspire creative writing.

  3. Ken Robinson on Flourishing (02:42)

    RSA Shorts are animated snapshots of big ideas from speakers that pose big questions. This one, from education luminary Sir Ken Robinson, is a particular favorite of mine. Ask your high school students: What would enable you to find your passion?

  4. The Mysteries of Harris Burdick (03:27)

    Chris Van Allsburg's The Mysteries of Harris Burdick is a classic source for visual writing prompts. Check out this student-produced video that describes why these timeless, eerie illustrations provide such fertile ground for young writers.

  5. TrueMove H: Giving (03:03)

    Popular advertisements, like this cell phone ad out of Thailand with more than 20 million views, can be great for writing prompts if they get kids thinking. This one has a twist that tugs on the heartstrings.

  6. Writing Idea: You Just Discovered a Magical Movie Theater (00:56)

    John Spencer is a professor and author who is passionate about creativity in the classroom, and he also makes sketch videos, including this list of nine animated writing prompts to use with students.

  7. Education Is... (01:31)

    TeachHUB offers a bounty of video writing prompts and accompanying lesson ideas by grade band for recent movie trailers, videos about current events and holidays, and even popular ads. Here are lesson ideas to go with Education Is.

More Resources to Encourage Creative Writing

The list above shows that you can turn almost any short video into a solid writing prompt. Of course, video is only one of hundreds of ways you can motivate and inspire young writers. I've gathered a few resources below if you need fresh ideas for videos and beyond. What are your favorite ways to engage kids in creative writing? Share in the comments section below.