Faculty Writing Resources at Saginaw Valley State University

40 Writing Tasks and Activities

1. Write a summary (of lecture, class discussion, readings, etc.) 
2. Write test questions (based on lectures, class discussion, readings, etc.) 
3. Use free writing (on any topic) or focused free writing (on selected topic) 
4. Use key words (write definitions, associations, contrast to other words, etc.) 
5. Use mapping (write key word in center of page, map related words, associations) 
6. Write responses (to quotations, questions, events, characters, movies, class discussion--or to another student's writing) 
7. Take double entry notes (class notes in one column, reflections in a second column) 
8. Keep journals (many variations are possible) 
9. Write autobiography (e.g., my history as a math student) or biography (e.g., grandparent) 
10. Write reflections (on an assignment, lab procedure, class discussion, event) 
11. Do character study (record details about a historical figure, literary character, etc.) 
12. Build contradictions (record all your arguments; then list all counter-arguments) 
13. Create a simile or metaphor (e.g., a metaphor for teaching [gardener, midwife, coach]) 
14. Write a letter (to a real person or audience, or a fictional or historical person) 
15. Write a children's story (to explain a scientific concept, develop an ethical dilemma, etc.) 
16. Compare understanding now with previous understanding 
17. Write proposal (for lengthy future assignments, lab procedures, problem solving, etc.) 
18. Write critiques/critical responses (to self or others) 
19. Use I-search paper (describe the research process, as well as submitting final product) 
20. Write a "commercial," slogan, acronym, obituary, for a concept, process, or person 
21. Record or summarize interviews; prepare questions for interviews 
22. Outline debates 
23. Keep learning logs 
24. Respond to or create case studies 
25. Defend an action, idea, decision 
26. Refute an idea, theory, principle, point of view 
27. Role play and respond 
28. Write process analysis or outline 
29. Create dialogues (based on case studies, events, historical figures) 
30. Create a newspaper headline describing event or scenario 
31. Develop an annotated bibliography 
32. Put contents of a graph or table or data in writing/or vice versa 
33. List characteristics or criteria 
34. Create examples of a concept or term 
35. Create projections (e.g., 10 years from now. . . .) 
36. Write memos (to instructor/classmate/supervisor/fellow employee) 
37. Identify personal goals (for course, assignment, etc.) 
38. Paraphrase or interpret reading material 
39. Create a hypothetical scenario (you were born of the opposite gender, in a different culture) 
40. Apply the five senses to the event, person, situation

Diane Boehm, Instructional Support Programs, Saginaw Valley State University