4 Great Alternatives to Essay Assignments
4 Great Alternatives to Essay Assignments
PUBLISHED: Wednesday, October 17, 2018 by Andilynn Feddeler

Essay assignments and exams are great for gauging student comprehension in an organized way, but can leave a lot to be desired in terms of creativity and voice. Students, especially gifted ones, often feel burnt-out or stifled when writing essay after essay, following a rigid structure with little room to express their ideas in different ways. Although essays are an important part of any English or social studies curriculum, students may benefit from completing other, more creative assignments. For example,

  • Letters allow students to take the point of view of someone else or express their own points of view in a more engaging, personal format. Whether a student is writing from the viewpoint of a soldier in the American Revolution or trying to convince a legislator to change a policy, he or she can practice penning convincing arguments or discovering his or her unique voice.

  • Scripts and screenplays offer students opportunities to practice with different content and writing styles. Writing dialogue and actions can help students understand characters, motivations, chemistry, and how to structure a story in logical ways.

  • Articles and blogs are great ways for students to explore journalistic writing and media literacy. Reporting on a recent piece of news can help students understand how to include important details and structure a story in a way that is interesting and accessible to readers. Blog posts can encourage students to learn more about their passions and how to share them with others.

  • Parodies allow students to have fun with writing and explore the intersection of comedy and reality. Satirical writing can be taught in a variety of ways, and can help students learn about irony, caricatures, hyperbole, and more.

Of course, lesson plans will change depending on grade level, unit content, and many other factors. Writing essays will always be a fine way for students to organize their thoughts and what they’ve learned about a subject, but these alternative ideas can be great supplements or replacements to enhance learning.