Creative Writing Ideas and Journal Topics for Winter and January
January and Winter Writing Prompts: Are you looking for a creative list of writing prompts and
journal ideas to use during the month of January?
Below, you will find a list of general January writing topics and a list of
specific calendar dates for January which contain creative writing ideas related to
that particular date in January. I have created this list of winter and January writing prompts and ideas for
elementary school teachers and students, but many of these creative
writing ideas and topics would also be appropriate for other grade levels.
You will find some winter and January writing prompts below that contain underlined
links. If you click on an underlined link:
You will be directed to another page on Unique Teaching Resources that contains detailed
lesson plan ideas and printable worksheets for those January writing prompts.
You will be directed to another website that contains useful information
related to those particular January writing prompts.
January is National Soup Month. Soup became popular with the invention
of canning in the 19th century, when a chemist at the Campbell Soup Company invented condensed soup in 1897.
Create a new soup that mixes in some of your favorite food items as the main ingredients.
Write down the name, ingredients, and directions for your soup recipe.
Using a can of soup brought in from home, have your students design and color a new label for
the can that features a soup that they have created.
To "soup something up" is to improve it, or increase its power (most often used for cars, airplanes, and the like). Write about
something that you would like to "soup up."
A soup kitchen is a place where food is offered to the homeless or hungry for free.
These meal centers are often located in low income neighborhoods and staffed by volunteer organizations. During National Soup Month,
encourage your students bring in donations of canned food. At the end of January, donate this food to a soup kitchen in your local area.
During National Soup Month, read your students some stories from:
"Chicken Soup for the Soul:Teacher Tales: 101 Inspirational Stories from Great Teachers and Appreciative Students," or other books from this series.
January 4 (1643) - Isaac Newton's Birthday
Isaac Newton was born on January 4, 1643 in Woolsthorpe, England.
He was an English physicist, mathematician, and astronomer. He is considered by many to be the greatest scientist of his time.
Note: You will also see Newton's birthday listed as December 25, 1642.
These differences are due to whether old style or new style dates are being referred to.
Isaac Newton discovered the Law of Gravitation.
This discovery started with an apple falling from a tree.
How do you think the apple taught Newton about gravity?
Why do you think Newton's discovery of gravity was important?
Research Newton's Three Laws of Motion and design a poster highlighting the information that you learned.
Write about your trip to the moon. What was it like to be in an atmosphere that had no gravity?
Louis Braille was born on January 4, 1809 in Coupvray, France. He was the inventor of Braille, which is a worldwide system used
by blind and visually impaired people for reading and writing.
Braille is read by passing the fingers over characters made up of an arrangement of one to six raised points.
Louise Braille's work changed the world of reading and writing for the visually impaired forever.
After two centuries, Louis Braille's system still remains an invaluable tool of learning and communication
for the visually impaired. Braille has been adapted for many different languages around the world.
How do you think your life would be different if you were blind?
In a recent survey, 88% of people listed sight as their most important sense
and almost half of these people said the thing they would miss most if they were blind would be seeing their friends and family.
What would you miss the most if you were blind?
National Braille Week is observed from January 4 - 11 in the United Kingdom. NationalBrailleWeek.org
is a website that contains information about this week and information, games, and videos about braille.
Using the braille code found on Wikipedia,
have your students create large posters of their names, or short messages, written in braille.
Students can use a bottle of glue and glue dots over their written braille messages, thus created raised dots that can be felt by touch.
January 11 (1849) - Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell
First Woman Physician
Elizabeth Blackwell was born in Bristol, England on February 3, 1821. Her family emigrated to the
United States in 1832. Elizabeth Blackwell attended Geneva Medical College in New York, where she was the only female student.
On January 11, 1849, Elizabeth Blackwell became the first woman to earn a
medical degree in the United States and she graduated on January 23, 1849, first in her class.
During her retirement, Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell maintained her interest in the women's rights movement by writing
lectures on the importance of education. Blackwell is credited with opening the first training school for nurses in the United States in 1873.
Read about the obstacles that Elizabeth Blackwell had to overcome in order to earn her medical degree on WomensHistory.about.com.
Describe some of the hardships that Elizabeth Blackwell encountered as she tried to pursue her medical education and begin her medical practice.
January 15 (1929) - Dr. Martin Luther King's Birthday
Third Monday in January - Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Martin Luther King Jr. was born on January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia. He is best known for being a prominent leader in the
advancement of civil rights in the United States and around the world, using nonviolent methods.
In 1955, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led the Montgomery Bus Boycott and in 1957 he helped to found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
On August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech and
established his reputation as one of the greatest orators in American history.
In 1964, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. became the youngest person to receive the
Nobel Peace Prize for his work to end racial segregation and discrimination through civil disobedience and other nonviolent means.
He was assassinated on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee.
Martin Luther King Day was established as a federal U.S. holiday in 1986 and it is observed on the third Monday of January each year.
Ronald Reagan signed the holiday into law in 1983, and it was first observed on January 20, 1986.
Martin Luther King Day was officially observed in all 50 states for the first time in 2000.
A memorial honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. opened on August 22, 2011 in Washington, D.C.
In his "I Have a Dream" speech, Martin Luther King Jr. called for racial equality and an end to discrimination.
Why do you think that this speech is considered to be one of the
greatest and most notable speeches in human history?
Beginning with the words "I Have a Dream," write your own speech about your hopes for our world and its people.
Describe someone that you admire who shares Dr. King's beliefs. Tell what you admire most in this person.
On Kids National Geographic,
students can view photographs of some of the most historic moments in Dr. Martin Luther King's life.
Have your students complete a Biography Newspaper Project about Martin Luther King Jr.
These newspapers can be assigned as individual or group projects.
Have your students complete a Character Body Book Report about Martin Luther King Jr. These
reports can be assigned as individual or group projects.
Alan Alexander Milne was born on January 18, 1882 in Kilburn, London.
January 18 is Winnie the Pooh Day and this day was created to celebrate the birthday of A.A .Milne, the creator of
everyone's favorite bear!
A.A .Milne's first collection of stories, called Winnie-the-Pooh, was published in 1926,
which was followed by The House at Pooh Corner in 1928.
He named the character Winnie-the-Pooh after a teddy bear owned by his son,
Christopher Robin Milne, who was the basis for the character Christopher Robin.
Winnie the Pooh's pals include Christopher Robin, Tigger, Eeyore, Piglet, and Roo.
Create a new animal character for the Winnie the Pooh stories. What would this character's name be?
Describe what the character looks like and how the character acts.
Have your students take the Winnie the Pooh Which Character Are You? Quiz on Disney's Winnie the Pooh website.
For a creative writing assignment, students should write a story pretending to be that Winnie the Pooh character.
After watching the video below about Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin's friendship, have you students write about one of their
friends or the qualities that make someone a good friend.
On Just-Pooh, students can find fun information about Winnie the Pooh and his friends,
read the latest Pooh Bear news, and play games.
January 23 - National Handwriting Day
January 23 (1737) - John Hancock's Birthday
National Handwriting Day is celebrated on January 23 in conjunction with John Hancock's birthday.
John Hancock was born on January 23, 1737 and he is remembered for his large and stylish signature on the United States Declaration of Independence.
Due to his famous signature, the term "John Hancock" has become a synonym for "signature" in the United States.
The art of handwriting is fast becoming a lost skill. In this day of computers, more and more
information, notes, and letters are sent back and forth via a keyboard and the Internet. Celebrate National Handwriting Day by using a
pen or a pencil to write a handwritten note, poem, letter, or journal entry.
Make some old fashioned paper for your students by dipping plain paper in tea and letting it dry. At home, you can burn the
edges of these papers to make them look even older. Your students will enjoy completing a creative writing assignment on National Handwriting Day using
these old fashioned papers.
Write a friendly letter to someone that you usually e-mail and mail your letter.
Brainstorm with your students how the forms of written communication have changed over the years: from writing on stones, feather pens and ink bottles,
the Pony Express, typewriters, computers, email, and text messages.
After your class discussion, have your students write an essay about the pros and cons of these changes in written communication over the years.
Opposite Day is celebrated on January 24 and it is a crazy and fun day when everything you say, do,
see, and hear can be the opposite.
Opposite Day is celebrated primarily among children and it is a day
when everything they say means exactly the opposite: good is bad, left is right, full is hungry, etc.
Schools often have an Opposite Day, but not always on the actual date of January 24.
On this day, have your students wear clothes that they do not normally wear. Popular ideas include wearing socks that do not match
and wearing a hat backwards.
Write directions for how to do something (how to make something or how to get from your house to the mall), but make all of the directions the opposite.
Opposite Day would be an ideal day to have your students give oral presentations and debate two opposite sides of an issue.
January 29 - National Puzzle Day
January 29 is National Puzzle Day, but don't be puzzled by this day! Puzzles are a favorite pastime for millions of people, young and old.
This day honors puzzles of all size, shape, and form.
Many people do puzzles to keep their mind sharp, or to learn new words.
Crossword puzzles are by far the most common. Sudoku, a number puzzle, is the most recent puzzle rage.
Be sure to give your students some kind of puzzle to do in class today!
What is your favorite type of puzzle to solve and why?
I have been buying your unique teaching resources for a few years now, and I just love them!
My students are much more engaged in doing book reports as well as
other creative writing assignments because of you. Thank you.
Name: Marla (Grade 4)
From: New Jersey, U.S.A.
Hi Heidi. I just want t say that my class is year one in Australia and they just love all of your work. We use
your book report projects religiously and it has made my teaching and the students' learning improve by about
100%. The students just love it. Thank you so much for your help.
Name: Catherine (Year 1)
Hi there! I just found your website through Pinterest, and I am looking forward to using
your book reports that I just bought to help motivate my fifth grade students!
Thanks for putting these out there. I'm a relatively new teacher and need all the help I can get!
Name: Noell (Grade 5)
From: Illinois, U.S.A.
What a delightful and informative site!!! I'm having so much fun browsing and I've been teaching for 32 years!!!
You can always teach an old dog new tricks, especially if you're creative and making learning FUN!!! You must be a VERY SPECIAL TEACHER ... how
lucky your students and parents are!!!
Name: Kathy (Grade 4/5)
From: Oregon, U.S.A.
I stumbled across your website over the weekend and I'm SO glad I did!
Some great ideas and an extra thank you for the UK spellings! I bought the back to school pencils,
punctuation puppies, Willy Wonka group project and the characters! I think these are great resources
and even though it's the summer holidays, I've been into school to get my display paper up and
have put up the title banners - they look brilliant! Thank you!
Name: Jemma (Year 4)
Heidi, I just had to write and let you know that
your website has helped me create the most awesome author study of Roald Dahl's books.
My students loved completing the big animal shaped projects you designed for
The Enormous Crocodile, Esio Trot, and The Giraffe, and the Pelly and Me. For the
final project, they had so much fun writing and drawing about the characters from Charlie
and the Chocolate Factory using your Willy Wonka Factory project. Thanks for sharing
your scrumdiddlyumptious ideas
Name: Jennifer (Grade 4)
From: California, U.S.A.
I feel so fortunate to have found your website and I have referred several
of my co-workers to your website. Just for the month of January, there were
three teachers displaying your book reports. I had the trophy reports, my neighbor
to the left had the computer reports,
and my neighbor to the right had the
birthday cake reports.
Thank you so very much for all of your work!
Name: Mary (Grade 4)
From: New York, U.S.A.
I just wanted to say thank you for the most amazing teaching resources that I have ever
come across in my thirty years of teaching. I have used many of your
sets this year and my students absolutely loved them. What was particularly
pleasing was seeing some of my reluctant readers (especially the boys) really
wanting to read books and complete the activities. Keep up the great work!
Name: Margaret (Grade 5)
From: Victoria, Australia
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