Category: Visual Prompts (page 2 of 4)

Down the Drain This Week's COW Writing Challenge



Here is the visual prompt for this week’s COW Writing Challenge, “Down the Drain.”

Our character is about to lower himself through a drain.  Or is it a drain?  Maybe it’s actually a portal to some strange land.

Portals are a common literary device to take characters from one time and place to another.  Authors have used wardrobes, tree houses, and rabbit holes to name just a few.  This writing challenge is an opportunity for your students to explore other portal possibilities.  What potential portals could exist in their classroom?  The school?  The school yard?  Their homes?

After completing this writing challenge, your students may wish to do other free writing sessions in which they use their own invented portals which lead their characters to adventure.

Peekaboo! This Week's COW Writing Challenge



This week’s COW Writing Challenge is a visual prompt with the sentence prompt, “Was this a plant or a human?  That’s when I noticed it began to grow and . . .”

This writing challenge offers an example of how engaging the students’ imaginations can cross over into concepts studied in other subject areas.  For example, with this writing challenge, if this human-looking figure emerging from the soil was actually a plant, what would it require to grow and remain alive?

If plants require air, water, correct temperature, and carbon dioxide, what specific conditions would this strange human-like plant need for survival?  Further research into the needs of a variety of plants, such as the Venus flytrap, could provide material for the students as they prepare to write.

After writing their story of the human-like plant, a follow-up activity would be to draw an illustration of what this plant looks like fully grown.  Think of what its leaves and flowers may look like.  Also, it’s important to give this new plant a name.

We hope this writing challenge will help your students to grow as writers as they write about the growth of this unusual plant.

The Perilous Pool This Week's COW Writing Challenge

steaming_pit (1)


This week’s COW Writing Challenge is a visual prompt, coupled with the written prompt: “As I stood at the edge of the perilous pool, I saw . . .”

Before tackling this writing challenge, have the students consider the following questions:

Where was this perilous pool discovered?

What is this liquid, anyway?  What causes it to bubble and give off steam?

What could possibly live in a pool like this?

If you fell into this pool, where would you go?  What would happen?

We hope your students have a great time writing about this perilous pool.  Wearing a personal floatation device during this writing activity is highly recommended!

It’s Not a Bubble! This week's COW writing challenge

giantbubbleThis week’s COW Writing Challenge is a visual prompt  with a difference.  Writers are asked to imagine that what they see in this photograph is not a bubble.  So, if it’s not a bubble, then what is it?

A pre-writing brainstorming activity with the whole class asking the question, “If it’s not a bubble, then what is it?” should give the students plenty of ideas for their writing.

Another great way to get their imaginations going is to have a session of bubble blowing.  (Or, should that be, giant not-bubble blowing!)  As each bubble floats into the air, imagine what this strange thing could be (if it wasn’t a bubble!)

If you want to blow GIANT bubbles, here’s a great recipe for an amazing bubble blowing solution.  Have fun!

If you do make some of your own GIANT bubbles, please send us some photos!


The Mysterious Doorway


This week’s COW Writing Challenge revolves around this image.  Door #17 was part of an art installation in Nova Scotia.  As soon as I saw it, I was intrigued by the possibilities. 

1.  If you go through this door, where do you end up?

2.  If you knocked on this door, who would answer?

3.  Why is there a ’17’ on the door?

4.  Who put this door here, and why?

5.  If the door was locked, how could you open it?

Doorways offer all sorts of possibilities. They symbolize hope, possibilities, moving on into something new, and, of course, intrigue.  What really is on the other side of that door? 

Doors have played a significant role a number of classic stories.  In The Secret Garden, a door leads children into a magical garden.  Alice had to pass through a tiny door to enter into Wonderland.

So, what wonderful, magical realm exists on the other side of door #17? 

The Mad Scientist’s Workshop Another Visual Prompt


Imagine this is the workshop of a mad scientist by the name of Dr. __________________.

Look carefully at the workshop, and try to imagine what wonderfully strange inventions Dr. __________________________ creates.  Once you’ve told us about some of the inventions, create a story telling us what happens when Dr. __________________ unleashes these inventions upon an unsuspecting world.

Excavation Surprise! Another Visual Prompt



A water line needed repair in the front yard of a house.  A large excavator was brought in to dig up the line.  As the large bucket scooped up some soil, everyone was in for a surprise when  . . .

What did they dig up?  Was it something terrifically good or atrociously bad?

What happened after the surprise was dug up?  Was it something terrifically good or atrociously bad?

OR . . .

Imagine the person driving the excavator is having the worst day of his life.  What happens to him on this terrifically atrocious day?

The Parking Lot Monster Another Visual Prompt



A car pulls into a parking lot. The owner says, “I’m in luck!  An empty parking space!” They pull their car into the parking space, and…

The Steaming Pit Another Visual Prompt


This photo lends itself to all kinds of questions to consider before writing:

1.  What would happen if you accidentally fell into this steaming pit?  Where would you end up?  Or, if you managed to escape, how would the steaming pit have changed you?  Would you emerge with new powers?  A different look?

2.  What sort of creature might crawl out of this steaming pit?  Imagine yourself admiring the pit and its lively plumes of steam, when out of the bubbles emerges a_____________.   Maybe it’s more than one creature.  Maybe it’s an army of creatures bent on world domination.

Use your boundless imagination, and write about this intriguing bubbling, steaming pit.

Invasion of the… Another visual prompt



For this visual prompt, let your imagination go for a ramble. Don’t limit your thinking to identify this shape in the sky as a mere bubble. What other amazing things could this thing be? An animal never before seen by human eyes? An alien life form? Something that emerged from a crack in the earth? An escaped cooking experiment?  The possibilities are endless.

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