CIS Forum 2017

Essay writing workshop ideas

Before you start


  1. Consider your goals. Hopefully it is not only to produce an essay, but also help the student better understand themselves. 
  2. How many students will you be working with?
  3. Consider your space. Space can dictate what you can do. 
  4. Consider how much time you have. 



There are two keys: 1) Get your kids reflecting and 2) Get them writing. 

To get the juices flowing, you need to structure the event so you scaffold the kids writing time with self-discovery and sharing. For the most part, intersperse short self-discovery and sharing exercises with 15-20 minute writing sections. 

Resources to get you going

Firstly, Check out Pam’s fantastic Finding Your Voice website. She does 1 hour a week for six weeks. Lots of great things established there. 

Check out the Free resources from the College Essay Guy. His webinar trainings are fantastic.

Here he is talking about how to lead a life changing college essay workshop.

Warm-up exercises

Values Clarification

  • Via Character Strengths assessment–Free. Learn about the 24 character strengths  and how to build them here.

College Essay Resources

I have curated a lot of resources on the college essay and personal statement here

Essay Hell offers a lot of interesting ideas. 


Get writing…for writing’s sake


Julia Cameron popularized the idea of stream of conscious writing first thing to start your day–Morning pages. Her idea is 750 words or 3 pages:

Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing,
done first thing in the morning. *There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages*–
they are not high art. They are not even “writing.” They are about
anything and everything that crosses your mind– and they are for your eyes
only. Morning Pages provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize and
synchronize the day at hand. Do not over-think Morning Pages: just put
three pages of anything on the page…and then do three more pages tomorrow.

Proprioceptive Writing is a method for exploring the mind through writing. A simple method anyone can learn, PW is a powerful tool that can be used to:

        ~ Focus awareness, dissolve inhibitions, and build self-trust
        ~ Unburden your mind and resolve emotional conflicts
        ~ Connect more deeply with your spiritual self
        ~ Write and speak with strength and clarity
        ~ Awaken your senses and emotions
        ~ Liberate your creative energies