12 Simple Extension Activities to Keep Students Motivated

Two high school students working on extension activities on laptops

From encouraging self-reflection to giving them low-risk opportunities to read their work out loud, these creative extension activities can be a great change of pace for students.

With spring officially upon us, many students are starting to fixate on the end of the year creeping over the horizon. Switching up routines or introducing new types of activities can be a highly effective way to keep students focused and learning until summer break arrives.

To that end, we’ve put together some creative ideas for using NoRedInk to motivate and engage students. The “Bonus Challenges” below are designed to be optional extension activities that complement the activities you’re already assigning to your classes. Some of them might require a bit of customization on your end, but others are ready for students to run with on their own time.

1. Writing Streak Challenge

Instructions for students: Write on NoRedInk for at least 15 minutes per day, five days in a row. Be sure to submit all your writing once it’s done and feature at least one piece in your NoRedInk Writing Portfolio.

2. Audience Challenge

Instructions for students: Share a Quick Write or Guided Draft with a friend who’s not in your class, a family member, or anyone else whose opinion you value. Write down the person’s reaction to your writing—it doesn’t have to be formal feedback, just what they thought—and turn it in.

3. Practice and Revise Challenge

Instructions for students: Choose a NoRedInk topic to complete on your own (you can browse topics on your Learn page). Then, revise a piece of your own writing looking specifically for errors related to the topic you just completed. Jot down at least one example of an error you corrected and turn it in.

4. New Strategy Challenge

Instructions for students: Try out a new technique or skill in your writing. If you’re struggling to figure out what to try, consider giving a strategy from a tip in a Guided Draft a whirl. Jot down an example of how you applied the strategy in your own writing.

5. Read Aloud Challenge

Instructions for students: Record yourself reading one of your favorite Quick Writes that you’ve written out loud. Once you’re satisfied with your reading, turn in the recording.

6. Self Review Challenge

Instructions for students: Identify three specific improvements you could make to one of your Quick Writes or Guided Drafts. Write them down and turn them in along with your revisions.

7. Feedback Giver Challenge

Instructions for students: Find a willing partner and read through one of their writing drafts. Offer at least two specific ideas for how they could improve their piece. Remember to make your feedback detailed enough that they’ll be able to apply it!

8. Feedback Seeker Challenge

Instructions for students: Ask for feedback on a Quick Write or Guided Draft from at least one peer. Document the person’s feedback and turn it in along with your revised writing.

9. Practice Streak Challenge

Instructions for students: Complete at least one NoRedInk topic every day for five days in a row (you can browse topics on your Learn page). Each day, submit a screenshot of the “Mastery achieved” screen at the end of the topic that shows the day and time on your device.

10. Quiz Master Challenge

Instructions for students: Write three of your own questions for a NoRedInk Practice topic of your choice (you can browse topics on your Learn page). Don’t forget to include an answer key for your questions!

11. Explain Your Thinking Challenge

Instructions for students: Create a video of yourself talking through your thinking as you answer at least one NoRedInk Practice question. In your video, be sure to explain why the answer you’ve selected is correct.

12. Lesson Designer Challenge

Instructions for students: Create your own lesson for a NoRedInk Practice topic of your choice (you can browse topics on your Learn page and check out existing lessons by clicking into a topic and selecting “View lesson”). Feel free to write out the lesson, draw it, or even record a video.

Turn these extension activity examples into a friendly competition

Whether you’re looking for extension activities for gifted students, trying to promote a more collaborative classroom, or just want to keep all your students motivated and engaged, the “Bonus Challenges” above are a great place to begin.

To drive student buy-in, try organizing these extension activities into an ongoing game of bingo. The NoRedInk Challenge Bingo card provides students with a clear, hands-on way to track which activities they’ve completed and where they stand in relation to their classmates.

Sign up for a free NoRedInk account today to start building better writers in your classroom!

Thomas collaborates with colleagues from across NoRedInk to craft stories that illustrate how NoRedInk ​​builds stronger writers. He holds a BA in Religious Studies from Occidental College.