To prepare for this lesson, I located a great resource for finding Jack London stories. I took the first lines from about ten different stories and typed them into a Word document. Then, I made copies and chopped up the papers. So, I had a basket of assorted first lines from London.
I signed up for the computer lab, and the class met me there. When they came in, I introduced the assignment, which was to make an original piece of creative writing, starting with a line from London. I then walked around with the basket and students each took a slip of paper.
Then, they got to work.
After the students had their prompts (and I did allow a few exchanges for students who really didn't connect with their original prompt,) students wrote. I circulated, moving around the room as needed, but they used the dedicated time for the appropriate purpose -- to write. (Wow, I love second-semester eighth-graders...they have grown up so much!)
(See my reflection about my struggle to be quiet and not disturb their work.)