I use this 1-2 week activity right before my students take the FCAT Writing Test to work intensively on each step of the essay process, and to help them manage their time during the test. You will need either a second English teacher teaching the same grade as you, or just pit your classes against each other, because this is a competition, and the kids really get into it! I used this program with my 8th graders last year, and every student in the class passed the FCAT Writing Test, and (more importantly) they also came through the test still able to enjoy writing.
The prompts are... unusual. Here is an example:
1.The Situation: The zombie apocalypse could occur at any
moment without warning.
Think about the dangers of an invasion of walking corpses that
want to eat our brains, and about how these dangers could
The Prompt: What preparations should an individual make to
ensure his or her safety during a zombie apocalypse, and
how would each preparation protect the individual from harm?
I also include my "How to Write an Essay in 5 Easy Steps and 1 Kinda Tricky One" handout, and a list of other interesting and fun prompts to use if you want to extend the challenge week.