"The Daily Spark series gives teachers an easy way to transform downtime into productive time. The 180 exercises-- one for each day of the school year-- will take students five to ten minutes to complete and can be used at the beginning of class, in the few moments before turning to a new subject, or at the end of class." (from the introduction)
Writing, poetry, journal writing, spelling & grammar, vocabulary, Shakespeare and SAT: English Test Prep!
The Daily Spark is full of possibilities. For most 8th graders, five to ten minutes will not be enough to complete the writing activities. That's okay. Be flexible. Use the prompts that best fit your students and the time frame that you have. Some are intriguing enough to transform into longer writing assignments.
Simplify the topics, or add rigor. I have done a quick browse through the books that I own penciling light circles around the page numbers that would most likely interest my students.
Here's a sample topic from the Writing edition:
Sweltering, Not Hot
Even the best writers rely on obvious words. Practice mental flexibility by writing a paragraph describing a typical August afternoon without using the words hot, humid, heat or sun.
Please note that the above material is copyrighted by Spark Publishing, but I thought they wouldn't mind if I just gave you a little preview. You may purchase the book on Amazon http://amzn.com/1411402286