Contact Author Are you struggling to keep your creative writing classes new and interesting? Instead of working with traditional exercises that focus on plot outlines, point of view, and setting, give your students some challenges that will force them to really use their imaginations—and maybe even fuel a little friendly competition. Here are ten exercises and projects that you can try adding into your classes to put some of the fun back into your classroom: Start a pseudonym project.
Introduce multi-genre writing in the context of community service. When Michael rode his bike without training wheels for the first time, this occasion provided a worthwhile topic to write about. We became a community. Establish an email dialogue between students from different schools who are reading the same book.
When high school teacher Karen Murar and college instructor Elaine Ware, teacher-consultants with the Western Pennsylvania Writing Projectdiscovered students were scheduled to read the August Wilson play Fences at the same time, they set up email communication between students to allow some "teacherless talk" about the text.
Rather than typical teacher-led discussion, the project fostered independent conversation between students.
Formal classroom discussion of the play did not occur until students had completed all email correspondence. Though teachers were not involved in student online dialogues, the conversations evidenced the same reading strategies promoted in teacher-led discussion, including predication, clarification, interpretation, and others.
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Use writing to improve relations among students. Diane Waff, co-director of the Philadelphia Writing Projecttaught in an urban school where boys outnumbered girls four to one in her classroom. The situation left girls feeling overwhelmed, according to Waff, and their "voices faded into the background, overpowered by more aggressive male voices.
She then introduced literature that considered relationships between the sexes, focusing on themes of romance, love, and marriage. In the beginning there was a great dissonance between male and female responses.
According to Waff, "Girls focused on feelings; boys focused on sex, money, and the fleeting nature of romantic attachment. Help student writers draw rich chunks of writing from endless sprawl. Jan Matsuoka, a teacher-consultant with the Bay Area Writing Project Californiadescribes a revision conference she held with a third grade English language learner named Sandee, who had written about a recent trip to Los Angeles.
I made a small frame out of a piece of paper and placed it down on one of her drawings — a sketch she had made of a visit with her grandmother.
Back to top 5. For each letter of the alphabet, the students find an appropriately descriptive word for themselves. Students elaborate on the word by writing sentences and creating an illustration. In the process, they make extensive use of the dictionary and thesaurus. One student describes her personality as sometimes "caustic," illustrating the word with a photograph of a burning car in a war zone.
Her caption explains that she understands the hurt her "burning" sarcastic remarks can generate. Back to top 6.
Help students analyze text by asking them to imagine dialogue between authors. John Levine, a teacher-consultant with the Bay Area Writing Project Californiahelps his college freshmen integrate the ideas of several writers into a single analytical essay by asking them to create a dialogue among those writers.
He tells his students, for instance, "imagine you are the moderator of a panel discussion on the topic these writers are discussing. The essay follows from this preparation.
Back to top 7. Spotlight language and use group brainstorming to help students create poetry. The following is a group poem created by second grade students of Michelle Fleer, a teacher-consultant with the Dakota Writing Project South Dakota. Underwater Crabs crawl patiently along the ocean floor searching for prey.
Fish soundlessly weave their way through slippery seaweed Whales whisper to others as they slide through the salty water. And silent waves wash into a dark cave where an octopus is sleeping. Fleer helped her students get started by finding a familiar topic.
In this case her students had been studying sea life. She asked them to brainstorm language related to the sea, allowing them time to list appropriate nouns, verbs, and adjectives. The students then used these words to create phrases and used the phrases to produce the poem itself.
Back to top 8. Ask students to reflect on and write about their writing. Douglas James Joyce, a teacher-consultant with the Denver Writing Projectmakes use of what he calls "metawriting" in his college writing classes.
He sees metawriting writing about writing as a way to help students reduce errors in their academic prose.The School for Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA) is a magnet arts school in Cincinnati in the US state of Ohio, and part of the Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS).
SCPA was founded in as one of the first magnet schools in Cincinnati and became the first school in the country to combine a full range of arts studies with a complete college-preparatory academic program for elementary through. Sacred Cows for High School Creative Writing Students This unit uses stories and information about animals to discuss various themes that deal with human behavior.
It includes a wide variety of mentor texts, writing tasks, and a rubric. Movie Lesson Plans Based on Films that will Inspire and Motivate Students; + Movie Lesson Plans for High School, Middle School, Elementary and Home School. Christie Allred, Poetry, Intro to Creative Writing.
Christie Allred, a native of San Diego, has been teaching at Mesa College since She earned her MA in English with a Creative Writing Certificate from San Diego State University.
I love the idea of this writing curriculum! When I was in high school, creative writing was certainly my passion (I began a novel my freshman year and published it my senior year), but I didn’t have a curriculum like this to study.
30 Ideas for Teaching Writing. Summary: Few sources available today offer writing teachers such succinct, practice-based help—which is one reason why 30 Ideas for Teaching Writing was the winner of the Association of Education Publishers Distinguished Achievement Award for .