In the fall of 2015, I was lucky enough to be able to choose any subject I wanted for one period of the day. Finally! I could teach a class I had wanted to teach since my days as a student teacher–creative writing. I discovered over the course of two semesters, creative writing is one of the best classes I can teach to enhance student writing.
Creative writing is often sacrificed for time spent on argument and expository writing. There are standards addressing narrative writing, but this is often–at the high school level at least–a personal event retold rather than fiction. The impact of writing creatively though has been astounding for my students’ achievement. Students who could not complete essays or who were writing incomplete sentences now complete assignments and actually enjoy writing.
Several students in Creative Writing and remedial English, described in a prior post here, show far more growth attributed to creative writing than the support class. A student in my general Sophomore English class finished a lengthy independent, complete essay on time (a first for this student) and I tried to attributed it to the support class. He quickly corrected me though and felt it was more about the creative writing class, “because you just have to start writing in [creative writing].” Essentially, it helps students find a voice. Another student appreciated that the more she wrote, the more she understood sentence structure. Not unlike reading to increase vocabulary, the more a student writes, the more they play with language, sounds and ideas.
Will creative writing be a practical skill set post high school? Probably not, but it can strengthen other communications skills in a more engaging way than other approaches.
Below is a list of how creative writing is connected to the Common Core by connecting the Reading, Writing and Language standards directly to activities tackled throughout the creative writing process. If you would like to keep creative writing unit or increase its presence in English Language Arts, here is a place to gather evidence for your argument. The 9th and 10th grade standards are listed as a starting point.
Connecting the Core to Creative Writing
Reading: Key Ideas and Details
Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.
During the pre-writing process students choose a type of story line (adventure, quest, etc.) and establish the message of the tale. They must then follow through on that theme, making sure the story supports this theme, asking whether or not a character would be staying true to the theme if he or she behaved in particular ways.
Reading: Craft and Structure
I enjoy working with teachers to pool our collective ideas and talents.To fill my teaching bucket in this way, I participate in the ESD 101 ELA Fellows, lead a community of practice for Bridge to College and enjoy working with the CorelaborateWa teachers.
I am in my twelfth year teaching; two doors down the hall, my husband is in his second year as an AgEd teacher and FFA adviser . Our two young daughters, 8 and 5, keep us crazy-- I mean busy--as we juggle 4-H, dance, basketball, t-ball and more.
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