Help!! I am teaching Creative Writing for the first time to high school students and have no idea where to begin. Does anyone have a course syllabus, unit plan, handouts, and lessons I can model my class after? Any assistance is greatly appreciated!! The sooner the better!!!
Thank you in advance for everyone's help!!
When getting students to do creative writing, I love to have them bring in objects that are important to them from home and then have them develop a piece incorporating that item. At first they list features of it, describe it, spend time with the item holding it etc. They do a lot of brainstorming in this stage. After that they develop a story or poem about why the item is important or a time the item was present at an important time in their lives etc.
Another thing I like to do is bring in provocative pictures (a man dressed as santa driving a sailboat or a baby with two snakes in its crib etc) and having students create a story inspired by the photo. This is a good get kids started piece.
A few ideas I have used successfully were to give students "beginnings" of stories, just a sentence or two to get them going and then ask them to complete the story and to have a story worked on serially, passing it around from one student to the next. They seem to like this and it's a good way to break the ice for reluctant writers. When I have been expected to teach vocabulary, I have also required my students to write stories including all the vocabulary words, which seems to be a good icebreaker, too.
For a small unit on using narration as a mode of characterization, ask students to write a story featuring three characters. Write the story three times, each time from a different character's perspective. Focus on the way the first person narrative can use language differently to define and distinguish characters.
I have taught both a creative writing and an advanced creative writing course. You will probably want to start with assessing where the students already are in their writing skills. Perhaps a grammar quiz or an ungraded (I gave students a completion grade) writing assignment. This will help you know where to go with your particular group of students. This was important for my elective classes since I had grades 9-12 in the same group.
Next, a brief overview of the types of creative writing might be helpful. My class worked through basic units. Each unit gave students a taste for that area of writing and usually included some type of fun project. We made a class newspaper for journalism. We posted the student's articles on large paper and hung the whole thing in the hall. We made a class book which showcased their short stories, fiction, and non-fiction writing. The book then went on display in the library. I used this class to help students explore various aspects of writing and see which one they liked best.
I would say to start off the year, you should go over types of creative writing and make sure your students are familiar with those. Then show them models and analyze the structure of the models so they have an idea of how a creative writer structures his works.
For the writing, I would suggest starting off small. Do a few exercises at the beginning to get them comfortable. Show them a picture or series of pictures and ask them to explain the story behind it. This will get them using their imaginations.
Make sure you know how you will assess them at the end of the unit, and that you are teaching those things throughout. If you are going to grade on things such as creativity, voice, organization, and form, then you should teach those and make sure your students know what those look like in a piece of creative writing.
Hope that helps. Good luck!
I agree with littleteacher8. I am in the last term of 12th grade equivalent, and my writing wasnt that good until classes 9th-10th when I began to read seriously, lots of good stuff that had me enthralled and MADE ME KEEN ON WORDS AND THEIR POWER AND BEAUTY.
After some time, I began to imitate writings of famous people. Then, I began to take notice of how they wrote, how they made a plot and how they developed and ended and how the characters were depicted and etc. It wasn't any formal teaching or training, just personal effort. But GOOD READING is v important, in the first place, I think.