You can also head outside or ask students to contribute pictures. I have many Pinterest boards that inspire my own writing. Encourage students to develop a process that inspires them as writers. Now that you have pictures, try brainstorming. What colors, depths, and shadows do students see in these images? How can those descriptions better their writing?
Another opportunity for images is to head outside with your writers. You might focus students by providing certain images for them to analyze. I had my students bookmark this page and watch this video. We reviewed and practiced dialogue frequently. Practicing punctuation, reviewing grammar rules, and breaking grammar rules can be great addition to teach creative writing.
All those literary devices students find in literature? Now it is their turn to implement them! Some, like similes and direct characterization, come naturally. Students automatically include many literary devices. Inspiration and examples help young writers, especially concerning literary devices.
Trickier literary devices? My class and I really worked with indirect characterization, conflicts , and setting. Students had too much telling and not enough showing. Pictures provide a step for students as they implement literary devices in their creative writing activities. As I teach creative writing, I realize the importance of pulling examples from literature.
Students read creative writing! Emphasize that point with them. Whatever your creative writing activities for high school students, you should include character development. Students really bloom when they craft characters. Sometimes students need prompting, so I created a brainstorming list for students, and you may download it for free. Why did I do this? Creating and developing characters is hard! Students know interesting characters; in fact, I spent time brainstorming memorable ones with students.
Then, we discussed why those characters stayed in their memories. From our discussions, students realized that these characters have multiple levels. They have quirks and unlikable traits. We gave our characters mild obsessions chewing nails , memorable habits eating cheesy waffles for breakfast , and a unique style red jean jacket.
To do this, I asked characters to brainstorm more information for their character than they would ever include in their story. Creative writing assignments for high school can be analytical: Older students have years of viewing and reading characters! Well, students then had an image of the character which flowed into the development. The ideas were easier to weave into the story when students had this background information. Finally, students had a unique character they invested in before they began writing a story.
Teaching creative writing was rewarding in many ways. Students expressed their concerns and fears, joys and triumphs. When I took over this class, I wondered what the outcome would be. This was my first experience teaching creative writing, and I was nervous.
You are welcome to download the characterization brainstorming sheet for free! Marketing Permissions Lauralee Moss will use the information you provide on this form to be in touch with you and to provide updates and marketing. Please let us know all the ways you would like to hear from us:. You can change your mind at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in the footer of any email you receive from us, or by contacting us at lauralee languageartsclassroom.
And you've offered some amazing tips here. I like the idea of alternating between choice and required prompts: choice is always good, but sometimes students like a little direction. I also think it's important not to grade everything. They need some risk free space so they can let loose and be creative. Thanks so much for sharing! Be prepared to fight discomfort in this area at first. To sit unconventionally feet up, head down, on the floor, etc.
Start with a student survey, and ask What do you already know about what a "good" story has in it? What kinds of writing do you like to do? What writing have you tried by yourself, outside of school, or in another English class? What do you want to accomplish in this class?
What kinds of writing do you think you could need in future careers? What do you want to learn or try in this class? What help do you need from me? What is your ideal writing environment? Notice how all of these questions are student-centered, positively worded, and seeking out student motivation? Start with really, really short quick writes. At first, especially in a longer unit or course, you're up against a lot of student uncertainty, so break the ice with quick writes! Whether they're really short like a bell-ringer, 5 minutes or less , or in the minute range, try a new prompt a minimum of once per week, and just see what sentences or scenes emerge while students find themselves.
It's fun and a good confidence-booster! A majority of the class will like it, but you WILL have some students who are slow to decide on an idea and will need time to get better at this. That's okay. Alternate between required and choice prompts. Yes, sometimes it's good practice for everyone to respond to the same prompt.
But that's not necessary every time, and some of my students' best writing has happened when I gave them a choice of prompts out of a pretty long list. For example, I've given students access to my PowerPoint of prompts in advance of the in-class writing day and told them to walk in prepared with which prompt they want to respond to.
It works brilliantly every time. Don't spend TOO long on every draft or assignment. It's better to get more practice drafting, not less, and The longer you spend on one draft, the increased likelihood they will hate it, especially if they didn't like the prompt or assignment to begin with! Assign a variety of genres. You'd be surprised at which students turn out to be really great at writing which genre.
Give them a chance to try their hand at as many as possible. For example, you can assign some or all of these five genre assignments ; another option is to give students access to all five, but they only have to choose and write one! Fiction is where MY passion lies, but for some, it's way more important to share from real life. This kind of writing may provide a therapeutic outlet, or might simply be more appropriate to what they want to pursue one day. Not everyone will become fiction novelists.
If you need a starting point, here are five realistic fiction assignments that can be based on real or fictional events. Assign one, some, or all! Teach direct vs. This is one of the single most important lessons I teach that has the most visible impact in student drafts. Get the handout and answer key here! Have page limits. You will have less to grade, and it's a realistic practice for students to have to fit within someone else's word count max ahem, college admissions essays!
Vary between timed and stretched-out drafting. Let them learn how to write under pressure as well as in a relaxed fashion. They might not like it, but they'll thank you later.