Students tend to feel overwhelmed when given a piece of blank paper to write about a particular topic. That’s because they perceive creative writing as a realm full of unlimited imagination.
But with little fun activities and inspiration, relaxed writers start gaining confidence and skills to create a better quality piece of writing. So, what exactly can you teach your students creative writing?
Here are 7 unique ideas to help you teach and motivate students through every step of creative writing. Once they grasp these ideas, they’ll help them grow and use them in their writing in the future.
1. Teach Students How to Use Graphic Organizers
Graphic organizers form a basis for starting any piece of creative writing. You can use a story map to teach creative writing and help learners think critically about their writing before starting.
A story map is often a perfect tool used in writing and reading instruction. It enables the students to understand the essential elements that form a story.
Before writing the story, let the students create a plan for the story elements. Such elements include the character, setting, theme, plot, problem, and solution. These elements should be their referral points when writing a creative story.
Help the learners identify the graphic organizers. This will enable them to understand the thinking process through which they can develop the story elements.
2. Discuss the Prompts with Your Students
Teach your students how to critically explore the prompts or elements stated above to generate original yet engaging ideas. In this case, asking questions is the best and effective way to analyze the prompts.
Are you wondering how to do so? Well, consider the following example:
“I went inside the room, and I couldn’t believe it. Someone was…”
Here, the student would want to know:
Who was in the room?
They’ll try to come up with several answers to the question. One could also ask:
Who is the person? You’ll be able to ask the students to think beyond the obvious and about an original and thoughtful manner.
For utmost understanding, put the students into groups to discuss the questions for the prompt. After that, discuss the possible answers together as a class.
3. Prepare to Write
When teaching creative writing, the preparations should aim at:
- Enable the students to identify what the ideas they have discussed above would look like on a piece of paper
- Give them courage that they can write something presentable
- Warm-up can help young learners who intend to develop their handwriting and smooth motor skills to define their writing pattern
Typically, freewriting is the best and effective warm-up to creative writing. Allow the students to highlight their ideas on the paper without being bothered about the spelling, grammar, or structure.
And after about 5-10 minutes, you’ll realize that they are getting into the channel. By the end, they will understand better what idea grabs their interest.
4. Begin Planning
In this step, the students need to put together all the basic ideas and create a plan. They’ll need to analyze and synthesize the broken ideas and formulate a roadmap to guide their writing process.
It is essential to note that strong and experienced writers may be ready to start writing their creative pieces. If there are any, let them begin. But remember to emphasize and guide the beginner students in planning.
This step involves the following ideas:
- Graphic organizers: This enables the students to determine their general structure to use for their writing.
- Voice recordings: If students hesitate to write down their ideas on paper, allow them to think and record using their devices. Usually, they’ll get surprised at how perfectly their recorded words would appear on the paper.
- Use illustrations and storyboards: These focuses on engaging artistically-minded learners to provide a greater depth to characters, elements, and settings.
- Writing a blurb: Although this part requires a little bit of explicit teaching, students will find it easy to summarize their key ideas precisely. Please go through some of the blurbs written at the textbooks’ backs before asking them to write.
5. Create a Rough Draft
After warming up and devising a plan to write, creating rough drafts should be the next thing. However, the students should remember what a good draft should look like:
- Show the work is in progress
Besides, remind them that if they focus on finding the perfect words, there’s nothing they’ll come up with. Instead, they should take their time, risk, and get things messy. You can enhance this by:
- Illustrating the correct creative writing process to the students
- Not focusing on grammar and spelling when drafting their work
- Giving them an in-depth and meaningful response using words
6. Allow the Students to share their drafts for feedback
It won’t be good for you to have lots of drafts to mark. Instead, take advantage of the pear assessment session. It’s the best and less tiring way to give every student their feedback.
But why? Well, since creative writing is a personal piece of writing, feedback is vital. It enables the student to make necessary corrections. Besides, looking at another student’s work will enrich them with more ideas on how and where to improve.
Make sure the peer feedback is constructive and helpful. These methods will help you with that:
Rubrics enable the students to create more detailed feedback. It should be clear, have relevant ideas, and use student-friendly language.
Identification of two positives and a focus area
Let the students point out two vital points their fellow peers have and an area to improve in.
This translates into helpful feedback.
After writing, the students should go through their work and make a few final touches. Ask them to think carefully about their piece of creative writing and make sure it flows perfectly. Let them start reading the creative writing from the first to the last page.
If the students use the word processor, teach them how to check for spelling errors and generally use it.
Writing more often is the best way to become the best writer. As a teacher, it would help if you include the steps above involved in the creative writing process. Your students will find them pretty fun and write impressive stories.
The biggest thing is to be there for them if they run into any issues. Organizations like Teach for America have a lot of experience dealing with issues that students might face, and are a great educational resource. Ultimately, if you stay in tune with your students, you’ll be able to help them grow as writers.