Looking for creative writing lesson plans? I am developing them!
I’ve written and revamped my creative writing lesson plans. This is the second time I have taught this particular writing class, and I beginning to bump near that tranquility-confidence-spot that teachers crave.
You know what I mean: I’m working the kinks out of these activities and plans. I am developing a vision for the class and am more confident in teaching it. I am happy with the first week of lesson plans, so I wanted to share them with you all. Feel free to give me feedback and borrow all that you need!
Sharing my vision
For day one, I think it is important to set the tone, to immediately establish what I want from my creative writing students. And I want…
them not to write for me, but for them. I don’t want them writing what they think I want them to write.
Does that make sense? I don’t want to place limitations on them. I specifically outline what I believe they can produce in a presentation. (Sometimes I show it to parents, too!)
After covering classroom procedures and rules, I show students a TED Talk. We watch The Danger of a Single Story by Chimamanda Adichie. My goal is to show students that I don’t have a predetermined idea concerning what they should write. This discussion takes the rest of the class period.
Activating prior knowledge
Students possess prior knowledge concerning creative writing, but they might not consider that. Students should realize that they know what constitutes a great story. They might not realize that yet.
During this activity, I want to see how students work together, and I want to build a rapport with students. This activity is simple:
I ask students to tell me memorable stories – books, play, tv shows, movies – and I write them on the board. I add and veto as appropriate.
This takes longer than you might think, but I like that aspect. This information can help me shape my future lessons.
With about twenty minutes left in class, I ask students to form small groups. I want them to derive what makes these stories memorable. Since students complete group and partner activities in this class, I also watch and see how they interact.
Brainstorming and drafts and lists and more
From teaching creative writing once before, I realize that students think they will sit and write. Ta-da! After all, this isn’t academic writing.
That is not the writing process I want them to implement. Building a creative project requires thought and mistakes. (Any writing endeavor does, really.) Students hear ‘creative writing’ and they think… easy.
Nope. I’ve learned to provide students with plenty of opportunities to stretch their imaginations. For instance, one of the first activities we do is analyze a person from class. We do this with characterization questions. (You can download these question for free in my library.)
The characterization questions force students to consider people in unique ways. For instance, what can you learn from a person by their ice-cream toppings? At first, that might seem silly. Really though, if a person has a standard order, that reveals a characteristic, as does a person who mixes five flavors. It is fun for students, and they have the tools to create dynamic characters.
Writing and more writing
Students need practice writing, and they need to understand that they will not use every word they write. Cutting out lines is painful for them!
For two days, we develop these character sketches. I don’t provide a ton of guidelines; I want to see what students create. I spend lots of time writing with them and modeling sentences.
This is our first large project. As we continue, students are responsible for smaller projects as well. This keeps students writing most days.
On Fridays, we are producing “quick writes.” Students write about a goofy topic that implements a creative side. For instance, students might write about Batman and character motivation.
And that is my week one! The quick recap:
Week One Creative Writing Lesson Plans
Monday: Rules, procedures, TED Talk, discussion.
Tuesday: Prior knowledge – brainstorm the modeling of memorable stories.
Wednesday: Review of memorable traits. Characterization activity. Download it for free in my library.
Thursday: Review characterization activity and practice implementing it into a written format.
Friday: Quick writing prompt, character writing continues.
For the second week of creative writing, I begin with narratives. I outline expectations with a narrative presentation that contains key elements and move onto developing the setting and creating a character. Narratives are perfect for the first assignment because students have typically written these before, and they are willing to share details. We are not out of our comfort zones, and I can build classroom community by encouraging collaborations. Students do well with this small assignment for the second week, and then we move to longer assignments.
These materials should be easy implement and personalize for your students. If you want the characterization sheets for your creative writing lesson plans, snag them here: