Monday, June 9, 2008

Make Creative Writing Fun for Kids

Here is a great article by Carolyn Cordon on encouraging kids that they can write and be creative. Enjoy her article here:

Creative Kids? Get Them Writing

Students often feel unconnected from the idea of writing. Most of them aren't interested in creative writing, some will be extremely anti it, but every now and then you'll find one who actually likes to write and shows a natural talent for it. These are the easy ones. If they're given time and permission to write, they're in heaven. And when you read their words, you can be in heaven too, when their talent shines bright enough to light your day.

The students who aren't interested in writing are trickiest. The way to get to them, is to let them write about something they're passionate about, and their passion for their pony or whatever it is, can shine in the words they write. With the extremely anti ones, generally, but not always boys, you have to work even harder to find something that will light a spark for them. Ask what they like to do, what shows they like on TV.

One tip for getting uninterested students interested is the following:Ask the student what his/her favourite ad on TV is, then suggest they write a story or poem about that.

It's a good idea show the students you are interested in writing creatively yourself. If the teacher doesn't care either way, the students sure won't care either.

Short Stories:· Print out 3 clip Art images on one sheet of paper - have students write a story with all three things in the story (have several different sheets to give them a choice).· Limit the number of words allowed, but stipulate they must be proper stories - beginning, middle, end. You can have success with 100 words, 150 words. This teaches editing skills, and it's not so many words that the student gets bogged down.·

Give a theme - birds, pets, food, seasons, whatever - let them know they can interpret the theme as widely as they like - as long as they can explain how their story fits the theme if it's not immediately obvious.

Poetry: Again, themes - try: · favorite animal · what their dream job would be · favorite food · least favorite food

Particular forms of poetry - Haiku, pantoum, poetic styles based of syllables. There is a style based on syllable counts, 3 for 1st line, 5 for 2nd, 7 for 3rd , then new stanza, reverse the syllable count, and so on. This helps a new poet know when to end a line and start a new one. It also teaches skills in editing and playing with words.

Others to try are:· Favorite ad on TV, again· Favorite song
You could publish the efforts of the students - produce a book to go in the school library. Students could illustrate it too, depending on likes and abilities. Getting their name in print can be a real buzz for anybody, not just students!

Make it fun, keep them keen.
Carolyn Cordon
dreamer, dog breeder, poet, writer