1. Sacrosanct
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    Sacrosanct New Member

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    Creative Writing Workshop for kids

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Sacrosanct, Nov 3, 2011.

    I hope this is an appropriate forum for this sort of topic. If not, I apologize but I couldn't think of where else to put it.


    Basically, in the next couple of weeks, I will be attending as a guest into a 5th grade classroom going over the topic of creative writing and the process. Before I actually attend however, the teacher and I wanted the kids to work on a bit of a project to help prep them. I have some ideas of an outline that I can have them work on, but I'm looking for ideas that would appropriate for this age group. I haven't decided if I want to split them up to one group who thinks of the characters while another group thinks of a plot and another group creates the setting, etc? Or if I just want to do a basic "here's an outline of how a typical creative process of writing is completed, so start writing." type of thing. I'd like to make it a fun project for them.


    *Edit* Oooh, maybe I'll have them go home, look through magazines or newspapers and cut out a picture of a living being (person, animal, etc) and a picture of a place (desert, forest, planet, etc). Then write a brief story tying the two together, from either the creature's perspective or from a third person narrative. Have them describe the creature not only from a physical description, but from a more personal level. If they are an animal, can they talk? Are they part of a group? What do they do? Why are they where they are and how did they get there?
     
  2. AJSmith
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    AJSmith Senior Member

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    I am a 4th, 5th, 6th grade teacher... I think a lot of what you ask the kids to do depends on a couple of factors. It would be best if you know about these factors before you plan anything.

    How often do they write in general? How often have they done creative writing? Have they been introduced to 2nd person? What is the ability level of the group as a whole? How much time do you have? Is this a lesson you intend to do in one sitting, or will you be assigning homework and then continuing? If you will be assigning homework, how is the class as a whole about homework return?

    Regardless of the answers, I think your magazine prompt idea is a great one, and I might actually steal that. The whole group (some doing setting, some character, some plot) is also a good idea. How you actually teach both ideas will be dependent upon the questions above.

    My kids are getting better, but we are in the second quarter of me teaching story (and essay) writing pretty hard. When we started the year, there was a core group of kids who were avid readers, most of which, took to my initial instruction pretty naturally, and fairly competently wrote stories.

    There was a large group of kids though, who just don't get it. I think some of it, developmentally, is hard for them to grasp. The concept of a coherent plot, well developed characters, and setting is almost beyond their grasp. There are several ways in which they don't get it, but two common ways are: action, action, action.... with no real plot, and you feel like you get whiplash from reading it. OR dialogue, dialogue, dialogue,... again with no real plot, and again you have no clue what you just read, and, most don't have the first clue about how to write dialogue except that they like to put quotes on things.

    My kids are getting much more proficient, but we've been doing it almost non-stop for about ten weeks now.

    A couple of thoughts:
    Whatever you have them write, insist that they keep it small (preferably less than a hand written page) to start.
    Focus on outlining the story before actually writing the story (you can catch a lot of holes this way)

    I do not use the same writing process that I teach my kids, and I give more leeway to my more capable writers, but a large majority of kids this age need a lot of structure in order to produce anything that can be understood. Great prompts, choice, and interest are incredibly important as well.

    Back to grading stories now. ;)
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    it's good of you to want to help, but whatever you decide to do in re the presentation, i'm sorry to say i'm concerned that you will be, in effect, teaching writing, although your grammar seems to be quite poor, judging from this post...

    no offense intended...

    love and hugs, maia
     
  4. Sacrosanct
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    Sacrosanct New Member

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    Oh, I wasn't planning on anything extensive. A lot of your questions were questions I have already asked the teacher because those are answers needed before I have an idea of the scope of the project. The in-class portion was going to be more of a presentation outline and very general in scope. Basically find out from them what they think makes up a story, and then give them a basic outline.

    That was pretty much it.
     
  5. Sacrosanct
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    Sacrosanct New Member

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    I think that it is assumed by most people that writing styles on a forum generally reflects a tone of more how we speak in conversation rather than trying to ensure grammar correctness, especially since I'm not posting anything for review and asking for a criticism. If you feel the need to insult me rather than focus on the actual topic and purpose of my thread, then I suppose that's your prerogative, but as a new member to this site, it gives me a negative first impression when what appears to be one of the longest and prolific posters engages in that behavior. Especially when the person giving the criticism about poor grammar can't seem to find the shift key on her keyboard herself.

    P.S., I apologize for any poor usage of grammar in that above post.
     
  6. Ashleigh
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    Ashleigh Contributing Member Contributor

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    Maia, I have to agree with Sacrosanct. It's not a good idea to criticise someone's grammar when you don't use capital letters and use ellipsis after every sentence. Just saying.


    Sac, if it's about the writing "process" then maybe they should learn about the structure of a story too? I'd also be tempted to give them a genre to write in, such as horror or science fiction, to see what they can come up with.
     
  7. Sacrosanct
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    Sacrosanct New Member

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    Well, admittedly a lot of how I decide to approach this will come down to what the teacher wants to cover. I initially thought about doing a Halloween theme, but I think the goal is to get as many kids interested as possible, and since kids all have different likes, allowing them to do whatever genre they want may be the right way to go.
     
  8. Ashleigh
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    Ashleigh Contributing Member Contributor

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    To be honest, I liked your idea about picking an animal and a setting. I guess it depends on the age group and, as you say, what the teacher intends to get out of the lesson. As a fun task, I think your initial ideas are pretty good ones. :)
     
  9. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    A side thought: I remember a teacher in, I think, third grade, assigning us to write a story. I was entirely unable to do it because I didn't realize that a first draft of a story by a nine year old isn't expected to be as good as a published book. :) So while you want the kids to think about things like plot and character and theme, you may also want to make it clear that they're not somehow, magically, going to be able to write words that sound like a finished book.

    I'm also inclined against the groups doing plots and characters and so on, _unless_ that's just a warmup exercise and they can actually write whatever they want. It's hard enough for adult co-authors to remain civil and respect each other's contributions.
     

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