Creative Writing in the Classroom
My district has been pushing Toulmin writing across all grades for two years now. Once students hit 6th grade, in most of our schools, that’s the majority, if not all of the writing they do. With the curriculum we have to do, it seems like we never have time for something a little more... creative? Don’t get me wrong! I was thoroughly impressed with the things my students were creating. My mentor and I both went to the same college and recalled that we didn’t have to write a Toulmin argument until we took a class with the head of the English department. The level of work we are expecting from our students is impressive. I think it is a great idea to have them introduced to this so early; however, does this mean that we don’t have time for more creative things?
I am a firm believer that creative writing has a lot to offer kids of any age. Creative writing has a higher interest for students and can give them the same skills that will transfer to essays, arguments, speaking, and thinking. A popular creative writing topic is to have students continue a story after it’s finished. This would require students to use their critical thinking skills, and to analyze literature not only for content but for style as well. Throughout the process, students have to be able to put their thoughts on paper with good grammar, spelling, and well-flowing ideas. If you workshop a creative piece, students have to learn how to take and give constructive criticism on a piece that could mean a lot to them. They also need to use persistence to keep at it and not give up when things aren’t working like they want. Creative writing gives students confidence and pride. There are even publications that look for young writers; the chance to be published could be a source of persistence for some students, while some just love sharing with friends and classmates.
Some teachers feel that it is unnecessary. Maybe they don’t feel they have time for it with the curriculum and required essays. Some teachers