Guest Author - Siobhain M Cullen
Creative writing lesson plans can be developed from lots of different writing prompts in the world around us. Do you have a budding creative writing talent in the family? Or a gifted writing student? Some of the ideas below can be merged into lesson plans to suit the age of the young genius in question. If these are ideas you have not yet tried, and so do not know the answer to – then why not try them out as lesson plans and see whether your children respond?
There are many ways to spot if children or older students are particularly gifted in literacy and in creative writing. Check boxes to tick could include:
Have they always had a vivid imagination, weaving tales or daydream stories – and experiencing fulfilment from retelling them?
Have they always had a particular ‘ear’ for narrative, plot or poetic description in certain stories they were read when very young?
Did they seem to have a drive to record and expand upon these stories either orally, graphically or in written form as soon as they could make meaningful marks on paper?
Have they ever re-represented the story structures afterwards, perhaps even organising fellow ‘students’ (either willingly or unwillingly!) into dramatic play, dress-up or little plays? Have they gone as far as writing ‘lines’ on scraps of paper for their victims, (fellow cast members!) to say?
Were your children more interested in the making and content of books than in studying them? Perhaps they enjoyed scrapbooking, or folding little pieces of paper together to create their own books.
If the answers to many of these checks is yes, or if you have had an inspiring response to their use as creative writing lesson plans, then there may be a ‘literary genius’ in the family who needs nurturing and challenging if their gift is not to ‘wither and bloom unseen upon the air’ of the publishing world. Children who are not encouraged, or whose efforts go unremarked, may suffer a knock to their self esteem that will spoil their later chances at proving themselves as writers.
It’s interesting to note that some of our greatest literary giants, such as authors of ‘Wuthering Heights’ and ‘Jane Eyre’ started off in this small way, creating tiny, tiny illustrated homemade books of short stories, some cobbled together out of sugar bags, or whatever else was going spare in the kitchen. They had never heard of creative writing lesson plans but, left to themselves in a freezing moorland parsonage with only each other for friends, they weaved dreams of imagination, wars, adventures and magical lands into tales that would rival today’s Harry Potter by J.K.Rowling!
Luckily for the Bronte children, and for us, they were not chivvied to abandon such ‘trifles’ for more solid pursuits or worthier creative writing lesson plans as their vicar father was too busy going about his own work and ministry to interfere! Not only that, he actively encouraged his children to express themselves, as students, through all the arts, reading, writing, poetry, music and painting. These creative expressive arts obviously bore talented fruit in great literary works of genius and point us in the right direction when looking for ways to inspire and motivate our children today with creative writing lesson plans and child-friendly tutorials to suit their individual needs as unique students.
There are some great resources on the market for caring parents, committed to raising the ceiling of aspiration in terms of their children’s creative and expressive talents, including literacy.For some students, particularly those who struggle in other areas or who have slight learning disabilities, this may be their only chance to shine - even if they need support to 'scribe' their creations. There are creative writing lesson plan books, creative writing cards, books, games and interactive computer activities all available to buy online – examples are displayed below.
A good place to start is the homeschooling sector. Many of the creativity resources explain how to develop and advance children’s writing skills, so that they can produce great little short stories – always a reliable starting point and often the first published works of literary giants from Dickens to F Scott Fitzgerald.Many of the books have suggestions for creative writing lesson plans. There are also sites where children can upload their work under adult supervision. Who knows, after they have had a chance to upload their creative writing on one of the sites, or see their work in print through self-publishing - they may become famous authors or even money-making bloggers!
The key point is always identifying first the talent – and then the needs – of such gifted students so that we can help them to achieve everything they can be.