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How to Teach Creative Writing | 7 Steps to Get Students Wordsmithing

what do i need to teach creative writing

“I don’t have any ideas!”

“I can’t think of anything!”

While we see creative writing as a world of limitless imagination, our students often see an overwhelming desert of “no idea.”

But when you teach creative writing effectively, you’ll notice that  every  student is brimming over with ideas that just have to get out.

So what does teaching creative writing effectively look like?

We’ve outlined a  seven-step method  that will  scaffold your students through each phase of the creative process  from idea generation through to final edits.

7. Create inspiring and original prompts

Use the following formats to generate prompts that get students inspired:

  • personal memories (“Write about a person who taught you an important lesson”)
  • imaginative scenarios
  • prompts based on a familiar mentor text (e.g. “Write an alternative ending to your favorite book”). These are especially useful for giving struggling students an easy starting point.
  • lead-in sentences (“I looked in the mirror and I couldn’t believe my eyes. Somehow overnight I…”).
  • fascinating or thought-provoking images with a directive (“Who do you think lives in this mountain cabin? Tell their story”).

student writing prompts for kids

Don’t have the time or stuck for ideas? Check out our list of 100 student writing prompts

6. unpack the prompts together.

Explicitly teach your students how to dig deeper into the prompt for engaging and original ideas.

Probing questions are an effective strategy for digging into a prompt. Take this one for example:

“I looked in the mirror and I couldn’t believe my eyes. Somehow overnight I…”

Ask “What questions need answering here?” The first thing students will want to know is:

What happened overnight?

No doubt they’ll be able to come up with plenty of zany answers to that question, but there’s another one they could ask to make things much more interesting:

Who might “I” be?

In this way, you subtly push students to go beyond the obvious and into more original and thoughtful territory. It’s even more useful with a deep prompt:

“Write a story where the main character starts to question something they’ve always believed.”

Here students could ask:

  • What sorts of beliefs do people take for granted?
  • What might make us question those beliefs?
  • What happens when we question something we’ve always thought is true?
  • How do we feel when we discover that something isn’t true?

Try splitting students into groups, having each group come up with probing questions for a prompt, and then discussing potential “answers” to these questions as a class.

The most important lesson at this point should be that good ideas take time to generate. So don’t rush this step!

5. Warm-up for writing

A quick warm-up activity will:

  • allow students to see what their discussed ideas look like on paper
  • help fix the “I don’t know how to start” problem
  • warm up writing muscles quite literally (especially important for young learners who are still developing handwriting and fine motor skills).

Freewriting  is a particularly effective warm-up. Give students 5–10 minutes to “dump” all their ideas for a prompt onto the page for without worrying about structure, spelling, or grammar.

After about five minutes you’ll notice them starting to get into the groove, and when you call time, they’ll have a better idea of what captures their interest.

Did you know? The Story Factory in Reading Eggs allows your students to write and publish their own storybooks using an easy step-by-step guide.

The Story factory in Reading Eggs

4. Start planning

Now it’s time for students to piece all these raw ideas together and generate a plan. This will synthesize disjointed ideas and give them a roadmap for the writing process.

Note:  at this stage your strong writers might be more than ready to get started on a creative piece. If so, let them go for it – use planning for students who are still puzzling things out.

Here are four ideas for planning:

Graphic organisers

A graphic organiser will allow your students to plan out the overall structure of their writing. They’re also particularly useful in “chunking” the writing process, so students don’t see it as one big wall of text.

Storyboards and illustrations

These will engage your artistically-minded students and give greater depth to settings and characters. Just make sure that drawing doesn’t overshadow the writing process.

Voice recordings

If you have students who are hesitant to commit words to paper, tell them to think out loud and record it on their device. Often they’ll be surprised at how well their spoken words translate to the page.

Write a blurb

This takes a bit more explicit teaching, but it gets students to concisely summarize all their main ideas (without giving away spoilers). Look at some blurbs on the back of published books before getting them to write their own. Afterward they could test it out on a friend – based on the blurb, would they borrow it from the library?

3. Produce rough drafts

Warmed up and with a plan at the ready, your students are now ready to start wordsmithing. But before they start on a draft, remind them of what a draft is supposed to be:

  • a work in progress.

Remind them that  if they wait for the perfect words to come, they’ll end up with blank pages .

Instead, it’s time to take some writing risks and get messy. Encourage this by:

  • demonstrating the writing process to students yourself
  • taking the focus off spelling and grammar (during the drafting stage)
  • providing meaningful and in-depth feedback (using words, not ticks!).

Reading Eggs Library New Books

Reading Eggs also gives you access to an ever-expanding collection of over 3,500 online books!

2. share drafts for peer feedback.

Don’t saddle yourself with 30 drafts for marking. Peer assessment is a better (and less exhausting) way to ensure everyone receives the feedback they need.

Why? Because for something as personal as creative writing, feedback often translates better when it’s in the familiar and friendly language that only a peer can produce. Looking at each other’s work will also give students more ideas about how they can improve their own.

Scaffold peer feedback to ensure it’s constructive. The following methods work well:

Student rubrics

A simple rubric allows students to deliver more in-depth feedback than “It was pretty good.” The criteria will depend on what you are ultimately looking for, but students could assess each other’s:

  • use of language.

Whatever you opt for, just make sure the language you use in the rubric is student-friendly.

Two positives and a focus area

Have students identify two things their peer did well, and one area that they could focus on further, then turn this into written feedback. Model the process for creating specific comments so you get something more constructive than “It was pretty good.” It helps to use stems such as:

I really liked this character because…

I found this idea interesting because it made me think…

I was a bit confused by…

I wonder why you… Maybe you could… instead.

1. The editing stage

Now that students have a draft and feedback, here’s where we teachers often tell them to “go over it” or “give it some final touches.”

But our students don’t always know how to edit.

Scaffold the process with questions that encourage students to think critically about their writing, such as:

  • Are there any parts that would be confusing if I wasn’t there to explain them?
  • Are there any parts that seem irrelevant to the rest?
  • Which parts am I most uncertain about?
  • Does the whole thing flow together, or are there parts that seem out of place?
  • Are there places where I could have used a better word?
  • Are there any grammatical or spelling errors I notice?

Key to this process is getting students to  read their creative writing from start to finish .

Important note:  if your students are using a word processor, show them where the spell-check is and how to use it. Sounds obvious, but in the age of autocorrect, many students simply don’t know.

A final word on teaching creative writing

Remember that the best writers write regularly.

Incorporate them into your lessons as often as possible, and soon enough, you’ll have just as much fun  marking  your students’ creative writing as they do producing it.

Need more help supporting your students’ writing?

Read up on  how to get reluctant writers writing , strategies for  supporting struggling secondary writers , or check out our huge list of writing prompts for kids .


Watch your students get excited about writing and publishing their own storybooks in the Story Factory

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Creative Primer

Inspiring Ink: Expert Tips on How to Teach Creative Writing

Brooks Manley

The world of creative writing is as vast as it is rewarding. It’s a form of expression that allows the writer to explore different worlds, characters, and narratives – all within the power of their pen.

But what exactly is creative writing and why is it important? Let’s explore the value of creative writing and how to inspire young (or old!) minds to embark on the curious and exciting journey of writing creatively – it’s easier than you think!

What is Creative Writing?

Creative writing, in its simplest form, is writing that goes beyond the bounds of normal professional, journalistic, academic, or technical forms of literature.

It’s characterized by its emphasis on:

  • narrative craft
  • character development
  • the use of literary devices

From poetry to plays, scripts to sonnets, creative writing covers a wide range of genres . It’s about painting pictures with words, invoking emotions, and bringing ideas to life . It’s about crafting stories that are compelling, engaging, and thought-provoking.

Whether you’re penning a novel or jotting down a journal entry, creative writing encourages you to unleash your imagination and express your thoughts in a unique, artistic way. For a deeper dive into the realm of creative writing, you can visit our article on what is creative writing .

Benefits of Developing Creative Writing Skills

The benefits of creative writing extend beyond the page.

It’s not just about creating captivating stories or crafting beautiful prose. The skills developed through creative writing are invaluable in many aspects of life and work.

1. Creative writing fosters creativity and imagination. 

It encourages you to think outside the box, broaden your perspective, and explore new ideas. It also enhances your ability to communicate effectively, as it involves conveying thoughts, emotions, and narratives in a clear and compelling manner.

2. Creative writing aids in improving critical thinking skills.

It prompts you to analyze characters, plotlines, and themes, and make connections between different ideas. This process activates different parts of the mind, drawing on personal experiences, the imagination, logical plot development, and emotional intelligence.

3. Creative writing is also a valuable tool for self-expression and personal growth.

It allows you to explore your feelings, experiences, and observations, providing an outlet for self-reflection and introspection. By both reading and writing about different characters in different situations, readers develop empathy in a gentle but effective way.

4. Creative writing skills can open up a host of career opportunities.

From authors and editors to content creators and copywriters, the demand for creative writers is vast and varied. You can learn more about potential career paths in our article on creative writing jobs and what you can do with a creative writing degree .

In essence, creative writing is more than just an art—it’s a skill, a craft, and a powerful tool for communication and self-expression. Whether you’re teaching creative writing or learning it, understanding its value is the first step towards mastering the art.

The 3 Roles of a Creative Writing Teacher

Amongst the many facets of a creative writing teacher’s role, three vital aspects stand out: inspiring creativity , nurturing talent , and providing constructive criticism . These elements play a significant role in shaping budding writers and fostering their passion for the craft.

1. Inspiring Creativity

The primary function of a creative writing teacher is to inspire creativity.

They must foster an environment that encourages students to think outside the box and explore new possibilities . This includes presenting students with creative writing prompts that challenge their thinking, promoting lively discussions around various topics, and providing opportunities for students to engage in creative writing activities for kids .

Teachers should also expose students to a range of literary genres , styles, and techniques to broaden their understanding and appreciation of the craft. This exposure not only enhances their knowledge but also stimulates their creativity, encouraging them to experiment with different writing styles .

2. Nurturing Talent

Nurturing talent involves recognizing the unique abilities of each student and providing the necessary support and guidance to help them develop these skills. A creative writing teacher needs to identify the strengths and weaknesses of each student and tailor their approach accordingly.

This means:

  • offering personalized feedback
  • setting realistic yet challenging goals
  • providing opportunities for students to showcase their work

Encouraging students to participate in writing competitions or to publish their work can give them a confidence boost and motivate them to improve. Furthermore, teachers should educate students about various creative writing jobs and what you can do with a creative writing degree . This knowledge can inspire students to pursue their passion for writing and explore career opportunities in the field.

3. Providing Constructive Criticism

Providing constructive criticism is a critical aspect of teaching creative writing. It involves assessing students’ work objectively and providing feedback that helps them improve .

Teachers should:

  • highlight the strengths of the work
  • address the areas that need improvement
  • suggest ways to make the piece better

Constructive criticism should be specific, actionable, and encouraging . It’s important to remember that the goal is to help the student improve, not to discourage them. Therefore, teachers need to communicate their feedback in a respectful and supportive manner.

In essence, a teacher’s role in teaching creative writing extends beyond mere instruction. They are mentors who inspire, nurture, and shape the minds of budding writers. By fostering a supportive and stimulating environment, they can help students unlock their creative potential and develop a lifelong love for writing.

3 Techniques for Teaching Creative Writing

When it comes to understanding how to teach creative writing, there are several effective techniques that can help inspire students and foster their writing skills.

1. Encouraging Free Writing Exercises

Free writing is a technique that encourages students to write continuously for a set amount of time without worrying about grammar, punctuation, or topic. This type of exercise can help unleash creativity, as it allows students to freely express their thoughts and ideas without judgment or constraint.

As a teacher, you can set a specific theme or provide creative writing prompts to guide the writing session. Alternatively, you can allow students to write about any topic that comes to mind. The key is to create an environment that encourages creative exploration and expression.

2. Exploring Different Genres

Another effective technique is to expose students to a wide range of writing genres. This can include fiction, non-fiction, poetry, drama, fantasy, mystery, and more. By exploring different genres, students can discover their unique writing styles and interests. This variety also offers the chance to expand their writing skills and apply them to various writing formats.

To facilitate this exploration, you can assign writing projects in different genres, conduct genre-specific writing workshops, or invite guest speakers who specialize in different genres. You can also encourage students to critically analyze how different authors approach their work.

3. Analyzing Published Works

Analyzing published works is a powerful way to teach creative writing. This technique allows students to learn from established authors by studying their:

  • writing styles
  • narrative structures
  • use of language.

It also provides a practical context for understanding writing concepts and techniques.

As a teacher, you can select diverse pieces of literature for analysis , ranging from classic novels to contemporary short stories. Encourage students to identify elements they admire in these works and discuss how they can incorporate similar techniques into their own writing.

These techniques for teaching creative writing are effective ways to inspire creativity, encourage self-expression, and develop writing skills. As a teacher, your role is crucial in guiding students through their creative journey and helping them realize their potential as writers.

Creative Writing Workshops and Exercises

One effective method on how to teach creative writing is through the use of targeted workshops and exercises. These interactive sessions can stimulate creativity, foster character development , and help in understanding story structures .

Idea Generation Workshops

Idea generation is a crucial aspect of creative writing. It is the starting point that provides a springboard for writers to explore and develop their narratives. Idea generation workshops can be an interactive and fun way to help writers come up with fresh ideas.

Workshops can include brainstorming sessions , where writers are encouraged to think freely and note down all ideas, no matter how unconventional they may seem. Another method is the use of writing prompts , which can serve as a creative spark.

A prompt could be:

  • even an image

Editor’s Note : Encourage children to create a big scribble on a scrap piece of paper and then look for an image in it (like looking for pictures in the clouds). This can be a great creative writing prompt and students will love sharing their writing with each other! Expect lots of giggles and fun!

Character Development Exercises

Characters are the heart of any story. They drive the narrative and engage the readers. Character development exercises can help writers create well-rounded and relatable characters.

Such exercises can include character questionnaires , where writers answer a series of questions about their characters to gain a deeper understanding of their personalities, backgrounds, and motivations. Role-playing activities can also be useful, allowing writers to step into their characters’ shoes and explore their reactions in different scenarios.

Story Structure Workshops

Understanding story structure is vital for creating a compelling narrative. Story structure workshops can guide writers on how to effectively structure their stories to engage readers from start to finish .

These workshops can cover essential elements of story structures like:

  • rising action
  • falling action

In addition to understanding the basics, writers should be encouraged to experiment with different story structures to find what works best for their narrative style. An understanding of story structure can also help in analyzing and learning from published works .

Providing writers with the right tools and techniques, through workshops and exercises, can significantly improve their creative writing skills. It’s important to remember that creativity flourishes with practice and patience .

As a teacher, nurturing this process is one of the most rewarding aspects of teaching creative writing. For more insights and tips on teaching creative writing, continue exploring our articles on creative writing .

Tips to Enhance Creative Writing Skills

The process of teaching creative writing is as much about honing one’s own skills as it is about imparting knowledge to others. Here are some key strategies that can help in enhancing your creative writing abilities and make your teaching methods more effective.

Regular Practice

Like any other skill, creative writing requires regular practice . Foster the habit of writing daily, even if it’s just a few lines. This will help you stay in touch with your creative side and continually improve your writing skills. Encourage your students to do the same.

Introduce them to various creative writing prompts to stimulate their imagination and make their writing practice more engaging.

Reading Widely

Reading is an essential part of becoming a better writer. By reading widely, you expose yourself to a variety of styles, tones, and genres . This not only broadens your literary horizons but also provides a wealth of ideas for your own writing.

Encourage your students to read extensively as well. Analyzing and discussing different works can be an excellent learning exercise and can spark creative ideas .

Exploring Various Writing Styles

The beauty of creative writing lies in its diversity. From poetic verses to gripping narratives, there’s a wide range of styles to explore. Encourage your students to try their hand at different forms of writing. This not only enhances their versatility but also helps them discover their unique voice as a writer.

To help them get started, you can introduce a variety of creative writing activities for kids . These tasks can be tailored to suit different age groups and proficiency levels. Remember, the goal is to foster a love for writing, so keep the activities fun and engaging .

Have Fun Teaching Creative Writing!

Enhancing creative writing skills is a continuous journey. It requires persistence, curiosity, and a willingness to step out of your comfort zone. As a teacher, your role is to guide your students on this journey, providing them with the tools and encouragement they need to flourish as writers – and most of all – enjoy the process!

For more insights on creative writing, be sure to explore our articles on what is creative writing and creative writing jobs and what you can do with a creative writing degree .

Brooks Manley

Brooks Manley

what do i need to teach creative writing

Creative Primer  is a resource on all things journaling, creativity, and productivity. We’ll help you produce better ideas, get more done, and live a more effective life.

My name is Brooks. I do a ton of journaling, like to think I’m a creative (jury’s out), and spend a lot of time thinking about productivity. I hope these resources and product recommendations serve you well. Reach out if you ever want to chat or let me know about a journal I need to check out!

Here’s my favorite journal for 2024: 

the five minute journal

Gratitude Journal Prompts Mindfulness Journal Prompts Journal Prompts for Anxiety Reflective Journal Prompts Healing Journal Prompts Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Journal Prompts Mental Health Journal Prompts ASMR Journal Prompts Manifestation Journal Prompts Self-Care Journal Prompts Morning Journal Prompts Evening Journal Prompts Self-Improvement Journal Prompts Creative Writing Journal Prompts Dream Journal Prompts Relationship Journal Prompts "What If" Journal Prompts New Year Journal Prompts Shadow Work Journal Prompts Journal Prompts for Overcoming Fear Journal Prompts for Dealing with Loss Journal Prompts for Discerning and Decision Making Travel Journal Prompts Fun Journal Prompts

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Rafal Reyzer

How to Become a Creative Writing Teacher (And Enjoy It)

Author: Rafal Reyzer

If you’re passionate about writing and want to share your love of the craft with others, becoming a creative writing teacher may be for you.

Creative writing is an art that offers students the opportunity to explore their creativity and improve their writing skills. Teaching this discipline requires not only expertise in writing but also the ability to inspire and guide aspiring writers on their journey to becoming better wordsmiths. Whether you’re looking to make extra money on the side or considering a full-time career, this guide will walk you through the steps of becoming a creative writing teacher, including dissertation data analysis help and resources for aspiring educators.

Become a Creative Writing Teacher: The Basics

The first step is getting the right qualifications, which typically include at least a bachelor’s degree in English or another related field. Having prior teaching experience and certifications would be a big plus. Once you have these things lined up, familiarize yourself with different lesson-planning resources and strategies. It will propel you to start strong when it’s time to teach. Finally, always be open to feedback from both your students and colleagues so you can continue growing as an educator. If you have a passion for writing and enjoy teaching, becoming a creative writing instructor could be a fulfilling career path. Now let’s get into the specifics, so you can have a better understanding of what the job entails.

5 Tips for Becoming a Creative Writing Teacher

Teaching others how to write it’s very fulfilling and allows you to share your unique perspective with your students. But there are several requirements you will need to meet to do it properly. Keep reading to see what they are:

1. Get a Degree in English or Creative Writing

While not required, having a relevant degree can give you an edge when applying for teaching positions. Formal education on the subject gives you the foundation in literature and composition that will be helpful when teaching how to write. People who wish to become creative writing teachers often attend college for additional writing training before sharing their expertise with others. This equips them to use various teaching approaches, whether it be through a traditional academic setting, an online course, a summer camp workshop, etc.

college graduates in creative writing

2. Consider Getting a Teaching Certification

Many states require teachers to have certain teaching certifications. Although it is not required for all positions, having one can make you more attractive as a candidate. Full-time courses usually take three to four years, while part-time courses take four to six years. If you have undergraduate credits from previous studies, you might complete a course in two years. There are also a lot of online writing certificate programs you can explore. Some of them are even conducted by bestselling authors and renowned educators, so you should check them out.

3. Start Your Own Writing Group or Workshop

This is a great way to get experience leading other writers. You’ll gain some insights into what it takes to be an effective teacher and learn how to communicate with your students . The most wonderful thing about starting a creative writing group is that you can build it exactly what you want it to be. It could be a workshop-style group where you read each other’s work. You can form a group where you meet up together and write, or just talk about writing or each other’s personal experiences in honing their craft. There are no rules. You can contact your writing sessions in a local café, or if that’s not possible, you can host the whole thing on a Facebook group.

4. Volunteer to Teach Creative Writing in Local Schools

Many educational institutions have after-school programs or summer camps that are always looking for volunteers. This is a great way to get your foot in the door and see if teaching is right for you. Most schools collaborate with volunteers who are or want to learn how to become creative writing teachers. You can teach how to edit and publish creative writing.

5. Be Patient and Persistent

Getting a job as a creative writing teacher can be competitive. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t land your dream position right away. Keep applying and refining your resume , and eventually, you’ll find the perfect fit! To become a creative writing teacher, consider getting a degree or teaching certification in English or creative writing. You can also start your writing group or workshop, or volunteer to teach creative writing in local schools. These will give you the training and experience you need to get closer to your goal.

teaching excellence in creative writing

Teaching Writing With True Excellence

We all know the importance of teaching writing. After all, as the saying goes, “If you can’t write well, you can’t think well.” And in today’s world, with so much emphasis on effective communication and clear thinking skills, it’s more important than ever to make sure our students are receiving a top-notch education on learning how to write. So what does true excellence in teaching writing look like? Here are five key concepts to consider:

1. High Expectations

As teachers, we need to have high expectations for our students’ writing abilities. This doesn’t mean that we should be unrealistic or overly critical. Rather, it means that we should expect them to produce quality work that meets or exceeds our standards. By setting the bar high from the beginning, we’ll give them a goal to strive for and help them develop their skills more quickly.

2. Quality Feedback

For our students to improve their writing abilities, they need regular quality feedback . This feedback needs to be specific and objective. Simply telling them “good job” or “nice work” will not help them improve. We need to point out what they’re doing well and where they can make improvements so that they can see their progress. The more specific you can get while providing feedback, the better.

3. Focus on the Process

It’s important to remember that writing is a process, not a product. This means that we should focus on helping our students with each step of the process, from brainstorming ideas to editing and revising their work. By focusing on the process, we’ll help them develop strong writing skills that will serve them well through life.

4. Setting an Example

Another important aspect of teaching writing is modeling good behavior for our students. If we want them to produce quality work, then we need to show them how it’s done. We can do this by sharing our writings with them (with permission, of course), or by demonstrating proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation usage in our daily communications with them. Another great idea is to encourage them to read as much as possible and introduce them to the classics so they can fully grasp what a great piece of literary art looks like.

5. Encouragement

Finally, one of the best things we can do as teachers is to encourage our students in their writing endeavors. This includes offering positive feedback when deserved, but also giving them that extra push in the right direction when the going gets tough. Letting them know you believe in their ability to improve and achieve great things will go a long way in helping them reach their full potential as writers. Teaching writing effectively requires high expectations, quality feedback, a focus on process, modeling, and encouragement.

creative writing teacher encouraging students

Testing Your Students Through Writing Tasks

As a creative writing teacher, it’s essential to test your students’ skills and knowledge regularly. One way to do this is through writing tasks. By setting regular writing assignments, you can gauge your student’s progress and identify areas that need improvement.

Here are some tips for making the most of the writing tasks in your classroom :

  • Make sure the task applies to what your students are currently studying. This will help them engage with the material and produce their best work.
  • Clearly instruct what you expect from the finished product. This includes specifying word count, formatting requirements, etc.
  • Provide feedback on each student’s performance after they submit their work. This helps them understand where they need to improve. It will also give you an idea of how well they are grasping the concepts being taught.

In short, get your students engaged in their learning by setting regular writing tasks. By making the tasks relevant and providing clear instructions, you’ll help them produce their best work. Don’t forget to provide feedback so they can understand where they need to improve. Many writing teachers are worried about the influence of artificial intelligence on the writing process. That’s why you need to explain that using AI bots for writing will teach them how to write, as it’s a form of “creative plagiarism.”

FAQ About How to Become a Creative Writing Teacher:

1. how do i start teaching creative writing.

There is no single answer to this question since there are many ways to become a creative writing teacher. The best way to teach creative writing will depend on your qualifications, experience, and goals. For example, if you have a degree in English or Creative Writing , you may teach at the college level. Alternatively, if you have significant experience as a writer but no formal education in the field, you may teach creative writing courses at community colleges or adult education centers. There are also online programs that allow people with no teaching experience to lead classes on specific topics related to creative writing. This could be an option for someone looking for flexibility and wanting to share their expertise with others without committing to traditional employment. No matter what route someone takes to become a creative writing teacher, they must possess excellent communication skills, patience, and creativity so they can encourage students to reach their fullest potential.

2. Can you teach writing when only have a creative writing degree?

Yes, you can teach creative writing with a degree in the subject. There are many ways to become a creative writing teacher, but most involve some level of formal education. Many universities offer degrees in creative writing, and there are also specialized schools that focus solely on teaching the craft of writing.

3. What degree do you need to teach creative writing in college?

Requirements for teaching creative writing at the college level can vary depending on the institution. However, most colleges and universities will require that their creative writing instructors have at least a master’s degree in English or Creative Writing. Many institutions may also prefer or require that candidates for teaching positions have prior experience teaching at the college level.

4. How Much Does a Creative Writer Make?

According to Zip Recruiter, the average yearly salary for creative writing teachers is $53, 608.00. But the range goes to as low as $46,000 a year for beginners, and up to over $100,000 a year for those who are in the biz for several years.

If you’re passionate about writing and want to share your love of literature with others, becoming a creative writing teacher may be the perfect career for you. By imparting your knowledge and expertise to students, you can help them develop their skills and find their voice as writers. Are you interested in becoming a freelance writer, working remotely, or improving your productivity and side hustle? I offer coaching and consulting services to help you achieve your goals. Visit my website or contact me today to learn more about how I can help you reach your full potential. Next up, you may want to explore a guide on how to become a columnist .

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Rafal Reyzer

Rafal Reyzer

Hey there, welcome to my blog! I'm a full-time entrepreneur building two companies, a digital marketer, and a content creator with 10+ years of experience. I started to provide you with great tools and strategies you can use to become a proficient digital marketer and achieve freedom through online creativity. My site is a one-stop shop for digital marketers, and content enthusiasts who want to be independent, earn more money, and create beautiful things. Explore my journey here , and don't miss out on my AI Marketing Mastery online course.

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How to Teach Creative Writing

Last Updated: March 13, 2024 References

This article was co-authored by Christopher Taylor, PhD . Christopher Taylor is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of English at Austin Community College in Texas. He received his PhD in English Literature and Medieval Studies from the University of Texas at Austin in 2014. There are 13 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 117,023 times.

Creative writing is one of the most enjoyable types of writing for students. Not only does it allow students to explore their imaginations, but it helps them to structure their ideas and produce writing that they can be proud of. However, creative writing is a relatively difficult type of writing to teach and offers challenges to both new and seasoned teachers alike. Fortunately, though, with some work of their own, teachers can better develop their own abilities to teach creative writing.

Providing Students with the Fundamentals

Step 1 Introduce the important elements of storytelling.

  • Theme. The theme of a story is its message or the main idea behind it.
  • Setting. The setting of a story is the location or time it takes place in.
  • Plot. The plot is the overall story, narrative, or sequence of events.
  • Characterization. Characterization is how a character or person in a story is explained or presented to the reader.
  • Conflict and dramatic action. Conflict and dramatic action are the main events of focus in the story. These events are often tense or exciting and are used to lure the reader in. [1] X Research source

Step 2 Encourage students to engage the reader.

  • Explain how your students, as writers, can appeal to the humanity of their readers. One great way to do this is to ask them to explore character development. By developing the characters in their story, readers will become invested in the story.
  • Discuss the triggers that engage readers in an effective story. Most great stories start with a problem, which is solved with the resolution, or conclusion of the story. Encourage students to create an engaging problem that will hook the readers in the first few pages of a short story or novel. [2] X Research source

Step 3 Explain the importance of tone and atmosphere.

  • By setting the tone and atmosphere of a story, the author will establish his or her attitude to the subject and the feel of the story.
  • Tone can be positive, neutral, or negative. [3] X Research source
  • Atmosphere can be dark, happy, or neither.
  • Descriptive words like “darkness” or “sunshine” can help set both the tone and atmosphere. [4] X Research source

Step 4 Promote the use of active verbs.

  • Active verbs are used to show action in the story.
  • Active verbs are very often a better alternative to passive voice, as it keeps your writing clear and concise for your readers. [5] X Research source
  • For example, instead of writing “The cat was chased by the dog” your student can write “The dog chased the cat.”

Guiding Students through the Process

Step 1 Allow students to pick their topic.

  • Tell your students to brainstorm about ideas they are truly interested in.
  • If you must restrict the general topic, make sure that your students have a good amount of wiggle room within the broad topic of the assignment.
  • Never assign specific topics and force students to write. This will undermine the entire process. [6] X Research source

Step 2 Have your students write a flexible outline.

  • Letting your students know that the outline is non-binding. They don’t have to follow it in later steps of the writing process.
  • Telling your students that the parts of their outline should be written very generally.
  • Recommending that your students create several outlines, or outlines that go in different directions (in terms of plot and other elements of storytelling). The more avenues your students explore, the better. [7] X Research source

Step 3 Avoid teaching a story “formula.”

  • Tell students that there is no “right” way to write a story.
  • Let students know that their imaginations should guide their way.
  • Show students examples of famous writing that breaks normal patterns, like the works of E.E. Cummings, William Faulkner, Charles Dickens, and William Shakespeare.
  • Ask students to forget about any expectations they think you have for how a story should be written. [8] X Research source

Step 4 Provide feedback on rough drafts.

  • Gather the first drafts and comment on the student's work. For first drafts, you want to check on the overall structure of the draft, proper word use, punctuation, spelling, and overall cohesion of the piece. [9] X Research source
  • Remind them that great writers usually wrote several drafts before they were happy with their stories.
  • Avoid grading drafts for anything other than completion.

Step 5 Organize editing groups.

  • Let students pair off to edit each others' papers.
  • Have your students join groups of 3 or 4 and ask them to go edit and provide feedback on each member’s story.
  • Provide guidance so students contribute constructively to the group discussion. [10] X Research source

Step 6 Evaluate your students based on their creativity.

  • Reward your students if they are innovative or do something unique and truly creative.
  • Avoid evaluating your students based on a formula.
  • Assess and review your own standards as often as you can. Remember that the point is to encourage your students' creativity. [11] X Research source

Spurring Creativity

Step 1 Inspire students with an appreciation of literature.

  • Teach your students about a variety of writers and genres.
  • Have your students read examples of different genres.
  • Promote a discussion within your class of the importance of studying literature.
  • Ask students to consider the many ways literature improves the world and asks individuals to think about their own lives. [12] X Research source

Step 2 Provide your students with a large number of resources.

  • Make sure your room is stocked with a wide variety of fiction stories.
  • Make sure your room is stocked with plenty of paper for your students to write on.
  • Line up other writing teachers or bring in writers from the community to talk to and encourage your students.

Step 3 Have your students write practice stories based on random photos or pictures you provide.

  • Cut out pictures and photographs from magazines, comic books, and newspapers.
  • Have your students cut out photographs and pictures and contribute them to your bank.
  • Consider having your students randomly draw a given number of photos and pictures and writing a short story based on what they draw.
  • This technique can help students overcome writer's block and inspire students who think that they're "not creative." [13] X Research source

Step 4 Arrange an audience.

  • Pair your students with students from another grade in your school.
  • Allow your students to write stories that younger students in your school would like to read.
  • Pair your students with another student in the class and have them evaluate each others' work. [14] X Research source

Step 5 Create a writing space.

  • If you just have a typical classroom to work with, make sure to put inspirational posters or other pictures on the walls.
  • Open any curtains so students can see outside.
  • If you have the luxury of having an extra classroom or subdividing your own classroom, create a comfortable space with a lot of inspirational visuals.
  • Writing spaces can help break writer's block and inspire students who think that they're "not creative." [15] X Research source

Step 6 Publish your students’ work.

  • Involve students in the printing process.
  • Publication does not have to be expensive or glossy.
  • Copies can be made in the school workroom if possible or each student might provide a copy for the others in the group.
  • A collection of the stories can be bound with a simple stapler or brads.
  • Seek out other opportunities for your students to publish their stories.

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About This Article

Christopher Taylor, PhD

To teach creative writing, start by introducing your students to the core elements of storytelling, like theme, setting, and plot, while reminding them that there’s no formula for combining these elements to create a story. Additionally, explain how important it is to use tone and atmosphere, along with active verbs, to write compelling stories that come alive. When your students have chosen their topics, have them create story outlines before they begin writing. Then, read their rough drafts and provide feedback to keep them on the right path to storytelling success. For tips from our English reviewer on how to spur creativity in your students, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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How to Prepare to Teach Creative Writing

Last Updated: November 3, 2022

wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. To create this article, 16 people, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over time. This article has been viewed 13,701 times.

Preparing to teach creative writing requires a mixture of formal instruction in teaching methods as well as an inborn appreciation of the craft of writing honed by instruction and practice. If you wish to teach others how to write, here are steps to take and things to consider in building a career as a creative writing teacher.

Academic and Writing Preparation

Step 1 Read widely.

  • Required courses for a bachelor's in English include classes in language and literature as well as in writing. English majors may be required to take classes in technical as well as creative writing. Students preparing for a bachelor of science in education with a concentration in English also take classes in the nature of language and how to teach an English class to others. Some programs may also require a certain number of hours in foreign language classes.

Step 6 Go for your master's degree.

  • Most MFA programs require a 2- to 3-year commitment, which culminates in preparing a thesis, consisting of some form of creative writing, such as a novel or anthology of short stories or poetry. Programs consist of a mixture of writing opportunities and coursework, which may either be conducted on-campus or online. Some programs offer stipends to fund students' writing projects, while others offer teaching assistant positions to pay students' expenses and may even offer graduate students the opportunity to design their own courses.

Step 7 Consider getting a PhD.

  • PhD programs in creative writing are structured similarly to MFA programs, but over a longer period of time (8 years on average), with a greater amount of independent study and the requirement to create a doctoral dissertation. It is possible to engage in a more research-oriented PhD program, although some colleges may consider this a detriment instead of an advantage for candidates applying for teaching positions.

Step 8 Publish.

  • While being published by a college or university press still has more cachet than a mainstream publisher or small press, the rise of print-on-demand publishers has raised the status of non-university presses. You still need to provide your best-quality writing samples when applying for a college position.

Step 9 Get some practical teaching experience.

  • Other activities you can take part in include reading submissions to literary magazines or raising funds for them.

Applying for a College Writing Teacher Position

Step 1 Search for available academic positions.

  • One candidate used his prior experience to learn the names of his interviewers and what works they had published. On many of his interviews, he was complimented for being the only candidate to have an interest in his interviewers' work.

Step 3 Assemble a submission package.

  • Letter of application: A 2-page summary of your credentials, written in a clear, captivating style and tailored to the position you're applying for. If you're already teaching writing somewhere, you can use the letterhead of the institution you're presently teaching at.
  • Curriculum vitae (CV/resume): Your CV should list your education, teaching experience, list of publications, service, list of references with contact information, and availability of letters of recommendation. Although you don't have to list every last publication, your CV should be comprehensive. (Unlike a business resume, which is typically 1 to 2 pages in length, a CV can be whatever length it needs to be to cover everything significant you've done.)
  • Writing sample: Choose your best writing sample that is most appropriate to the institution you're applying to, preferably a book if you have one and can afford to send a copy to each institution you're applying to.
  • Recommendations: You should have 4 to 8 letters of recommendation from professors and other writers who know your work and are familiar with your teaching style. The letters should be written as close to the time you start applying for positions as possible; allow 6 weeks' time for your recommender to draft the letter. Letters should be sent to the career center of your current institution or to the dossier service run by the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) if you're applying for your first position.
  • Transcript: Not always required, but many institutions require a transcript as a quick means to verify that you actually earned the degrees you claim to hold. Photocopies are acceptable.

Step 4 Prepare support materials for the interview.

  • Interviews may be held either on-campus or at the Modern Language Association (MLA) convention, held either December or January in a major city. Your travel expenses to a college campus are usually covered by the institution, but you'll have to pay your own way to the MLA convention.

Community Q&A


  • You may find it helpful to have writing experience outside the field or genre for which you plan to apply. Skills in journalism and grant writing can be particularly beneficial. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • Competition for tenure-track creative writing teaching positions can be fierce, due to the number of MFA and PhD programs in creative writing and the number of graduates from those programs who have published their work. It's helpful to prepare as fully as possible, while also considering other options for using your degree, such as advertising or working for a publishing house. Thanks Helpful 1 Not Helpful 0

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How To Teach Writing: What Educators Need To Know

Here, we’ll go over the basics of how to teach writing and how to light the imagination in a way that lends itself to stellar student writing.

As a teacher, you want to inspire your students and help them grasp the writing process. Writing assignments can be subjective, and it can be tough to teach students to harness their creativity in a way that allows their writing skills to shine.

As a language arts teacher, you know there’s no right or wrong answer when completing a piece of writing, and you want your students to take risks and be bold–all while creating good writing with top-notch vocabulary and excellent sentence structure. Whether you’re an elementary school writing teacher, someone who works with children with learning disabilities, a high school English teacher, or a college professor working on teaching the process of writing to your students, you’re teaching your kids or young adults a skill that will serve them well throughout their academic careers and beyond.

Here, we’ll take a look at the steps required to develop an effective writing lesson, how to gauge whether your students are moving forward in becoming better writers, and digital tools that you can use to help your students grow their writing practice.

Before you begin:

How to teach writing to students, step 1. talk to your students, step 2. learn about your students’ writing skills, step 3. boost class confidence, step 4. start small, step 5. pay attention to skill level, step 7. provide feedback.

  • 1. Grammarly
  • 2. Google Docs
  • 3. Purdue OWL
  • 4. Hemingway Editor
  • 5.

Teaching writing skills to students can be tricky; before you begin, plan ahead by creating a lesson plan. You can use our how-to guide below to plan your next lesson for teaching writing and learn how to teach this tricky subject easily. Include each step in your lesson plan and the list of activities you will assign your students; make sure to cover each topic in a different lesson, so you don’t overwhelm your students. 

Whether you’re working with elementary-age students or college-level young adults, many in your classroom likely have already had experiences shaping how they feel about the writing process. If your students have had negative experiences with writing in the past, it can be tough to get them to open up and be willing to try something new. Asking your students open-ended questions can help you to get a feel about where they are in their writing confidence. You may choose to ask questions out loud in a classroom setting, or you may choose to talk with your students one on one if time permits.

Some questions you may want to ask students to help you gauge how they feel about their writing skills include:

  • What do you know about the writing process? Tell me everything!
  • Last time you wrote a story, what was it about?
  • What’s the biggest challenge when it comes to writing?
  • If you’re going to write a story, how would you get started?

By asking these questions, you won’t just know more about your students’ confidence–you’ll also get an idea of what they’ve already been taught about the writing process and whether there are any gaps you’ll need to fill in as you teach them to become writers.

You may also want to let students know that they can come to talk to you with any questions or concerns they have about writing. Sometimes, students with learning disabilities or other issues that affect their writing ability may feel uncomfortable discussing these issues in front of their classmates. If necessary, you may want to work with a special education teacher who can address any unique learning needs in your classroom.

How to write a bio for work?

After you talk to your students about the writing process, you may want to provide them with a short writing assignment to help you get a better idea of where they’re at with writing. It’s up to you to decide how much guidance you’d like to give them. Some sample assignment ideas to help you get a good idea of where your students are at when it comes to writing include:

  • Write a one-page story about something interesting that happened to you over the summer.
  • Write about when you got into an argument with a family member and how the issue was resolved.
  • Imagine it’s ten years from now. Where are you? What are you doing? Who is around you? Provide as much detail as possible.

In addition to giving insight into your student’s writing ability, asking these questions can also show how comfortable your students are with the writing process. You’ll notice that some students excitedly get to work while others give short or vague answers.

Take note of how your students do with this initial assignment so that you can praise their progress as they move forward with your writing lessons. Of course, progress will differ for each student; for some, learning to write in complete sentences may be a big accomplishment. For others, mastering a five-paragraph essay may be the goal.

Step 6. Teach The Process

After you understand how your students feel about the writing process and where they’re at in their journey to become better writers, it’s time to begin teaching the writing process. The exact process that you’ll teach your students will largely depend on their age and skill level, and you may find that you need to adjust your process as you continually get a better idea of your student’s skill levels. The framework provided here is at an elementary to middle school level.

The first step in the writing process is developing topic ideas. Then, during the brainstorming process, encourage students to write down anything that comes to mind without censoring themselves—allowing students to keep their brainstorming processes to themselves (rather than requiring them to share out loud or hand in their paper) can help them think freely and write what’s on their mind without a barrier of self-judgment.

After your students complete their first brainstorm, encourage them to return to their lists and cross out any ideas that don’t seem like they could be a good fit. Narrowing down their ideas to three options can be a helpful first step in getting started. Following the initial brainstorming process, ask students to take a few moments to flesh out their three ideas. Often, students find that they can tie two of their brainstorming ideas together, making it easier for them to share more of what they’re passionate about.

During this second stage of the brainstorming process, ask students to add details to the topics they’re debating, helping them see which option has the best chance of developing a compelling story.

After your students complete the brainstorming process and decide on a topic, it’s time to move forward with developing the first draft. Again, it would be best to let your students know that their first draft is a draft. There’s no need for the first draft of their story to be perfect.

Before actually beginning the draft writing process, you may decide to encourage your students to create an outline to guide their writing. For example, they may choose to list all of the points they’d like to make if they’re writing a persuasive piece or may want to list the events they want to describe if they’re writing a personal narrative. For students who have anxiety around writing, it can be especially helpful to get some of their ideas onto paper to act as a guide before they begin writing their first draft.

For many students, writing as freely as possible–including spelling and grammar mistakes–helps them develop the framework necessary to move forward with their writing piece. Remind students that they’ll be able to come back to their work later to clean it up and that there’s no need to get everything right on the first try.

After completing the first draft, give your students some time away from their writing before they begin to revise. Taking a few hours or a few days can give students the time to process what they’ve written and look at their work in a new light. For many students, a two- or three-stage revision process can be helpful.

During the first revision, students read the work themselves. Your students may find it helpful to read all or parts of their work out loud while working through their revision. Hearing their words out loud can help them find sections of text that are awkward or incorrectly phrased and can help them find areas that could be condensed or need to be better explained.

Following the first revision of their work, peer revision can be helpful. During the peer revision, students trade their writing with one another to get constructive criticism on their work. Be warned: this part of the writing process can be difficult for some students, especially if they’re not confident in their writing skills or have chosen to write about a personal topic. Before beginning the peer revision process, set ground rules with your class on how to give the author feedback that’s helpful and drives the writing process forward.

After completing the revision process, it’s time for your students to begin the editing process, where they’ll take the feedback they received during revisions and put it to good use. Editing can take time, and it’s smart to give your students leeway to move back and forth between the revision and editing processes. It’s key to let students know that the writing process isn’t always linear, and sometimes it’s essential to take a step back and reconsider how they’re developing their work.

As an educator, you may want to review your student’s work with them during the editing process before they move on to the publishing phase. Depending on the amount of correction needed and the types of writing your students are working on, you may want to ask them to go back and create a new draft before they enter the final phase of the process. While there’s no need to re-do the pre-writing activities associated with the beginning of the writing process, exploring the draft, revision, and editing phases can make for a smoother final copy.

The publishing process will look different from classroom to classroom, and it’s up to you and your students to decide how they’d like to publish their writing. Some educators put student work into a binder of stories to distribute at the end of the year. Sometimes, simply printing a final edit of their work for them to take home to their parents can be enough to help them feel like a writer. Talk to your students about how they’d like their work to be shared. Creating a classroom website or blog can also be fun for students to share their work with others.

As a teacher, providing feedback to young children and adults on their writing can be tough, especially when you know it’s something they’ve been working to improve. However, providing direct, kind, constructive feedback can go a long way in helping students to become better writers.

When possible, try complimenting students’ writing skills while providing constructive feedback. This helps students see many positive points in their work and can help them feel motivated to continue working on their writing in the future. You may also want to create a system in your classroom that allows students to provide anonymous feedback to one another. This can allow students to read the work of others without bias and can help students feel less nervous about their peers reading their work.

Digital Tools for Teaching Writing

Technology makes it easier than ever to teach writing, as long as you know how to use the tools you have at your disposal. Here, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most effective tools you can use to help your students boost their writing skills inside and outside the classroom.

1.  Grammarly

We know–correcting the tiny grammatical mistakes that your students make day in and day out can take a toll on you as an educator. Grammarly makes it simple for students to correct spelling and grammar mistakes and explains why certain words, phrases, and structures should be changed.

The free version of Grammarly works perfectly and provides your students with everything they need to grow as writers. In addition, when your students use a Grammarly account, their work is cloud-based and can be accessed from both school and home, making it simple for them to keep working on their writing no matter where they are.

2.  Google Docs

Like Grammarly, Google Docs makes it simple for students to keep working on their writing at school and at home. Google Docs allows multiple people to edit a document, allowing you and your students to work together to create a top-notch piece of writing. With Google Docs, you’ll also be able to make comments to your students about their writing, ask questions, and create a dialouge that allows you to understand their goals

3.  Purdue OWL

Older students will benefit from using the Purdue Online Writing Lab, or OWL, to give them the information they need to make their writing meet currently acceptable journalistic and academic standards. In addition to providing basic information on grammar, the Purdue OWL also offers citation instructions for both APA and MLA formats and can help students figure out how to create technically correct writing. Students must check against the OWL regularly, as APA and MLA requirements change from time to time.

4.  Hemingway Editor

Hemingway’s short, concise sentences and to-the-point descriptions made his writing clear and bold. Readers love Hemingway because he broke down cumbersome topics in a way that made them accessible, and many readers today strive to emulate the timeless author’s style of writing.

Another tool best suited for high school and college students, the Hemingway Editor, helps students find grammar errors and uses of passive voice, which many agree are best avoided in academic and professional writing. A word of caution: Hemingway Editor does not save work, so it’s key that students copy and paste their edited material into a Google Doc or other platform where their work will be saved.


Professional authors and students alike find themselves struggling with using the same words over and over again. Using a site like helps writers learn new words in ways that stick, making it easy to spice up writing without getting repetitive. The site is also helpful for looking up the meaning of a single word but has capabilities that go far beyond offering standard dictionary definitions. Cool bonus: the site is free!

Looking for more? Check out our guide on how to teach paraphrasing to students !

what do i need to teach creative writing

Amanda has an M.S.Ed degree from the University of Pennsylvania in School and Mental Health Counseling and is a National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer. She has experience writing magazine articles, newspaper articles, SEO-friendly web copy, and blog posts.

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How to teach ... creative writing

Summer is the perfect time of year for a spot of creative writing. Inspire young imaginations to put pen to paper with our lesson plans and ideas

From birds chirping aloft the trees to sapphire blue lakes sparkling in the sun, the sights and sounds of summer make it the perfect time of year for a spot of creative writing. Getting students to put pen to paper is a good way to spark their imaginations, develop reading and writing skills, and teach about empathy.

To help you and your class get inventive, this week’s how to teach brings you a selection of ideas and resources to inspire the creativity of young wordsmiths.

Primary students

Author Nick Hesketh recommends that before children start writing, you should discuss what makes a good story. He shares this and other advice in his creative writing video series for the Scottish Book Trust . Get students thinking with these “badly written” exemplars , which provide a handy baseline to work from.

Next, capture young imaginations by getting students to think about the story they want to tell. Where is it set? At what time of day? What is the weather like? What can you hear, see, smell or feel? This worksheet by Creative Writing Now will help students get to know their main character, while this plot questionnaire will encourage them think about what is going to happen. Then get your class penning their masterpieces, writing just a few sentences to begin with. Stress that they shouldn’t worry about spelling, instead, just put a wavy line under any words they are unsure of. There are examples of well thought-out sentences here .

Creative writing should be fun, and playing games is good way to help students develop story ideas. Try an alternative word association game in which you think of words that are at odds with each other (such as “boat” and “rock”) instead of words that are connected (such as “boat” and “water”). The aim is to show that good story ideas often involve some sort of tension. We also have instructions for a fun game called The Invisible Book , which involves students coming up with the first three sentences of a story on the spot, which helps them find their writer’s voice.

If ideas aren’t flowing, kickstart things by stepping outside of the classroom and into the playground as suggested in this resource by WordSpace . Give students unusual things to write on, such as the back of an envelope, a leaf, or a rough piece of wallpaper. Or challenge them to write a short story in just 50 words.

A quick way to conjure up story ideas is through pictures. Use prompts such as this image of two boys sitting on the wing of an aeroplane or this one of a dinosaur in the garden , which can work really well. Another tip from writer and teacher Heather Wright is to ask students to start several stories then choose the one they want to finish. This writing checklist will help students evaluate their work when it’s finished.

Secondary students

Challenge secondary students to write a story in just six words or get them to compile a list of objects for an imaginary cabinet of curiosity. These are just some ideas offered by the Writers’ Centre Norwich , a literature development agency based in England’s only UNESCO City of Literature . They have produced an easy-to-use 20-page activity pack for the classroom, which introduces a range of genres and draws on a variety of writing stimuli including photographs and poems.

If students want to get to the heart of a character, ask them to address the audience as their favourite fictitious creations. Writing a monologue is the focus of this key stage 4 resource by the Poetry Society . A second resource encourages students to create a piece of writing based on what they can – and can’t – see out of an imaginary window. The aim is for students to make effective use of descriptive detail as they write short lines of poetry in response to a series of prompts. As a homework task, ask students to repeat the exercise while looking out of a real window.

Students doing creative writing at A-level need to work in a whole range of written forms and genres including creative non-fiction and web content. They should be prepared to share work-in-progress with others, responding to feedback and developing drafting and editing skills. They should also write regularly to deadlines and keep a journal of writing ideas. You’ll find useful advice on approaching the first term of teaching in this guide by AQA . You’ll also find additional ideas to support learning and teaching here .

For those who are eager to take creative writing even further, this resource offers useful information on how to set up a creative writing club.

Finally, remember to encourage young people to read as often and as widely as possible – this is one of the most effective ways to teach creative writing. With this in mind, be sure to set your students off on the Summer Reading Challenge . You’ll find lots of reading and writing activities in this year’s pack .

Follow us on Twitter via @GuardianTeach . Join the Guardian Teacher Network for lesson resources, comment and job opportunities , direct to your inbox.

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Let’s say you’re an English academic. English literature. A medievalist. And at very late notice you’ve been asked to run a workshop for a creative writing colleague who has just won a literary prize and needs to go and collect it, in Bremen. Or has just tested positive for Covid. You have three hours to prepare. This is for you.  

As part of my PGCE training , I did a teaching observation on a class taught by a fellow academic, and she did the same for me.  Her class was on the history of art. It was a conventional lecture with PowerPoint. Bullet points, questions at the end.  My class was a conventional creative writing workshop. Student stories submitted, discussed.

After her students all filed out, the first thing I said to her was: “That was so interesting. I learned a lot.”

After my students had all filed out, the first thing she said to me was: “That isn’t teaching, it’s more like…ego-management.”  

She was right.

Ego management is a perfect description; and a lot of how a creative writing workshop works or doesn’t work depends on the students’ respect or lack of respect for the tutor.  If the tutor has published lots of books, or a few successful books, they will get respect – for the first few minutes, anyway. The students will assume this person is worth listening to, because they’ve fulfilled the students’ ambition: to be known as a writer.

If you don’t have this publication record (prizes help, too), then you will have to earn the workshop’s respect another way.

Over the course of a few weeks, you can gain respect just by being a good, attentive tutor, as you are in an English seminar. Within two or three workshops, you can do this by managing their individual egos amusingly or tactfully. But if you haven’t got that much time – if you just have to walk into the classroom and start running a discussion on their short stories – then you’ll have to be more direct.

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Most of all you can earn the respect of the workshop group by having read more than they have, and by putting that lifetime’s reading immediately and practically to their use.  You and your knowledge are there for them, and you’re starting from where they start. Today, on this page, in this sentence. This might seem obvious, but it’s often not how literature is taught.

It’s likely that where you usually start is, say, the Penguin edition of Margery Kempe rather than, say, an Epic Tale of Sword and Sorcery featuring Ninja Squirrels Who Can Fly .

What students particularly respond to is your knowledge and love of the genre they themselves are writing. And if that doesn’t yet include Ninja squirrels, it does (because you’re a medievalist) include dream visions, battles between good and evil, fantasies of flight and basic story structures.

If you know where a student’s coming from – that they adore Sally Rooney or W. G. Sebald or Neil Gaiman – and you display knowledge of and respect for that writer, you will go up in that student’s estimation. Even if they don’t immediately take to you personally, they will feel reassured that you’re not lazily misreading or showing disdain for them or their work.  

Because of this, it is absolutely essential that you never slag off any published writers when speaking in a workshop.  Quite possibly, one of these “bad”  writers was what got a student into reading in the first place.

Among the first long books I ever read were Jeffrey Archer’s Kane and Abel and R. F. Delderfield’s Diana . In both cases, I enjoyed them and was proud of myself for finishing so many pages. If an authority figure had sneered at them, and by implication sneered at me for liking them, and done this in front of other people, I might have been done with reading forever.

With every writer that is mentioned in the workshop, you should focus on what they are good at and what can be learned from them. Archer is very skilled at getting the reader to keep turning the pages by use of big, catchy, high-stakes plots. Delderfield makes the reader care a great deal about the emotional life of the main character. How? Well, let’s look at how you’re doing it in your story…

No one ever became a better writer by sneering at other writers.

I’d suggest that the best view to take, in or out of a workshop, is that there’s no such thing as bad writing, only inappropriate or misplaced writing.

So when you start the discussion about a student’s story, ask the group what they thought it was doing right. What is already working? Then someone will say “but…” and you can take it from there. Don’t let the first student who speaks turn the tenor of the conversation to criticism.

Before the workshop, you should closely read each story, so as to identify at least three things to praise. Some neat characterisation here, some real emotional depth there or, as a last resort, the pacing and energy.  Just as with written feedback, a workshop discussion of a story should be a sandwich. Begin and end with enough praise to help the student assimilate the critique in between.

Toby Litt is an associate professor of creative writing at the University of Southampton. His latest book is A Writer’s Diary (Gallery Beggar Press, 2023).

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How to Teach Writing - Resources for Creative Writing Teachers

Fiction writing course syllabus with lesson plans, fiction writing exercises and worksheets, resources for teaching introductory poetry writing, resources for teaching children.

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How to teach writing - general thoughts

  • help students to understand the elements of craft (e.g., story structure, poetic meter, etc.) so that they can recognize them in their reading and consciously experiment with them in their writing.
  • open students' eyes to the options available to them when they write a story or poem (e.g., "showing" instead of "telling", using different kinds of narrators and narrative viewpoints, using different poetic forms).
  • encourage students to become close observers of the world around them and to find creative material in their environments.
  • teach students the value of specificity, of using all five senses to discover details that may not be obvious to the casual observer.
  • help students to separate the processes of writing and editing, to avoid self-criticism while writing their rough drafts to allow ideas to flow freely (for this to work, their teachers also have to avoid criticizing rough drafts!). Teach students to treat self-editing as a separate stage in the writing process.
  • get students reading in the genre they'll be writing; e.g., if they're writing poetry, encourage them to read a lot of poems.
  • help students learn to trust their own perspectives and observations, to believe that they have something interesting to say.
  • teach students not to wait for inspiration, that they can write even when not inspired.
  • get students excited about writing!

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Creative Writing Skills: 6 Lessons You Need To Teach Today

Creative Writing Skills: 6 Lessons You Need To Teach Today

So, you’re going to teach Creative Writing. Congratulations! Now comes the hard part–what exactly does that mean? What should you be teaching? What skills should your students be learning? In this post, I’m going to share some essential Creative Writing skills you should be teaching in your high school Creative Writing class. 

If you’re looking for more tips to teach Creative Writing, check out this post . And if you need help planning the Creative Writing semester, this post should help . 

(Looking to skip the planning entirely? Grab all of my Creative Writing skills lessons right here! )

"Creative Writing Skills: 6 Lessons You Need to Teach Today" It's Lit Teaching blog post Pinterest pin

Creative Writing Skills #1: Show. Don’t Tell.

The advice to “show, don’t tell” is some of the oldest and most consistent advice given to young writers. And it’s for a good reason–they really struggle with it!

About half of my students come into Creative Writing with these big elaborate stories they want to tell. But when they actually get into writing, their stories feel more like a list of events that happened. 

I’ve seen months of plot happen in just a paragraph of my students’ writing. Students need to learn to slow down and create an experience for their readers. It’s how a story unfolds, after all, that makes it worthwhile–not the events themselves. 

Tips for Teaching “Show. Don’t Tell”

Cover of It's Lit Teaching Product: Creative Writing Workshop and Mini Lesson for Showing, Not Telling in Writing

Like all creative writing skills, you’ll want to show your students some really good mentor texts first . Find some excerpts from books with really juicy descriptions. Share these with your students. 

After they have some examples, give students time to try “telling” an event, description, or emotion instead of “showing” it. 

I do this by giving each student a “telling sentence” and asking them to turn it into a “showing” paragraph. A student might get a sentence that says something like, “Billy felt angry.” Then, they’ll have to write a whole paragraph that implies Billy is angry without actually saying it bluntly. 

If you want to save yourself some time (and the mental anguish of brainstorming a bunch of bland sentences), you can get my “Show. Don’t Tell” Mini-Lesson right here. It includes a slideshow, student worksheets, and those telling sentences.  

what do i need to teach creative writing

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Creative Writing Skills #2: Precise and Concise Language Choice

Now that your students are learning to slow down and offer descriptions in their writing, it’s time to help them focus on their word choice. 

Diction is immensely important to a writer–especially when storytelling gets more advanced. A lot of our students want to write down the first words that come to their minds and then “be done.” 

But we know great writing doesn’t happen like that. We have to teach our students to find the best word, not the first word–without abusing a thesaurus. 

Tips for Teaching Better Word Choice

First, you’ll want to show your students some examples of really great concise and precise word choice. You’ll also want to show some not-so-great examples. The comparison should be eye-opening for your students. 

Now, the best way to become more precise in your diction is to improve your vocabulary. We probably can’t make great strides in improving our students’ vocabulary in just a quarter or semester of Creative Writing. 

what do i need to teach creative writing

But we can show them how to improve some of the most commonly used vague language . One great example of this is the word “got.” 

It’s pretty rare that “got” is the best verb for a situation, but we–and our students–use it all the time. If we can teach students that “got” is a red flag for vague language, that’s a huge step!

We can also teach our students to avoid filler words. 

If you need help putting this all together in a lesson, I have a no-prep Precise and Concise Langauge Mini-Lesson right here for you . Included is a slideshow, students worksheets, and a reference handout for students they can use every day. 

Creative Writing Skills #3: Dialogue

Your students are starting to put words on a page and–hey–they’re not bad!

But at some point, your students are going to have their characters talk to each other. And this can be when stories get really, really bad. 

Early on in your Creative Writing class, encourage your students to start listening to the way others speak. Where do they pause? What slang do they use? When do they use complete sentences and when don’t they? You can even ask students to jot down conversations they overhear.

A great writer has an ear for dialogue, and this skill begins when students become aware of speech around them. Encouraging them to eavesdrop will help them write realistic dialogue later.  Just remind them to be respectful. Eavesdropping in the cafeteria is one thing. Listening outside someone’s bedroom door is another.

Our students not only struggle with mimicking real, authentic speech, but they also struggle with punctuating it. Depending on the skill level of your students, you may have to pick your battles here. Cheesy speech might be worth ignoring if there’s no quotation mark in sight. 

Tips for Teaching Dialogue Writing

First, and foremost, I like to cover punctuating dialogue first. For one reason, it’s because punctuating dialogue is either right or wrong. It’s easier to learn something that is objective. 

what do i need to teach creative writing

For another reason, I, personally, can’t stand reading poorly punctuated dialogue. My English teacher’s eyes just can’t see past it. 

Only once the quotation marks, commas, and periods are at least close to the right spot do I focus on trying to improve the content of students’ dialogue. 

Students’ dialogue writing is only going to get better through practice and observing real-life speech. However, you can give them some tips for writing dialogue better. 

For example, remind your students not to have characters talk too much . I’ve seen stories with pages and pages of dialogue. Each character’s every little “hi,” “‘sup?” and “‘nothin’ much” gets recorded. Let your students know they can skip anything that doesn’t add value to the story. 

If you need help planning this lesson, I have a done-for-you Dialogue Mini-lesson right here. It includes a slideshow lesson, worksheets for focusing on both punctuation and craft, and a writing exercise. Get it here. 

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Creative Writing Skills #4: Mood

If you can only teach your students the above Creative Writing skills, you will no doubt improve their writing tremendously. But if you want to take your students’ writing up a notch, encourage them to think about the mood in their poetry and stories.  

Students will no doubt have heard this literary term from their regular English classes, but it’s always worth reviewing first. Plus, they’ve probably read for mood, but creating it is a totally different game. 

Tips for Teaching Mood

There are so many ways you can teach your students to create mood. It’s a pretty fun topic!

You might want to begin with some brainstorming. Like, what kind of mood might a horror story have? A comedy? You want students to understand why, as a writer, mastering mood is important to them. 

what do i need to teach creative writing

Then, like always, you’ll want to share some solid mentor texts. I love horror stories for showcasing well-written mood, but love poems are also good for this. 

Whenever possible in Creative Writing, I like to mix up the media, so I have students first analyze the mood of various classic paintings. As an English teacher, it tickles me to show students that these literary terms apply to art of all kind. Film clips would work really well, too. 

Then, challenge students to write a scene and evoke a specific mood. You could randomly assign the mood or let students pick. 

In my Mood Mini-Lesson , I have students analyze the mood in painting first. Then, I have them choose a card. Each card has a different mood written on it. Then, students must describe a setting that evokes that mood. You can get this mood lesson for yourself here.  

Creative Writing Skills #5: Tone

Well, if you’re going to teach mood, then tone is the likely next skill, right?

Teaching tone and mood is important because their differences are subtle, but important. Until students study tone, they might mistake it for mood and mix the two together. 

I never expect my students to master tone. It’s difficult and something that even professional writers polish over the course of many drafts. But it doesn’t hurt to get students thinking about the impact of their word choice. 

Don’t forget to remind students of the importance of choosing those precise and concise words. With tone, it’s truly what makes a difference. 

Tips for Teaching Tone

After defining tone and showing great examples of it to your students, give them some space to practice identifying it.  

Cover for It's Lit Teaching product: Creative Writing Mini Lesson and Workshop Tone

I like to cover informal and formal tones–not just emotional tones. Identifying whether a piece of writing is formal or informal is a great first step for students. It’s a little easier but an important skill and might give your students a bit of confidence in their tone-identifying skills. 

Once they know what tone looks like, they can try to create it themselves.  

The activity I do involves having students write a short scene.

I randomly give my students a tone to use. I also randomly give them a situation. So, a student may have to describe “eating lunch in the cafeteria” with a “romantic” tone. The results can be pretty entertaining!

If that sounds like a lesson you’d like, you can get my Tone Mini-Lesson right here . Includes are a slideshow, students worksheets, and the slips for tones and situations.

And, if you’re teaching mood and tone, I have a FREE Mood and Tone Handout right here!

Creative Writing Skills #6: Voice

I put voice last in this blog post, but it could just as easily have been first. Voice is difficult to define for students, but it’s something they should be working on crafting throughout your whole Creative Writing class. 

Even if your students never quite master their literary voice (who does?), it’s a good skill to discuss with them. If students understand the concept of literary voice, it will make them better writers and more analytical readers. 

Tips for Teaching Literary Voice

You’ll first have to define voice for your students. This can be challenging. It might be easier to focus on a few aspects of voice–like diction or syntax–in order to explain the concept. 

Discuss with students their favorite authors. What does their “voice” sound like? What about the authors you’ve read and studied together?

what do i need to teach creative writing

Give students examples of strong voice to examine (the stronger the better). Have them discuss the techniques and style of each mentor text. 

To drive this home, I do a fun activity with my students. I take three very different poems by authors with very different voices. Then, I cut them up, line by line, and mix the three poems together. My students are then tasked with putting the poems back together!

To do this successfully, they’ll have to look for styles that match. Rhyming may be part of one author’s voice, but not another. One author may create a dark mood while another uses humor consistently. It’s a great way to drive home how voice can be an author’s calling card. 

This activity and some additional practice are included in my Voice Mini-lesson . Also included is a slideshow to introduce the concept. You can save yourself some time and get the lesson here. 

"Creative Writing Skills: 6 Lessons You Need to Teach Today" It's Lit Teaching blog post Pinterest pin

These are some skills that I think are essential for any Creative Writing class. There’s no one right way to teach any of these skills, and teaching from multiple angles is best. 

Whenever possible, I like to make my Creative Writing lessons hands-on. Even the most die-hard students get sick of writing every minute of every class. 

If you, too, would like some hands-on lessons and short activities that cover these essential skills, check out my Creative Writing Workshops Bundle . Each lesson includes everything you need to teach, model, and help your students master these skills one at a time. 

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Teachers Workshop

A Duke TIP Blog

Why Teach Creative Writing? Part 1

October 5, 2017 By Lyn Fairchild Hawks Leave a Comment

This post provides a rationale for teaching creative writing often. It’s part of a larger series on integrating creative writing in your curriculum.

“Design. Story. Symphony. Empathy. Play. Meaning. These six senses increasingly will guide our lives and shape our world.” ― Daniel H. Pink,  A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future

Give Them a Voice

what do i need to teach creative writing

Me and Mrs. D. She let me draw, too–a set for my play.

When my seventh grade teacher said, “Yes, Lyn, we can perform the play you just wrote about time travel!” I was one ecstatic kid. The play I’d spent so many hours writing–she thought it deserved an audience! Mrs. Dunckel, my beloved English and Social Studies teacher, said yes to my creativity, risk taking, and passion that till then, lived hidden and parallel to school, despite being inspired by the history textbook.

Today as I write my young adult novels, I play with character, plot, point of view, setting, and style–and then worry obsessively about whether my work makes people want to turn the page. When I write professionally for Duke TIP, I think about voice, purpose, angle, and organization, what I consider the nonfiction twins of creative writing tools. Then I worry obsessing about whether I’m crafting a narrative easily read by the busy online educator. (Are you still reading?)

What’s your rationale for teaching creative writing? How often do you teach it, and why?

Share with us below , all i really need to know, i learned from creative writing….

what do i need to teach creative writing

Natural-born storytellers shouldn’t be stymied when the pen hits the page, but some of our most gifted writers, cultural icons, even, complain of being stifled in English class. There’s the famous story of S.E. Hinton, 17 year-old author of The Outsiders , who earned a B while changing the face of children’s literature (some credit her with “starting” the YA genre). Why wasn’t her “ burning desire to tell another story, one she observed daily at school — the hostilities among her peers, divided by social class ” enough to get the A?

It’s likely there was little space for her stories. Mrs. Dunckel gave me that space.

Best of Both Worlds

Why, then, doesn’t our writing curriculum root heavily in the art of the personal narrative while we attempt to analyze someone else’s? Why aren’t students writing more short stories and novels and screenplays of every genre? Standards and tests, sure–everyone’s confined by those. But what if…(the beautiful question fueling every speculative fiction piece)..what if we could make it all work together? What if personal narrative and fiction writing were part of every week of the curriculum? What might the world have already seen from Angie Thomas, 29 year-old author of the current New York Times YA bestseller, The Hate U Give , had she been able to start the story, right as she was living it, at age 16 in her classroom?

what do i need to teach creative writing

“Folks, set your watches for ancient Egypt! Next, ancient Rome!” I and my classmates who played historical figures and time travelers featured in my play, getting ourselves into high jinks happening across time–trust it was much harder to forget those facts of history. When creativity meets lists of facts, stuff sticks.

This idea of blending creative work with content and skill standards  is nothing new in the realm of education: trail blazers have set us afire with brilliant ideas for many decades, such as Nancie Atwell , whose writing workshop method allows students mine the richness of their lives for daily work on personal stories and nonfiction pieces. There are programs such as Phillips Exeter where students focus writing practice intensively in 9th and 10th grades as they craft the personal narrative.

Beginning with a person’s deep and innate interest–the self–we can train students to create believable characters, compelling plots, and vivid settings, all the while turning to mentor texts as great examples of “how to.”

It’s not only standards-based learning. It’s a design for learning that allows time for direct instruction, group instruction, independent work, and group sharing.

Habits of Mind Creative Writing Creates

The world’s problems have historically been solved by the most fluent and flexible of thinkers. So imagining new ways in and out of trouble–which is essentially all authors do, torture their characters!–is great practice for just about all disciplines.  Fluency is a generative aspect of creativity, the ability to produce many ideas in response to open-ended problems, while flexibility is the talent for seeing a problem from many perspectives, trying many different approaches, and categorizing ideas in a variety of ways. Society’s greatest innovators aren’t afraid of thought experiments and discarding ideas that don’t work, so writing prompts that encourage fluency, flexibility, and revision are key.

The Big Questions

Here are some of the high level essential understandings and questions that students derive and explore–along with their own epiphanies–when we let creative writing unfurl in your classroom. There are far more, but let’s look at just a few. These understandings try to cultivate flexibility, fluency, and risk taking. These are excerpted from Duke TIP’s  Creative Writing: Adventures Through Time .

Essential Understandings: Students will understand:

  • Authors have a range of characterization options to explore when developing a fictional personality.
  • Authors balance several variables during character development, including traits and motivations.
  • Professional authors are good observers and listeners.

Essential Questions: Students will explore:

  • How do the Six Threads of Characterization intersect with character traits to establish clear character motivations?
  • What traits should I develop in my characters?
  • Do I want to research a particular back story or setting related to a certain character?

For tips on how to integrate your “regular” curriculum with regular creative writing experiences, check out Why Creative Writing, Part 2 .

Want a lesson plan for kicking off a creative writing unit with a preassessment? Head here  to Lesson Blueprints.

Maybe a Unit?

If your school or district or state is not keen on this type of curriculum, you may be able to teach as a short unit or integrate piecemeal elements of Duke TIP’s Creative Writing: Adventures Through Time , a curriculum that can be a few days’, weeks’, or months’ worth of materials for gifted elementary and middle school students. And guess what–kids get to travel to ancient Egypt and Rome in this one, too!

what do i need to teach creative writing

About Lyn Fairchild Hawks

Lyn Fairchild Hawks currently serves as Director for Curriculum and Instruction for Duke TIP’s distance learning programs, where she supervises teachers and designs curricula and online student benefits. A long-time teacher, Lyn has published curricula with TIP, NCTE, Chicago Review Press, and ASCD. She is author of Teaching Julius Caesar: A Differentiated Approach and coauthor of Teaching Romeo and Juliet: A Differentiated Approach and The Compassionate Classroom: Lessons that Nurture Wisdom and Empathy . She is also an author of the young-adult novel, How Wendy Redbird Dancing Survived the Dark Ages of Nought , for high school students, and coauthor of the graphic novella, Minerda , for middle grade students. She is represented by Tara Gelsomino of One Track Literary Agency.

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How to Effectively Teach Creative Writing in Elementary

Today let’s discuss how to  effectively teach creative writing at the elementary level.  Creative writing is such an important writing skill to teach students from a young age. Young writers need to understand the concept of creative writing as using their imagination to express themselves freely through words. 

It’s not just about proper grammar and spelling  (though those are important too!) , but rather about sparking their  creativity , allowing them to dream up  unique characters , exciting adventures, and incredible worlds. By nurturing their storytelling abilities early on, we’re not just helping them become better writers, but also fostering their confidence, encouraging self-expression, and igniting a lifelong love for writing. So, let’s dive into some strategies and tips to make your creative writing lesson plans a hit in your elementary classroom!

How to effectively teach creative writing in elementary

What is Creative Writing?

Creative writing is essentially writing in which the author uses his or her imagination to create a story. Creative writing in simple terms refers to the process of expressing thoughts, ideas and stories in a unique and imaginative way.

It’s about letting children’s minds wander  freely,  encouraging them to use their  imagination  to create characters, settings, and plots. Creative writing isn’t just about grammar and spelling; it’s about fostering a love for storytelling, allowing kids to explore their creativity, and helping them find their voice through words on paper. It’s a journey that encourages self-expression, builds confidence, and nurtures a lifelong appreciation for writing. The whole purpose of creative writing is to think outside the box and stray from traditional structures and norms. 

Creative writing falls under one of the 5 categories of writing but it also combines a lot of these styles together:

  • Narrative Writing
  • Descriptive Writing
  • Persuasive Writing
  • Expository Writing
  • Creative Writing

Creative Writing Lesson Plans Don’t Have to Be Difficult

Finding creative ways for students to write using their imaginations doesn’t have to be difficult. No matter the grade level, creative writing lessons should offer plenty of opportunities for students to tell their point of view on a subject. Don’t let creating lesson plans for creative writing be a headache! It’s all about giving kids the chance to let loose and share their thoughts in their own special way. 

Whether they’re in 2nd grade, 3rd grade, or 5th grade, the key is to let their imagination run wild. Get them talking about what interests them, throw in some fun prompts, and watch the magic happen! Mix things up with different writing styles – stories, poems, even real-life tales. Make it a safe space where they feel free to jot down whatever comes to mind. By balancing a bit of structure with loads of creative freedom, teaching creative writing becomes a blast for both the teachers and the students!

creative writing lessons don't have to be difficult

Here’s How to Teach a Creative Writing Activity to Elementary Students:

1. start with creative writing prompts.

One of the first activities you can try is using writing prompts with students. Writing prompts are a great tool to get students’ brain juices flowing, no matter if they are elementary, middle school, or high school students! Coming up with writing topics for younger students can be especially challenging sometimes. 

Inside   the   How to Write a Paragraph Year-Long Bundle   there are specific writing prompts that are  scaffolded and differentiated  to meet  all  learner’s needs. You will find everything you need inside this resource to  help your students who struggle with writing understand how to write a paragraph  all   YEAR LONG …  trust us! It allows for easy planning for your writing lessons because it’s got different seasonal writing resources and prompts inside no matter what time of year it is. These are the perfect place to start to get your students writing based on themes. 

Once they are comfortable in this category, then it’s time to actually get them to come up with some of their own ideas to write about now   (after all that is the ENTIRE point of a creative writing lesson!)

Try with these juicy writing prompts below to help get your student’s creativity flowing if they need help coming up with a topic to write about :

  • Personal memories: “Tell about someone who taught you something really important.”
  • Imaginative scenarios: “Let’s create a wild story set in a world where anything goes!”
  • Prompts based on a familiar mentor text: “What if your favorite book ended differently? Give it a new twist!”
  • Lead-in sentences: “I saw myself in the mirror and couldn’t believe what I saw. Overnight, I…”
  • Fascinating or thought-provoking images with a directive: “Who do you think calls this log cabin home? Tell us their story and what they’re up to!”

2. Break Down the Prompts Together

Do NOT rush this next step! We need to make sure our students are coming up with unique and creative writing ideas. During this first week’s lesson plan, you want to make sure students know exactly what they are getting themselves into with the creative writing process. Make it known that these prompts above are to help guide them and their imagination. Help to break down what each prompt is asking/ looking for:

For example, if the prompt says “I saw myself in the mirror and couldn’t believe what I saw. Overnight, I…,” then what questions should the students be asking?

Hopefully, they will tell you they want to know what they look like in the mirror right now.

Then you can have students think of 5 possible situations for what happened and how they look.

3. Do a 5 Minute “Free Write Brain Dump”

During the next step of a creative writing lesson plan, encourage students to do a brain dump in their writing journals on all of their  prior knowledge  on the subject that they will be writing about. This lets you know a couple of things as the teacher: Do they have their own experience on this topic and enough background knowledge? Does the subject areas that they are free-writing about make sense for the creative writing topic? This should only take about 5 minutes and you are NOT worried about spelling or grammar during this step.

For example: if they are planning to write about the solar system but they don’t have much to say during this free write brain dump, this is where you may want to incorporate a mini lesson or guided conference with you to make sure they are picking a topic that they have a lot of background knowledge about or can at least figure out where to find the answers they might need for their writing.

The “free write brain dump” is helpful for students to see a couple of things- okay I know enough information about this topic and am ready to organize my thoughts  OR  I had a hard time just coming up with random thoughts to write about…maybe I need a need a new topic. It will truly help decide their confidence factor for this assignment.

creative writing lesson plans

4. Start Your Planning Process

The next step in your creative writing unit should be having students take their decided-upon creative writing topic and  organize  their thoughts and ideas. This step is super important because you want the information to be in the students’ own writing but you also want to make sure they have a plan for how to get their point across.  Your stronger writers may be ready to go but some may need a bit more structure set up to help them.

There are a couple of different ways they can organize their ideas:

Use Graphic Organizers

Graphic organizers are the perfect thing to use if students want to stick with a paragraph-type writing structure. For your lower writers, this might be the way to go because graphic organizers make planning a lot easier and the structure makes it super easy to follow. Graphic organizers also help break down the writing process into chunks so it doesn’t feel like such a difficult task to students who may struggle more with their writing skills or for  ESL students.

Character Development Worksheets

Provide worksheets that prompt students to describe the characters in detail that they want in their story. Include sections for physical appearance, personality traits, motivations, and character arcs. This helps students develop well-rounded characters before they start writing.

Peer Brainstorming

Organize small group brainstorming sessions where students can share their ideas and receive feedback from their peers. This way can totally help students polish up their ideas and come up with fresh new ones for their creative writing.

use peer writing in a creative writing lesson

Story Boarding

Encourage students to create a visual storyboard for their story. They can draw a series of pictures or scenes that outline the plot, helping them visualize the sequence of events in their narrative. We really love this idea for planning for students who are learning English as a second language and students who have more difficulties communicating their thoughts out loud.

Voice Recording

Finally, one last idea: If your students are feeling unsure about writing things down, suggest they talk it out and record their thoughts on a device such as a classroom iPad.

They might be amazed at how easily their spoken words turn into great written stuff on the page! This is another favorite of ours for those students who struggle with getting their thoughts on paper or are learning English as a second language.

During the planning phase , it is a good time to take the opportunity to do any  mini lessons  you feel needed with students on any of the skills above.

5. Write the Rough Draft

Next is taking the creative narrative and putting it into a rough draft version using their planning method. It’s time for them to start coming up with their own creative short story. Do they have a main character? Is there a problem and solution? Does the writing make sense? After the rough draft, it can be super beneficial to meet with students individually or in small groups to give feedback before they move forward on the final copy. 

Word of advice: Don’t worry about spelling or grammar too much in the rough draft phase! Just help students get their thoughts out onto paper!

6. Time To Write the Final Draft

As the creative writing journey nears its conclusion, it’s time to guide your students toward the crucial phase of crafting their final drafts. This stage marks a shift towards independent work, where students take ownership of refining their narratives. Encourage them to enrich their stories with vibrant sensory details to help bring the writing to life.

This isn’t just about polishing; it’s about infusing their words with emotions and imagination. The final draft represents all of their hard work! Make sure you help them reach their fullest potential with their creative writing and storytelling skills!

A Final Word on Teaching Creative Writing to Elementary Students

When planning your creative writing lesson plans for the school year, it’s best to think about the  overall entire writing process.  For students that you KNOW creative writing will be a challenge for, take some time during English language arts sessions and work with them on the simple structures of writing to help build their confidence. If they struggle with the mechanics and confidence to write, they honestly may not be ready for the creative writing process just yet. Use the resource below to help them refine their writing skills so that all of your students can be a confident and creative writer!

creative writing lesson plans prompts

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Classroom Q&A

With larry ferlazzo.

In this EdWeek blog, an experiment in knowledge-gathering, Ferlazzo will address readers’ questions on classroom management, ELL instruction, lesson planning, and other issues facing teachers. Send your questions to [email protected]. Read more from this blog.

Four Strategies for Effective Writing Instruction

what do i need to teach creative writing

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(This is the first post in a two-part series.)

The new question-of-the-week is:

What is the single most effective instructional strategy you have used to teach writing?

Teaching and learning good writing can be a challenge to educators and students alike.

The topic is no stranger to this column—you can see many previous related posts at Writing Instruction .

But I don’t think any of us can get too much good instructional advice in this area.

Today, Jenny Vo, Michele Morgan, and Joy Hamm share wisdom gained from their teaching experience.

Before I turn over the column to them, though, I’d like to share my favorite tool(s).

Graphic organizers, including writing frames (which are basically more expansive sentence starters) and writing structures (which function more as guides and less as “fill-in-the-blanks”) are critical elements of my writing instruction.

You can see an example of how I incorporate them in my seven-week story-writing unit and in the adaptations I made in it for concurrent teaching.

You might also be interested in The Best Scaffolded Writing Frames For Students .

Now, to today’s guests:

‘Shared Writing’

Jenny Vo earned her B.A. in English from Rice University and her M.Ed. in educational leadership from Lamar University. She has worked with English-learners during all of her 24 years in education and is currently an ESL ISST in Katy ISD in Katy, Texas. Jenny is the president-elect of TexTESOL IV and works to advocate for all ELs:

The single most effective instructional strategy that I have used to teach writing is shared writing. Shared writing is when the teacher and students write collaboratively. In shared writing, the teacher is the primary holder of the pen, even though the process is a collaborative one. The teacher serves as the scribe, while also questioning and prompting the students.

The students engage in discussions with the teacher and their peers on what should be included in the text. Shared writing can be done with the whole class or as a small-group activity.

There are two reasons why I love using shared writing. One, it is a great opportunity for the teacher to model the structures and functions of different types of writing while also weaving in lessons on spelling, punctuation, and grammar.

It is a perfect activity to do at the beginning of the unit for a new genre. Use shared writing to introduce the students to the purpose of the genre. Model the writing process from beginning to end, taking the students from idea generation to planning to drafting to revising to publishing. As you are writing, make sure you refrain from making errors, as you want your finished product to serve as a high-quality model for the students to refer back to as they write independently.

Another reason why I love using shared writing is that it connects the writing process with oral language. As the students co-construct the writing piece with the teacher, they are orally expressing their ideas and listening to the ideas of their classmates. It gives them the opportunity to practice rehearsing what they are going to say before it is written down on paper. Shared writing gives the teacher many opportunities to encourage their quieter or more reluctant students to engage in the discussion with the types of questions the teacher asks.

Writing well is a skill that is developed over time with much practice. Shared writing allows students to engage in the writing process while observing the construction of a high-quality sample. It is a very effective instructional strategy used to teach writing.


‘Four Square’

Michele Morgan has been writing IEPs and behavior plans to help students be more successful for 17 years. She is a national-board-certified teacher, Utah Teacher Fellow with Hope Street Group, and a special education elementary new-teacher specialist with the Granite school district. Follow her @MicheleTMorgan1:

For many students, writing is the most dreaded part of the school day. Writing involves many complex processes that students have to engage in before they produce a product—they must determine what they will write about, they must organize their thoughts into a logical sequence, and they must do the actual writing, whether on a computer or by hand. Still they are not done—they must edit their writing and revise mistakes. With all of that, it’s no wonder that students struggle with writing assignments.

In my years working with elementary special education students, I have found that writing is the most difficult subject to teach. Not only do my students struggle with the writing process, but they often have the added difficulties of not knowing how to spell words and not understanding how to use punctuation correctly. That is why the single most effective strategy I use when teaching writing is the Four Square graphic organizer.

The Four Square instructional strategy was developed in 1999 by Judith S. Gould and Evan Jay Gould. When I first started teaching, a colleague allowed me to borrow the Goulds’ book about using the Four Square method, and I have used it ever since. The Four Square is a graphic organizer that students can make themselves when given a blank sheet of paper. They fold it into four squares and draw a box in the middle of the page. The genius of this instructional strategy is that it can be used by any student, in any grade level, for any writing assignment. These are some of the ways I have used this strategy successfully with my students:

* Writing sentences: Students can write the topic for the sentence in the middle box, and in each square, they can draw pictures of details they want to add to their writing.

* Writing paragraphs: Students write the topic sentence in the middle box. They write a sentence containing a supporting detail in three of the squares and they write a concluding sentence in the last square.

* Writing short essays: Students write what information goes in the topic paragraph in the middle box, then list details to include in supporting paragraphs in the squares.

When I gave students writing assignments, the first thing I had them do was create a Four Square. We did this so often that it became automatic. After filling in the Four Square, they wrote rough drafts by copying their work off of the graphic organizer and into the correct format, either on lined paper or in a Word document. This worked for all of my special education students!

I was able to modify tasks using the Four Square so that all of my students could participate, regardless of their disabilities. Even if they did not know what to write about, they knew how to start the assignment (which is often the hardest part of getting it done!) and they grew to be more confident in their writing abilities.

In addition, when it was time to take the high-stakes state writing tests at the end of the year, this was a strategy my students could use to help them do well on the tests. I was able to give them a sheet of blank paper, and they knew what to do with it. I have used many different curriculum materials and programs to teach writing in the last 16 years, but the Four Square is the one strategy that I have used with every writing assignment, no matter the grade level, because it is so effective.


‘Swift Structures’

Joy Hamm has taught 11 years in a variety of English-language settings, ranging from kindergarten to adult learners. The last few years working with middle and high school Newcomers and completing her M.Ed in TESOL have fostered stronger advocacy in her district and beyond:

A majority of secondary content assessments include open-ended essay questions. Many students falter (not just ELs) because they are unaware of how to quickly organize their thoughts into a cohesive argument. In fact, the WIDA CAN DO Descriptors list level 5 writing proficiency as “organizing details logically and cohesively.” Thus, the most effective cross-curricular secondary writing strategy I use with my intermediate LTELs (long-term English-learners) is what I call “Swift Structures.” This term simply means reading a prompt across any content area and quickly jotting down an outline to organize a strong response.

To implement Swift Structures, begin by displaying a prompt and modeling how to swiftly create a bubble map or outline beginning with a thesis/opinion, then connecting the three main topics, which are each supported by at least three details. Emphasize this is NOT the time for complete sentences, just bulleted words or phrases.

Once the outline is completed, show your ELs how easy it is to plug in transitions, expand the bullets into detailed sentences, and add a brief introduction and conclusion. After modeling and guided practice, set a 5-10 minute timer and have students practice independently. Swift Structures is one of my weekly bell ringers, so students build confidence and skill over time. It is best to start with easy prompts where students have preformed opinions and knowledge in order to focus their attention on the thesis-topics-supporting-details outline, not struggling with the rigor of a content prompt.

Here is one easy prompt example: “Should students be allowed to use their cellphones in class?”

Swift Structure outline:

Thesis - Students should be allowed to use cellphones because (1) higher engagement (2) learning tools/apps (3) gain 21st-century skills

Topic 1. Cellphones create higher engagement in students...

Details A. interactive (Flipgrid, Kahoot)

B. less tempted by distractions

C. teaches responsibility

Topic 2. Furthermore,...access to learning tools...

A. Google Translate description

B. language practice (Duolingo)

C. content tutorials (Kahn Academy)

Topic 3. In addition,...practice 21st-century skills…

Details A. prep for workforce

B. access to information

C. time-management support

This bare-bones outline is like the frame of a house. Get the structure right, and it’s easier to fill in the interior decorating (style, grammar), roof (introduction) and driveway (conclusion). Without the frame, the roof and walls will fall apart, and the reader is left confused by circuitous rubble.

Once LTELs have mastered creating simple Swift Structures in less than 10 minutes, it is time to introduce complex questions similar to prompts found on content assessments or essays. Students need to gain assurance that they can quickly and logically explain and justify their opinions on multiple content essays without freezing under pressure.


Thanks to Jenny, Michele, and Joy for their contributions!

Please feel free to leave a comment with your reactions to the topic or directly to anything that has been said in this post.

Consider contributing a question to be answered in a future post. You can send one to me at [email protected] . When you send it in, let me know if I can use your real name if it’s selected or if you’d prefer remaining anonymous and have a pseudonym in mind.

You can also contact me on Twitter at @Larryferlazzo .

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Language Arts Classroom

Teaching Creative Writing with High School Students

Are you looking for how to teach a creative writing class? Teaching creative writing can benefit reluctant writers. Teach creative writing and meet narrative writing standards. Included are free creative writing assignments for high school.

Teaching creative writing will stretch you as a person and as a teacher. If you’re looking for h ow to teach a creative writing class, I hope my refection process benefits you. 

This past semester, I was tasked with teaching creative writing for the first time. Before I dive into the second semester, I want to reflect on my experiences. This sort of class is one that I will never teach the same way twice because my writers will always have different needs. Still, I need to process what approaches worked and did not work.

If these ideas help another teacher, great! Below is what I learned from teaching creative writing with high school students. As I consider h ow to teach creative writing, I realize that much of the process includes diverse learning tools and encouragement from me to students. 

Also! I have a freebie in this post that you can hand students tomorrow! Sign up for Language Arts Classroom’s library to receive the handout and other freebies:

Are you looking for how to teach a creative writing class? Teaching creative writing can benefit reluctant writers. Teach creative writing & meet narrative writing standards with creative writing activities. Included are free creative writing assignments for high school. Creative writing lessons for high school English classes can add pictures & computer programs to ELA classes. Creative writing assignments high school scaffold the writing process in ninth grade through twelve grade English.

Now, here are my ideas for h ow to teach creative writing with high school students. 

Encourage peer collaboration and feedback.

High school students don’t always value interaction, brainstorming, and creating with peers. Such collaboration is important in any class; in creative writing, it is vital. When I began collaboration with students, I didn’t always see the results I wanted. As I continue to t each creative writing, I realized the importance of providing a model. 

Even though I work with older students, I still need to model the collaborative process. I often did this by writing a sample, verbalizing what I liked and disliked, and asking for student approval. Plus, I never let questionable feedback offend me; I would instead articulate what the student said about my work.

The next time that I teach creative writing, I need to be more intentional with designing feedback. Sure, older students understand that collaboration is important and that kindness moves their messages forward. Still, I should provide exact examples for them to model their feedback.

Creative writing improves with feedback.

Because imaginations dominate the writing, it is easy for students to lose track of transitions and explanations. The story might be interesting, but a fresh reader might be confused. Part of the fun of creative writing includes breaking grammar rules. But! The subtraction of rules can’t include adding confusion. Creative writing assignments for high school must include discussions of structure, organization, and clarity. 

Remind students that at the end of a book, the author thanks a list of people who provided feedback and encouragement. The list of readers is long . Professional writers gladly accept feedback. Train students to think of feedback as part of the process. Show students what authors think of their process.

Students might understand that they should provide feedback, but they should also understand that receiving feedback is important too.

Use images to spur creativity.

Creative writing assignments for high school should include images! Pictures are a perfect scaffolding tool for teaching creative writing. 

This brainstorming technique worked multiple times when students found a wall. Grab some pictures from the Internet and compile them into a presentation like I did for this character activity . You can also head outside or ask students to contribute pictures. I have many Pinterest boards that inspire my own writing. Encourage students to develop a process that inspires them as writers.

Now that you have pictures, try brainstorming. What colors, depths, and shadows do students see in these images? How can those descriptions better their writing?

Another opportunity for images is to head outside with your writers. You might focus students by providing certain images for them to analyze.

Review dialogue rules.

Dialogue confused my students, and I’m not sure I have a solid reason as to why. I’m guessing that the rules differ from citations in formal writing, and that is their typical writing assignment. I had my students bookmark this page . We reviewed and practiced dialogue frequently.

Practicing punctuation, reviewing grammar rules, and breaking grammar rules can be great addition to teach creative writing.

Are you looking for how to teach a creative writing class? Teaching creative writing can benefit reluctant writers. Teach creative writing & meet narrative writing standards with creative writing activities. Included are free creative writing assignments for high school. Creative writing lessons for high school English classes can add pictures & computer programs to ELA classes. Creative writing assignments high school scaffold the writing process in ninth grade through twelve grade English.

Implement literary devices.

All those literary devices students find in literature? Now it is their turn to implement them! Some, like similes and direct characterization, come naturally. Students automatically include many literary devices. Don’t be afraid to read literature as you teach creative writing. Inspiration and examples help young writers, especially concerning literary devices.

Trickier literary devices? My class and I really worked with indirect characterization, conflicts , and setting . Students had too much telling and not enough showing. I’ve found that using pictures is a great scaffolding technique as I teach creative writing. Pictures inspire students to see angles they normally wouldn’t by simply imagining their story. Pictures provide a step for students as they implement literary devices in their creative writing activities.

As I teach creative writing, I realize the importance of pulling examples from literature. Students read creative writing! Emphasize that point with them. 

Develop characters.

Whatever your creative writing activities for high school students, you should include character development. Students really bloom when they craft characters. Sometimes students need prompting, so I created a brainstorming list for students, and you may download it for free .

Why did I do this? Creating and developing characters is hard! Students know interesting characters; in fact, I spent time brainstorming memorable ones with students. Then, we discussed why those characters stayed in their memories.

From our discussions, students realized that these characters have multiple levels. They have quirks and unlikable traits. No human is perfect; a realistic character isn’t either. We gave our characters mild obsessions (chewing nails), memorable habits (eating cheesy waffles for breakfast), and a unique style (red jean jacket). To do this, I asked characters to brainstorm more information for their character than they would ever include in their story. Creative writing assignments for high school can be analytical: Older students have years of viewing and reading characters!

Why? Well, students then had an image of the character which flowed into the development. The ideas were easier to weave into the story when students had this background information. Finally, students had a unique character they invested in before they began writing a story.

Teaching creative writing was rewarding in many ways. Students expressed their concerns and fears, joys and triumphs. When I took over this class, I wondered what the outcome would be. This was my first experience teaching creative writing, and I was nervous. Now as I prepare for the new semester, I’m excited to see what students develop and what I can create to help them.

You are welcome to download the characterization brainstorming sheet for free! Sign-up for Language Art Classroom’s library to download it and other freebies.

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Character creation is part of narrative writing

Are you looking for more ideas for h ow to use pictures and other engaging materials for creative writers?

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  3. How to Become a Creative Writing Teacher (And Enjoy It)

    What degree do you need to teach creative writing in college? Requirements for teaching creative writing at the college level can vary depending on the institution. However, most colleges and universities will require that their creative writing instructors have at least a master's degree in English or Creative Writing. Many institutions may ...

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    3. Avoid teaching a story "formula.". One of the most important things to remember when teaching creative writing is to dispense with the idea that stories should follow certain arcs or formulas. While formulaic writing can aid students who need direction, it can also bind students and limit their imaginations.

  5. How to Teach Creative Writing to High School Students

    Teach Creative Writing to High School Students Step #6: Use Clear and Structured Expectations. While showing students excellent prose or perfect poetry should help inspire students, your writers will still need some hard parameters to follow. Academic writing is often easier for students than creative writing.

  6. How to Prepare to Teach Creative Writing: 13 Steps (with Pictures)

    Read both non-fiction and fiction in any number of genres. You'll find your own areas of interest, but reading outside these areas will help you relate to your students' interests. 2. Develop your own love of writing. Look at what you read with a critical eye to see how the writer develops ideas and uses words.

  7. How To Teach Writing: What Educators Need To Know

    Provide as much detail as possible. In addition to giving insight into your student's writing ability, asking these questions can also show how comfortable your students are with the writing process. You'll notice that some students excitedly get to work while others give short or vague answers. Step 5.

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    Creative writing should be fun, and playing games is good way to help students develop story ideas. Try an alternative word association game in which you think of words that are at odds with each ...

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    Teaching Creative Writing Tip #2: List Out Your Essential Skills. Regardless of your class's level of rigor, there are some skills that every creative writing course should cover. My Poem Writing Activities always include examples or mentor texts. First, you need to cover the writing process.

  10. Introduction to Teaching Creative Writing

    Creative writing is used in school, college, and university settings worldwide as a subject in its own right, and as a teaching technique for exploring and communicating ideas in almost any discipline. It's also increasingly being used within health and social care and criminal justice settings for therapy and personal development.

  11. How to teach creative writing even if you've never done any yourself

    Before the workshop, you should closely read each story, so as to identify at least three things to praise. Some neat characterisation here, some real emotional depth there or, as a last resort, the pacing and energy. Just as with written feedback, a workshop discussion of a story should be a sandwich.

  12. How to Teach Writing

    Teach students to treat self-editing as a separate stage in the writing process. get students reading in the genre they'll be writing; e.g., if they're writing poetry, encourage them to read a lot of poems. help students learn to trust their own perspectives and observations, to believe that they have something interesting to say.

  13. Creative Writing Skills: 6 Lessons You Need To Teach Today

    Creative Writing Skills #1: Show. Don't Tell. The advice to "show, don't tell" is some of the oldest and most consistent advice given to young writers. And it's for a good reason-they really struggle with it! About half of my students come into Creative Writing with these big elaborate stories they want to tell.

  14. How to Teach Creative Writing

    Keep comments positive. Students can respond with comments like "this is my favorite part" or "I liked this section" or "I'd like to know more about this.". No fair making statements like, "Write more" or "Good.". Specific comments mean the students are listening to each other.

  15. Teaching Creative Writing

    Teaching Creative Writing. Creative writing plays an important role in a child's literacy development. This article makes suggestions for the instruction and evaluation of children's stories. Most children enter school with a natural interest in writing, an inherent need to express themselves in words (Graves, 1983).

  16. How to Run a Creative Writing Class

    A creative writing session should always include actual writing and, if possible, the sharing of students' work (more on which later). Fitting everything in, including stating your aims for the session, doing some warm-up writing exercises, having a 10-to-15-minute writing burst and still have time at the end for people to read aloud, needs ...

  17. Why Teach Creative Writing? Part 1

    This post provides a rationale for teaching creative writing often. It's part of a larger series on integrating creative writing in your curriculum. "Design. Story. Symphony. Empathy. Play. Meaning. These six senses increasingly will guide our lives and shape our world.".

  18. How Do I Become a Creative Writing Teacher?

    Degree Required. Bachelor's degree. Master's degree for teaching at a 2-year school; doctoral degree for many 4-year schools. Education Field of Study. Education. Creative writing. Licensure/Certification. Teaching license required for public school teachers, as well as a registration or certification per state laws. None required.

  19. PDF How to Teach Creative Writing

    teach writing, you want creative ideas and methods that keep the students interested in the lesson and eager to record their own stories. Different ways of teaching writing creatively include ideas with a basis in reality and fantasy-based ideas. Use Past Experiences

  20. How to Effectively Teach Creative Writing in Elementary

    Hopefully, they will tell you they want to know what they look like in the mirror right now. Then you can have students think of 5 possible situations for what happened and how they look. 3. Do a 5 Minute "Free Write Brain Dump". During the next step of a creative writing lesson plan, encourage students to do a brain dump in their writing ...

  21. Four Strategies for Effective Writing Instruction

    The Four Square is a graphic organizer that students can make themselves when given a blank sheet of paper. They fold it into four squares and draw a box in the middle of the page. The genius of ...

  22. Teaching Creative Writing with High School Students

    Creative writing assignments for high school must include discussions of structure, organization, and clarity. Remind students that at the end of a book, the author thanks a list of people who provided feedback and encouragement. The list of readers is long. Professional writers gladly accept feedback. Train students to think of feedback as ...