Sunday, August 10, 2008

prompting creativity

Creative writing is often overlooked at school, since state testing and heavy curriculum requirements dictate how much of our teaching time is spent. This is a shame, since students generally write with great enthusiasm when encouraged to tell fictional stories, especially science fiction and fantasy.

For my tenth graders, I paired readings of Ray Bradbury's "There Will Come Soft Rains" with "The Garden of Stubborn Cats" by Italo Calvino, then assigned them to write their own sci-fi/fantasy short story. They were supposed to write 5-6 pages, but several students wrote for twice as long. Guys are especially intrigued by the assignment, even those who are typically resistant to any other writing lessons.

You can find Bradbury's story online here, and both the Italian original and English translation of Calvino's "Stubborn Cats" here.

If you'd like your students to start writing creatively on a more spontaneous basis and in a less formal manner, get some ideas (over 300!) from Creative Writing Prompts, designed to "ignite your creativity."

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