Language Arts Classroom

Creative Writing Lesson Plans: Week One

Week on of creative writing lesson plans: free lesson plan for creative writing. Creative writing lessons can be scaffolded.

Looking for creative writing lesson plans? I am developing creative writing lesson ideas! 

I’ve written and revamped my creative writing lesson plans and learned that the first week is vital in establishing a community of writers, in outlining expectations, and in working with a new class.

What are some good creative writing exercises?

Some good creative writing exercises include writing prompts, free writing, character development exercises, and fun writing games.

The first week, though, we establish trust—and then we begin powerful creative writing exercises to engage young writers and our community.

How can add encouragement in creative writing lesson plans?

I’ve found students are shy about writing creatively, about sharing pieces of themselves. A large part of the first week of class is setting the atmosphere, of showing everyone they are free to create. And! These concepts will apply to most writing lesson plans for secondary students.

Feel free to give me feedback and borrow all that you need! Below, find my detailed my day-by-day progression for creative writing lesson plans  for week one.

Build the community in a creative writing class. A creative writing lesson can build young writers' confidence.

Creative Writing Lesson Day One: Sharing my vision

Comfort matters for young writers. I’m not a huge “ice breaker” type of teacher—I build relationships slowly. Still, to get student writing, we must establish that everyone is safe to explore, to write, to error.

Here are some ideas.

Tone and attitude

For day one with any lesson plan for creative writing, I think it is important to set the tone, to immediately establish what I want from my creative writing students. And that is…

them not to write for me, but for them. I don’t want them writing what they think I want them to write.

Does that make sense? Limitations hurt young writers. My overall tone and attitude toward young writers is that we will work together, create and write together, provide feedback, and invest in ourselves. Older kiddos think that they must provide teachers with the “correct” writing. In such a course, restrictions and boundaries largely go out the window.

Plus, I specifically outline what I believe they can produce in a presentation to set people at ease.

The presentation covers expectations for the class. As the teacher, I am a sort of writing coach with ideas that will not work for everyone. Writers should explore different methods and realize what works for them. First, not everyone will appreciate every type of writing—which is fine. But as a writing community, we must accept that we may not be the target audience for every piece of work.

Therefore, respect is a large component of the class. Be sure to outline what interactions you find acceptable within your classroom community.

Next, as their writing coach, I plan to provide ideas and tools for use. Their job is to decide what tools work for their creative endeavors. My overall message is uplifting and encouraging.

Finally, when we finish, I share the presentation with students so they can consult it throughout the semester. The presentation works nicely for meet-the-teacher night, too!

After covering classroom procedures and rules, I show students a TED Talk. We watch The Danger of a Single Story by Chimamanda Adichie. My goal is to show students that I don’t have a predetermined idea concerning what they should write. This discussion takes the rest of the class period.

Establishing comfort and excitement precedents my other creative writing activities. Personalize your “vision” activities for your lessons in creative writing. Honestly, doing this pre-work builds relationships with students and creates a positive classroom atmosphere.

Activate prior knowledge when building a creative writing course. When building creative writing lesson plans, build off what students know.

Creative Writing Lesson Day Two: Activating prior knowledge

Students possess prior knowledge concerning creative writing, but they might not consider that. Students should realize that they know what constitutes a great story. They might not realize that yet. An easy lesson plan for creative writing that will pay off later is to activate prior knowledge. Brainstorm creative, memorable, unforgettable stories with students. Share your thoughts too! You will start to build relationships with students who share the same tastes as you (and those that are completely different!).

Activation activity

During this activity, I want to see how students work together, and I want to build a rapport with students. Additionally, activating prior knowledge provides a smooth transition into other creative writing activities.

This creative writing activity is simple:

I ask students to tell me memorable stories—books, play, tv shows, movies—and I write them on the board. I add and veto as appropriate. Normally doing these classroom discussions, we dive deeper into comedies and creative nonfiction. Sometimes as we work, I ask students to research certain stories and definitions. I normally take a picture of our work so that I can build creative writing lessons from students’ interests.

This takes longer than you might think, but I like that aspect. This information can help me shape my future lessons.

Creative writing lesson plans: free download for creative writing activities for your secondary writing classes. Creative writing lessons should provide a variety of writing activities.

With about twenty minutes left in class, I ask students to form small groups. I want them to derive what makes these stories memorable. Since students complete group and partner activities in this class, I also watch and see how they interact.

Students often draw conclusions about what makes a story memorable:

  • Realistic or true-to-life characters.
  • Meaningful themes.
  • Funny or sad events.

All of this information will be used later as students work on their own writing. Many times, my creative writing lessons overlap, especially concerning the feedback from young writers.

Use pictures to enhance creative writing lesson plans. With older students, they can participate in the lesson plan for creative writing.

Creative Writing Lesson Day Three: Brainstorming and a graphic organizer

From building creative writing activities and implementing them, I now realize that students think they will sit and write. Ta-da!  After all, this isn’t academic writing. Coaching creative writing students is part of the process.

Young writers must accept that a first draft is simply that, a first draft. Building a project requires thought and mistakes. (Any writing endeavor does, really.) Students hear ‘creative writing’ and they think… easy. Therefore, a first week lesson plan for creative writing should touch on what creativity is.

Really, creativity is everywhere. We complete a graphic organizer titled, “Where is Creativity?” Students brainstorm familiar areas that they may not realize have such pieces.

The ideas they compile stir all sorts of conversations:

  • Restaurants
  • Movie theaters
  • Amusement parks

By completing this graphic organizer, we discuss how creativity surrounds us, how we can incorporate different pieces in our writing, and how different areas influence our processes.

Build a community of creative writers. An impactful creative writing lesson should empower young writers.

Creative Writing Lesson, Days Four and Five: Creative Nonfiction

Students need practice writing, and they need to understand that they will not use every word they write. Cutting out lines is painful for them! Often, a lesson plan for creative writing involves providing time for meaningful writing.

For two days, we study and discuss creative nonfiction. Students start by reading an overview of creative nonfiction . (If you need mentor texts, that website has some as well.) When I have books available, I show the class examples of creative nonfiction.

We then continue through elements of a narrative . Classes are sometimes surprised that a narrative can be nonfiction.

The narrative writing is our first large project. As we continue, students are responsible for smaller projects as well. This keeps them writing most days.

Overall, my students and I work together during the first week of any creative writing class. I encourage them to write, and I cheer on their progress. My message to classes is that their writing has value, and an audience exists for their creations.

And that is my week one! The quick recap:

Week One Creative Writing Lesson Plans

Monday: Rules, procedures, TED Talk, discussion.

Tuesday: Prior knowledge—brainstorm the modeling of memorable stories. Draw conclusions about storytelling with anchor charts. Build community through common knowledge.

Wednesday: Graphic organizer.

Thursday and Friday: Creative nonfiction. Start narrative writing.

Students do well with this small assignment for the second week, and then we move to longer creative writing assignments . When classesexperience success with their first assignment, you can start constructive editing and revising with them as the class continues.

Lesson plan for creative writing: free creative writing lesson plans for week one of ELA class. Add creative writing activities to your high school language arts classes.

These creative writing activities should be easy implement and personalize for your students.

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Are you interested in more creative writing lesson ideas? My Facebook page has interactive educators who love to discuss creative writing for middle school and high school creative writing lesson plans. Join us!

Creative writing syllabus and graphic organizer

creative writing creative writing activities

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Writing Preferences

Each writer has his/her own preferences when drafting a document. Whether a person is writing a story, a poem, a journal entry, a letter, or a creative non-fiction piece, the writing approach is idiosyncratic, meaning that it is distinctive to the person who is writing.

Some are think-write writers. They need to think and think and think some more until they can write their first draft. When they write their first draft, they need a large block of time to get it down on paper. Their first drafts feel like a finished product to the writer because they’ve done most of their prewriting and revising in the thinking process. However, these writers need to remember that the first draft is just that—a first draft. Revision is necessary.  See Figure 1.1 for a list of the advantages and disadvantages of being an extreme think-write writer.

Figure 1.1: Advantages and Disadvantages for Think-write Writers

  • Once they’ve start writing, they finish the draft easily.
  • The first draft can feel like a polished final draft to the writer.
  • They usually finish drafts on time or earlier than the deadline.

Disadvantages

  • They need time to think; they can’t write under command or time pressure.
  • Starting the opening paragraph can be difficult because they are still thinking.
  • Revising their work is difficult because from their perspective a lot of the revision decisions were made in the thinking process.

Other writers are write-write writers. They write, cut, copy, and reorganize their work as well as throw away and start again—sometimes multiple times. They are constantly prewriting, planning, and revising as they go. They sometimes struggle with finishing a final draft, and they have even been known to delete some of their best work. These writers need to remember to save all drafts, so that the best work is never lost. See Figure 1.2 for a list of  advantages and disadvantages of being an extreme write-write writer.

Figure 1.2: Advantages and Disadvantages for the Write-write Writers

  • They are willing to try multiple ideas to see what will work best.
  • They can easily leave sentence and grammar errors to be edited later in the revision stage.
  • They embrace revision as it is part of their drafting process.
  • They have a hard time knowing when a draft is finished, and they sometimes over revise.
  • They are often writing under pressure–a deadline.
  • They are often referred to as the messy writers, and the revision of their work takes a long time.

Most writers are somewhere between these two extreme types of drafters, and that’s the best place to be. See Figure 1.3 which illustrates these two types of drafters. If you are an extreme think-write writer, cultivate some of the traits of the write-write writer, and if you are an extreme write-write writer, try some of the traits of the think-write writer. Attempting both styles of writing will help writers avoid writer’s block.

Figure 1.3: Types of Drafters

lesson 1 creative writing

The Writing Process

Every piece of writing goes through a process of stages: prewriting (also sometimes called planning), drafting, cooling, revising, and publishing. These steps do not always follow one another in succession. Instead, they are recursive, meaning a step can occur again at any point in the process. For instance, while revising an historically-based short story, a writer may discover he/she needs to do additional research about the time period that the story is set, which takes the writer back to the prewriting stage. See Figure 1.4.

Figure 1.4: The Writing Process

lesson 1 creative writing

Prewriting/Planning

Prewriting writing begins with what draws the writer to write. The writer may be inspired by nature, people, animals, life events, etc.

Some writers keep a writing journal, a record of lists and notes, maybe even drawings or photographs, that initially caught their attention. Writers generally are strong observers who record what they see, hear, taste, touch, and smell because it may become part of a story, a poem, a non-fiction essay, a play, etc. Writers may carry a small notebook with them throughout the day and set it on the nightstand next to their bed at night. Then, it is readily available when an idea–an inspiration–grabs their attention.

Writers make several decisions in the prewriting stage as well. They will answer questions like the following:

  • What is the topic?
  • Who are the readers?
  • What genre (type of writing) works best as the vehicle of communication?
  • What point of view   (perspective) will this piece be told from?
  • What kind of research needs to be completed before drafting begins?

Drafting involves writing the first draft of a document. Some writers write their first draft with a pen and a notebook. Other writers write directly on a laptop or computer. The choice depends on the preference of the writer.

A short piece of writing can be drafted in one sitting.  The goal is to get everything down on paper before it is lost. If a piece cannot be drafted in one sitting because it is too long, writers generally stop at a place where they know what they will write next. This prevents writer’s block, the inability to write the next day.

When drafting, writers are encouraged to not pay attention to spelling, punctuation, grammar, etc. Revising while writing causes writers to lose the original flow of the idea. Spelling, punctuation, grammar, etc. can be addressed in the final revision.

Cooling means setting aside the document, at least 24-48 hours before revising begins for short pieces of work. This allows writers to have a break from the content and a new perspective when entering the revision stage. To do this, writers need to be organized and time managers. The first draft must be done early enough to set it aside for the recommended cooling time.

Authors of books have even longer cooling periods. It may be weeks, months, and sometimes even years, depending on the writer’s preference and the deadline for the publication of the book.

Revising literally means “to see again” not just once but multiple times. Revision has two types of processes:

  • To look at the larger problems such as content and organization
  • To look at the smaller problems such as sentence structure, word choice, and formatting

Part of revising may include asking others to read drafts and make revision recommendations. Ultimately, it’s always up to the writer whether those revision recommendations will be implemented into the final draft.

Publishing involves submitting final manuscripts to editors of print and online journals and magazines, newspapers, or publishing companies.

Although it’s great to see one’s name in print, not all writers write for publication. Some write their stories, poems, letters, diaries, etc. for the next generations – their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. They write to record their personal history.

Introduction to Creative Writing by Lumen Learning is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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Humanities LibreTexts

1.1: Intro to Creative Writing

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  • Page ID 132138

  • Sybil Priebe
  • North Dakota State College of Science via Independent Published

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lesson 1 creative writing

chapter 1: intro to creative writing:

Creative writing\(^7\) is any writing that goes outside the bounds of “normal”\(^8\) “professional,”\(^9\) journalistic, “academic,”\(^{10}\) or technical forms of literature, typically identified by an emphasis on narrative craft, character development, and the use of literary tropes or with various traditions of poetry and poetics. Due to the looseness of the definition, it is possible for writing such as feature stories to be considered creative writing, even though they fall under journalism, because the content of features is specifically focused on narrative and character development. 

Both fictional and nonfictional works fall into this category, including such forms as novels, biographies, short stories, and poems. In the academic setting, creative writing is typically separated into fiction and poetry classes, with a focus on writing in an original style, as opposed to imitating pre-existing genres such as crime or horror. Writing for the screen and stage—screenwriting and playwrighting—are often taught separately but fit under the creative writing category as well.

Creative writing can technically be considered any writing of original composition. 

the creative process: \(^{11}\)

Some people can simply sit down to write and have something to write about. For others, finding something to write about can be the hardest part of creative writing. Assuming that you are not in the first group, there are several things you can do to create ideas. Not all of these will work for all people, but most are at least useful tools in the process. Also, you never know when you might have an idea. Write down any ideas you have at any time and expand on them later.

For stories and poetry, the simplest method is to immerse yourself in the subject matter. If you want to write a short story, read a lot of short stories. If you want to write a poem, read poems. If you want to write something about love, read a lot of things about love, no matter the genre. 

the writing process “reminder”\(^{12}\)

Please Note: Not all writers follow these steps perfectly and with each project, but let’s review them to cover our butts:

BRAINSTORMING

PROOFREADING

Outline\(^{13}\) your entire story so you know what to write.  Start by writing a summary of your story in 1 paragraph. Use each sentence to explain the most important parts of your story. Then, take each sentence of your paragraph and expand it into greater detail. Keep working backward to add more detail to your story. This is known as the “snowflake method” of outlining.

getting started:

Find a comfortable space to write: consider the view, know yourself well enough to decide what you need in that physical space (music? coffee? blanket?).

Have the right tools: computer, notebook, favorite pens, etc.

Consider having a portable version of your favorite writing tool (small notebook or use an app on your phone?).

Start writing and try to make a daily habit out of it, even if you only get a paragraph or page down each day.

Keys to creativity: curiosity, passion, determination, awareness, energy, openness, sensitivity, listening, and observing...

getting ideas:

Ideas are everywhere! Ideas can be found:

Notebook or Image journal

Media: Magazines, newspapers, radio, TV, movies, etc.

Conversations with people

Artistic sources like photographs, family albums, home movies, illustrations, sculptures, and paintings.

Daily life: Standing in line at the grocery store, going to an ATM, working at your campus job, etc.

Music: Song lyrics, music videos, etc.

Beautiful or Horrible Settings

Favorite Objects

Favorite Books

How to generate ideas:

Play the game: "What if..."

Play the game: "I wonder..."

Use your favorite story as a model.

Revise favorite stories - nonfiction or fiction - into a different genre.

writer's block:\(^{14}\)

Writer’s block can happen to ANYONE, so here are some ways to break the block if it happens to you:

Write down anything that comes to mind. 

Try to draw ideas from what has already been written.

Take a break from writing. 

Read other peoples' writing to get ideas.

Talk to people. Ask others if they have any ideas.

Don't be afraid of writing awkwardly. Write it down and edit it later.

Set deadlines and keep them.

Work on multiple projects at a time; this way if you need to procrastinate on one project, you can work on another!

If you are jammed where you are, stop and write somewhere else, where it is comfortable.

Go somewhere where people are. Then people-watch. Who are these people? What do they do? Can you deduce\(^{15}\) anything based on what they are wearing or doing or saying? Make up random backstories for them, as if they were characters in your story.

peer workshops and feedback acronyms: \(^{16}\)

Having other humans give you feedback will help you improve misunderstandings within your work. Sometimes it takes another pair of eyes to see what you “missed” in your own writing. Please try not to get upset by the feedback; some people give creative criticism and others give negative criticism, but you will eventually learn by your own mistakes to improve your writing and that requires peer review and feedback from others. 

If you are comfortable having your friends and family read your work, you could have them\(^{17}\) peer review your work. Have a nerdy friend who corrects your grammar? Pay them in pizza perhaps to read over your stuff!? If you are in college, you can use college tutors to review your work.

Peer Workshop activities can help create a “writing group vibe” to any course, so hopefully, that is a part of the creative writing class you are taking.

WWW and TAG

The acronyms involved with feedback – at least according to the educators of Twitter – are WWW and TAG. Here’s what they stand for, so feel free to use these strategies in your creative writing courses OR when giving feedback to ANYONE.

Are you open to the kinds of feedback you’ll get using that table above with the WWW/TAG pieces?

What do you typically want feedback on when it comes to projects? Why?

What do you feel comfortable giving feedback to classmates on? Why?

\(^7\)"Creative Writing." Wikipedia . 13 Nov 2016. 21 Nov 2016, 19:39 < https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creative_writing >. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.

\(^8\)Whoa, what is normal anyway?

\(^9\)What IS the definition of “professionalism”?

\(^{10}\)Can’t academic writing be creative?

\(^{11}\)"Creative Writing/Introduction." Wikibooks, The Free Textbook Project . 10 May 2009, 04:14 UTC. 9 Nov 2016, 19:39

< https://en.wikibooks.org/w/index.php...&oldid=1495539 >. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.

\(^{12}\)It doesn’t really matter who created it; all you need to know is that you don’t HAVE to follow it perfectly. Not many people do.

\(^{13}\)Wikihow contributors. "How to Write Science Fiction." Wikihow. 29 May 2019. Web. 22 June 2019. http://www.wikihow.com/Write-Science-Fiction . Text available under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0).

\(^{14}\)"Creative Writing/Fiction technique." Wikibooks, The Free Textbook Project . 28 Jun 2016, 13:38 UTC. 9 Nov 2016, 20:36

< https://en.wikibooks.org/w/index.php...&oldid=3093632 >. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.

\(^{15}\)Deduce = to reach a conclusion.

\(^{16}\)"Creative Writing/Peer Review." Wikibooks, The Free Textbook Project. 16 Aug 2016, 22:07 UTC. 9 Nov 2016, 20:12

< https://en.wikibooks.org/w/index.php...&oldid=3107005 >. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.

\(^{17}\)This textbook we’ll try to use they/them pronouns throughout to be inclusive of all humans.

Creative Writing in the Natural World: A Framing

Creative Writing in the Natural World: A Framing

  • Resources & Preparation
  • Instructional Plan
  • Related Resources

To promote development, detail, and focus of ideas in students' writing, it sometimes helps to start with a fun, creative writing activity that encourages what you want to see in all of their writing. In this minilesson, students practice writing detailed, sensory-rich descriptions by framing a small piece of nature and freewriting about it. From this, students can develop a variety of types of writing including poetry, short stories, science writing, reflections, and other academic genres.

Featured Resources

  • Literal vs. Figurative Language Guide
  • Internet access and the Flip Book Interactive

From Theory to Practice

This lesson explores figurative language comparisons formally known as simile and metaphor; however, the focus of the lesson is on students' use of their their imaginations to describe their observations in writing rather than on the official terminology for language use. In Wondrous Words: Writers and Writing in the Elementary Classroom , author Katie Wood Ray advises, "Give it [the craft element you identify in a text] a name so you can refer to it easily in the future as you study craft and as you writing your own texts"; yet the name that students use need not be the formal, "correct" name (42). The formal name of the element simply detracts from the ways that writers work. As Ray explains, "What's important is that, in seeing it and naming it for yourself, you have a new vision of what's possible when you try to write well" (42). When we do use formal names for craft elements, best practice pairs such words with students' definitions of the elements. Ray and Lisa Cleaveland say, "We are careful to use the words most writers in the world use for the important concepts of writing . . . if we embed kid-friendly explanations of what they mean...we need not shy away from the words themselves" (98). Further Reading

Common Core Standards

This resource has been aligned to the Common Core State Standards for states in which they have been adopted. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, CCSS alignments are forthcoming.

State Standards

This lesson has been aligned to standards in the following states. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, standard alignments are not currently available for that state.

NCTE/IRA National Standards for the English Language Arts

  • 5. Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.
  • 6. Students apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions (e.g., spelling and punctuation), media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and nonprint texts.
  • 8. Students use a variety of technological and information resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks, video) to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.
  • 11. Students participate as knowledgeable, reflective, creative, and critical members of a variety of literacy communities.
  • 12. Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).

Materials and Technology

  • A piece of loose paper, paper to take notes on, and a writing utensil (pen or pencil)

Preparation

  • Scout out a good spot to take students outdoors on the school grounds, a place that preferably has grass or that feels somewhat “natural.” If such an area isn’t available, it is okay to do this activity on constructed spaces such as sidewalks, playgrounds, and even inside the classroom if absolutely necessary, but it’s best done outdoors.
  • Prepare the Literal vs. Figurative Language Guide by making it into a transparency or making copies for each student.
  • Test out the Flip Book Student Interactive .

Student Objectives

Students will:

  • freewrite about a specific place that is framed by their piece of paper using imaginative and literal observations.
  • identify nouns in their writing that they would like to focus on and develop further.
  • write using specific sensory imagery and figurative language in order to accurately describe their framed “worlds.”

Session One

  • Ask students to get out a loose piece of paper.
  • Have them fold it in half at least once and tear or cut out the center. (Some students may want to fold it more than once in order to create an unusual shape. That’s okay.) The goal is to be left with a piece of paper with a hole in the middle of it like a frame. The frame can be of any shape or size.
  • Explain that you will be taking the class outdoors and that each student will find a spot to place his or her frame. Also explain that students will pretend that what is inside the frame is the entire world, the only thing students will focus on. In their notebooks, students will freewrite about what they find in their frames. Encourage students to use their imaginations. Perhaps they’ll find a bug and write about it as a giant dinosaur or a talking creature. However they proceed, students should write as freely as possible to get as much detailed information down about their framed “worlds” as they can.
  • Once students have found a place outdoors for their frames, give them ten to fifteen minutes to freewrite.
  • Back inside the classroom, ask students to remind you what a noun is. Ask them why nouns are important in writing. How do they function in a sentence, for example? (One answer is that nouns help us know who or what a sentence is about. They are they focus, and they help us visualize ideas as we talk or write about them in any genre.)
  • Have them read over their freewriting and underline three to five nouns that they would like to focus on.
  • Collect students' freewriting to be returned in the next session.

Session Two

  • Return students' freewriting from the previous session where they had finished by underlining three to five nouns to focus on.
  • Ask students to list their five senses. Ask for a volunteer or two to provide one of their nouns. Use these to practice developing these nouns into fully described sensory experiences. Help students describe them using all five senses. Encourage imaginative leaps so students understand that their descriptions don’t have to be literal.
  • At this point, discuss the difference between literal and figurative language, and explain that the goal is for students to describe their nouns using sensory detail and figurative language. Show students the Literal vs. Figurative Language Guide overhead or give them the handout. If the students were to write literal descriptions of their framed “worlds,” for example, they will simply write exactly what is in their frames (Grass looks green; sand feels rough; grasshoppers make a high pitched noise, etc.), but if they write figuratively, they will use their imaginations to describe their observations. This might include using similes, metaphors, hyperbole, and personification. For example, the grass looks like spiky green hair; sand is solid water; grasshoppers are fiddlers who play their legs, etc.
  • Using the Flip Book Student Interactive , have students create a page for each of the three to five nouns they underlined. (Each student should complete at least three pages.) On each page, they will develop these nouns by adding sensory-rich, figurative descriptions of them in paragraph or poetry form. The goal is to describe each noun using as many of the five senses and as much figurative language as possible. Encourage students to be imaginative for this process. What might an ant sound like? How might a rock smell?
  • Students may need to finish their Flip Books outside of class, or you might reserve some class time tomorrow to finish these up.
  • Give students the opportunity to share their finished pieces with the class.
  • Encourage students to develop their flip book pages further by illustrating them.
  • Students might also use an additional page in their flip books to create a piece of writing such as a short story, poem, or reflection about the natural world. Encourage them to find connections between the nouns in their list. How might that list become one piece of writing instead of three to five separate pieces?
  • Discuss ways students can use these writing techniques to improve other writing that they are doing. You might ask students to review one of their past writing assignments and underline places where they might add detail or figurative language in order to develop their ideas.

Student Assessment / Reflections

As long as students participate fully in the freewriting activity and complete at least three pages on their Flip Books, they should receive full credit for this activity. If you would like to turn the Flip Book into a graded assignment, you might require that each page include at least three sensory images and one instance of figurative language. Students might also earn credit by reading one of their pages aloud in front of the class.

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Eight Free Creative Writing Lessons

February 17, 2012 by Ami 17 Comments

lesson 1 creative writing

I know I throw around the word favorite all the time. But this is the truth: teaching creative writing lessons is my favorite. 

I have taught creative writing enrichment for summer school students. I have taught creative writing in various homeschool settings and co-ops. I have taught big students and little students. And I love it. 

Since I love to share homeschool co-op class ideas , I have compiled the creative writing lessons from a co-op class that I taught. 

Creative Writing Lessons for a Homeschool Co-op Class

First, please remember that any teacher can use these creative writing lessons. You don’t need to be teaching homeschoolers. You can be a classroom teacher or a homeschool teacher at home with one student. You can even be a librarian who needs a fun program series.

Second, I used these creative writing lesson plans with upper elementary students (with maybe a few 7th graders thrown in). However, you can adapt and use them for older students or younger students!

Creative Writing Lesson Plans

Creative writing lesson one.

The first lesson focuses on cliché and metaphor. It prompts students to consider how words matter.

Grab lesson one here .

Creative Writing Lesson Two

The second lesson teaches students about sensory details: why they are important and how to include them in their writing. Students will begin using sensory details to evoke smells and sounds and sights.

Grab lesson two here.

Creative Writing Lesson Three

The third lesson introduces showing vs. telling. Students learn how to recognize authors who utilize showing, and students are able to articulate the difference between showing and telling.

Grab lesson three here.

Creative Writing Lesson Four

The fourth lesson teaches students how to capture images. We use examples of poetry and prose to discuss this important writing skill.

Grab lesson four here.

Creative Writing Lesson Five

The fifth lesson introduces the story elements of character and conflict.

Note: You may choose to split this lesson into two lessons since it covers two big elements. I only had nine weeks with my students, so I had to jam character and conflict together.

Grab lesson five here.

Creative Writing Lesson Six

The sixth lesson introduces the students to point of view and perspective. We have fun reading poems and using pictures to write descriptions from different points of view.

Grab lesson six here.

Creative Writing Lesson Seven

The seventh lesson puts everything we’ve learned together. I read the students some fractured fairy tales, and we watch some, too. Students then use the prewriting activities and their imaginations to begin drafting their own fractured fairy tales.

Grab lesson seven here.

Creative Writing Lesson Eight

The eighth lesson focuses on revision. After a mini-lesson, students partner up for peer editing.

Grab lesson eight here .

For our final class day, students bring revised work, and I host coffee shop readings. This is a memorable experience for students (and their teacher).

Creative Writing Lessons FAQ

Since posting these creative writing lessons, I have had lots of questions. I decided to compile them here in case you have the same question.

Q: What are copywork quotes? A: Copywork quotes are simply great quotes that students copy as part of their homework assignments. You can use any quotes about writing. I’ve included my favorites throughout the printable packs.

Q: Can I use this with a younger or older student? A: Absolutely! Just adapt it to meet the needs of your student.

Q: Can I use this for my library’s programming or my homeschool co-op class? A: Yes! I just ask that it not be used for profit.

Do you have any questions about teaching creative writing? What’s your biggest hang-up when it comes to teaching creative writing? I’d love to hear from you and help you solve the issue.

lesson 1 creative writing

January 7, 2016 at 1:57 pm

Hi Theresa,

As long as you are not profitting from using them, they are yours to use! Enjoy! Wish I could be there to help facilitate all those young writers! 

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Creative Writing - famous first lines!

Creative Writing - famous first lines!

Subject: English

Age range: 11-14

Resource type: Lesson (complete)

SusannahO

Last updated

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lesson 1 creative writing

This is a unique mix of creative writing and language analysis.

This is a really fun class, enabling students to explore both their creative and analytical sides. It can be a great confidence boost for students who struggle with creative writing because there are clear prompts and short bursts of writing.

This is suitable for upper KS2, KS3 and KS4 and includes mix and match game, PETAL paragraph, pair and share tasks and creative writing prompts.

In the class, we examine some famous first lines and use them as a creative writing prompt. Do these opening lines of famous novels make us want to read on - or are they boring? Do they reveal something of the story that is coming?

The lesson is structured as follows:

a) Introduction to idea of first lines - why are they important? Pick a few books at random from classroom shelf – what do those opening lines suggest?

b) Mix and match – famous first lines. Brief game matching 4 famous first lines with their covers. Which book would you be most likely to read (i) based on the line? (ii) based on the cover?

c) Opening line of ‘Rebecca’. Pair and Share – what is going on? Then students get the opportunity to ‘copy and complete’. Can they write for 3/5/7 minutes and add to the first line creating their own version of ‘Rebecca’? Students are invited to share their creative writing.

d) The actual opening paragraph of ‘Rebecca’ is presented – what does this show us? Encourage language analysis to spot the signs of decay, etc. Did the first line hint at this?

e) The processes of © and (d) are then repeated twice using two other famous books. (Teachers can use all three in one lesson, or choose according to group/ability/age etc) Students are encouraged to be as creative as possible in the writing elements of the task, and as analytical as possible when they are looking at the original texts.

f) As a class, consider all the things that seem good or bad in an opening line. What makes you want to read on? Can you create a super list of things which work in an opening line?

g) There is an additional optional activity which can be used for extension/homework - Which opening line do you prefer and why? Write a PETAL paragraph explaining your answer. (Some scaffolding is provided)

This is a fun class, which prompts student to think more about the stories they read and the stories they write!

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USA TODAY

My dying high school writing teacher has one more lesson. Don't wait to say thank you.

The last words I spoke to George Lukacs were sincere but woefully delayed: “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

Mr. Lukacs was my high school English teacher in the 1980s. He is, in many ways, the reason I write for a living.

In late March, I learned via a social media post that he’s dying, and realized I had never – not in the 30-plus years since graduating – told him what a profound impact he had on my life. I had never thanked him.

Start the day smarter. Get all the news you need in your inbox each morning.

So I rushed to track him down, and he graciously carved out time for a call. We caught up recently, we laughed and chatted, condensed decades into minutes, and I told him the things I should have said long ago. In that conversation, there was, appropriately, a final lesson.

Too often we forget to thank those who've helped us along the way

I wasn’t planning on writing about this – it was personal. But in the weeks that followed, it stuck with me, and I came to think what I learned from Mr. Lukacs should be shared.

It’s simple, really: Don’t wait. Don’t wait to thank those who have changed you. Don’t wait to let the teachers, mentors or counselors, the ones who once helped you take the next step, know they made your life better than it would have been without them.

A teacher who changed the way I think

When I entered Mr. Lukacs’ English class in high school, I already had the fundamentals of good writing stamped into my brain. I had learned the form and structure that undergird a strong essay, but it had often felt like someone was teaching me with one hand holding a lid tight on my imagination.

Mr. Lukacs lifted that lid. He was an advocate for young writers letting their freak flags fly. He delighted in creativity and busting some of the previously sacrosanct rules that restrained our inventiveness.

'Do not lose your sense of humor': Duke graduates who walked out on Jerry Seinfeld's commencement speech failed Life 101

He sarcastically awarded a gold-painted shovel – the Golden Shovel – to the students who most gloriously and effectively B.S.’d, as in "shoveled the bull----," their way through essays.

Other teachers had kept us grounded because we needed to be. Mr. Lukacs let us soar because we were ready.

High school comes and goes, and we move on

I remember him from high school as a character – affable and kind. His trademark laugh often echoed off the buildings, sounding – and I say this with great reverence – like someone had stepped on a dolphin’s tail.

As high school students often do, I moved on from the foundational teachers who molded and shaped my mind. I grew up, found a career, formed a family and lived. All things good teachers want for their charges. A good life.

And as that good life unfolds, we forget to look back. 

A sad announcement that landed like a gut punch

In March, a friend shared a video Mr. Lukacs had posted. It was titled “ A Farewell Wave ,” words that punched.

I sat on my couch and watched as the now-gray-haired, bespectacled man looked into a camera and said: “Now an endgame has begun. I don’t know how much time I have, but it won’t likely be long.”

He was diagnosed with liposarcoma in 2001. Surgeries and treatment kept him alive, but his students, past and present, kept him going.

"The joy that I derived from interacting with all of you gave me a reason to be alive,” he said in the video.

He continued: “Thank you for making nearly every day of my life a joy. I hope that your lives have been magical. Even more, I hope that you recognize how magical they have been.”

A scramble for a chance to say thanks

I reached out to another past teacher to get Mr. Lukacs' email, then reached out to him asking to speak by phone, writing, “You have, lo these many years, remained a voice in the back of my head as I write.”

We had the chance to talk. I had the chance to tell him how much I owe him for teaching me to love writing and for showing me that I don't need to write like everyone else to be a writer – I just need to be myself and let the writing follow.

When I decided to share this story, I emailed him for permission. He responded, “I’m frankly surprised to be still here.” And he ended with “please write something powerful!”

No pressure.

We can all learn from Mr. Lukacs' final lesson

It’s my hope Mr. Lukacs will be able to read this before he ascends to the great classroom in the sky. (Don’t worry, I think he’d like that joke.)

But more so, I hope others read this and think about reaching back into their past and finding that person they should’ve thanked ages ago. That person who made a difference. That person who mattered.

Remember Jim Valvano: I inherited a cancer gene from my dad. He also left me a game plan to live.

A farewell, a poem and gratitude immeasurable

Mr. Lukacs ended his farewell video quoting the poet Walt Whitman: “And to die is different from what any one supposed, and luckier.”

That’s from Whitman’s epic “ Song of Myself .” As much as I will miss Mr. Lukacs, and as much as I appreciate him, I will never forgive him for forcing me to read a 52-part poem.

But I did (sort of … OK, I skimmed part of it), and what struck me was the line preceding the one he quoted: “All goes onward and outward, nothing collapses.”

Onward, Mr. Lukacs. Thank you for the final lesson. (Though I could’ve done without the poetry, if I’m being honest.)

Your student, always,

Follow USA TODAY columnist Rex Huppke on X, formerly Twitter,  @RexHuppke  and Facebook  facebook.com/RexIsAJerk

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: My dying high school writing teacher has one more lesson. Don't wait to say thank you.

A screenshot of George Lukacs, the author's high school English teacher, from a video he made announcing that he's dying.

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