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Creative Writing Week 1

Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 in poetry, Thoughts on Education, Writing

Ami, from Walking By the Way and Homeschool Share, recently shared a 9 week Creative Writing course just in time to freshen up the last few months of school.

Finding the Right Way to Write

I’m passionate about writing and it’s a creative process that’s exciting to share with the kids.  I say exciting and I also mean absolutely scary.  ”Writing” and “petrified” find themselves butted together often when I talk to other homeschool moms.  We want our kids to be good writers and because most of us don’t like it or know how to do it or teach it, we turn to curriculum that spits out a very cardboard, yet properly formulated paragraph.

I saw it with my own daughter a few years ago.  We started one of those programs and all of her inventive ideas were quickly inhibited by “Am I putting this sentence in the right place?” and “Let me look at the book, okay, it said 3 adjectives about color in this sentence.”

We ditched the program, but then what?  The fear that maybe if we try this our own way, if we play, if we listen to some of the advice from Bravewriter, maybe my kids won’t learn the PROPER way to write.

Well, so far we’re continuing to hack through these doubts and comparisons and experience the joy of ideas that make it onto the page without a sensor blinking on and off, “wrong!”.

Still, how to teach revision, editing, how to approach non-fiction writing?  Well, we’ll hack down the barriers as we find them.

The First Week of Ami’s Class

Ami’s class on Creative Writing is designed for her co-op of 6th and 7th graders and she hits all of the important topics of writing like using metaphors, including sensory details and working through the revision and edition stages.  This is a completely FREE course with all instructions, activities, famous quotes, poems,and printouts included.

My kids older kids are 4th and 5th, but because we’ve done various writing projects and activities over the last year and half I thought they could understand the assignments and I plan to adjust as needed along the way.

Here’s some of the work from their first week, which focused on avoiding cliches and overly used words and instead using metaphors.  All of this work is unrevised or edited, as we plan to go back in later weeks and take a second look.

Assignment: Read the poem “A Loaf of Poetry” and write your own recipe for something.  You can write it as a poem or paragraph.

(Full Discloslure: The girls hemmed and hawed about this assignment, so we made up some examples together before they tried it on their own.)

(The 9 year old)
Recipe for a Book Birthday Cake

1/2 cup sillyness
2 overflowing cups climax
4 tsp sadness
3 tsp violence
1/4 cup creepiness
2/4 cup weirdness
1  1/2 overflowing cups happiness
1/2 cup adventure

Preheat 325 F.  Lightly grease cake pan.  Mix creepiness, weirdness, sadness, and violence in bowl.  Mix climax, sillyness, adventure, and happiness in separate bowl.  Mix both bowls together.  Pour into pan and bake for 15 to 30 minutes.  Cool for 10 minutes.  Serve, in a soft, cozy bed, relax, and read.

(note: her reference for adventure and violence come from books like the Narnia series!)

(The 11 year old)
Recipe for a Summer Day

10 cups of sunshine (the brightest you can find)
15 cups blue sky
1/4 cups of bees and wasps
2 cups birds
1 cup of green grass
1/2 cup flowers

Mix the sunshine and the blue sky together in an extra large mixing bowl.  In a smaller bowl mix the wasps and bees and birds. Mix grass and flowers in another small mixing bowl, stir only until combined.  Let all ingredients sit for one hour.  Next get out a large pan, pour flowers and grass on the bottom, layer on bees, wasps, and birds and lastly the sun and sky. Bake for five minutes.  After baking is done sprinkle on the breeze and enjoy.

Next Assignment: Read the Metaphor Poems.  Go outside and find an object you want to write about, comparing it to something else, like the examples from the poems page.  The object you describe is also the title of your poem.

(Full disclosure: they also hemmed about this assignment as well, often it’s just, “go do it!)

(The 9 year old)
Train Tracks

Mountain of rocks
path of steel
on the top
waiting
waiting
for the train,
to come over
again.

(The 11 year old)
Flower Pot

A natural tea pot sitting on your porch.
Your tea is not made with herbs
but with the soil of the ground.
When water is added the special seasoning spreads
and gives the tea flavor.

This week we start Week 2 and I’ll be sharing some examples soon.

Georgia Heard has two books that have helpful, explorative, writing exercises.  Check out all of her books, but particularly Awakening the Heart and The Revision Toolbox.   Also, check out this book for combining nature and poetry, A Crow Doesn’t Need a Shadow.

Does the subject of writing scare you?  Have you found a program that you’re satisfied with, or is there another subject that you find yourself sweeping away the doubts and heading down your own path?

(Thanks, Ami, for this inspired resource!)

Aimee

Bring on the comments

  1. Ami says:

    Squeal!!!!!!!!!!!!

    The description in the “Train Tracks” poem is super fabulous. Nine years old? That’s crazy! :) Please tell her that I love it!

    I also enjoyed the “Recipe for a Summer Day” poem. :) Yes, the brightest you can find, please! :)

    Thanks for sharing these, Aimee. :)

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