Teaching Creative Writing Grade 2

The line between fact and fiction has always been really, really blurry, but the common thread running through all of it is good storytelling.With that in mind, the process for teaching narrative writing can be exactly the same for writing personal narratives or short stories; it’s the same skill set.James Frey’s book A Million Little Pieces sold millions of copies as a memoir but was later found to contain more than a little bit of fiction.

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With a well-told story we can help a person see things in an entirely new way.

We can forge new relationships and strengthen the ones we already have.

Meanwhile, we’re still teaching students the craft of narrative writing.

One of the most powerful techniques I used as a writing teacher was to do my students’ writing assignments with them.

In journal quick-writes, think-pair-shares, or by playing a game like Concentric Circles, prompt them to tell some of their own brief stories: A time they were embarrassed. A time they didn’t get to do something they really wanted to do.

By telling their own short anecdotes, they will grow more comfortable and confident in their storytelling abilities.We can change a law, inspire a movement, make people care fiercely about things they’d never given a passing thought. If we’re going to talk about how to teach students to write stories, we should start by thinking about . I’m going to share the process I used for teaching narrative writing.But when we study storytelling with our students, we forget all that. When my students asked why we read novels and stories, and why we wrote personal narratives and fiction, my defense was pretty lame: I probably said something about the importance of having a shared body of knowledge, or about the enjoyment of losing yourself in a book, or about the benefits of having writing skills in general. I didn’t bother to tell them that the ability to tell a captivating story is one of the things that makes human beings extraordinary. If we can pass that on to our students, then we will be going beyond a school assignment; we will be doing something transcendent. I used this process with middle school students, but it would work with most age groups.When teaching narrative writing, many teachers separate personal narratives from short stories.In my own classroom, I tended to avoid having my students write short stories because personal narratives were more accessible.I could usually get students to write about something that really happened, while it was more challenging to get them to make something up from scratch.In the “real” world of writers, though, the main thing that separates memoir from fiction is labeling: A writer might base a novel heavily on personal experiences, but write it all in third person and change the names of characters to protect the identities of people in real life.Now that students have a good library of their own personal stories pulled into short-term memory, shift your focus to a more formal study of what a story looks like.Use a diagram to show students a typical story arc like the one below.I have seen over and over again how witnessing that process can really help to unlock a student’s understanding of how writing actually gets made. So the first step in getting good narrative writing from students is to help them see that .Before I get into these steps, I should note that there is no one right way to teach narrative writing, and plenty of accomplished teachers are doing it differently and getting great results. But when they actually have to put words on paper, they forget their storytelling abilities: They can’t think of a topic. They gather at lockers to talk about that thing that happened over the weekend.

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