A new Creative Writing class is offering 8th graders an opportunity this year to explore different writing styles.
Instead of spending time in study hall, students gather around a library table where they first read from a book and discuss the motivations of characters and how the author writes.
One week, the novel is “Skeleton Creek,” a story told from two different characters’ perspectives. Another week, students discuss “The Crossover,” the Newbery Award winning book written entirely in prose.
After the book discussion, students try their own hand at writing in different styles. Students write fiction, poems and even a graphic novel, with the help of art teacher Jeanine Mitchell.
“We read, we write, we discuss,” explained teacher Rebecca Delaney. “What I like best is they don’t think of it as work. It’s so much different from what they do in class because they have free reign to write what they want.”
Student Rayne Barnes noted she appreciates the opportunity to be creative with her writing and feels her writing has improved as a result of the class.
“I enjoy the freedom we have here,” explained Rayne. “If you give us an idea to write about, it’s easier for me than to be told exactly what to write.”
Ms. Delaney said other teachers have mentioned to her how they also notice improvement in students’ writing, something she credits with how the students help each other.
“They’re always willing to listen and accepting of each other’s work,” said Ms. Delaney. “They value the critique. They want to get better.”