How to teach 'Creative Writing' in Form Four

How to teach 'Creative Writing' in Form Four

Welcome to UNIT 16.4

PREVIOUSLY: In Unit 16.3, we discussed about the various ways of teaching the sub topic "Talking about funerals" in Form Two.             

IN THIS UNIT 16.4, we will cover the sub topic"Creative Writing" in Form Four.

Sub Topic: Creative writing
Periods per sub topic: 8
Class: Form Four

This is the familiar activity. In Form Three, it was also covered as Creative Writing. In this topic, the students were guided to compose simple poems by using simple techniques. In this context, Form Four students will be guided to compose simple stories.
NB: Creative writing for ‘O’ Level students involve composing various works like poems, stories and simple plays. Thus, a teacher can choose any among of these genres to begin teaching his/her students Creative writing or Creative Writing (Six stages of teaching how to write poems). So, there is no rule on what genre to start with.

In this sub topic/lesson, the student should be able to write a work of art using literary devices and skills.

This stage is about the preparation of the teacher before undertaking the lessons of the particular sub topic. These are all activities, procedures, materials, teaching aids, and games prepared by the teacher for teaching a sub topic:

  1. Putting heads together: Introducing the topic/lesson properly. Organising how students will be able to get to know what is the topic/lesson about. It is where teacher makes sure that students are going to be in his/her train. It includes brainstorming and familiarisation of the topic/lesson with the students.
This makes students stay together with the teacher. It is at this stage students can understand what is going to be discussed in the particular topic.
In this sub topic/lesson; the teacher will introduce students to the art of writing various literary works like short stories, short plays (dramatized dialogues) and poems. It's the choice of the teacher to guide students into writing specific type of work of art. For instance, if in Form Three's Creative writing, the teacher taught students how to compose poems, in Form Class, he/she can teach them how write short stories and plays.
The teacher asks students oral questions on what they know about writing short stories. What do you do when you want to write a short story? What things should be included in the short story? These questions can help students understand the topic's aspects.

  1. Preparation of Materials. A teacher has to decide on the teaching/learning materials he/she is going to use.

In this sub topic/lesson, the teacher has to guide and encourage students to use dictionaries, grammar books, and other sources like magazines and newspapers in order to get story ideas and create the perfect stories of their own. They should have enough vocabularies, high command of English grammar, and rich story ideas.

  1. Target Practice. Show them/Guide them to the practice of the functions of the sub topic. A teacher has to show or guide students to the target practice of the grammatical functions of the sub topic.

In this sub topic/lesson, the teacher has the role to guide students to study and discussion of the devices or skills on writing various works of art. In this context, the teacher has to guide them on the skills of writing one type of work of art. In Form Four class, the teacher may teach how to write short stories in Creative writing.

  1. Context-Based Practice. A teacher leads students to the discussion on how the target grammatical functions practised earlier can be applied or integrated into the contexts and situations. The students are guided by the teacher to apply the learnt skills in relevant contexts and situations like school and library.

In this sub topic/lesson, he teacher to discuss with students various short story prompts or starters. When they discuss these short story starters, the students have taken into consideration the contexts and situations like school, adventure, biography, comedy, tragedy, love stories, fiction, nonfiction, free verse, and memories.

  1. Vocabulary Building Practice. At this time, teacher discusses with the students on the vocabularies and phrases to apply in the already mentioned contexts and situations.

In this sub topic/lesson, the teacher and students have to brainstorm and remind themselves on the most commonly applied vocabularies in Creative writing such as: fiction, novel, short story, style, plot, technique, narrative style, point of view, characters, settings, title, and language.

Guide the students to the full sub topic/lesson procedures, activities and games for better understanding of the sub topic by following these activities:

Activity One: Brainstorming the sub topic/lesson through oral questions with answers, pair works, and group discussions of all important concepts to get students on track.

In this sub topic/lesson, the teacher is going to guide students to brainstorm on kinds of literary work they would like to write on. These kinds of literary works are short story, short play, poem, memoirs, short biography, autobiography, short flash fiction, and folktales.

Activity Two: Teacher's application of his/models or examples so as to bring the topic/lesson and the students into the real or common sense of the topic/lesson.
Read a sample story in this article ‘Creative writing

In this activity, the teacher will guide students to individually choose one kind of literary work of their interest. In this context, the teacher will choose short story writing as an aspect to cover.

After guiding students that they are going to learn how to write short stories, the teacher can now demonstrate how short stories are composed by using various techniques or by giving out the texts on various stories.
The teacher asks students to read the story or stories and guide them to choose the topic of their interest and list down general ideas about the topic. For example, if the students have chosen to write short stories on the topic "Life in the Jungle", then the teacher can guide them to list down the main ideas such as:
- Bush life
- Adventure
- Forest
- Wild animals
- Research in the jungle
- being lost in the jungle
- etc.

Activity Three: Showing students how models like that of a teacher can be applied by them. Here students need to be guided on how to use given expressions, structures, vocabulary, and phrases or similar ones.

In this activity: After choosing their topic of interest to write their short stories, the teacher guide the students to draft short stories on their own, edit, and with the teacher's support with ideas, style and vocabulary complete their work.

Give students the considerable time. They can do it individually and as an assignment. Give them the guidelines such as:
- Word count. Number of words per story.
- Good and catchy title.
- Vivid settings of the story.
- Realistic characters.
 -and others.
After writing, students have to be guided by the teacher to support one another in checking spelling and grammar from dictionaries and grammar books. To make it simpler, the teacher can ask students to exchange their works.

Activity Four: Taking/leading students to the real situations or contexts where they can apply what they have mastered. Here speaking, reading or writing activities are involved.

In this activity, the last activity after making corrections, the students are guided by the teacher to read each other's work of art. On his own time, the teacher will go through students' works and choose the best works for demonstration in the class or class noticeboards.

Activity Five: Winding up the topic/lesson. Here teachers summarise the topic/lesson by emphasizing the importance of the sub topic/lesson and suggesting other related aspects of the sub topic/lesson.

Additional Activity: As a teacher, what other activity can be applied in this sub topic/lesson? You can always drop your alternative activity or activities to this article so as to improve teaching and learning of ‘O’ Level English (OLE).

For more practices on how to teach this sub topic, check the following articles:
For Writing stages: brainstorm, draft, revise/edit, write final draft, check out Writing narrative compositions/essays (not less than 200 words) Part 1.

Our life is made successful with writing. We can't say other language skills are not important. No, but they are perfected by writing just as writing is perfected by other language skills.
Ask students how they can get creative works at home or at school. Actually, some students will say they get them from their parents or grandparents or others. At school, they will say they get them from teachers, friends and from the History subject. This is how past events are experienced in the real life.

A teacher should design an evaluation for students by using appropriate assessment tools like oral questions or assignments so that to see if the students are able to write a work of art using literary devices and skills.

Assessment #01: Group work
Ask students to groups themselves or guide their groupings. Then ask them to browse any English newspaper. Each group should write a story of not less than 250 words basing on any topic they are interested with in the particular newspaper.

Assessment #02: Pair works
In pairs, ask students to browse any English newspaper or magazine. The first member of the pair should pick any topic and gives another. The second member of the pair should do the same. Then each one should write a story about that particular topic. After finishing, they should exchange these stories and make corrections for themselves. The final step is each pair to present one story to the class.

Assessment #03: Individual work.
Individual test. Finally ask students to write their own stories individually. These stories should be marked by the teacher and the best stories will be published on the school newspaper or on the school noticeboard.

Note: You can give students more individual works, pair works, and group works to facilitate their interaction and understanding of the sub topic or lesson. As English language teacher you have to give students more works to do. Because language is meant to be largely spoken and written, the teacher should rely on written exercises and notes. Instead students have to learn English language by vigorously exercising individually, in pairs, and in groups.

Writing is a productive skill. After learning all four language skills during teaching and learning processes, finally the students will have to sit down and write the final exams. This highlights that writing is the necessary skill if a student really wants to excel in the final examinations. A teacher should emphasize this skill just he/she emphasize other language skills.

NOTE: These stages explained above are not necessarily covered in a single lesson of single or double period. Remember that this is the guide for teaching the whole sub topic which has periods ranging from 6 to 20. So, the teacher's task is to divide these stages according to the total number of periods for a particular sub topic.

This article is about how to study and teach "Creative Writing" in Form Four. As a student or teacher, what is your opinion on how to study and teach this sub topic/lesson?
Your opinion is worth and I believe that it can make these materials better for our own consumption.

You are Welcome!

Emmanuel Kachele

Emmanuel Kachele is a founder and Blogger of KACHELE ONLINE Blog, an educational blog where 'O' Level English - 'OLE', 'A' Level English (ALE) and other related teaching and life skills are shared extensively. This is an online center for all Tanzanian Secondary School English Language students and teachers (Forms I-VI) and all interested English Language learners and teachers worldwide.

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