Creative Writing for Kids
I’m leading a Creative Writing Club at my son’s school for 3rd, 4th and 5th graders. If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you know that I’ve been raving about these kids. We had our first meeting this week, and it was beyond my expectations. Our six kiddos were inventive and dedicated storytellers and writers. We marketed the club to all students in grades 3-5. The six brave souls who took the plunge for our first session obviously love writing and are like sponges, sopping up the information that we gave them and wringing it out into stories on their blank sheets of notebook paper.
During Week 1, we presented the students with two questions:
- What do you like to read? (Do you like to read books? What books in particular? Maybe you like magazines or poems or song lyrics. Anything that makes you excited about reading…and why?)
- Do you like to write? Why or why not? What do you like to write?
We had mystery lovers, history lovers, animal lovers and fantasy lovers. No surprises there, but what impressed me most was their ability to pinpoint exactly why they loved reading or writing in particular genres. For example, our mystery lover liked interesting characters who kept her engaged with new surprises around every corner.
We spent some time talking about: Story and Plot – including exposition, rising action, climax, falling action and resolution/conclusion. The students had fun laying out the stories of Little Red Riding Hood, the 3 Little Pigs and Cinderella along a plot diagram. We also found this clever little rap about about character, setting and plot. It’s well worth the $2.99 ticket price. I’ve been singing snippets of it as I’m falling asleep all week. Catchy… and educational. You can’t beat that.
Finally, the kids jumped right into brainstorming about their stories. Each student had a completely different idea when we showed them a mysterious coin.
In their story ideas, the coin appeared as:
- Japanese currency in the pocket of a young girl fleeing Japan with her family during World War II;
- a coin that fell from a plane that flew into the World Trade Towers. A 10-year old girl found it in the rubble while searching for her aunt who worked in the Towers. The coin has unlocked a magical being (fairy, angel, something) who is watching over the girl;
- it appeared in the trunk of a girl stowed away on a ship. Her only companion during her long trip to America is her mysterious godfather (who she doesn’t know is on board yet);
- it was given to a young boy by his British grandfather but only with the promise that he could never reveal its good luck properties to anyone (Guess what’s going to happen in this story? Do you think he will reveal it’s magical properties to someone?)
- it was stamped with a secret map, which led an 8-year old girl to a mysterious oak tree in a faraway village
The kids were daring and creative and most importantly were excited about story telling. I created notebooks with worksheets on plot, character, setting, point of view, and style. I also included places for them to draw character sketches or write about character traits, sketch maps for world building and lay out their plot points. Next week we’re talking about Character Development and delving more deeply into the life and backstory of the characters these kids created.
I’ve already had the kids stopping me in the halls to tell me about the writing they’ve been doing at home. We promised them no homework during the club, but our writers aren’t looking at this as homework – they’re just having fun! It is moments like these that make me remember why I love writing.
Happy writing to everyone!
How about you? Any ideas as to the story behind this coin? Do your kids love to write as much as you do?