Slice of Life is sponsored on Tuesdays by Two Writing Teachers. For the month of March we are posting a slice each day on our blog. Join in!
To celebrate standardized testing this week, I’m letting my Pre-AP kids get creative. There is no way after coming off of testing every day, my students are in any shape to come to class and really work. This is the week when I feel like it’s okay to let them be more creative, when I don’t feel the pressure of getting them ready for the test, or getting them ready for ninth grade. So we are writing creatively all week…short stories and mirror poems. I have students who are embracing this, but others are having a lot of difficulty.
My assistant principal has a first grader who is writing stories (and illustrating them) all the time. First graders love to tell and write stories. They don’t worry about finding an idea, adding details, or what someone will think if they read it. They just write.
And once upon a time, so did my eighth graders. I have two or three students each year who keep notebooks and flash drives full of fan fiction. But most of them, when I tell them they are going to have to write creatively, no longer have the confidence that they once had.
Is it because we don’t consider creativity to be important because it isn’t measured on the test? Is it because, as we age, we become more critical of ourselves and others and become afraid to put our words out there? Or is it because we are afraid that, in writing creatively, we will reveal more of ourselves that we intended?
We should never let our students get out of the habit of telling their stories. We should always be making time to let them be creative, not just as a break from “real work” during testing weeks.
Hopefully at the end of this week, my reluctant creative writers will see that they can still tell their stories…just like they did once upon a time. And hopefully next year I will find ways and time to incorporate creative writing into our whole year, not just save it for “writing recess” during testing week.