Posts Tagged ‘writing classes’

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Summer Candy

August 13, 2012

During the summer I take a break from my writing practice and play with words instead. I edit. I study other authors. And I teach.

 

For five weeks, middle school kids sit with me to write. Boring? Not at all. In fact, the classes have tripled in size. A parent recently asked me how I engaged the kids without making it seem like school. At first, I answered, “candy”. Who doesn’t like a Tootsie Roll?

 

However, the real success of my classes comes from the kids. Giving them the space to be creative gives them freedom to explore. I find that kids come to my class nervous about perfecting conjugation and developing appropriate sentence structure. While I absolutely believe these things matter, they aren’t as important as one’s imagination.

 

When we sit on the deck and talk about voice, I ask the kids to become someone else. Sometimes, they are rock stars and actors, other times they become politicians or crocodile hunters, lavishly stereotyping their profiles. We role-play to create scenes. We develop texture by listening to new sounds and touching real dirt. By the end of the hour, the kids share their words, ask for more, and don’t want to leave. The creative process initiates the writing and lets it run.

 

Writers, like kids, need to step back from sentence structure and create. And maybe sneak a few Tootsie Rolls.