Creative Writing: An Adventure

Back row: Mrs.Alenson, Jillian Yee, and Ada Gebauer. Front row: Sonya Libman, Sofia Schreiber, Amy Sheridan, and Katia Nicholson.

Back row: Mrs.Alenson, Jillian Yee, and Ada Gebauer. Front row: Sonya Libman, Sofia Schreiber, Amy Sheridan, and Katia Nicholson.

Amy Sheridan, Staff Writer

Mrs. Alenson, the librarian, teaches the creative writing elective at Trottier. This year the class consists of six girls eighth-grade girls. It takes place in the library during second period on Wednesdays. The creative writing elective is for the whole year, and the class is available to eighth graders.  The class focuses on writing and sharing pieces with the class.  

Mrs. Alenson started this class because she feels strongly about writing. She said, “I have already been a writer and a poet,” so she uses her experience in writing to teach her class.  Writing is important to her because it is a way to learn about yourself. She compared it to ”having an adventure.” According to Mrs. Alenson, creative writing is “a way to explore and to have fun with your writing.” It isn’t like your average essay; it is a different way to express yourself through writing.

In creative writing, the class focuses on flash fiction. Flash fiction is a form of writing that is usually short. “The students work on it to develop different skills and to make longer pieces to work on,” Mrs. Alenson said. In the class, students give each other feedback about their writing. They do peer reviews on longer pieces and write down what they could add or what is confusing. Mrs. Alenson gets her ideas from a flash fiction book, and those ideas help her develop mini-lessons. Toward the beginning of the year, she tended to prepare prompts for her students. For the majority of the class, the students wrote about prompts or continued longer pieces they started earlier.  

The students to share what they wrote during the last ten to fifteen minutes of the class.  According to Mrs. Alenson, having the ability to listen to what the readers are saying to critique a piece of writing allows them to grow as writers.  If a writer doesn’t read a piece out loud, he/she won’t hear what needs fixing or parts that need further explanation.

To help share pieces of writing, the students play games. One of the games is called Pass Around. The game starts off by writing for five minutes and then passing it to the next person until you get your prompt back. After writing, the students share the piece that the class wrote. Another game is called Guess Whose Piece. Mrs. Alenson takes responses to prompts that students have already written and mixed them up. Without telling the name, she reads the prompt out loud and numbers them as she reads them. Then the students write on a piece of paper who wrote each piece. When Mrs.Alenson is done reading all the prompts, writers share guesses. These games are a way to learn about different writing styles of each student.

The ability to choose topics for writing and the activities keep writers engaged.  “If you don’t explore creative writing, you may never know you like it,” Mrs.Alenson said.