Using writing to develop creativity – flipping the thinking.
Getting students to write can be difficult, especially if it requires creativity.
I know in my classroom there are students who have already got the idea they aren’t good at creativity and they love to use it as an excuse not to get off the start line. But creativity is something everyone finds hard (even the professionals) – so imagine how difficult that must be for a student who isn’t confident to begin with.
I’ve been flipping this around with a timed writing exercise. This reduces the fear of the blank page, gets something written down, all in a low-pressure and creative way.
Once the writing is flowing – then we’ve got something to work with – and what we have is often not bad at all!
With a five to ten-minute timer (depending on the group) everyone one in the room (me included) writes using sentence starters on the board. This is done on rough paper and I make the expectation clear that it doesn’t matter what you write – as long as you are writing the entire time. Even if you just write the sentence starter out 30 times – as long as you are writing for the entire time – that’s OK (I’ve never known a student to do this as they pick up the thread after a couple of minutes).
For example, if we’re working on a creative piece of narrative writing, the sentence starter might be as simple as: “John was the first to hear it…”
I’ve even used this in preparation for writing an essay answer – just to start by getting down what students already know.
After the timer has finished (they’ll be surprised by how much they’ve written), read through and highlight any great ideas – these can then be developed and written up later in the lesson.
In my classroom this low-pressure writing has helped students break into their creativity. Are there any students you teach who this could help?