Creative Writing

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Creative Writing - 4th to 5th Grade

Overview

In this course, students will analyze the storytelling elements of fairy tales and fables through reading and discussion questions that will guide their own writing. Throughout, they will engage in relevant writing exercises to apply what they have learned. The experiences will culminate in a final project based on the universal writing process, from outlines, drafts and revisions, to the finished products.

Course Objectives:

Students will be able to

  • Improve understanding of storytelling elements 

  • Explore fairytales from around the world, broadening cultural horizons

  • Learn the editing process that can be applied to all future writing projects

  • Sharpen writing skills by implementing techniques seen in the course literature, with an emphasis on creativity and a passion for writing

Course Topics

 

  • Story Elements

    • How are narratives organized? The setting determines the context of the story and the point of view creates the writer’s voice, the characters are the actors that drive the plot, and conflicts are what make the story interesting. A key goal is to learn how to show, rather than tell, the events of the story.

  • Themes

    • What is the overall message of the story? Even if it is not explicit, literature often has a purpose, especially fairytales. Students will analyze the selected stories for deeper meanings that can be applied more generally than the story. 

  • Literary devices

    • What techniques do authors use to express their ideas or make their writing more interesting? We will discuss figurative language such as alliteration, similes and metaphors, personification, hyperbole, imagery, onomatopoeia, idioms, and puns, and explore how to incorporate them into our own writing

  • Style

    • How do we find our voice as a writer? Authors choose their words carefully to express their ideas. Students will evaluate how changing the vocabulary or literary devices utilized can alter the atmosphere, mood, character, and plot

  • Writing Strategies

    • How do we write? Learning the writing process is an essential tool to a student’s success in the literary arts. Prewriting with graphic organizers, drafting with awareness of their story elements, revising for both structural and finer details, and finally, publishing are the key steps. Students will also be introduced to peer review, as collaboration is essential for writers. 

 

Final Project

  • Students will choose a fairy tale (either from a provided list or they may propose an alternative story to be approved) and add their own creative twist. What if the setting was different? Who are the new characters? Do they have magical abilities? What if the story was told from a different perspective? How do the conflicts or overall themes change? 

    • Examples: 

      • Cinderella takes place in the future and everyone is a robot. The prince is a talented programmer that uses AI facial recognition. Will he find Cinderella, or will she block him first?

      • Snow White is actually a vampire! That explains why she is so pale. Does she forgive the Evil Queen, or does she suck her blood?

      • Hansel and Gretel, from the witch’s perspective, and she sees nothing wrong with eating children! After all, they were destroying her house… 

Class Materials

 

  • Students will need pencil and a notebook or lined paper in a folder to keep their writing organized

Ages 9+ 
Julia Lin
Duke University