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Showing posts from September, 2016

On Surveying Students

I began my Creative Writing course this year surveying students. I adapted the Personal Writing Inventory from UNC-Chapel Hill's Writing Center for this.

Having finally had the time to sit down with them on this sunny September afternoon, I learned a lot about the diverse set of ninth-twelfth graders that comprise my CW course.

For starters, I learned that some participate in online writing communities. They turn to these groups for positive feedback, criticism, and inspiration. I know I can leverage these students within their own writing groups to be leaders that will help others grow.

I learned that some students only write for school. This is the very reason they're in this course, they said. They want to learn to "brainstorm better" and "come up with ideas." They are frustrated with always "writing to someone else's prompt."

I found that most of my students write outside of school and not just tweets and texts. So many of them have journa…

Starting a MOOC

I recently began a MOOC through Wesleyan. It's part of my Champions of Wayne goal this semester. As director of academics, my boss and I are asking staff to set their own goals alongside their mentees. For me, it's to actually complete a MOOC. I tend to start them and never finish.

So this weekend, I began Creative Writing: The Craft of Plot. Watching the videos was the easy part; it's actually sitting down to write that's been difficult. I'm starting to realize what students go through when we don't give them time to brainstorm before asking them to write.

Brando Skyhorse, a novelist and the course's instructor, posed great questions about characters that I plan to use in my own creative writing course:

1. What do they want? What gets in their way from getting what they want? This is the rising action.
2. What are their weaknesses?
3. Where are they from (emotionally and geographically)?
4. Where are they going?
5. What can your characters…