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Category Archives: Round-up

September Round-up

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There have been a whole heap of fabulous posts, articles and lesson plans about creative writing around the web this month, which makes me feel slightly better about the fact this blog continues to be a little neglected…

Firstly, Jeremy Harmer has written about a great lesson idea based around the idea of being a ghostwriter over on his blogs. I love writing activities like this that require students to really push the limits of their language and relies on a degree of communication and collaboration.

Adam Simpson shared five nice writing warm-up ideas, and also included ideas on how you could follow them up.

As a cat lover, I enjoyed Mona Kisala’s lesson idea based around a very cute cat picture story, which has possibilities for either writing or a role-play, would be great for young learners.

Another high quality lesson plan over on Film English this month, which involves reading and writing a poem, and some lovely work on text speak that I can see teenagers really appreciating.

I also came across this interesting website which focuses on the idea of online reading groups to encourage ELT teachers and TESOL students to read literature in English, and also to discuss what they are reading. It is particularly focused on people that might not have good access to texts in English. There is even the opportunity to publish your own writing on the site.

Nicola Prentis was contemplating the wider question of how we teach (or regain?) creativity in the class this month in a post which also attracted some insightful comments.

Finally, not specifically about ELT, but with some useful tips for anyone teaching creative writing, was this article on the Guardian’s teaching pages.

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Summer Round-up

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At the end of my last round-up I promised that the summer round-up would be a bumper edition to make up from my absence from blogging over the summer months (summer in the northern hemisphere at least). I am sorry to say that due to travelling, teaching and writing I’ve barely had time to read any blogs. With many of many favourite bloggers also being on a summer hiatus, this post will be short and sweet…

Firstly, Sirja shared her thoughts on the importance of reading, and using reading projects with mixed-level classes. Some great ideas for making reading a pleasure for our students.

On the topic of reading, if you are interested in using ‘choose your own adventure’ style books with your students (and I think it is a great idea!) then take a look at this blog post and the new kickstarter project launched by Marco Benevides.

Ceri Jones wrote about her session from the Image Conference on using images as a starting point for exploring storytelling and looking at the gaps in the narratives that pictures present.

Eva Buyuksimkesyan shared a lesson plan on using guided storytelling in class, a great way of encouraging students to be creative without throwing them in too much at the deep end!

On the theme of guided stories, John Hughes wrote about Pixar’s formula for telling a story which can easily be used as a class storytelling project too.

 

As always, if there is anything I’ve missed please add a comment. And after a stint back in the classroom after a couple of years away I also have lots more ideas for creative writing in class that I hope to have time to share with you soon. Good luck if you are back to school this week and I hope the sun is shining wherever you are!

 

May Round-up

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Welcome to the May round-up on Creativities. This month there has been some really great ideas related to creative writing so I hope you check them out and are inspired by them.

The iDTi blog had a great series of blogs on ‘Music, Stories and Magic’ that are well worth reading. Of particular note is Kevin Stein’s post on using literature with his classes, and looking at exploring the gaps in texts.

Kevin Stein also wrote a post on his blog about writing six word memoirs (which I wrote about here) with his students. He has some really nice ideas about extending this task and the post is a great reflective take on what happened in his class when he tried this activity.

The Teacher James wrote about some interesting found poem activities on his blog, using book titles and blackout poems with texts. ESL hip-hop followed this up with a nice lesson plan on making poems using rap album titles.

Marisa Constantinides has just written a great post describing the benefits of digital storytelling for both younger and older learners (including leading to learners creating their own stories), as well as mentioning some tools to try in class.

Adi Rajan wrote about using an interesting short film as an audio-visual writing prompt over on his blog.

Finally, right back at the beginning of the month, Nik Peachy wrote about using poems for pronunciation practice as one of his daily activities for students. Pronunciation is one of my favourite ways of using poems in class too.

Creativities’ monthly round-ups are going on a short hiatus over the summer as I will be away from the end of next month but I will be back for a bumper round-up in August so please get in touch via twitter (@jo_cummins) or via Creativities’ facebook page if you write or read any great posts on creative writing in ELT over the next couple of months.

April Round-up

kewWow, April is over already?! Due to general busyness and internet connection issues I only managed one post (Soap Opera Dramas) this month, but I did add a new page of creative writing prompts, and I’m on the look out for more suggestions!

I feel there is quite possibly lots of great posts I’ve missed this month due to aforementioned problems so please add a comment if you have read/written anything relevant and I’ll add it in. Although a lot of the blog action has been IATEFL related this month, here are some great creative writing related posts for you to explore.

Firstly, this month is Poetry month, and there has been a couple of poetry related posts this month. Sylvia Guinan wrote a fabulous post full of ideas for using poetry in teaching. It’s given me lots of ideas for future posts here. Ljiljana Havran also has recently written a great post on ‘grammaring’ which involves turning prose into poems and vice versa.

A nice idea from Richard Byrne here involving art work, storytelling and recording a narration.

Also, just sneaking into the round-up, was a post by Adi Rajan with an unusual, physical writing prompt idea.

Ian James gave a preview of his talk from the fabulous looking upcoming Image Conference. His talk is on using Student generated images in class and there are some nice creative ideas. I wish I could make it to the talk but the post is a great start!

Another person talking at the Image Conference will be Kieran Donaghy. Every month he seems to have a great lesson on his Film English site that incorporates creative writing, and this month is no exception with this lesson plan that has a short story writing exercise as a pre-watching activity.

TEFLtastic blog collected together a list of their worksheets related to storytelling, lots of ideas I need to explore in more detail!

Finally, for any teachers of Young Learners, I really like this article by Karen Frazier on the OUP blog on teaching them writing.

March Round-up

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I know it’s a couple of days early for the March round-up but I am going to be far too busy eating chocolate at the weekend! It’s been a busy, cold month here. We’re still waiting for Spring to arrive (I struggled to find a brave daffodil in bloom for the photo above!) I finally published the post that hopefully explains what I am trying to do on this blog (Why use Creative Writing in ELT?) as well as posts on fairy tales and another on similes. There has been lots of other interesting things on creative writing happening around the web though.

This month I discovered Umes Shrestha’s blog ‘Oh, late became!’. Umes is a Nepali English teacher, and a fan of using creative writing. His blog is an eclectic mix of gems, but this month I particularly enjoyed his lesson plan using a Nepali folk story and his post sharing student poems as published in a local newspaper. He also shared some haikus his class had written.

Right at the beginning of the month, Josette LeBlanc shared a rather hypnotic, meditative short story on her blog, ‘Throwing Back Tokens’. I thought the use of photos in the story would be a lovely thing to explore in class with students’ stories, especially ones about personal experiences.

Kevin Stein shared one of his favourite creative writing lessons with a lesson plan called ‘But Is it Art?’, combining writing about and drawing works of abstract art.

I also came across a ‘storytelling gapfill’ activity, ‘Elf Story’, on Jamie Keddie’s  ‘Lessonstream’ site.  I could see this working really well with all sorts of stories and is a great way of encouraging students to do intensive listening and think about lexical chunks.

Using comic strips is a great way of getting students to play around with narratives and dialogue, and also being economical with words (another form of very short stories perhaps?). This post by Christina Martidou has lots of great links, and teaching ideas for using comic strips in class, great for young learners and teenagers, but also fun for adults too.

Kieran Donaghy shared another great lesson plan on Film English which incorporates a short film, creative writing and a poem by Leonard Cohen (although I’m still feeling upset that Leonard Cohen is writing poems for Sony!)

Finally, I was sent a link to an article by Scott Stillar in this month’s TESOL Journal about using creative writing to raise critical consciousness by letter writing. I thought it was a very interesting idea, and one that could be easily adapted to other teaching contexts.

That’s all for this month, and happy Easter if you are celebrating it.

February Round-up

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Well, February may be the shortest month but it has seemed quite long here! In the UK we seem to be having a long, cold winter and this has been met with neverending bouts of sickness in our household. We are hoping for some more spring like days soon!

I only managed three posts this month (Writing Haikus, Very Short Stories and Newspaper Picture Articles), but my post on Very Short Stories was my most successful yet so thank you for the support!

On the world wide web and in the blogosphere the theme for the month seems to have been reading creative writing.

Nicola Prentis celebrated the publication of her first Graded Reader, The Tomorrow Mirror, with a great set of activity ideas for using Graded Readers in class. I’m a big fan of using Graded Readers with classes but I do think they can be really under-utilised by teachers so it was nice to see so many ideas to pick and choose from here.

Meanwhile, Eva Buyuksimkesyan on her blog ‘A Journey in TEFL’ wrote about some Reading Games to use with readers, novels or short stories, and set a blog challenge for more ideas so be sure to check the comments for some more ideas.

Sandy Millin was in romantic (but not of the soppy sort!) mode for Valentine’s Day with a lesson plan based on a Carol Ann Duffy poem, which also gets students reading poetry aloud.

Mike Griffin has been writing some semi-fiction for trainees on teacher training courses to read and discuss. It is a nice idea, and one that could easily be adapted for ELLs starting language courses.

In other creative writing related posts, Rachael Roberts shared some thoughts on giving feedback on writing over at ELT Resourceful. It is something I think it is even more important to think about when students are doing creative work.

And finally, over on the fabulous Film English website, Kieran Donaghy has a lesson plan involving a short film with a poem about bullying that asks students to respond with a poem or story. It would be a great class to try with teenagers.

That’s all for this month, please let me know if there is anything I have missed! Also, Creativities is now on facebook so please join me over there to discuss and share ideas about using creative writing for ELT.

January Round-up

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Well, it’s coming to the end of the first month of Creativities! Despite the snow, January blues and coughs and colds that characterise this time of year in my part of the world I hope I have managed to post some interesting lesson ideas for you. Don’t forget, if you use any of my ideas in class I would love to hear feedback on how it goes.

I thought it would be a good chance to round-up some of the interesting ideas I have found on other blogs and websites over the past few weeks that are related to creative writing. Some of these are new posts, others old ones that I have just discovered. Most of them concern writing, but not all. I hope you find something interesting here. If I have missed anything or you find anything you think I should include in next month’s round-up please let me know via the comments below, or via twitter or email (contact details here)

Firstly, Rachael Roberts has had some great writing ideas on her blog ELT-Resourceful. The first had some interesting thoughts and ideas on collaborative writing, and the second had some short, stimulus for getting students to write. Many of these ideas I’ve used myself in some kind of variation but some are new, and I’m always looking for new ideas to spark the imagination so I was excited by both these posts.

Adam Simpson has also had some writing ideas over on his Teach them English blog. He makes a bold claim for the greatest creative writing activity ever. The jury is still out on that claim! But it is a nice guided story exercise. Adam also blogged on some ideas for teaching adjectives, an important part of most fiction. I particularly liked the references to Raymond Chandler in this post!

If you are looking for an activity on describing people and developing characters (as well as plotting a story) I really like this lesson plan from Designer Lessons. It also links into the theme of collaborative writing.

On Sandy Millins blog, she described a class where the students created their own soap opera, based on an activity from Cutting Edge. It seemed like a great activity for dramatic plot writing and may be an idea I revisit in the future.

Moving away from writing ideas, this  speaking activity from the British Council about one-story spoken chain stories I thought would be the perfect warmer for advanced students for the post I wrote on chain stories.

Finally, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the fiction and reading ideas on Kevin Stein’s blog The Other Things Matter this month. Firstly, I thought his ideas on using writer’s workshop techniques for reading texts were not only much better than simple comprehension questions, but were also a simple low-prep option for working on readings. Also on Kevin’s blog, he has a number of short stories he has written for ELLs (English Language Learners), and this month he posted a new one, ‘Below the Surface’ which was followed by some ideas for using it in class. While you are on Kevin’s blog, take a look at some of his other short stories for ELLs, after all the more fiction your students read, the more they might be encouraged to write some!

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