Lesson Plans

Innovative lessons/ideas for teaching creative writing, as well as samples of student writing resulting from the lesson. See complete submission guidelines here.

Analyzing and Writing a Script: A Streetcar Named Desire

by Alice Pencavel Alice Pencavel’s lesson plan uses close reading of A Streetcar Named Desire as a starting point for students to write their own dramatic scenes. If many students are already familiar with Streetcar, choose a different play to teach the same lesson. Grades: High School Lesson Objectives:  To introduce students to the fundamental…

Revision by Translation

by Erika Luckert This lesson uses translation as a way to teach revision in poetry.  Grades: Middle and high school Opening Discussion:  Ask students if anyone speaks a language other than English. Give the students a chance to share their other languages with each other, and ask if anybody has tried translating, either orally or…

Math Meets Verse: Counting, Decoding, & Rhythm

by Alice Pencavel T&W teaching Alice Pencavel offers a lesson plan that lets students connect language and equation, demystifies difficult language with concrete numbers and rhythms, and fosters collaboration among students. In so doing, the lesson elicits a physical pleasure associated with Shakespeare. Guiding Questions:  What feelings arise from the music? How fast/slow is it?…

Preparing to Perform: Practicing Peer Feedback

by Erika Luckert At the end of most T&W programs, we hold a celebration that launches an anthology of student work and features performances of poems by a selection of student readers. While not every student will perform their work onstage, it’s important to me as an educator that every student feels a part of…

Connecting the Written and Visual

by Jason DeHart As both a middle grades and college English instructor, I have found that using well-chosen visuals when introducing writing modes can create powerful, and even entertaining, opportunities for students to begin drafting. Images can be used in a variety of ways; for the purpose of this lesson plan, I will discuss guiding…

The Crumpled Paper Exercise: Collaborative Storytelling

by Alice Pencavel T&W teaching artist Alice Pencavel’s crumpled paper exercise engages students with the process of collaborative storytelling. The lesson enables students to harness a greater aptitude for spontaneity and deepens their understanding of story structuring. Grades: 6th and up Materials/Set Up: One writing utensil and sheet of paper per student. Desks should be…

Poetic Sampling

by Erika Luckert Last year, I facilitated a roundtable discussion on plagiarism and intertextuality in poetry, where a group of teachers and writers talked about the way we use other texts to inspire and fuel our writing. As we talked, we realized that what might be called plagiarism in a formal essay is sometimes a…

Completing the Character Puzzle with Vignettes

by Jennie Weng  Character analysis is an important skill for writers to learn. However, too often students label characters with one-dimensional terms (e.g., good, bad, funny, evil, protagonist, antagonist).  Well-crafted characters are a lot like real people; they are complex. If students can understand this integral component of character analysis, they will not only be…

The Arts of Speech Part 2: Recreating Pictures with Words

by Matthew Baganz In the second part of his Arts of Speech lesson plan, Matthew Baganz shows students how words can create and communicate visual images. Read Part 1 of the lesson plan here.  Grade: 3–5 Genre: Descriptive prose Download: The Arts of Speech Part 2: Recreating Pictures with Words Common Core Standard: ELA-Literacy.W.3-5.3 Write narratives…

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