Saturday, March 13, 2010

Creative Writing Session #5

Week 5 was fun.
I printed a letter they gave me from a friend who has published her book through
She is happy with the process, but is adamant about finding a good editor if you self-publish.
We talked about dendrites, and the importance of stretching your brain, to keep it as flexible and tuned as our bodies. If you don't use your dendrites, you stagnate. It was an interesting Brain Research discussion (see slides 10/11). Often, students would ask, 'Why are we doing this?' The answer: to build dendrites!

Last session I had given the men recipe cards, for them to write down thing they would like to do in our sessions, or questions they have about writing.

Two had a couple of questions. One was about plot, moving ahead with setting, character, and putting it all together.  We had a bit of a discussion, and I promised to put some wise words together!

At left are the photo prompt cards we used last session. Each has either a cut out magazine picture or a noun, or word on it. They randomly pick 3 or 4 and write from those.

Next, we talked about each creating our own Writing Prompts.  I have made some and printed them on business card paper. They liked them. I found some ideas on Boggles World. I printed WordArt backs for the cards. I am quite pleased with them!

I made Word Prompts, too, right. I haven't used them yet!
They really liked the one that said, 'Write about a bathtub, stool, spaghetti, with compromise in the story'. My student wrote it on the whiteboard for us all.
It was quite funny, the result. I wrote a story, too. And I simply jotted the characters, (Andrew & Denise) and the plot: arguing about having spaghetti, that not being the real issue, and so on.

One student wrote a dialogue, another the setting for his story. We decided, next time, to create a work together, since each of us has skills in one or the other areas, and compromising on a story. Stay tuned!

Spinning InwardGuided Meditation: Exercise 16: The Ally Within, from a fabulous book I bought, Spinning Inward.(It is available more cheaply at for Canadians.)

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We debriefed our journey, those who chose to share. I met M. Picard, as my ally in my journey when I did this exercise. One of my former students met his late grandfather in his journey when I did this meditation many years ago! t is a great one.

Using the handout… The Rules about THOUGHTS & Feelings – Lesson 10, Nancy Atwell, & 11, we did some writing about our 'ally' that we met in our guided journey. This is  a great resource for intermediate teachers!

We discussed what meaning can be had by infusing the text with our feelings.

Next, I gave each participant a pebble to write about. These I had collected about my property. I asked them to use the "S" words. I put up my poster of adjectives: (I saw this on a TV show many moons ago, when home with my children. I like this for a framework of writing.) I created the mind map on Inspiration software.


And they used these descripters to write about the pebble they held in their hand. As Atwell says, make sure you talk about THIS pebble, not 'a pebble', but what this pebble means to you, or the character you are developing. My Pen Men each wrote a great paragraph or two, which we shared.

The session went quickly. I am feeling more confident about providing curriculum that will encourage them to write. I don't want to be an authority figure, but a facilitator.

They have such wide-ranging desires, abilities, and goals as writers, which is normal in a group!

One new participant spoke of his grandfather, with whom he had recently made contact. I gave him a handout to give him some questions for his grandfather. I always had a great time asking students to write about their elders. 

This table is from a great article on Palliative Care Nursing. Honest! It was part of my research for a Hospice client!

1 comment:

Mary said...

How great that you teach creative writing in a prison. That has to be rewarding. I like that you teach them to ask questions of their elders and write about that, too. I'm a big supporter of everyone writing their life story for their kids and grandkids. I'm very fortunate that my dad did that for us. I wish that my mother had! I know so little about her family and they are all gone now. I've helped a couple seniors write their stories and would love to help more. Another blogger and I are currently doing a writing project of this sort through email just because we found we both had an interest in it!

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