During my first year of teaching, I realized that some very bright kids didn't want to do the work I was assigning. Some of them went out of their way to do exactly the opposite of what I was trying to require. I understood those kids, and I felt like those kids at every staff meeting.
However, the school said every kid had to pass Composition 12. Many were not passing, and the school saw an opportunity with a new, creative-thinking teacher, so Creative Composition class was created (with a lot of fanfare and alliteration). This is pretty much that entire class in a single document. I only left out the Final Exam because I used several, and I will offer those together separately.
While you might not have an entire Creative Composition class to develop, the papers I used are all original and mostly effective. They can be integrated in other English classes, though they were developed specifically to be creative and rigorous enough for high school seniors. I'd tested the papers out on 10th graders and seniors who disliked writing, and then I made it all just a bit more challenging. However, I used these papers with top Honors students taking an extra writing class, art-loving students trying to avoid having to write anything, and students with severe disabilities who could barely function in other English classrooms.
The reason why the assignments are cool is because I did not (initially) look for another class like mine. That was part of the goal: be creative in creating the class. I would encourage you to do the same. Make changes, by all means, but don't give up two weeks over a summer putting something like this together (not to mention 8 years tweaking it). The whole thing is here right now, whether you're a first-year teacher getting stuck with a creative writing course, a college professor in over your head, a seasoned vet looking for some variety, or anyone in between. If you're homeschooling and worry your kids are lacking some creative writing opportunities, here's your chance to use material developed by a published creative writer.
This class was my baby, and we were able to accomplish some pretty cool things. Beyond writing a 30 page portfolio (most students barely trudge through two-page papers in other classes), we also submitted papers to markets (I provide an updated list of links), and we wrote letters of complaint/compliment (kind of like in the movie Summer School). Kids did get published. Kids got free stuff from their letters. Kids even got hugs, since one of the letters is a thank you to a teacher or respected adult.
Mostly, you can set this class up and let it run. The kids will want to run with these assignments, and because I had to sell them to the school board, each assignment has a reason for existing. I think of creative writing as my chance to add a bit of my philosophy to the world, and I designed the papers in this Creative Comp class to encourage students to do the same.
Assignments include the Who Am I Non-Essay, A Fun Research Paper, Paper of Definition, Descriptive Essay(s), How I Write How I Think, Thumbs Way Up Film Review, Parotty Parody or Scathing Satire, Metaphorically Speaking, Create a Classroom Assignment and Write it; Compare/Contrast/Connect, Ethical Dilemma Paper, and the Bulwer-Lytton Contest.
38 doc +18 linked mini lessons