Recently I attended a training in which they emphasized the need to increase writing time in the classroom. Students should be writing about everything and anything. In my classroom, students write during math, science, social studies, reading, and writing time. Writing about our learning is a common practice each and every day. Since we did so much academic writing throughout the day, in the past few years my students usually wrote personal or imaginative narratives during our writing block. However, now that we have switched to the common core, there is not much fiction writing included in our curriculum.
In fourth grade, we were fortunate to have narrative writing as our focus first quarter. Students either love or hate fiction writing because it requires students to come up with ideas for their own writing. Those who struggle can’t find ideas that they like, or enough ideas to create a story. Those who love it usually have an abundance of ideas so they have a hard time pairing them down to create a focused piece. Either way, there is a lot of room for instruction at their age. The problem lies in the fact that we don’t have fiction writing in our curriculum for the rest of the year. I certainly understand the need to have non-fiction writing, and I know that we need to increase our time writing non-fiction because that is a life skill. However, I hate that “creative” writing is being phased out. Since writing is integrated into all the other subjects, students are exposed to variety of non-fiction writing throughout the day. Students are also instructed on writing many times during the day because of the expectations of each activity. Therefore, students are already immersed in non-fiction writing so why not encourage narrative writing as well?
Like I said, I understand why they are phasing out fiction writing, however, I hate it for the kids who love to write stories. From an early age students are encouraged to use their imaginations to create, and I think this should be a part of their schooling all the way through. After all, most of the stories we read and analyze are a product of someone who created a story using their own imagination.