Beth's Blog

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Where did fiction writing go?

Filed under: Uncategorized — andersem at 1:36 am on Monday, November 12, 2012

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 theirĀ imaginationsĀ 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.




December 2, 2012 @ 5:39 pm   Reply

Beth, I understand your frustration. I agree that it seems as though students aren’t given enough time to use creativity in their writing, since there is a big shift of writing to nonfiction. However, I will say that I am more releived because I think writing is so incredibly subjective, that nonfiction writing helps to bring more structure to their writing. I always found that while a good majority of my students enjoyed writing imaginative narratives, it was very difficult to assess, because their writing was based, well…on their vast imagination! Often, I would spend time on how to focus their imagination in a way to convey one idea, and this was very difficult for a fourth grader to do! Once their imagination goes, it runs wild! So, while I understand the importance of students having a creative outlet in writing, I think that the structure on nonfiction writing will help them understand the important conventions, outlines, etc., which will in turn help with their creative writing in the future grades.

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