I used to be more adamant about incorporating Creative Writing exercises into my English classes. The past few years, unfortunately, I’ve had to spend a great deal time reviewing the basics of syntax, grammar, and paragraph structure; therefore, essay writing instruction has taken up more and more of our fun time. One recent Friday when the students had just turned in their final copies of essays, I didn’t have the stamina to dive into a new unit right away. I suspected that the students didn’t either. Remembering a goofy post that I saw on Facebook, I challenged the students to write the story of how we met, but make it a lie. I gave them a few quick examples such as meeting Peter (the quietest kid in the class) when he was working as the bouncer at a bar where my band was playing. As I said, these stories were supposed to be lies.
Turns out that the kids are pretty good at telling tales. In their various versions of our meetings, I was a spy, a prison guard, a prisoner, a helpful grandmother, a crazy cat lady, Jane (from Tarzan), and a drug smuggler among other things. While my regular English 3 students usually characterized me as someone nice, three of my honors kids killed me off. (Am I working them too hard?) At least they tried to warn me not to try to climb that mountain in my Victorian dress and boots.