Do you incorporate into your classes/teachings the value of creativity and importance of language and literature as an art form? I'm thinking of starting to incorporate more free writing and even some relaxation/imagination exercises. Has anyone else done this?

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I have daily bellringers. On Mondays, it’s ACT bellringers, Wednesday it is vocab, and Fridays, first chapter Fridays where I read the first chapter of a book to the kids to introduce them to new genres. Tuesday’s and Thursdays are my “creative days.” Tuesdays are “Tell me something Tuesday” where they write creatively with a prompt that normally has something to do with their lives. Thursday are “Imaginarium Thursdays.” On these days, I give them a slide where they have to use creativity to create something new. For instance, last Thursday, they were given a slide with 12 blank squares. They had 10 minutes to turn those squares into something else (a gift, a checkerboard, etc). It doesn’t have a lot to do with literature but they think it’s fun and they love sharing theirs when we are done. I teach 17 and 18 year olds.

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A couple of years ago, I was co-teaching ELA at the HS level. My background is supportive ed in nature and co-teacher was strictly English Lit. I suggested a lesson focusing on Elizabeth Barrett Browning's poetry and the history of mosaics. The final projects were artistic, inspiring, reflective, and much more than we ever expected.

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Omg I love the approach above - I think it's super important to let English be the creative class. Kids need it!!

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Absolutely! If you can write well, you can write for any audience. Kids much prefer writing for fun, and are more willing to step outside the box in that format. I even started a creative writing club at our school to foster the creativity in students. We have a pretty good regular crowd!

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One of the most successful things I did one year was to have my students create art based on any of the poems we had read. I will always remember this small, quiet girl who had taken Maya Angelou's "Still I Rise" to heart, and made a shape poem on poster board, turning the words into a grand tree reaching into the sky.

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Yes, I like giving them writing prompts that help explore their sense of identity and expression. At the end of the year, they then decide whether to submit their journal or keep their thoughts personal.

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