Stanhope school creative writing curriculum


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Stanhope Public Schools

24 Valley Rd.

Stanhope, NJ 07874






Gina Thomas, President

Gil Moscatello, Vice President

Jennifer Russell

Gene Wronko

Michael Stiner

Donna Kali

Erin Maiello


Dr. Maria Cleary, Chief School Administrator

Nadia Inskeep, Assistant Principal


Sherry Fehir


Both legislative mandates and societal demands have driven the increased necessity for an integrated approach to language arts skills. To that end, this curriculum strives to address all of the identified skill areas targeted in the New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards (CCCS), the federal requirements established under No Child Left Behind (NCLB), and the needs of everyday, reality-based communication.

It must be understood that the purpose of this curriculum is to be a general guide to both the specific reading and writing skills as well as the other curricula in which those skills should be implemented.
This curriculum is based on a choice class, created for a single grade level but can be modified to fit the needs of various levels. It is designed to be executed in a 10 week session or the length of one marking period.


  • Speaking- Students should be able to express their thoughts verbally in a clear, concise, animated manner before a variety of audiences and for a variety of purposes.

  • Listening- Students should be able to demonstrate actively that they can interpret, evaluate, and appropriately respond to information given orally in a variety of settings.

  • Writing- Students should be able to write in a clear, concise, and organized style that reflects an awareness of a specific audience and a specific purpose.

  • Reading-Students should be able to comprehend a variety of materials utilizing various reading skills including but not limited to word attack skills, context clues, and phonics.

  • Thinking-Students should be able to demonstrate progressive use of critical thinking skills through their growing sophistication in speaking, listening, writing, and reading.


Creative Writing

Time frame

One Marking Period/10 weeks

21st Century Themes

  • Communication and Collaboration

  • Media Literacy

  • Creativity and Innovation

  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

Interdisciplinary focus and technology integration

Social Studies, Science, Technology

Big Ideas

Essential Questions
  • The ability to write a variety of genres requires independence, comprehension, and fluency.

  • Different genres contain various story elements to be recognized and analyzed.

  • Discussions are vital to student learning by promoting higher level thinking and making outside connections.

  • A story’s genre influences character motivation.

  • Creativity of writing can be attained by familiarizing oneself with different genres and styles of writing.

  • Writing has grade level potential when grade appropriate vocabulary is included.

  • What are the important story elements of each genre?

  • How can reading and analyzing quality fiction transfer into strong writing?

  • How does fluency affect comprehension?

  • Why do readers need to pay attention to a writer’s choice of words?

  • How do writers construct a solid, meaningful piece of fiction?

  • What is the nature of creative thinking?

Learning Targets-students will be able to


  • Read aloud with fluency and accuracy

  • Recall, analyze, and compare/ contrast story elements (e.g. setting, plot(major/minor details), characterization, conflict, climax, resolution, theme, point of view, suspense)

  • Recall, analyze, and compare and contrast literary devices (e.g. irony, euphemism, flashback, foreshadowing)
  • Identify successful writing techniques through reading literary works.

  • Hold a mature discussion on fictional pieces of writing


  • Collaborate and interact with other writers as a means of mutual support.

  • Demonstrate an adequate level of competency in the area of writing mechanics.

  • Produce final drafts suitable for publication.

  • Constructively critique the work of fellow students

  • Incorporate figurative language in her/his writing

  • Search the Internet to locate creative works of literature

  • Identify and successfully create specific poetic forms

  • Utilize varied sentence structure and vocabulary

  • Develop characters imaginatively and effectively

  • Incorporate dialogue in works of short fiction

  • Transform story ideas into effective plots

  • Cultivate the art of revision as part of the writing process.

Content Standards

Reading: Literature

1. Cite several pieces of textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.

2. Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text; provide an objective summary of the text.

3. Analyze how particular elements of a story or drama interact (e.g., how setting shapes the characters or plot).

5. Analyze how a drama’s or poem’s form or structure (e.g., soliloquy, sonnet) contributes to its meaning.

6. Analyze how an author develops and contrasts the points of view of different characters or narrators in a text.

9. Compare and contrast a fictional portrayal of a time, place, or character and a historical account of the same period as a means of understanding how authors of fiction use or alter history.

10.By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, in the grades 6–8 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.


2. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.

  • Introduce a topic clearly, previewing what is to follow; organize ideas, concepts, and information, using strategies such as definition, classification, comparison/contrast, and cause/effect; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., charts, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.

  • Develop the topic with relevant facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples.

  • Use appropriate transitions to create cohesion and clarify the relationships among ideas and concepts.

  • Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to inform about or explain the topic.

  • Establish and maintain a formal style.

  • Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the information or explanation presented.

3. Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences.

  • Engage and orient the reader by establishing a context and point of view and introducing a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally and logically.

  • Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, and description, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters.

  • Use a variety of transition words, phrases, and clauses to convey sequence and signal shifts from one time frame or setting to another.

  • Use precise words and phrases, relevant descriptive details, and sensory language to capture the action and convey experiences and events.

  • Provide a conclusion that follows from and reflects on the narrated experiences or events.

4. Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1–3 above.)

5. With some guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on how well purpose and audience have been addressed.

6. Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and link to and cite sources as well as to interact and collaborate with others, including linking to and citing sources.

8. Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, using search terms effectively; assess the credibility and accuracy of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.

9. Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

10. Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.
Speaking & Listening

1. Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 7 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

  • Come to discussions prepared, having read or researched material under study; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence on the topic, text, or issue to probe and reflect on ideas under discussion.

  • Follow rules for collegial discussions, track progress toward specific goals and deadlines, and define individual roles as needed.

  • Pose questions that elicit elaboration and respond to others’ questions and comments with relevant observations and ideas that bring the discussion back on topic as needed.

  • Acknowledge new information expressed by others and, when warranted, modify their own views.


2. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

  • Use a comma to separate coordinate adjectives (e.g., It was a fascinating, enjoyable movie but not He wore an old[,] green shirt).

  • Spell correctly.

3. Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening.

  • Choose language that expresses ideas precisely and concisely, recognizing and eliminating wordiness and redundancy.*

4. Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 7 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.

  • Use context (e.g., the overall meaning of a sentence or paragraph; a word’s position or function in a sentence) as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase.

  • Consult general and specialized reference materials (e.g., dictionaries, glossaries, thesauruses), both print and digital, to find the pronunciation of a word or determine or clarify its precise meaning or its part of speech.

  • Verify the preliminary determination of the meaning of a word or phrase (e.g., by checking the inferred meaning in context or in a dictionary).

5. Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.

  • Interpret figures of speech (e.g., literary, biblical, and mythological allusions) in context.

  • Use the relationship between particular words (e.g., synonym/antonym, analogy) to better understand each of the words.

6. Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases; gather vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression.

Teaching Strategies/Procedures
Learning Activities
  • Direct Instruction
  • Differentiated Instruction
  • Reinforcement and Remediation
  • Scaffolding
  • Modeling
  • Teacher circulation
  • Group discussions
  • Use of technological tools
  • Multisensory activities (Outdoor experiences, flavor writing)
  • Writer’s workshop (brainstorming, prewriting, organizing, drafting, proofreading, editing, critiquing)
  • Cooperative Learning Activities (e.g. student round table critiques, pair writing games)
  • Writing multiple genres (sci-fi, fantasy, historical fiction, adventure, realistic fiction, poetry, screenplay, comics)
  • Class discussions
  • Word processing
  • Interactive whiteboard activities
  • Study Island
  • Homework
  • Cooperative Learning (Flexible Grouping/Pairing)

  • Peer tutoring

  • Tiered activities, assignments, and assessments

  • Hands-on activities

  • Re-teach and enrichment activities

  • Study Guides

  • Formal and informal teacher observation

  • Writing pieces/Tests/Quizzes

  • Projects

  • Class discussions/participation

  • Homework/class work

  • Discussion List

  • Notebooks

  • Rubrics

  • Student self-evaluation

Suggested Resources


Seize the Story: A Handbook for Teens Who Like to Write by Victoria Hanley

Teaching the Story: Fiction Writing in Grades 4-8 by Carol Baldwin

Writing Tips



Glossary of Terms

  1. Adjective (modifier)- A part of speech modifying or describing nouns, pronouns

  2. Adverb (modifier)- A part of speech modifying or describing verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs. In general, it answers the questions: How? Why? When? Where?

  3. Allegory- a work in which the story, characters, or events have symbolic meanings assigned to them. You may compose an allegory, and you may interpret a work as allegorical.

  4. Antagonist-main character in a story offering opposition to the protagonist

  5. Back story- The wider context or background, which sheds light on the current story.

  6. Characters-see literary elements

  7. Cliché- see figurative language

  8. Climax- see literary elements

  9. Compositional risks- elements of style or structure (e.g. dialogue, inversion, high-level vocabulary, and hyperbole) that elevate the overall quality of a piece of writing.

  10. Conflict- see literary elements

  11. Connotation-The set of associations implied by a word in addition to its literal meaning.

  12. Crime- Related to mystery or murder mystery genres, ‘crime’ presents a story involving crime, the police and the law.
  13. Denotation-The most specific or direct meaning of a word, in contrast to its figurative or associated meanings

  14. Dialogue-see literary device

  15. Enigma- A riddle, puzzling person or thing; something that cannot absolutely be known or resolved.

  16. Euphemism- see figurative language

  17. Fairytale- Often drawing on myths handed down orally through the world’s various different cultures, fairy tales feature a number of recognisable formulae and character ‘types’. A ‘fairy-tale’ ending is meant to imply a happy ending to a story, however this isn’t always the case, and often a fairy tale evokes a complex moral lesson.

  18. Fantasy- a type of genre fiction that uses fantastic mythical elements as primary components of the story (vampires, witches, ghosts, elves, etc.)

  19. Figurative language- contains images. The writer describes something through the use of unusual comparisons, for effect, interest, and to make things clearer.


  1. Metaphor-a direct comparison not using like or as. (The clouds were marshmallow fluff floating in the sky.)

  2. Simile-a comparison using like or as (The clouds are like marshmallow fluff.)

  3. Hyperbole-the use of extreme exaggeration, usually with humor

  4. Alliteration- The repetition of usually initial consonant sounds in two or more neighboring words or syllables 

  5. Onomatopoeia- Naming a thing or an action by imitating the sound associated with it.

  6. Oxymoron- Two opposite words coming together to make a new idea (jumbo shrimp)

  7. Personification-giving human-like qualities to inanimate objects.

  8. Cliché-an overly used phrase

  9. Idiom- a saying that does not imply its literal meaning
  10. Euphemism- The substitution of a mild or less negative word or phrase for a harsh or blunt one

  1. Genre- A literary or artistic type or style, e.g. thriller or romance.

  2. Hook sentence- usually first sentence of an essay. Grabs the reader’s attention.

  3. Humor- a type of genre fiction where the primary goal is comedy.

  4. Hyperbole-see figurative language

  5. Idiom- see figurative language

  6. Inspirational- a type of genre fiction where the primary goal is to provide uplifting, inspirational feelings to the reader. May be set in any time period, and may be based upon some set of religious beliefs or not.

  7. Literary Device-a tool to enhance, embellish, or illuminate language


  1. Dialogue-conversation between characters in a story

  2. Figurative language-see #19

  3. Foreshadowing- Where future events in a story, or perhaps the outcome, are suggested by the author before they happen

  4. Irony- expression of something that is contrary to the intended meaning; the words say one thing but mean another

  5. Mood- The atmosphere or emotional condition created by the piece, within the setting.

  6. Oxymoron- A contradiction in terms.

  1. Mystery- a type of genre fiction where the reader does not know, or at least is not told outright, the identity of the “villain” until the end or near the end of the story.

  2. Narrative- A written or spoken account of a series of events. The part of a literary work that deals with events and action, rather than dialogue.
  3. Novel- A length of fictitious prose, over approximately 45,000 words in length, presenting character(s), place(s) and time(s), usually within the context of a story.

  4. Point-of-view- The identity of the narrative voice; the person or entity through whom the reader experiences the story.

  1. First person-the speaker

  2. Second person-the person spoken to

  3. Third person-the person spoken about

  1. Short story- A length of prose up to approximately 20,000 words in length, most usually of between 1,000 and 5,000 words.

  2. Symbolism- The use of specific objects or images to represent abstract ideas.

  3. Theme- Main idea or message conveyed by the piece.

  4. Tone- The apparent emotional state, or “attitude,” of the speaker’s voice, as conveyed through the language of the piece.

  5. Style-The way in which something is said, done, expressed, or performed

  6. Literary Elements-the various parts of a story that produce a unified effect.

  1. Plot-main idea of story

  2. Setting-time and place

  3. Characters-(major/minor, protagonist/antagonist)

  4. Conflict-the problem which creates the plot

  5. Climax-the highest point of the story

  6. Resolution-the result of the conflict

  1. Metaphor-see figurative language

  2. Mood-see literary device

  3. Noun- a name of a person, place, thing, or idea.

  4. Onomatopoeia- see figurative language

  5. Oxymoron- see literary device

  6. Paragraph-a group of sentences that tell about one main idea
  7. Parts of Speech- Names for the ways words are used in sentences The parts of speech are: noun, pronoun, adjective, adverb, verb, preposition, conjunction, and interjection.

  8. Personification- see figurative language

  9. Plot-see literary elements

  10. Poetry-language of emotion, usually written in some sort of form



In Acrostic poems, the first letters of each line are aligned vertically to form a word.

The word often is the subject of the poem.


Each line begins with the letters of the alphabet in order.


A poem about oneself using any poetic form.


Retell an event in history, in the news, or in your life as a ballad.

You will want the ballad to rhyme. You may copy the style of other poets.


Cinquains have five lines

Line 1: Title (noun) - 1 word

Line 2: Description - 2 words

Line 3: Action - 3 words

Line 4: Feeling (phrase) - 4 words

Line 5: Title (synonym for the title) - 1 word


A poem about your favorite color. Express your feelings about a single color with analogies or similes or list nouns which are (or remind you of) that color. Another easy form is to use the 5 senses-looks like, sounds like, smells like, tastes like, feels like.


The Diamante is a form similar to the Cinquain. The text forms the shape of a diamond.

Line 1: Noun or subject - one word

Line 2: Two Adjectives that describe line 1

Line 3: Three 'ing words that describe line 1

Line 4: Four nouns - the first two are connected with line 1; the last two are connected with line 7

Line 5: Three 'ing words that describe line 7

Line 6: Two adjectives that describe line 7

Line 7: Noun Synonym for the subject


Usually rhymed lines used to describe a death


Haiku is Japanese poetry that reflects on nature and feelings. There are three lines with five syllables in the first line, seven syllables in the second, and five syllables in the third.


A limerick has five lines. They are often silly.

The last words of lines one, two, and five rhyme.

The last words of lines three and four rhyme.

A limerick has to have a pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables.


Couplets are made up of two lines whose last words rhyme.

Triplets are made up of three lines. The rhyming pattern can be AAA or ABA.

Quatrains are made up of four lines. The rhyming pattern can be AABB or ABAB.


A fourteen line poem that has rhyme scheme a-b-a-b, c-d-c-d, e-f-e-f, g-g Made famous by Shakespeare


Similar to a Haiku with seven-lines rhyming and syllables 5, 7, 5, 7, 7

  1. Point-of-view- see literary device

  2. Protagonist-the principal/lead character of a story

  3. Resolution-see literary elements

  4. Rubric-a scoring guide used in subjective assessments

  5. Science Fiction- a type of genre fiction where imagined but not-yet-real human achievement (interstellar flight, invisibility, etc.) creates the situation or tension of the

  6. Sentence- a group of words expressing a complete thought. Must contain a subject and a predicate.

  1. Declarative-States a fact or opinion (The store is located around the corner.

  2. Exclamatory-Expresses a strong feeling or emotion. (The teacher is failing us!)

  3. Imperative-Gives a command. (Johnny, take out the trash.)

  4. Interrogative-Asks a question. (What time does school end today?)

  1. Setting-see literary elements

  2. Simile-see figurative language

  3. Style-see literary device

  4. Symbolism- see literary device

  1. Theme-see literary device

  2. Thesis statement (topic sentence)-states main idea of an essay

  3. Thriller- Where the dramatic mood and pace is punctuated by a rapid series of high-tension events and actions.

  4. Tone-see literary device

  5. Verb- part of speech that expresses action or state of being.

  6. Voice-a verb has two voices, active and passive

  7. Western- a type of genre fiction primarily set in America’s old west, from about 1830 to

around 1900. Can be set in a more modern time if the character types are retained and the setting of horses, cows, etc., is retained.

Creative Writing Genres

  1. Action/Adventure: A story where the main character finds himself/herself in tricky situations, has a mission and faces obstacles to reach his/her destination.

  1. Comedy: A story written to make the audience laugh.

  1. Creative Non-fiction: A stylistic twist on informative topics such as-

  • Blogging

  • Documentary

  • Memoir and biography

  • Food and travel writing

  • Personal essays

  • Literary journalism

  • Interviewing

  1. Crime Novel: A story about a crime that is being committed or was committed. It can also be an account of a criminal's life. It often falls into the Action or Adventure genres. Court room drama’s/legal thrillers, murder mystery, detective stories, gangsters, normally come under this genre.

  1. Documentary: a story that tells the truth about events.

  1. Fiction: a made up story, with made up characters and places; some fictional stories are based on fact therefore some of the characters maybe based on real people and real places.

  1. Fantasy: A story about magic and supernatural forces. Usually featuring royalty, wizards, witches, sorcerers, trolls, creatures, monsters, and/or fairies.

  1. Graphic novel/comic: is a narrative work in which the story is conveyed to the reader using sequential art, either in an experimental design or in a traditional comics format and including various genres across the board.

  1. Historical: A story based on past events and people.

  1. Horror: A story that is told to deliberately scare or frighten the audience, through suspense, violence or shock. Genres within this genre include ghost stories, stories about monsters, the occult, vampires, etc.

  1. Legends and Myths: a traditional or legendary story, typically including a hero or event.

  1. Memoir: similar to an autobiography, focusing rather on the development of the author’s personality and life changes.

  1. Mystery: usually associated with crime and/or supernatural fiction; solving a problem or strange occurrence.

  1. Philosophical fiction: a normal story to explain difficult and/or dark parts of human life.

  1. Romance: stories set in present day and aimed at female readers where the characters fall in and out of love and eventually have a happy ending.

  1. Saga: prose, stanzas or whole poems that use alliteration to tell stories. A family saga is a story that tells about the lives of a particular family often used to explain particular events.

  1. Satire: uses wit, irony and sarcasm to attack something that the author disapproves of and is meant to be funny.

  1. Science Fiction: stories set in outer space or the future featuring aliens, time travel, scientific experiments, etc.

  1. Screenplay: the dialog and instructions for a film

  1. Script: the dialogue and instructions for a play, musical, or other performance work

  1. Slice of Life: a day in the life of ……

  1. Speculative fiction: overlaps with science fiction, fantasy fiction, horror fiction, supernatural fiction, superhero fiction, utopian and dystopian fiction, apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction, and alternate history.

  1. Spy / Espionage : Classic spy genre deals with the CIA against the KGB

  1. Thriller: A story that is filled with suspense and action, adventure, mystery or horror depending on the level of terror. Usually dark or serious drama and includes disaster; psychological; crime and techno.

  1. War: Adventure fiction based on usually set around real battles.

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