What are the basics of writing

Creative writing: theory and concepts for implementation in elementary school

Table of Contents

1 Introduction

2. Basics of creative writing
2.1 Definition of terms
2.1.1 Creativity
2.1.2 Creative writing
2.2 Principles of creative writing according to Kaspar Spinner
2.3 History of creative writing
2.4 Reasons for creative writing

3. Methods of creative writing
3.1 What do creative writing methods do?
3.2 Method groups of creative writing
3.2.1 Associative procedures
3.2.2 Writing games
3.2.3 Writing according to specifications, rules and patterns
3.2.4 Writing to and after (literary) texts
3.2.5 Writing on stimuli
3.2.6 Continue writing creative texts

4. Problems and limitations of creative writing

5th practical part: creative writing in a third grade
5.1 Introducing the class
5.2 Continue writing the class reading
5.2.1 Preliminary considerations
5.2.2 General objectives and intention of the task
5.2.3 Hourly progression
5.2.4 Reflection
5.3 Lesson: Introducing the Elf
5.3.1 Preliminary considerations
5.3.2 Rough goals and intention of the lesson
5.3.3 Hourly progression
5.3.4 Reflection
5.4 Lesson: Imagination Journey
5.4.1 Preliminary considerations
5.4.2 Rough goals and intention of the lesson
5.4.3 Hourly progression
5.4.4 Reflection

6th practical part: creative writing in a fourth grade
6.1 Introducing the class
6.2 Lesson: Fantasy Story
6.2.1 Preliminary considerations
6.2.2 Reflection
6.3 Lesson: Writing to a picture
6.3.1 Preliminary considerations
6.3.2 Rough goals and intention
6.3.3 Course of the hour
6.3.4 Reflection

7. Reflection

8. Bibliography

9. Appendix
9.1 Lessons in 3rd grade
9.1.1 Continuing the class reading
9.1.2 Elves
9.1.3 Fantasy trip

1 Introduction

Creative writing - what exactly is it and why is it learned in elementary school? Those were the first thoughts I gave when I started my work.

After several conversations with primary school teachers, I noticed that opinions on this topic are very divided. On the one hand, it is a very popular concept to get the children to write and to stimulate their imagination and creativity, as they are regularly made to write their own texts, stories or even poems, which are then partially presented or discussed. On the other hand, there is a strong dislike for creative writing, as some teachers don't know what the term 'creative writing' really means, haven't really looked at it, or have difficulty implementing various creative writing methods in their class. They see a further problem in the assessment and grading of the work, as there are no precise regulations for this.

As part of my work, I would like to investigate to what extent the goals of creative writing can be achieved. For this it is necessary to examine the methods for their applicability and, if necessary, to confirm the problems that are only hesitantly admitted in the literature.

Therefore, in the first part of my work, I will give a basic overview of creative writing. In addition to an attempt to find conceptual boundaries between creativity and creative writing, the development of how creative writing came about is shown. I also go into the principles behind creative writing, give reasons for creative writing in school and briefly explain the various methods of creative writing. Some examples are given, which I cannot go into in the context of this work, but which are explained in detail in the books mentioned. The last point of the theoretical part deals with problems and limits of creative writing.

In the second part of the thesis I turn to the practical implementation. Concepts are presented on how creative writing can be implemented in primary school. In the third grade, with very little experience in creative writing, I presented and implemented various methods. I also had the opportunity to teach in a fourth grade, which has gained a lot of experience in creative writing. After a brief description of the class profiles, I will go into the reading and writing skills of the students. Furthermore, the course of the lessons is displayed and evaluated.

In the following reflection, I would like to evaluate my experiences in the two classes. In doing so, I look at the implementation of the assignment, the role of the students 'previous experiences with creative writing, deal with the results of both classes and give the students' opinions on creative writing.

Furthermore, the relationship between traditional essay lessons and creative writing is examined. Here I am mainly referring to a study by Claudia Winter.

Then I present my own opinion on these concepts against the background of my experiences.

2. Basics of creative writing

2.1 Definition of terms

In order to give a more precise idea of ​​creative writing, I would first like to explain the term creativity in more detail, on the one hand because promoting creativity is a fundamental goal of creative writing and on the other hand because the term shapes the understanding of creative writing.

2.1.1 Creativity

'Creativity' goes back to the Latin verb creare (= bring forth, create, bring to life)[1]. However, a clear definition of this term is very difficult today, as it is used in very many different ways in the various branches of science. So there are numerous attempts to define the concept of creativity adequately and to describe it.

Gerd Brenner defines creativity as the ability to develop new ways of thinking, feeling or acting. It is also about being able to make something new out of the old[2].

Carl R. Rogers gives a much broader definition. He defines creativity as "the acting production of a new, unusual product that arises from the relationship between the uniqueness of an individual on the one hand and the objects, events, people or circumstances of his living environment on the other" (Brenner 1990, p. 18). Creativity does not only mean an activation of the inner world of a person, but it also shows in the processing of the surroundings and the environment.

Ingrid Böttcher leans in her book 'Creative Writing'[3] strongly reminiscent of Otto Kruse, who sees creativity as “a universal property of human action and thinking” (Böttcher 1999, p.10). It gives in the following diagram[4] on the concept family of creativity according to Otto Kruse an overview of the concept of creativity. Here, those terms are arranged around the term creativity that are closely related to it.

Figure not included in this excerpt

According to Böttcher, parts of these related terms are always included in the meaning of creativity. She reduces the number of attempts at definition to a few basic patterns that she considers relevant to creative writing and which, in my opinion, are the most appropriate.

"Creativity is a personality trait for which everyone has a disposition and which consequently can be promoted in everyone" (Pommerin 1996, quoted in Böttcher 1999, p. 11).

“Creativity relates to thinking and acting as well as to the product of this thinking and acting. We call an action or product creative for the following reasons:

- if the product is novel and valuable;
- if the path that leads to the product is novel;
- when we perceive and feel something in a new way,

recognize or think ”(Brodbeck 1995, quoted in Böttcher

1999, p. 11)

Creativity is therefore present in every person and can be promoted. It is characterized by the fact that a product or an action has something new and thus deviates from normality.

2.1.2 Creative writing

A clear definition of creative writing is very difficult, because it “defines itself under the different approaches with different argumentation structures” (Böttcher 1999, p. 9).

As I mentioned in the above section, Ingrid Böttcher emphasizes the novelty value of a perceptual view, a product or a way to work. These are important to stimulate creativity, to try out new ways of working and to stimulate writing.

Kaspar Spinner characterizes the concept of creativity "on the one hand as breaking linguistic norms, on the other hand as self-expression"[5]. So he connects the term creativity with 'language' or 'expression'. He describes every letter as creative "that does not consist in the reproduction of given patterns, but rather uses the writer's own creative power" (Spinner 1986, p.82). Furthermore, he associates a letter with the goal of personal expression and the development of the imagination. Activating the imagination creates something new and that is exactly the goal of creative writing.

In the following, I'll be referring to Spinner's understanding of creative writing, as I think he's one of the key figures in the development of creative writing.

Creative writing should therefore offer the individual the opportunity to develop his expressive possibilities and his forms of communication. Writing should be fun. It should make it possible to bring in your own personality, to activate the power of imagination and to stimulate the imagination. It is important that it is not about reproducing a real situation, but about the creation of something new that has been created through one's own imagination. Unlike the traditional essay, creative writing offers more open structures and several ways to express your own ideas, fantasies and feelings. The teacher has the opportunity to use writing impulses to draw the students' attention to certain details.

Often creative writing is equated with free writing, but there is, among other things, an essential difference: while with free writing you can choose a free topic, with creative writing this is replaced by a “consciously designed staging of writing situations” (Spinner 2001 , P. 111).

Spinner formulates three basic principles of creative writing, which I would like to briefly explain below.

2.2 Principles of creative writing according to Kaspar Spinner

As above[6] mentioned, personal expression and the activation of the power of imagination are decisive in creative writing. Spinner characterizes this writing through irritation, expression and imagination. These three principles illustrate the basic tendency of creative writing.

Principle of irritation

It is important for creative writing that ideas and actions arise that contradict the patterns that arise in everyday life. Creativity is understood here as breaking through well-established norms and familiar ideas. Here, new ways of perceiving reality are triggered in a targeted manner. You create an irritation that stimulates the imagination and evokes new ideas. A good way to do this is to write a stimulus word story where the words don't match (example: summer - lake - swim - ice skate). Further implementation options are surreal images, fantasy words or the continued writing of strange text beginnings.

Principle of expression

Writing can express subjective sensitivities. Here, creative means when the writer reveals something about himself. You can write about yourself, your feelings or your views. Often, wishes, fears or longings become clear.

Imagination principle

An important aspect of creative writing is the imagination. With their help, imaginary spaces should be created, the familiar should be broken through by one's own ideas, wishes or fears. This can create a 'new world' in which you can immerse yourself and be encouraged to write.

A good implementation option is the imaginary journey. Here the students are led into another world by reading aloud and can then let their imaginations run wild. Writing in perspective or writing on pictures also opens up the possibility of activating your own imagination.

This point should conclude the basic ideas of creative writing. In the following, I turn to the question of how the idea of ​​creative writing came about and developed into what is now the term.

2.3 History of creative writing

Creative writing is found very early in writing history. For example, forms of language games and the acrostic were already used in ancient times. Writers of all time have tried traditional creative techniques or invented new ones to take away the fear of blank sheets.[7]

You only find creative writing in school at a much later point in time.

From 16th to 18th centuries one speaks of 'writing texts', which was reserved for the higher classes of Latin and scholarly schools.

in the 19th century there is a strong change in the idea of ​​text writing. Every citizen should be able to comprehend his knowledge without being dependent on scholars. Thus there was also a decisive change in the area of ​​elementary schools. While the previous writing lessons had been limited to teaching letter writing, the students were now also taught to write simple forms of text. Although the first forms of essays appeared here, they were not part of the curriculum. The essay lessons were mainly limited to the reproduction of given patterns. The tasks of the elementary schools consisted of spreading written German and helping the newly developed high-level language to break through.[8]

With the beginning of the 20th century the essay gets a new goal through the reform pedagogues. It should contribute to the development and development of the child's personality. Thus the free essay was created, in which one waives all specifications. The art education movement had an important influence on reform pedagogy. The focus of the new education is “the artistic productivity of non-artists, especially children and young people” (Merkelbach 1993, p. 11). The pupils' essays were regarded as' works of art '"because they were" creative "expressions of individual experiences, thoughts and feelings" (Lange / Neumann / Ziesenis 1998, p. 205).

Since the 70s of the last century the didactics of text writing are given more importance again. New concepts such as expressive writing, personal writing or creative writing are developing.

In creative writing, however, the focus is not on personal development, as in free essays, but on the development of fantasy and imagination.

From now on, the importance of writing in school changes. Particular attention is paid to the writing process. These developments are evident in the new curriculum for primary schools. From the first grade onwards, students are encouraged to use creative writing situations in order to encourage their writing motivation.

2.4 Reasons for creative writing

Why has creative writing become so important today that it was even included in the curriculum? What does creative writing bring to children?

Therese Chromik formulated in an article[9] the tasks and goals of creative writing that I would like to outline below.

The pupils are to be supported in becoming more aware of their environment and their own internal processes and learn to distance this self-critically. Furthermore, creative writing helps to recognize and understand problems, tasks or questions. It also helps ensure that the inner voice is perceived and that one's own fantasy can be experienced as an inner reality. It can help the student to identify with himself and thus lead to a balanced personality development. Creative writing enables you to empathize with others. Not only the feelings, ways of thinking or spelling of other classmates can be understood, but also poets and writers from other epochs. Ultimately, it promotes one's own expression. New linguistic means are learned and used and thus literary achievements of the present and the past can be understood and valued.

The didactic goals result from these creative writing tasks.

The students should be motivated to write and express internal and external events.The aim is to help them find their own style and use new means of expression. By playing with language, new linguistic means, lyrical and epic forms are learned that can be tried out for yourself. The pupil learns to move in the metalanguage, that is, to have conversations in the group about the particularities of the texts. You learn to describe and justify the effect a text has on yourself without making a value judgment. In addition, the students learn to accept comments from classmates on their own texts critically and constructively and to deal with them productively.

It is important that creative writing takes place in a playful atmosphere in order to achieve the above tasks and goals. Only if the children have the opportunity to let their thoughts run free, if they are motivated to write and if they are given appropriate writing opportunities, they can fully express their creativity and the goals can be achieved. Since students cannot be given creative writing opportunities at random and they have to learn creative writing first, various methods have been developed to introduce them to creative writing, to practice it and to develop it further.

3. Methods of creative writing

3.1 What do creative writing methods do?

There are innumerable methods of creative writing that can be used for different age groups. The decisive factor for the choice of the various methods is that they evoke a positive writing attitude in the students, motivate them to write and match the 'subject'.

Ingrid Böttcher describes in her book "Creative Writing"[10] various methods with which one can bring creative writing closer to the students from the first grade, practice it and develop it further with them. She has tried out the implementation methods presented here for several years and selected them based on various criteria. These should:

- promote and increase the joy of writing
- promote the motivation to write
- take away the fear of the blank sheet
- initiate the writing process
- provoke a curious posture to write yourself
- be unusual, fascinating, stimulating and imaginative
- meet the child's own perspective on his world and his own reality
- challenge the immersion into another world and perspectives
- adequate to the respective writing situation and the respective

Be an occasion to write (as holistic as possible,

enable sensual learning experiences)

- cooperative work and a positive one

Support a group climate that is conducive to learning

- for inexperienced and experienced, for powerful and -

open up diverse learning opportunities for weak children

In the aforementioned book, Ingrid Böttcher divided the creative writing process into six groups. In the following I will explain each group in more detail and give some examples (cf. Böttcher 1999, pp. 22-26).

3.2 Method groups of creative writing

3.2.1 Associative procedures

These procedures are often the first phase of a writing process. The associative processes enable the writer to represent thoughts, ideas, images, feelings, colors or memories in a very individual way. They help to structure thoughts and translate them into language.

For students who fear the blank sheet, these procedures will help them come up with ideas, organize them, and ultimately write them down.

Associative methods can be divided into two groups. On the one hand the playful-experimental association processsuch as writing on stimulus words, the acrostic, the cluster, the abecedarium or the word exchange. The students also have the opportunity to work together in partner or group work, which in turn can have a very motivating effect.

On the other hand the meditative association procedures, such as imaginary journeys, perception exercises or metaphor meditations. Here the students tend to work quietly for themselves and find ideas for themselves without exchanging ideas with others during the development phase.

Example: acrostic poem on the subject of 'autumn'

The letters of a topic (here: autumn) are written vertically one below the other and each form the beginning of a new word or sentence. Through associative and targeted thinking under a certain context, words are found or combined.

Fresh air

It gets dark earlier every day

There is rime on the meadow

Leaves are falling from the trees

Snow is coming soon

Sad mood

3.2.2 Writing games

While all creative writing methods are summarized under writing games in a broader sense, in this case only writing games that serve literary sociability are meant. These are fun writing occasions such as starting writing together in the morning or on special occasions such as parents' afternoons, project weeks or school trips.

In the writing workshop, writing games are the procedures that emphasize writing together. These methods are very suitable for introducing groups of students to creative writing who start very late (3rd / 4th grade). Writing together has a very positive effect on the students' writing ability. The writing process is perceived more consciously, own strengths and weaknesses are better recognized and better texts are written.

Writing games are, for example, the word bag, poems in turn, rolling stories or knocking words.

Example: knock words

The children sit in a group (five to ten children) at a table. Every child has a blank sheet of paper in front of them. The first child knocks on the table and all children have to dictate the word that is going through their head to the 'knocker' one after the other. Every child is once the 'knockers' and at the end everyone has several words on their sheet of paper with which they then have to write a story within a set time frame.

This procedure is particularly useful at the beginning of writing in a group, as there is no long hesitation and thus the situation of the blank sheet is bridged. There are different combinations of words that stimulate writing. The writer is not left to his own devices, he takes part in the flow of thoughts of the others (cf. Brenner 1994, p. 48).

3.2.3 Writing according to specifications, rules and patterns

Although creative writing offers a lot of freedom, it is "an instructed writing that works dialectically with limitations and spontaneity."[11] Through content-related specifications (e.g. topic, beginning of sentence), formal criteria (e.g. use of language, visual aspects such as the acrostic), structural rules (e.g. elf, snowball poem) or literary and text-oriented patterns (e.g. rondel, short novel), the students are not limited to their own associations , Experiences or perceptions.

This writing can also be referred to as structure-oriented writing, as it is very much directed by external structures. In addition to the examples mentioned above, there is also the poem with all the senses, the breaking of lines, the writing to mathematical specifications or the text reduction.


[1] Brenner, Gerd: Creative Writing: A Guide for Practice; Scriptor Verlag GmbH & Co; Frankfurt am Main, 1990, p. 15

[2] Brenner (1990); P. 15

[3] Böttcher, Ingrid; Ed .: Creative Writing: Basics and Methods; Examples of subjects and projects; Writing area and documentation; Berlin: Cornelsen Scriptor, 1999

[4] Böttcher (1999), p. 10

[5] Spinner, Kaspar: Creative German lessons; Kallmeyersche Verlagbuchhandlung GmbH; Seelze, 2001, p. 108

[6] Spinner, Kaspar: Creative writing. In Baurmann, Jürgen / Ludwig, Otto (Hrsg.): Writing: Concepts and school practice. Practice German. Special issue, 1986, p. 82 f

[7] Böttcher (1999), p. 13

[8] Ludwig, Otto: History of the didactics of text writing. In: Bredel, Ursula / Günther, Hartmut / Klotz, Peter / Ossner, Jakob / Siebert-Ott, Gesa (eds.): Didactics of the German Language, Volume 1; Verlag Ferdinand Schöning GmbH, Paderborn, 2003; P. 173

[9] Chromik, Therese: “Poetry” in school - what for? Tasks and goals of creative writing. In: Merkelbach, Valentin: Creative Writing; Westermann Schulbuchverlag GmbH; Braunschweig, 1993, p. 59 f

[10] Cooper (1999)

[11] Böttcher (1999), p. 24

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