With a customised student planner, you can include pretty much any information you want. Subject-specific information can prove to be very valuable, but it can sometimes be difficult to decide what information to prioritise. You can’t just throw everything you think your student might find useful in there; otherwise, their planners wont fit in their school bags. You have to prioritise.
We often hear from our customers that teaching creative writing can be very difficult. Is it even possible to teach creativity? Or is Sir Ken Robinsons’ theory that we were taught out of creativity now universally accepted? Whether we agree with Sir Ken or not, I certainly believe that creativity can at the very least be aided, if not taught.
When I was studying for an English degree at university, I picked up a creative writing module in second year. For a long time, my writing didn’t significantly improve. This was because I was sceptical about the theory behind creative writing. I had this stubborn belief that you couldn’t apply theory to creativity, and if I was to follow the ‘rules’, my writing would become less creative and subsequently worse. I was very wrong.
It is incredibly important to follow rules. Sure, your creativity can bend and misshape the rules, but it has to follow a guideline in order to produce writing that people will actually enjoy reading.
Due to the aforementioned importance of rules and guidelines, I certainly believe that creative writing pages have a place in student planners. Making valuable advice so easily accessible to your students could really improve their writing. All that would be left for you to do is convince them that they should follow the advice.
There are three steps to follow when you have decided to include a certain page or section in your student planners. You have to:
- Choose the content
- Edit the content
- Convert it into a planner page (we can do this bit for you).
Choosing The Content
The first step is to choose exactly what we want to include. The obvious solution here for most people would be to turn to Google. But, working in a school, we’re sure you’ll have one or two other options.
Your school is unique, and your students have different needs and preferences to students in other schools. Therefore, there is no guarantee that the content you find on Google will be suitable to your school. At the very least, it will need editing to make sure it is appropriate. We recommend asking a couple of the English teachers in your school, or teachers who have an interest in English as a subject. They will know the subject, but more importantly, they will know your students. They should have an idea of the areas that your students might need support and should be able to provide ideas for content that could be used.
If you’re looking to get started on this now, and there isn’t an English teacher in shouting distance, here are some of our recommendations.
Before you write something, read something
All the best writers read. All of them. At The School Planner Company, we think reading is incredibly important. And whilst, sure, it is better to read anything than nothing, it is difficult to argue that there is more value in reading some books than others. For example, reading George Orwell’s classic ‘1984’ will probably better your students writing more than reading Harry Styles’ autobiography.
A recommended reading list can prove valuable in a planner. Your students might have an interest in reading, but not know what they should be reading. Having this information available in their planner would be very valuable to them.
A glossary of terms
Reading this, you are likely to be aware of most of the terms used in writing theory. Alliteration and onomatopoeia are pretty universally understood. However, would you know what I was referring to if I started talking about Chekhov’s Gun, or Flash Fiction? Maybe you would, but your students might not. It could be useful for them to have these to hand if they ever get a little confused when discussing writing styles and techniques.
Writers love it when people read their work, and I’m sure your students will be no different. If you have any budding writers, there is every chance that they will want people reading their work. Planner pages with tips and advice for publishing work might be a good idea. I’m not talking about relentlessly sending emails to publishers, but there are plenty of ways your students’ work can be published online or in local magazines and publications.
These pages could also feature information about writing competitions your students could enter.
Showcase, Showcase, Showcase
Creative writing pages don’t just have to be pages for advice about creative writing; they can also be used to feature students’ work. Why not intersperse flash fiction or poems throughout your planners? This can be a really good way of ensuring that your students feel proud of their work, and feel a sense of achievement when their work is chosen to be included in the planner.
Editing The Content
Once you have chosen what content you want to include, it will need to be edited. You can’t include every tip you find, or a glossary of every single related term; there are just too many. You will need to be selective. Again, we recommend sourcing help for this. Ask an English teacher to help you cut down the content you have found into sections of valuable information that could be included in your planner.
Converting Content Into A Planner Page
At The School Planner Company, we do all of the design work for you. You can send your content and ideas over in any format, and our expert designers will turn them into planner pages. We also give you the opportunity to proof them to make sure you consider them suitable for your students.
Feel free to tweet us if you have any questions about planner pages, or writing in general. We’re always up for a chat.