The Lion's Tale

Pencil to paper: Students explore different forms of writing in new class

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Students work on their latest assignment.

Students work on their latest assignment.

Photo by Jessie Lehman

Photo by Jessie Lehman

Students work on their latest assignment.

Jesse Edberg, Reporter

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There is a new English class at CESJDS, one in which students write fiction and poetry instead of essays, and learn to exercise their creative rather than analytical muscles. English teacher Melissa Fisanich has reinstituted the Creative Writing class this semester after the course was on hiatus for three years.

While the class seems like a standard English department distribution class, it is actually an elective. The course, which is offered to juniors, delves into a range of topics from creativity in general, to specific elements of the craft, like writing dialogue. The students work on assignments that help them master these skills, such as writing poetry and short stories.

“I want them to understand how authors consciously craft their writing,” Fisanich said. “I also want them to understand how the things that they study in a traditional class are really things that writers think about.”

The class was previously taken out of circulation but was added back into the elective pool for the 2017-2018 school year.

“We offered it [in the past] as the distribution course that you could take as the other half of your senior year,” Fisanich said. “It was a different course then. Now, it’s truly an elective course you take over and above the other English courses.”

While the class is well-received by those who are taking it, only seven students enrolled in the course for this school year. Despite this, Fisanich is optimistic that this year is the starting point for a bright future for the class.

“The course works fine with seven people,” Fisanich said. “Ultimately, we are hoping that more people take it.”

Creative Writing is available for the Class of 2020 to select during the course selection period. Despite the positive feedback from current students, some sophomores are nervous to take a chance on Creative Writing.

“I’m not very good at writing,”  sophomore Maya Bellas said. “I have other classes that I prefer to take, like Spanish and Genetics.”

Shemesh countered the idea that incoming students need a base level of writing aptitude in order to thrive in Creative Writing.

“[Creative Writing] is directed to students who have the passion,” Shemesh said. “It’s a class that sort of, in some ways, resembles an independent study. You really just have to have the drive to write.”

Other sophomores, such as Yoni Preuss, are more interested in the prospect of taking Creative Writing.

“It just seems really interesting to learn how to be able to write on different topics,” Preuss said.

Although this year’s class is small, both Fisanich and Shemesh expect an increase in enrollment next year due to the popularity of the class among current students. Shemesh, along with his classmates, is working to get other students interested in the class.

“[Creative Writing is] for everyone who likes writing or even wants to improve on writing,” Shemesh said.  “I’m really enjoying it, and I’m getting better in all aspects of my writing by the day.”

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