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The independent student media site of West Linn High School

wlhsNOW

The independent student media site of West Linn High School

wlhsNOW

Creativity two the max

The school curriculum is now offering two new writing classes
During a third period, Emily Watson teaches the first ever Creative Writing Nonfiction class.
Clara Wood
During a third period, Emily Watson teaches the first ever Creative Writing Nonfiction class.

Writers rejoice. The 2023-24 school year has brought two new creative writing classes for students to take: Creative Writing Fiction and Creative Writing Nonfiction.

For four years, Creative Writing was taught by Glenn Krake, but for the 2023 school year, these two new classes have replaced it. The previous Creative Writing class was a CTE journalism class, but now fiction and nonfiction writing classes are counted as electives.

The first of these, Creative Writing Fiction, will focus on crafting fiction stories and writing poetry, according to the West Linn High School academic program guide. The class is being taught by Ryan Mooney, who’s been teaching for six years as a language arts teacher.

“I’ve worked with [Glenn] Krake and seen how creative writing was done in the past, and I’m just bringing my own experience to it, changing some things and keeping some other [things],” Mooney said.

The Creative Writing Nonfiction class, rather than focusing on fiction, will instead teach students about writing multimedia and real-life stories. Emily Watson, language arts teacher and former magazine writer, teaches the class.

Both teachers have backgrounds in their individual topics. Mooney has been a long-time fiction writer and took poetry classes as part of his English major, while Watson made a career using her writing skills. 

“I had a full career as a magazine editor and writer in New York City,” Watson said. 

I really want the class to be student-centered, and I want your own motivations to kind of lead what you want to write about.

— Ryan Mooney

Watson worked for ELLE magazine and also completed freelance projects for Vanity Fair, Teen Vogue, and other various publications.

With their separate backgrounds, both teachers are happy with the class split. 

“Nonfiction is my wheelhouse,” Watson said. “It’s what I know, it’s what I’m good at, is what my history is working in the magazine world. I’m hopeful that maybe my enthusiasm for it will rub off on some students.”

Each teacher has something a bit different planned for their curriculum.

“I really want the class to be student-centered, and I want your own motivations to kind of lead what you want to write about,” Mooney said. 

Mooney wants to help students focus on writing, and help them learn how to give important feedback and learn from each other. His guidelines will be very flexible to allow students to write what interests them.

Watson’s class builds in time for freewriting, allowing students to get comfortable with writing and build stamina for it. Students will work together to choose what they want to write about and what units they’re interested in. 

Both teachers mentioned that writing is an important life skill, applicable to a lot of jobs and a person’s everyday life.

“You need that foundation of writing, and I think my class will give students confidence in their writing,” Watson said.

At the moment, students in both classes are just starting out, establishing routines in fiction and writing a creative letter in nonfiction. Mooney and Watson each have things planned for the rest of their curriculum, with the hope that their students will have fun with their writing and continue to do so in the future.

 

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About the Contributor
Clara Wood
Clara Wood, Podcast Editor
A lover of writing, both fiction and journalistic, Clara Wood, sophomore, is currently participating in her first year on journalism staff. She can often be found with a book in her hand or a web browser open to the humane society website, due to her love of animals. Clara’s aim is to discover what profession she wants to pursue beyond high school and write a few things along the way.
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