Creative Writing


In this class you will explore various genres of creative writing through both reading and writing exercises.  We will look at examples of good writing, analyze what makes them successful, and then transfer those lessons to our own work.  We will spend a great deal of time in writing workshop, where we will read and respond to each other’s writing. You will keep a Commonplace Book, or writer’s notebook, where you will write daily outside of school.  As well, you will be expected to complete in-class writing exercises as well as work in grammar and vocabulary. We will look at all aspects of creative writing, as well as what it means to be a writer and live a writer’s life.  Our work will culminate with a portfolio and chapbook of your work and an after school, public reading. You will be given plenty of advanced notice and will be required to attend. 

Course Habits of Success

  • HS36D: Revision and Reflection – Seeks and accepts feedback to reflect on progress and experiences in order to revise and improve
  • HS36F: Citizenship – Contributes to the welfare of the classroom, school, and community, and participates in school and/or community service
  • HS38F: Self Efficacy – Demonstrates confidence in communication of newly acquired ideas, knowledge, and understanding
  • HS38C: Collaboration – Works effectively with others to advance learning
  • HS36C: Preparedness  – Completes individual and group work using organizational strategies according to deadlines and expectations

Course Proficiencies


  • HS5A: Analyze an author’s point of view and purpose within a text.
  • HS5B: Analyze an author’s use of literary devices and style and how they contribute to the work as a whole.
  • HS5D: Demonstrate an understanding of word relationships and nuances in word meanings based on text complexity and content through inference.

Narrative Writing: 

  • HS6A: Create Narrative Writing which establishes a clear purpose by using narrative techniques to convey a message to the intended audience 
  • HS6B:  Informational Writing establishes a clear claim/thesis and integrates information to convey purpose to the intended audience
  • HS6D: Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.
  • HS6E: Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing
Daily Rhythm

  • Do Now
  • Author’s Chair
  • Agenda Review/Check-in
  • Mini-Lesson (reading, writing, grammar)
  • Lesson Practice or Writer’s Workshop
  • Self-Reflection/Goal Planning/Next Steps
  • Exit Ticket/Closing Circle
Weekly Rhythm (in no particular order)

  • Commonplace Books
  • Writing Models – read, discuss, analyze
  • Writing Models – mimic writing/inspiration
  • Writing Process – write, share, revise, present
  • Writer’s Workshop/Author’s Chair
  • Grammar/Vocab Focus – lesson and practice
  • Portfolio – compilation + reflection

Democratic Classroom Model

A democratic classroom is one where teachers involve students, on a regular basis and in developmentally appropriate ways, in shared decision making that increases their responsibility for the classroom environment, the curriculum, and the learning process and products.  I will do my best to incorporate individual and collective voice and choice in all that we do as we work together to learn, grow, and achieve. We will hold classroom meetings as appropriate and will end each class period in Closing Circle, where we come together in the center of the room to share appreciations, apologies, and ah-has!  Because the democratic classroom model may be new to many of you, I will teach you the skills and processes necessary for its success.


Teacher as Coach/Student as Worker Model


I will create experiences and opportunities to support your progress and ultimate success in learning the content and meeting the proficiencies.

I will coach you along through that work with regular feedback and support.

I will not hunt you down and nag you if you fall behind on assignments or lower my expectations based on your life circumstances.  I will, however, provide any accommodations outlined in individual education plans.

I am responsible for making myself available to help you and for following up on all feedback and communication to the best of my ability.

If I cannot provide the support you need, I will find someone who can.


You are responsible for your own learning.  Meeting the course obligations is your choice.  You are also responsible for being a team player and contributing to class in a way that supports other people’s learning.

Your responsibility is to plan ahead and manage your workload so you stay on track and complete and submit all assignments on time.  You will be busy or have activities/events/drama that distract you or monopolize your time, but you are responsible for managing your time and making appropriate choices.

You are responsible for respectfully advocating for yourself and communicating when you don’t understand something or need other resources/supplies to assist with your learning.  You may do this in person, via email, or through your advisor.

You are responsible for following through with help/support requests and for monitoring your on-going progress in this class.



Curricular Organization: I will do my best to scaffold our work together to help you make steady progress toward the proficiencies.  Because our proficiencies require you to demonstrate a significant amount of learning/understanding, assignments will be organized so that they build off each other.  Failure to complete preliminary or formative assignments will make success on summative assignments harder to achieve. Be sure you are staying up to date with all assignments as we go along; waiting until the last minute to complete work will not support your success in this class.

Formative Assessment: Preliminary assignments which help me gauge your level of understanding and your needs as a learner.  These assessment results guide my instruction and help me determine who needs extra help/support, etc.  Formative assessments are critical to the learning/teaching process.

Summative Assessment: Large culminating assignments which encompass extended learning.  Proficiency progress will be assessed through one or multiple summative assessments depending on the skill/knowledge assessed.

Due Date: When the assessment is due.  If you hand work in at the due date I can provide you with feedback to assist in your progress.  You will then have time to revise and improve your work based on this feedback. Great learning happens through this process and it is essential to your growth/progress toward the proficiencies.

Deadline: Non-negotiable end date for an assignment, typically 2 weeks after a due date.  In the “real world” there is little leniency for missed deadlines. Therefore, if you do not hand in your final work by the deadline it will not be accepted and you will receive a score of Beginning on all associated proficiencies.

Proficiency Scales:

We will use the CVSU PBGR Scales to guide our proficiency work and assess progress.  As a class, we may further define or refine them so they are more helpful to our learning process and are more relevant to our work.  Generally, proficiency progression looks like this; and, I will use this language interchangeably:


You’re Getting Started.

ApproachingYou’re Making Progress! ProficientYou’ve GOT IT!! Exemplary

You’re Taking it to the Next Level!!!


Cell Phones and Use of Technology:

Phone use is distracting and gets in the way of learning. Therefore, according to the WMHS handbook, all cell phones must be either in your backpack or in a designated location in the classroom.  For your convenience, there is a charging station at the front of the room. If you do not use this charging station, your phone must be on silent in your backpack. It cannot be on your person and will not be used during class.  If anyone in the room is caught using a phone the entire class will get a warning. Any phone use (for any reason and by anyone) afterwards will result in that phone being confiscated for the remainder of the class period. If a student refuses to give up their phones it will result in an immediate office referral.  Students who consistently need warnings/reminders will be referred to the office, as well. Students needing communication with home for any reason should handle this through the office during passing period, lunch, advisory, or ELO time.

Chromebooks will be used for all technology-related needs; the expectation is you will have yours charged and ready to use each class period.  There are three designated charging stations in the classroom and one spare chromebook if you your battery is low or you’ve forgotten yours. Chromebooks will not be used to charge cell phones.  If you need to charge your cell phone, please use the charging station at the front of the room.

Online Learning:

We will use different online programs and applications for this class such as Google Docs, SoundTrap, and Adobe Spark, as well as the Library of Congress and other Archives/Document collections.  We may also use an online learning management system. Course updates and proficiency progress will be communicated through that system as well as Tyler.  You are expected to login and review these regularly and come to me with any questions or concerns.

Extra Help/Contacting Miller:

If you need are struggling to understand a concept and want extra help please sign up for English Language Arts Support; this will be offered by English teachers Monday through Thursday during ELO time.  If you cannot attend an ELO Support block, I will also be available to assist you before or after school or electronically via email.  Please send me a message to schedule this/make an appointment. Also, please email me at any point for any reason. I am here to support you and your learning in this class and I will do my absolute best to do so.

Supplies Needed:

  • You will be issued a composition notebook.  You are responsible for having it with you every day and for turning it in when requested.
  • You will need:  3-Ring Binder
  • Dividers
  • Loose-leaf Paper (there is some in the room)
  • Pen or Pencil

General Expectations:

  • Show up each day ready to learn and grow.  Leave the drama at the door or use it to fuel your work.
  • Come with the willingness to participate in something new.  If you’re not feeling it, do the best you can or find an approach to the task that works for you and your needs/interests, and allows you to stay present and in the learning environment. Communicate with me so I know your plan or alternative approach. I will do my best to support your needs.
  • Take care of your needs and be present for as much of class as you can.  Keep bathroom and water breaks to a minimum. If you become a “Frequent Flyer” you will be put on a restricted pass plan.
  • Do your best in each moment.  Some days a try is the best we have.  Be OK with that, nurture yourself, and strive always to improve from one day to the next.
  • Engage with your peers and support them as they find their voice and go out of their comfort zone.
  • Communicate with respect.  Resolve conflicts peacefully, proactively, and privately whenever possible.  Keep me in the loop so I can support you in this process.
  • Bring all ideas/concerns to me immediately; I want to hear them and to help if I can.
  • Remember to honor confidentiality; but, know that if you say you’re going to hurt yourself, someone else, or that someone else is hurting you I will take this seriously and will report it.
  • Relax, have fun, trust the process, and stick with it because you’re here for a reason, I care about you, I appreciate you, I believe in you, and even if you don’t think so: you’re worth it and your voice (and education) matters!!!!!