Creative Writing: 2014

Mr. Zavos
  Telephone: 816-736-5346       Voice Mail: 2291
E-mail Address: 


About the class:

Welcome to Creative Writing! In this class you will learn elements and devices for different types of creative writing such: poetry, short stories, personal narratives, creative journalism, screenplays, etc. You will also learn specific elements and techniques to help with creating such written pieces. This class is time consuming and will require night and weekend homework, as well as class participation and the sharing of your work.

Writing is a process. No great writer did it well from the womb. He or she spent countless hours toiling with the craft. I challenge you to toil, to fail, which means to take chances, and to learn from your struggles and your successes.

Course Overview:

Electronics Policy

All electronic devices are to be turned off and stored in backpacks when we are working in class. Students violating this policy will be warned once; repeat offenders will be asked to leave the classroom.

How is this class graded?

Because I said writing is a process, then the overall semester grade should be a process too.

This class requires you to keep a working portfolio, which I will provide for you. This portfolio is where all of your major writing pieces will be kept throughout the semester. We will consistently be working on these pieces all semester, editing, revising and polishing them so that they are all publish worthy choices for you Final Portfolio. The final portfolio is worth 45% OF YOUR OVERALL GRADE!!!!! MUST COMPLETE, in order to PASS the course!! However, do not panic, for if you are doing the work throughout the semester, this final portfolio will be just another assignment, not the end of the world. You will also be required to write daily on your own in the provided notebook.

The other 55% of your overall points for the semester will come from…

  • Daily work, group work, assignments, rough drafts, in-class journals, projects and class participation – 35%
  • Out of class daily writes (please keep these, neatly organized, in the front of provided notebook) – 20%.

Each section will be graded by total points. So, do the assigned work!! If you do not hand in an assignment, a zero will be recorded. If you forget your work you have two extra days to turn it in for partial credit, after that no credit is possible. Every assignment counts!

Required Materials
You are expected to have the following items with you in class each day:
1. Laptop - charged

2. A notebook with sections for notes and brainstorming

3. An everyday writing notebook – provided by me. This should go with you outside of the classroom.

4. Writing utensil

5. Open mind/risk taking attitude

It is imperative that you have all of these materials in order to be successful in this class. If coming to class unprepared and in a negative attitude becomes a problem there will be consequences and it will reflect negatively on your grade.

Classroom Rules
  In addition to the rules spelled out in the Student Handbook, students will be expected to adhere to the following classroom policies:

1.  Be on time
2.  Be prepared
3.  Be responsible
4.  Do Your Best

The Final portfolio is due in December. It may include the following:

Extended Metaphor Poem

Short Story

Protest Poem

Short Story Adaptation

Hero Poem


Eckphrastic (picture) poem


Ballad Poem

Nature Walk - Ramble

Pop song lyrics


Letter to Grandchild


Epistle (letter) story

Letter to the Editor

Out of class writing journal: I have provided this for you. You will need to take this with you from class every day. You will need to spend at least 5 minutes writing in this every day, including weekends and holidays. I will check these periodically.  Halfway through the semester you will be asked to write for 10 minutes a day.

  • Grading Practices
      • Total points for all areas unless approved through Administration.
      • A= 90-100, B=80-89, C=70-79, D=60-69, F=0-59
  • Make-Up Policy & Late Work
      • Make-up work - follow current school policy
      • Late homework - accepted for a maximum of 60% credit up until the end of a unit - exceptions at teacher’s discretion e.g., steps in writing process to produce a paper.
      • Late work can be submitted up to the summative assessment.
      • There are no retakes, but there are opportunities for growth offered at the teacher’s discretion.
  • Technology Policy
    • Students will:
      • check classroom Blackboard site daily for course information, assignment postings, weekly schedules, and/or handouts and materials
      • respect a teacher’s direction when to or when not to use technology
      • use proper grammar and punctuation in all email communications
      • only use laptops/cell phones/earbuds/headphones during class if directed by teacher
      • have earbuds/headphones available for use daily
      • check student school email daily
    • Teacher will:
      • maintain a Blackboard presence
      • assign detentions or submit referrals for violations of the tech policy
      • respond to emails in a timely fashion
  • Tutoring Expectations
    • Students will:
      • Have a plan upon arriving at LHS (what are you there to work on?)
      • Use tutoring time for productive activities (games, social media, videos, etc. are not good uses of time)
      • Check LH assignments regularly and attend assigned tutoring sessions
  • Tardy Policy/Bell-to-Bell Instruction
    • Students must be in the classroom prior to bell ringing.
    • Must come with a signed pass for an excused tardy.
    • Remain in seats until dismissed by teacher. The bell starts class, the teacher dismisses class.
    • Teacher will notify students when it is appropriate to pack up materials for the hour.
  • Classroom Culture and Expectations
    • Work BELL to BELL.
    • Check your grades at least once a week.
  • Consequences
    • Inappropriate behavior and tardies to class will result in conferencing with students or a parent if necessary. Repeat offenders will be given detentions or office referrals if necessary.

Classroom Conduct: It is important in any classroom situation for there to be a certain amount of respect for one another and for yourself.  Respect yourself by being on time, being prepared, and giving your best.  Respect your classmates by listening to what they have to say and by sharing your own thoughts and ideas with them.  Respect me by not bringing electronic devices into our classroom.  I will respect you as individuals by always being prepared, listening to what you have to offer, both inside and outside the classroom, and fairly evaluating your work and effort.  As long as each of us works to respect everyone within our classroom, the semester should be enjoyable and productive. Be nice to one another, don’t sleep, and don’t make a distraction out of yourself.

I challenge each and every one of you to find the new in the old, to discover the undiscovered, and to see all sides of every situation.  Together we will take a journey into ourselves, and hopefully we will come out in the end a little smarter, a little stronger, and a little surer of who we are in this world.  Have a great journey!