Debby Ellis Writing Center

Incorporating Writing In FYS

Using Writing to Encourage Critical and Creative Thinking

One thing that we often overlook as teachers of college-level writing is the fact that writing doesn’t always need to be—or even lead to—a finished product, but instead can be used to help students generate ideas.

Using low-stakes creative writing in your FYS classroom can encourage students to engage with topics in new ways, rethink relationships between ideas, or just have an opportunity to enjoy a low-pressure way to consider a subject. In most FYS courses, creative writing can be used as a generative exercise. This can be a chance to help “un-stick” students who may be anxious about writing, encouraging them to look closely at things they might otherwise overlook.

Creative writing assignments might include:




Since FYS students share dorm space during orientation week, these kinds of creative assignments are one way to continue the class discussion beyond the walls of the classroom and to encourage students to think flexibly about the topic of your course.


Next: Using Writing to Facilitate Discussion