Author Visit Inspires Creativity in Johnston Elementary Students

Fifth grade boys complete a creative writing prompt during a workshop.

Fifth grade ELP Humanities students from all Johnston elementaries participated in a creative writing workshop with local author Jenny Moyer.

The soft tap of pencils and the sound of eraser bits brushed from paper filled the Timber Ridge media center as 50 fifth grade ELP humanities students from all of the Johnston elementary schools responded to a creative writing prompt.

The exercise wasn’t a test by any means, but rather a student-organized workshop led by local author Jenny Moyer.

Moyer is a Johnston parent and has published two young adult sci-fi/fantasy novels, Flashtide and Flashfall. During her workshop, she explained the writing and publication process to students and gave them plenty to think about as they crafted and told stories of their own.

Four Timber Ridge fifth graders in Nikki Paradise-Williams’ ELP (Extended Learning Program) class had the idea to bring in Moyer after researching her work. They then invited their peers from other schools so they, too, could learn from a real author. Paradise-Williams said this kind of hands-on, face-to-face engagement is motivating for students and teachers.

“When students have the opportunity to learn from someone who writes for a living, it holds more meaning than what they might learn from a project or class presentation,” Paradise-Williams said. “Jenny has graciously offered to critique the writing of these students and that alone is great motivation for them to write freely and use their creativity. Her skills and experience are a true resource for the kids.”

As part of her workshop, students were given one of three creative writing prompts and about five minutes to put their thoughts to paper. The words came out as quickly as students could write them. Imaginations were on full speed and Moyer said the students’ ambition was inspiring.

“I love seeing so much enthusiasm for writing,” said Moyer to the students. “I can tell you have some great ideas you want to share and it will be fun reading through your stories.”

As part of the workshop, Moyer gave away signed copies of her books and other merchandise to students. More information on Moyer and her work can be found here.