The Voices of Creativity
For the 2017-2018 school year, Nutley High School offered more electives than in previous years due to the new Rotating Drop Schedule. Amongst these newly-introduced classes is the Creative Writing course, taught by English teacher, Mrs. Jenifer Rainone.
In this class, students learn how to better their writing by exploring styles that they are comfortable with, and in styles that they may have never tried before. Each marking period, students are given a different style of writing to focus on. First parking period, the class worked on creative nonfiction. Second marking period was dedicated to different styles of poetry. The third marking period focused on outlining and writing short stories. During the fourth marking period, Mrs. Rainone and the students will explore writing children's books, an album of lyrics, a graphic short, a one-act play, or an episode of a drama or sitcom . For each writing style, students are given time to read mentor texts, draft ideas, and revise cooperatively before handing in their final piece of writing at the end of the marking period. Along with this, guest speakers are occasionally brought into the class, something that both Mrs. Rainone and her students love.
Years ago, Nutley High School offered a Creative Writing class, taught by one of Mrs. Rainone’s mentors, Ms. Hannah Hungler. When this class was canceled, Mrs. Rainone was heartbroken because she had always hoped to take over and teach it once Hungler retired.
Mrs. Rainone’s love for writing is one that goes back as far as her writing poetry in the second grade. Although Cedar Grove High School, where she had attended, did not offer a Creative Writing course, she had been able to take one in college, at the University of Rhode Island. She describes this as being the time when her love for writing had fully blossomed. “I wish I had it (creative writing) in a formal way much earlier, which is why I am so passionate about teaching this class. I was hoping to re-introduce for a decade!”
When the opportunity for a Creative Writing class arose at the end of last year, due to the new Rotatind Drop Schedule, Mrs. Rainone jumped at the opportunity. She put a lot of time and effort over the summer into planning, designing, and eventually running the class. She researched and envisioned what it was she wanted the class to become and what she believed the class should be. Mrs. Rainone states, “It’s still not ‘there yet,’ but like anything great, it is a work in progress.”
Mrs. Rainone’s passion for writing runs deep. She loves the connection that she has been able to make with the students who are in the class. “It has taught me about storytelling and crafting tales, but it has taught me even more about life and love, which is an unexpected gift. It truly feels like we are family,” she states. Mrs. Rainone has been able to learn and take something away from the personal stories and words given to her from her students.
Mrs. Rainone’s Creative Writing course is a warm and comforting environment, one in which her students have said to be accepting and genuinely caring. In this class, students are able to relate to and create bonds with those that you never thought you would have. Students are able to tell their stories to those who will listen. This class is much bigger and much more than just a writing class.