Creative Writing

The Art of Flash Fiction in the Spanish Class

ÍNSULA BARATARIA brings you a creative writing activity because we are all about sharing and caring about MFL.

Creative writing should not remain an arcane practice limited to those among us who fancy call themselves writers: it is the surest method to learn a language in a lasting, fun, and memorable way.

Writing short shorts is a great introduction to creative writing in the MFL classroom, as a means to develop language mastery, boost subject interest and enhance creativity which, this much we know, may be used to predict future academic achievement.

Creative Writing
«… teaching creatively or teaching for creativity?»

Now that creativity is once more in vogue, has been declared a budding academic field and is a solemn matter of concern to HR pundits, startup accelerators, education leaders and even PISA 2022 and the Department for Education… And bearing in mind that Malcom Gladwell probably overstepped his mark and, let us be straight, punching in 10,000 hours will probably not make you a genius, leaving you a better performer, but as unsagely as before. We can sulk, huff and puff, as contrarian luddites. Or, instead, learn to value and embrace creativity for creativity’s sake, spreading the writerly love to our MFL students.

Have you already picked sides and decided what kind of creative teacher you aspire to be? Planning on teaching creatively or teaching for creativity? A li’l of this and that will probably go a long way.

Modular creative writing activity

ÍNSULA BARATARIA brings you (under the watchful eye of Sancho Panza, our sapiente y comiente Gobernador) this modular creative activity, Minificción (Short Shorts) (KS3/KS4/KS5), where students of Spanish will be introduced to the formidable art of flash fiction: championed by writers like Italo Calvino as a worthy adversary to its more hefty counterparts; veloz saeta… que presurosa corre, and should feel just as fleeting as life fell short for Góngora.

This activity is easily adaptable to various levels and degrees of depth, by removing slides according to proficiency, scope of learning and time available. Every slide is accompanied by a suggested Think/Pair/Share, quest, or plenary activity. However, if you are short on time, you can always present a few examples and launch your recruits knee deep into the writing camp swamp.

When done right—circulating the class, offering constructive feedback, setting high expectations and then meeting students’ work with a compassionate yet critical eye, pointing out linguistic faux-pas—it will afford them practice in all four language skills (L, S, R, W), and students will leave your class feeling like titchy wordsmiths, with something to show for themselves, wrapped in a neat little package of bellas palabras en español.

Learning Intentions

  • Access genuine cultural artifacts, examples of short fiction from the Spanish tradition and in translation
  • Reflect, discuss and engage with the topics and themes presented by these exemplar short stories
  • Write their own short shorts (tailored to whichever grammar objective or theme you wish to address in class)
  • Share and discuss their short shorts in groups, exercise their aesthetic judgement, defend their opinions and choose exemplary creations
  • Listen to their classmates’ exemplary creations which they will use to model future creations

It could get sweeter, but it probably would not be ready-made and free. Go ahead, do your thing, go teach.


Find more resources on our TES SHOP: ÍNSULA BARATARIA