GARMISCH, Germany - Pencils poised and heads held high, nine elementary students participated in "Write On", a creative writing program held at the Garmisch American School here over the summer.

I initially created the program for students in grades 4 - 7 during the summer of 2007, and gradually developed it during my junior year, working through the channels at the Garmisch American School.

After months of preparation and planning, "Write On" was launched, much to the delight of the nine participating students and their teacher.

The students met at the school from 9 a.m. to noon for one week, exploring poetry, short-story writing, Haikus and fables. They worked individually and in groups, focusing chiefly on illustrating their work with vivid images and sensory details. From hopscotch to hide 'n go seek, the class incorporated a myriad of hands-on activities to stimulate her students' creative juices.

I wanted to give students the opportunity to go beyond what they'd done in the classroom and explore different areas of writing that perhaps they'd yet to encounter. I think it's important for middle-schoolers, who have spent time in lower grades honing basic skills, to diversify their writing and to develop a more personal means of expression. I think it's important for kids to discover that our emotions and senses fuel our writing, especially our ability to do so creatively.

Garmisch Principal Debbie Strong was very supportive of the program. "Ms. Michta exhibited a poised and patient demeanor with her young writers while encouraging them to go beyond their perceived ability and produce writing that was rich with vivid verbs, adjectives, and voice," Strong said.

When I presented her with the idea in early August, she expressed a keen interest in developing the program. She later attended sessions in the classroom as well as interacting with some of the students.

"Over the course of the weeklong workshop, I observed the students experimenting with vibrant imagery in prose and poetry pieces. It was a very profitable week and gave the students a jump start of success to begin the new school year."

(Editor's note: Chelse Michta is a family member of USAG Garmisch, Germany, and a senior at the Munich International School)