Session 72: How can we build children’s imaginations so that they have more to choose from for their writing?

Session Title: How can we build children’s imaginations so that they have more to choose from for their writing?

Session Summary:

Once again, the discussion was fast but not furious as apart from the use of grammar (see below) there was a great consensus of opinion. The topic came from my role as producer of the 100 Word Challenge. This is a weekly creative writing challenge for children under 16. I set a prompt of a few words or a picture and the children have 100 words to write a creative piece. This is then posted on the class blog then linked to the Head’s Office where it is shared with all the children who have entered.

I am concerned that many children will write about blood and gore even when I have carefully (or so I think) set a ‘not gorey’ prompt!

The discussion was full of ideas to encourage creativity. From lots of reading out loud to using film, animations, cartoons, telling stories, using prompt writers, cover-it-live, wikis. A point that was emphasized throughout was to get a sense of audience so that there is a purpose to children’s writing. Obviously that brought in praise for class blogs!

There was a discussion around grammar and whether it was a necessary evil or a vital component to children’s writing. I think that one is like marmite – you either love it or hate it!

One strong thread was that all teachers should take on the responsibility to support creative thinking and writing. It should not be just an English teacher’s responsibility. Maths and geography teachers explained that they are involved in creative writing within their subject.

For my original concern @imrandjk suggested  – I dont necessarily think it’s about beating it (blood & gore) – more about embracing it

The use of questions was also emphasized as it was felt often children don’t know what they know. Play, drama and specific role play were also suggested as were music and the arts in general. Getting a cross curricular approach especially with areas like PSHE can provide the impetus for writing without it being a ‘writing’ lesson.

There were so many ideas and suggestions, I do recommend you look at the archive to get a fuller feel of what was discussed.

Notable tweets from the session:

@photographamy – #ukedchat writing in different places and on different things. We have lots of whiteboards in EYFS. Chalkboards, ring bound notebooks etc.
@Educationchat – Get children to TALK together before writing.  Don’t accept their first answer – give them time to be more imaginative & model it #ukedchat
@_imaginaryme – SEAL resources, esp photocards, great for empathy #ukedchat
@deputymitchell – Writing shouldn’t be a lonely task! Pupils should plan through collaboration with support from peers. Ideas will flow, risks taken #ukedchat
@JCBarrington – #ukedchat Time is a big issue – Creativity can’t be forced into a short timeframe, it must be cultivated slowly.
@deputymitchell – RT @LeeDonaghy: Bit of a narrow #ukedchat tonight – one for the English teachers only. <–All teachers must have goods to offer on this.
@deerwood – #ukedchat has anyone tried writing film scripts? Even using cue prompters?
@teacherofyr5 – if you as a Teacher shows your PASSION for reading, you WILL inspire even the non-readers #ukedchat
@MissSMerrill – #ukedchat two picture books – The Mysteries of Harris Burdik and the Arrival. Great for sparking off talk for writing and drama!
@wildblu – #ukedchat Used online comic strip maker to create ‘Bullying’ story today, Y8 loved it
@kennypeiper – #ukedchat 750 words is great for senior kids

Tweet/s of the Week:

Here are the thoughts of some children on our topic! @_imaginaryme   #ukedchat

@LawrenceBham –  the world is bigger than the class room, show them that! #ukedchat

Links from the Session:

Click to see all links…

About your host:

I am @theheadsoffice (Julia Skinner) & I’m a retired head teacher who has been given a second career  through class blogs and the 100 Word Challenge. Do go check it out and join in either as a class or as a commentator!

Session Info:

Number of Contributors: 183

Number of Tweets:865

View the archive at: Scribd

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The Editorial Account of UKEdChat, managed by editor-in-chief Colin Hill, with support from Martin Burrett from the UKEd Magazine. Pedagogy, Resources, Community.

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