What is creative writing and how do you encourage/coax your child into getting involved? All too often at school the creativity kind of gets sucked out of you. Not at my school obviously, because we have a brilliant creative curriculum which very much has our children in mind. But, what if that isn’t the case, then what? There’s nothing worse than being confronted with an A4 blank sheet of paper, when you have no ideas and/or enthusiasm.
So I thought I’d share a couple of the things that I do, in the classroom and also at Chicken and Frog during Creative Writing Club.
One very simple tool is story cubes. They are superb in my opinion. If you’re going on a long journey, there is an app version too, which saves you scrabbling around on the floor in search of lost dice.
There are different ways of using the cubes. The children can take it in turns to create a part of the story, using the dice for inspiration. Or roll all of the dice in a set and link the images together to form a story. The challenge level can be raised or lowered according to the ability of the child. I firmly believe that if you can’t say it, you can’t write it, so story cubes are the perfect way in for oral rehearsal of ideas.
My second secret weapon is Lego. I can not stress how heavily Lego features in my life. It is ace! Boys respond particularly well to Lego, but it works equally well with girls. One great activity is to give the children some to build…whatever they want. As they build, talk and then talk some more. Ask questions and if the answers are lacking in detail, ask some more. This is a sneaky approach to writing, as it is rather a covert operation. Once the building phase is complete, encourage the children to ask each other questions about what they have made. Then comes the writing. It can take on a range of genres: an interview, instructions, a story about the structure or creature…the possibilities are endless.
The final way in to writing that I want to share with you today is film. Children love film and T.V., so why not use it to your advantage? I find it particularly effective to take a look at clips that are not so familiar, otherwise children tend to just copy what they already know. Anime films are brilliant for character development and are a little different, so work well. You can watch a clip for inspiration, carry on the story or write the back story, create a film script…up to you! We have looked at various versions of the same story to kick off a good discussion, leading into writing reviews or a blog.
So there you go, just a few ideas to get your children writing. I know that these ideas aren’t groundbreaking, I’m not that clever, but hopefully they’ll help you to help your child. Go for it, writing can open up a whole world of possibilities.