I am so proud of the writing my children have been doing this week!
We brainstormed some different vocabulary that we could use for a shipwreck story. We decided to set our story in the 1500s so I showed them the opening scene of Disney's Pocahontas to give them a visual to draw from and we added to our vocab bank.
In teams (the children work in mixed-ability teams of 4), they thought about the 5 senses and the emotions of the dock as a ship prepares to leave.
(Okay, maybe not my best example of modelling neat writing, but I get excited and rush!)I. That's when I did my usual trick and changed my lesson because I had an idea!! I handed out hurriedly cut strips of paper then assigned each pair an item from our mindmap. Their challenge was to write just one sentence to describe it. Not just any sentence...a STONKING SENTENCE! I encouraged them to draw on all of the descriptive techniques they know - personification, metaphor, simile, 'show me, don't tell me' - and write the best sentence they can.
For the next lesson, I photocopied every strip onto one sheet and gave each pair a copy. These formed the backbone of their opening paragraph. With their partner, they read, edited, eliminated and ordered sentences to form a good paragraph. They didn't cut them out and physically re-arrange, because I want them to orally rehearse to listen for sense and style, but with a younger class this might be an idea.
The activity gave the children the opportunity to work together and share their skills, then to steal ideas and sentence structures from their peers. It was also a chance to practise their editing skills and the result was fantastic!
Next, the children are going to practise these skills independently in a similar story, but this time it's their mission to Mars that will end in disaster, fitting in perfectly with our topic!
Hi! I'm Mrs P: passionate primary school teacher!