Time for another 6th Form writing Class.
This week a number of students were out on a road safety course, so I decided to just have some fun rather than teach a structured lesson.
Students were shown a photograph of a street scene with people and given the following prompt questions:
The students then had about 15 minutes to write a short story based on what they thought.
The important thing is not to be a slave to the responses to the prompt questions, they are just a means to stimulate creativity. In fact if the story turns into something different, brilliant!
We only got a chance to do two photographs, but more and more of the students are now gaining the confidence to read out their work. I haven't managed to get them to comment aloud on what they think of each other's pieces yet, so I think I'll have to work on that.
The book Rota is working well, with students keen to volunteer to talk about a book that they love or they loathe the following lesson.
As always, feel free to download and use the resources, but please leave my email address and twitter on the first slide.
Any comments/suggestions/improvements appreciated, please use the box below.
Important Note: The three photographs included in the powerpoint were found on the web using Google Images. I DO NOT OWN COPYRIGHT. Please leave the URL for the image credit on the bottom of each slide so that it can be linked back to the original photographer. If you are the copyright holder or an authorised representative and object to the image's inclusion please email me.
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(c) Paul Gitsham 2013
Images sourced from Google Images, please leave URL to photographer's website with picture.
Today I taught my first 6th form creative writing elective. Electives are extra-curricular activities chosen by students and run for an hour by staff who have a passion for something that may or may not be related to their subject specialism. A flattering 19 students turned up, a mixture of familiar and new faces.
After a brief course intro and brainstorming session about what a good story needs, we got down to two activities. Odd numbers meant I had to take part also :-)
1) A day in the life of...
In pairs, students had two minutes to interview each other about a typical day. I deliberately asked them to sit with someone they didn't know very well.
When the two minutes were up, they then had ten minutes to write up what they had just heard. The catch? They couldn't ask any more questions - if they didn't know something they had to make it up...
Results were quite amusing and imaginative to say the least...
2) Condense a story to 3 lines of 3 words. We did this as a small group activity. Students then read them out and the rest of the class had to guess the story.
Girl goes dancing
Girl loses shoe
Girl gets prince
Students did Braveheart, The Hunger Games and the entire Harry Potter series - that's less than 1.3 words per book by my maths... eat your heart out JK!
Next week we start with our book rota - students take it in turns to bring a book and tell us why they love (or loathe!) it, the aim being to make them read more critically.
As always, big thanks to my tutor Danielle Jawando from whom I have shamelessly pinched ideas.
Topic for the next lesson: The Narrative Arc.
I have just spent a wonderful weekend at the National Association of Writer's Groups' Annual Festival of Writing, held this year at the University of Warwick.
Despite missing the opening workshop on the Friday evening due to horrendous traffic on the M5 - a particular blow as I had hoped to use some of Steve Bowkett's creativity tips in my sixthform creative writing class - the weekend was full of fantastic ideas, fascinating people and lots of laughter (oh and I won a copy of Linda Lewis' "The Writer's Treasury of Ideas" in the raffle!).
Of course it wasn't all hard work!
There was entertainment in the form of Simon Brett. In addition to a workshop on comedy writing that unfortunately clashed with another talk that I was attending on crime writing, he kept us roaring with laughter with his brilliantly funny one-man show lampooning the myriad clichés of the police procedural. Playing multiple parts - each with their own voice - he left us laughing and also mentally tallying just how many of them we are guilty of...
Saturday night was the Gala Dinner. After an absolutely delicious 3 course meal with silver service - spent chatting with new friends, swapping stories and even helping each other solve tricky plot holes - our guest speaker Gervase Phinn took the stage.
Gervase is a former teacher, headteacher and OFSTED inspector as well as being the writer of many comedy books, mostly about schools and the wonderful pupils he's met over the years.
He had us in absolute hysterics and as a teacher myself I loved his vividly portrayed anecdotes, read from the little black note book that he carries everywhere. If you ever get a chance to hear Gervase speak, do it, it was one of the most entertaining half-hours I've ever enjoyed.
After presenting the numerous writing prizes won by NAWG members over the previous year he stayed and chatted whilst he signed copies of his various books (I got a copy of his autobiography for my Mum!)
All-in-all, my first Writer's Festival was an absolute pleasure. Apparently NAWG have booked Warwick for five years, so it will be held there again next year, probably in the last weekend of August, I'll keep you all posted. I'm definitely going - but I will be avoiding the M5!
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