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Toolbox writing ideas - children writing

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We have many methods of encouraging children writing – something that almost all of them love to do. Those who finish early get on with some quiet reading. Some of these tools are:

• Each theme has a set of photographs designed to inspire both writing and artwork and we have had some wonderful results from these.

• We have a series of question cards for each theme asking children to remember something from their own life-experience.

• We workshop a map of the locality and ask for writing that gives a sense of place.

All of these, and many others, are designed to promote individual writing. Lack of confidence often leads to imitation otherwise. ("She's the best writer, so I'll look over her shoulder!').

Group Writing

Is extremely popular. The facilitator suggests a theme and writes down the responses. Light editing is permissible, and changing the order of sentences. The children illustrate the story while editing is taking place and listen to a read-back with hawk-like intensity! Sometimes the game is to spot a sentence the editor /facilitator has put in. (They always do!) The group can then decide whether to leave it in. (They always do!) The justification usually is that the facilitator is also part of the group.

Song-writing

This is one of the most popular activities – depending very much on the enthusiasm and skill of the facilitators. There are invariably three boys who do Rap and three other boys who do Beat-Box. Invariably there are some enthusiastic girls who want to sing. The song is written by the group, using a flip chart and enthusiastically rendered at all possible occasions after that!

It is endlessly surprising how much children enjoy writing their own stories. They may choose to do so in any language and most choose Enlish (the language they are taught in by the age we work with). There will be many techniques and ideas in the toolbox manuals.