Introduction to the resource
This is a short clip giving teachers an overview of the resource.
Why write creatively? Short animation
The video link is a short animation designed to give pupils confidence in the value of learning to write creatively.
Writing as a problem-solving activity
The Writing as a problem-solving activity resource attached allows you to select problem-solving question sets using the worksheet. It is a guide to the graduated process of teaching writing, from exploring good examples through to independence. By adopting this approach, we can explicitly demonstrate and develop the solutions for common blocks to good writing.
Assessment for learning activities
This section of the resource has a range of ready-made worksheets for guided peer and self-assessment, links to useful AfL websites and books and effective strategies for AfL.
- Critical Friend Questions
- Faults and Fixes
- PELT Template
- Evaluating Talk in Presentations
- Group Discussion Self-Assessment
- Peer-assessment Writing Checklist
- Self or Peer-Assessment for Personal Writing
The Talking Walls resource includes a series of quotations and prompts that you can add to, print out and display in your classroom.
Stimuli for Creative Writing (Places to start)
Images from wildlife programmes can be very effective starting points for descriptive writing and also character development.
Poems can be useful as distillations of one moment of a story. They can encourage pupils towards the economy of language of really good writing.
Music and Poetry
Encourage your pupils to hear story everywhere – with and without words. Songs from musicals are a great place to start as they are often an insight into a particular character’s perspective on the action.
Ted Talks can be useful as a starting point for discussion. They can help pupils to develop empathy and understand the world from a different perspective. TED talks can also provide opportunities to analyse spoken language, as well as introducing controversial topics, citizenship and personal development themes. The idea here is to understand that inspiration doesn’t always come from artistic or creative perspectives.
One talk that may be useful in helping pupils understand the cultural significance of story is The danger of a single story by novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
There are many good quality blogs about different aspects of writing:
- The Writers Academy showcases 15 top creative writing blogs;
- The Novel Factory blog includes many useful links, tips and summaries, specifically about novel writing, but much of the information applies to any type of creative writing;
- The Writers Circle is a useful website that has a lot of information and tips for the aspiring writer. There are articles and opinion pieces that may generate lively discussion and good thinking, talking and listening opportunities, while furthering writing aims;
- Rewrite, Reword, Reward blog is a good general website about writing and includes useful links; and
- Creative Writing Now has some great advice for different types and parts of stories. It is very accessible and includes pages for starting stories, ending stories and creating plot twists. It includes some interesting writing prompts to help pupils get started.
Thinking about story
The Thinking About Story resource encourages pupils to write down the features of their favourite story from their childhood. They then partake in paired work, comparing features in both stories. This allows pupils to consider the features that make an interesting story, before they write their own.
Learning to Plan
The My Dream Holiday is a sample of work, demonstrating problems like, not planning well, too much boring detail and a rushed ending. Useful AfL resource for modelling strategies.
To introduce the idea of a rounded character, it can be helpful for pupils to work with fully formed characters from television, film or books they have read. See Developing a character.
Getting to know a character
This Character profile page takes the style of a ‘Facetube’ profile in order to pique the pupils’ interest. This resource also provides ideas for group discussions and debates regarding online safety and privacy.
The Character Questionnaire resource follows on from the Character Profile Page and encourages pupils to consider their character on a deeper level, considering the back story of characters, to aid development.
Start the lesson with showing pupils a few clips of interviews that give an insight into the interviewee’s personality. Follow this starter with the create an interview activity, which can also be used as a Talking and Listening activity.
Working with Images
A range of images that should encourage pupils to think about characters and their back stories. The Working with images activity allows pupils to work collaboratively and feed back and compare their answers with the class.
Visual Stimuli for Character
The Crowd Scene resource is a sample image collection that gives pupils opportunities to create interesting characters, relationships, scenarios and emotions. This resource allows pupils to write captions for some of the images, create speech bubbles, describe the scene in a particular genre, write an internal monologue or a diary entry, create a series of tweets or a Facebook entry, create a back story or create a write-on. They could also do any of the activities outlined in this resource. For other ideas for work with image of crowds see the Crowd scene project ideas resource.
Developing a Character
By using nature clips, you take character development out of the human sphere can make it much easier for pupils to identify the processes of creating sympathetic characterisation. These links allow pupils to consider characterisation when looking at animals:
Interactive Resources for Developing Character
This section of the resource provides a range of engaging and interactive activities to allow pupils to think about developing their characters.
The Descriptive Words Randomiser helps pupils to choose a range of interesting adjectives to describe characters. It allows pupils to choose words they have never heard before and look them up in the dictionary. As an extension activity, pupils could colour-code the words they looked up into moods. They can use the My Adjective Bank to write the adjectives and definitions down.
Before using the interactive resource for Home Screen, pupils should complete the Who Owns this Phone? Resource. This will encourage pupils to think about what apps say about a character. Pupils can even take out their own phones and explore what apps they have in common and what apps say something about their personality/hobbies etc.
Pupils can use then use the Home Screen resource to think about what would be in the home screen of their character’s mobile phone. Ask pupils to justify their choice of apps and explain what it says about their character. This should encourage pupils to think about their characters on a deeper level.
Further Resources for Developing Character
These resources would work well as starter activities to get your pupils thinking about characters they have met in previous novels or films and their own character before they write a piece of creative writing:
- Think Sheet
- Your Face or Mine
- Character Word Cloud
- Draw your own character
- What’s in a Name?
- The Weather
These resources allow pupils to write their setting as an intrinsic part of the development of character and plot, as well as exploring links between setting and genre.
You can use the previously mentioned Reptile Race to encourage pupils to consider the setting of the clip.
Describing a Scene
These are a range of extracts and worksheets that can be completed independently, or used to support class discussion/pair work.
Sounds in writing – use of onomatopoeia
The Sounds in writing section offers guidance on how to explore onomatopoeia in writing, with a list of songs to be used as stimuli.
The Sensory writing for place or setting resources has been designed to help pupils to structure their thinking around using sensory language to enliven descriptions. The worksheet is editable and works with a range of activities.
Working with Setting
In the Describe a Room activity, pupils bring in a still image of a room or setting from a TV show or film they have watched. Pupils then consider the character most associated with that room.
Working with the Weather
This Words for weather-watching resource allows pupils to classify weather vocabulary as an introduction to the use of pathetic fallacy.
Use the Pathetic Fallacy – Group Discussion Activity to encourage pupils to create two-word phrases to describe weather conditions. This enable class discussion and group work where pupils rank the best responses.
Using the Pathetic Fallacy – Presentation Activity resource, ask pupils to work in pairs to list and identify the most emotional scenes in books, plays or films they have read or watched. Pupils should present their ideas to the class.
Genre can be a useful framework for exploring story as by changing just the genre, pupils can create really effective and original stories that are building on stories that are already around.
This short film looks at the Three Little Pigs from a journalistic perspective. It encourages pupils to look at the story from different angles.
Encourage pupils to create something new and fresh by playing with the familiar. Some ideas are Playing with Genre.
Use the extracts in the Recognising Different Genres resources to get pupils to think about features of different genres.
Use the Connections Game to explore features of a range of genres.
Use the Mystery Story Generator to get pupils thinking about the structure of a mystery story. You can make connections with the resource in Section 5: Structure, to encourage pupils to consider the structure of stories.
Use the Mirror in the Mist resource to get pupils to look at a specific piece of writing and explore the language used in detail.
The Creating Atmosphere resource asks pupils to transform a piece of text in to four different genres, using specific features they have learnt.
Plot and Theme Famous Films
For a Famous Films as Plot stimulus extension activities, view:
What If? Scenarios
You can use the What If? Scenarios as a stimulus for a creative writing plot. This activity allows for write-ons and character insights as follow on activities.
Use this Prompt Generator as stimulus for pupils for pupils, with a focus on plot, character and setting.
Pitch to Hollywood
Once your pupils have considered their plot, character and setting, ask them to pitch their story or screenplay to Hollywood executives in the Pitch to Hollywood resource. Pupils can then use this as an Assessment for Learning Opportunity by completing the Self and Peer Assessment resource.
The Writing and Delivering a Pitch Google Hyperdoc is full of useful activities about writing and delivering a pitch. Instructions on how to use or edit the Hyperdoc and view a tutorial on how to create a Hyperdoc.
Places to Start
Get pupils to read the Mirror in the Mist extract and then use the Creating Mood and Genre resource to get them to explore how language is used to create mood and atmosphere. The Creating Mood and Genre activity could work for setting too.
The Planning your Plot Think Sheet resource may help pupils to frame the Who What Why Where When of a story in a more cohesive, organic way than other story frames.
Use the Nouns Mat to get pupils to create stories using random nouns. The story could be written in one of the Short Forms or a more extended piece of writing. Also available are variations on how to use the Noun Mat.
Plot is what happens, structure is how it is revealed to the reader. See Playing with Structure for information on looking at structure at word, sentence and text level.
See Narrative Structure for a range of posters to display on structure. You will also find blank resources for pupils to complete their examples of each structure.
Structure of Stories
The Working with Structure interactive activity includes a jumbled summary plot of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Working in pairs or individually, ask pupils to organise it using the five stages of narrative.
Ask pupils to think about their story structure by Planning with Pictures. Pupils should use a story they are familiar with to create a storyboard using the editable Storyboard illustrating the key stages of the plot. You can encourage pupils to use ICT to create their storyboard using storyboardthat.com.
Ask pupils to structure stories using sequenced blocks using the Structuring with Sequence Blocks resource.
Narrative Point of View
See activities for looking at Narrative Point of View.
Revisit The Adventure of The Speckled Band to explore a story written in the first person.
Explore the Extract from Lord of the Flies to look at writing in the third person.
In this section you will find a range of activities looking at hooking the reader and effective openings.
Use the Story Openings Bingo to play with many openings of well-known novels and the features they use.
In the Treasure Hunt activity, ask pupils to find examples of techniques used effectively in the opening paragraphs of novels or stories in your classroom or library.
Encourage pupils to practise writing different openings using the Exploring Openings resource.
The Additional Openings teacher resource includes all openings used in the Bingo resource. You might find these useful for customising your lesson.
Read more on Resolutions.
This Resolutions resource provides you with a range of resolutions that are used in novels.
The Walking Debate resource is based on Roald Dahl’s story The Hitchhiker. This resource can be used to help pupils to focus on the way a writer can manipulate the reader. It also allows for a PD/Citizenship focus.
The Johari Window is a technique used to help people better understand their relationship with themselves and others. It can be adapted and used to develop characters and relationships in fiction writing.
Using the Endings resource, ask pupils to plan the story that builds to the resolution. They can share this with a peer and perhaps combine their stories for improvement. This can be continued as a modelled writing or shared writing activity.
Vocabulary and Language
Language and Vocabulary
Short forms are excellent for motivating reluctant writers, who feel less intimidated by micro-formats. For some ideas on short forms see Summarising using rhyming couplets.
The Show don’t tell resource allows your pupils to reveal character using unusual detail about appearance, habits, or choices or how others perceive them.
The Roots and branches resource gives pupils the opportunity to look at different words and their roots. It encourages pupils to explore the connections between words, helping to extend their working vocabulary.
These resources encourage pupils to explore prefixes and suffixes of words. This will support their spelling of words.
The Descriptive words poster reminds your pupils to come up with new ways to appeal to their reader’s senses.
The Blockbusters game is editable and allows you to explore different topics, such as genre, prefixes and suffixes, character, setting and vocabulary.
The Other ways to say game encourages pupils to think about their vocabulary choices and change boring vocabulary to more engaging vocabulary.
The Cliché worksheet encourages pupils to avoid well known figures of speech and clichés, allowing them to create their own.
A very good activity helps pupils to consider their work choices more carefully. As many steps as pupils like can be added to the ladder. Pupils can be encouraged to use colour to denote the strength of the feeling the word elicits.
Collaborate to Elaborate
Collaborate to Elaborate is an interactive activity encourages pupils to write as interesting a sentence as possible. They are advised to add details and use alternative verbs to add detail. Great activity for working with others.
Slow writing interactive resource is a great way to progress writing, punctuation, writing meta-cognition and self-assessment skills.
The Slow Writing - Write a short story using six sentences (Interactive PDF) can be used with a range of clips linked.
- Kung Fu Mantis Vs Jumping Spider
- Sengi Racetrack
- Drip Drip Drip
- Meals on wheels
- David and Goliath
- Chipmunk Duel
The Fight – A planning sheet allows pupils to plan their ideas for a piece of descriptive writing.
The 200 word challenge allows pupils to work on different stories at the same time. This activity works well as a short assessment of the skills your pupils have developed. It is also useful as Key Stage 4 practice for Unit 4 exam.
Task Support System
The Task Support System allows teachers to submit tasks to CCEA to ensure they are suitable for the levels their pupils are working at.
Using ICT to improve creative writing is a resource with a range of tools to incorporate ICT into your teaching of creative writing.