Writing

Summer Stars:

Dear Diary

 Following a story reading, the children take on the role of a character from the story and write a diary extract from the perspective of that character.

(This could also be used as a follow on activity to Hot Seating as explained in the ‘Movement and Drama Activities’ section).

Approximate time:  15 min

Age appropriateness: older children

Materials required:  Example of a diary entry, diary template, pencil

Groups of children: individual children

Introduction:
Read an example of a diary entry to the children. Ask the children:
What did you notice about the structure of the diary?
What did the character write about in their diary? (What happened? How did they feel about it? etc.)
What do you think the character we just met in the story would say if they were writing their own diary?
Would they explain what happened?
Would they be happy, excited, upset, disappointed?

Development:
Tell the children that they are going to go in role as the character they have been discussing/ talking to and they are going to write a diary entry about something that happened to them. It can be something in the story that they have read or it can be something that they think happened before/ after the story. They have to pick one thing and write a short entry explaining what happened and how they felt about it.

Conclusion:
Sharing session. Invite the children to share what they have written with the group. Make sure to remind the children that they are to treat other people’s writing the way they would like their own to be treated and to be considerate to each other. Children who want to share can either stand in front of the group or read from their place.

Character Profile

Approximate time: 15 mins

Age appropriateness: Older children

Materials required:  Character profile worksheet, pencils

Groups of children: groups of 2-4 or individual children

Introduction:
What did we find out about a named character when we were reading?
What did they say or do?
What did their words and actions tell us about how they felt?
Did you like the character?
Why do you think they acted that way?
Would you like to meet them?
Would you have any questions for them?

Development:
The children fill out a character profile sheet. If they are working on a longer book this can be kept as they continue through the story and any additional information they discover can be added to their sheet.

A good way of making this interesting and relatable to the children is to make the worksheet a ‘Facebook profile’ that they are filling in about the character. They have to use the information that they know about the character to address the different areas ie. Personal information, family and friends, likes and dislikes, posts from the character about things that are happening in the story etc.

Conclusion:
The children share their profiles with the whole group.

Role on the wall

Approximate time: 15 mins

Age appropriateness: all ages

Materials required:  Whiteboard/ flipchart, markers

Groups of children: whole group

Introduction:
What did we find out about a named character when we were reading?
What did they say or do?
What did their words and actions tell us about how they felt?
Did you like the character?
Why do you think they acted that way?
Would you like to meet them?
Would you have any questions for them?

Development:
The facilitator draws a large outline of a person on a whiteboard/ flipchart etc. The group uses their discussion of the character to fill out the areas of the character using words that the children offer.

Head – My character thinks…
Mouth – My character says…
Heart – My character feels…
Legs/ arms – My character does….

Conclusion:
This activity could be done as an introduction to a hot seating activity (described in the Movement and Drama Activities section). Following the activity the children could come back to their character and discuss if they still agree with all of the words they used to describe the character before meeting them.

Differentiation:
For older groups the children could complete this activity in groups, with each group focused on a different character. Each group would then present their character to the whole group and everyone could offer feedback, e.g. other words they may not have thought of.

Different ending

Approximate time: 15 mins

Age appropriateness: 8+

Materials required:  paper and pencils

Groups of children: groups of 4 children

Introduction:
Ask the children if they liked the ending of a story just read and questions such as:
How did your favourite TV show end yesterday?
What was the worst ending to a story that you can remember?
What was the best?
Could you think of anything that could have happened at the end of our story instead of the ending that the author wrote?
Do you want it to be a happy ending or a sad ending?
Do you think that they deserved what happened to them in the end?
Do you think that the hero should have won?
Maybe if you were writing the story someone else in the story would have won?
What else could have happened differently?
What other examples of story endings can you think of?

Development:
Give the children 10 minutes to write down a different ending to the story. Make sure they know how much time they have so that they will not try to write too much.

Conclusion:
Each group presents their new ending to the whole group. Have each group elect a reader to come up to the top of the space and read it aloud. Allow them a chance to practise if they need it.

Book Review

Approximate time:                          35 minutes

Age appropriateness:                      All ages

Materials required:                         Samples of book reviews, template for book reviews

Groups of children:                         Whole group, individual

Introduction:

To introduce this activity, have a whole group discussion about book reviews.

Has anyone written a book review before?

Has anyone read a book review before?

Where might we find book reviews?

Why do people write book reviews?

Next, read some examples of book reviews and find out what the children think should be included in a good book review.

Development:
Ask the children to plan what they will write in their book review. Next, distribute the book review template and ask the children to write their own book review based either on a recent book they have read and a story which has been read to them. The children then decorate these.

Conclusion:
Parents are invited to join the session at this stage. The children present their book reviews to the parents and then display the reviews on the walls of the library.

Differentiation:
Look at Book-Review-Template.

Research Hound

 Age Appropriateness: Senior Groups

Materials required: box, topic cards

Groups of Children: small groups of 3 -4

Introduction:
The children will choose a topic from a hat/box to research. The children will use the skills they have learned to source the books necessary to find out information about this topic. The children will review some of the features of non-fiction books which they encountered in previous activities. The children will work in pairs to research the topic.

Development:
The children write a report based on the topic they have researched. This activity can be completed individually or in pairs. The children are provided with a template to help structure their answers.

Conclusion:
The children will read their reports and describe the steps they took to research the topic. They will share one interesting thing they learned and one thing that they still want to discover about the topic.

Key Questions:
What steps did you take to research your topic?
What headings did you include in your report?
Why did you include these headings?
What one fact did you learn about your topic?
What do you still want to find out?
How could you find out about this?

Poetry with Wordless Picture Book

Examples of wordless picture books which could be used for this activity:

Bee and Bird, written and illustrated by Craig Frazier
A Ball for Daisy by Chris Raschka
The Conductor by Laetitia Devernay
The Umbrella by Ingrid and Dieter Schubert
No Dogs Allowed!  by Linda Ashman and Kristin Sorra

Age Appropriateness: Can be adapted for all age groups

Materials required: sticky notes, markers, A3 page

Groups of Children: small groups

Introduction:
The children will look at the picture book. The children are challenged to write words or phrases to describe the story on separate sticky notes. It is important that the children realise that they do not have to write complete sentences. The facilitator can ask prompt questions to help the children.

Examples of open-ended questions:
What do you see?
What is happening in this picture?
How does x feel?

Development:
After the children have made it through the book, they will lay out all the sticky notes so that they can see them all at once. The children must then arrange them into a poem. Encourage the children to rearrange them until they are satisfied with their poems. Attach them to a sheet of paper or card to display the poems.

Conclusion:
The children can read their poems aloud. The children could have a poetry recital in which the parents could come and listen to the poems.

Word Birds

Age Appropriateness: Senior Groups

Materials required: bird template for each child, crayons, colouring pencils, markers, glue, feathers, buttons etc. for decorating, A4 page for each child, paper clip

Groups of Children: Individual

Introduction:
Each child is given a bird template which they will decorate. As the children make their birds they are reminded that they must imagine what stories their birds might tell.

Key Questions:
What are they called?
Where did they come from?
Who are their friends?
What do they like to eat?
Who might they meet..?

Development:
The children are given a sheet of A4 paper to write their stories. The children can draw pictures to create a story map or write out their stories. When the children have completed their story maps/stories, the story sheets are folded into concertina shapes and threaded through a slot in the side of the bird to create the bird’s wings.  A paper clip can be used to secure the wings in place and a thread added so that the birds and their stories ‘can take flight’!

Conclusion:
The children can share their stories with the large group or can be divided into smaller groups to share their stories and discuss.

Continue the Story

Age Appropriateness: Senior Groups

Materials required: A3 pages, pencils, pens, story of choice – one copy for each group

Groups of Children: small groups – 3-4
Introduction:
The children read an assigned section of the story (or have it read to them) and then discuss the story together. The children are then divided into groups. Togeter they will plan and brainstorm what will happen next in the story.

Development:
The children are given an allotted amount of time to write the next paragraph of the story. The facilitator can use a timer to keep children on task – this also adds an extra challenge.  After the allotted time, the children pass the sheet they are writing on to the next group. The next group must continue the story. It is important that the children are reminded that they must read what has been written in order to continue the story.

Conclusion:
The children are given the opportunity to read their stories aloud. The children will discuss the different versions of the story.

Key Questions:
Why do you think the stories all have different endings?
What does this tell us about writing stories?
What steps did you have to take before you began writing?