1) Writing Traditional Stories from a Different Point of View
Read "The True Story of the Three Little Pigs" (by Jon Scieszka) with the children. This tells the "Three Little Pigs" story from the wolf's point of view.
Ask the children to think of a story that they know well, and to write another version from another point of view.
e.g. Write "Cinderella" from the point of view of one of the ugly sisters,
OR Write "The Three Billy Goats Gruff" from the point of view of the troll,
OR Write "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" from the point of view of Goldilocks.
2) Design a New Room for the Chocolate Factory
Based on "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" by Roald Dahl.
Remind the children of the story and read chapter 15 - a description of the Chocolate Room.
Ask the children who have read the story if they can think of any of the other rooms in the factory. Make a list of these on the board for the children to refer to later.
Now ask the children to make up a new room for the chocolate factory, making sure that they are as descriptive as possible.
Jessica Miller has also suggested the following idea:
What might have happened if any of the other children had gotten the factory?
3) Missing Person
The following activity is great fun, and usually produces great results, but must be used with caution. Only try it with a class you are comfortable with, and who you think will cope with the situation. Also try to add a little humour where possible, ensuring that the children are aware that it's not real - you're just pretending!
Choose a name for a missing person (e.g. "Paul"), making sure that this is not the name of someone in the class. Before the lesson, put a chair in an empty space in the classroom. For the purposes of the lesson, pretend that this space is where "Paul" normally sits.
Ask the children where "Paul" is. They will probably look at you as though you are mad, but continually ask them where "Paul" is today. Tell them that he normally sits in his space (point to the empty chair) and that he was there yesterday, but he isn't there today. Insist that they tell you where he is. Hopefully someone will make up a reason why "Paul" isn't in today. Argue with them, saying that you have heard differently. Ask if anyone knows anything else. Ask who was the last person to see him. Continue like this for a while, with the children explaining where he is.
Finally, say that as Paul is missing, we will have to make some missing person posters, explaining who Paul is (with a picture so others can identify him!), where he was last seen and who to contact if he is found. When these are made, you could post them around the school.
A missing person poster template can be found below.
4) Supermoo's New Adventures
Based on the book "Supermoo" by Babette Cole.
Read the story through with the children. Discuss the main characters (Supermoo, Calf Crypton, the BOTS, Miss Pimple's class), and ask the children to produce a new adventure for a series of new Supermoo books. This could be in the form of a story, or a storyboard with accompanying pictures.
When finished, the children could actually make the books for younger children in the school to read.
5) Recipes for Dreams
Based on "The BFG" by Roald Dahl.
Remind the children of the story and read the "Dreams" chapter to give the children some ideas. Ask them to make a recipe for a dream. They could set it out like a cooking recipe with ingredients and mixing instructions and there should also be a short description of the dream (which could be a "Golden Phizzwizard" or a "Trogglehumper").
When all of the recipes are finished, they could be made into a "Dream Recipe Cook Book".
6) Dr. Xargle's Book of .....
This activity is based on the Dr. Xargle series of books written by Jeanne Willis and illustrated by Tony Ross.
Read through some of the books in the series.
The children should write their own Dr. Xargle story in which he teaches his class about a different aspect of Earth life (e.g. school, work). This will encourage them to look at everyday life from a different point of view. If there is enough time, they could also make illustrations to accompany their text.
7) Class Mascot Activity
Find a small soft toy or puppet which will become the class mascot. With the class, choose a name for the mascot, and discuss its background (where it comes from, its friends and family, its likes and dislikes etc.).
Let each child take the mascot (and a book in which to write) home for a few days at a time. While they are looking after the mascot, they should write a short story in the book outlining what the mascot has done during its stay with them. This can be true or the children can make up events (e.g. a trip to the moon). Encourage them to be as creative as possible.
When the mascot returns to school, spend some time discussing what it has done and where it has been. The class could make a book describing the mascot's travels.
8) When I am famous...
"In the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes" - Andy Warhol
Discuss the above quote with the children, and talk about what it means to be famous. Would they like to be famous? What would they like to be famous for?
The children could then write:
An account of what they would like to be famous for, and why.
A diary, written as if the child was famous in the future. How are they feeling? What things do they have to do?
An newspaper interview, written as if in the future, with the child who is now famous.
9) How did the elephant get its trunk?
Can the children think of a story which describes how the elephant got its trunk? Or how about explaining how a giraffe got its long neck? How did the leopard get its spots? Why has a rabbit got long ears? Why is a zebra stripy?
10) Description of a New Animal
A good way of asking children to use their descriptive writing skills is to ask them to invent a new animal. Ask them to describe what it looks like, where it lives, what it does, what it eats etc. It might be useful to discuss existing animals and their characteristics beforehand.
11) Writing a story based on adverts
In the back of many books, there are often adverts for other stories. Why not get the children to choose one of these adverts, and write a story based on the description of the story in the advert. They don't need to have read the book which is being advertised, and you can get them to compare their own story to the real version when they have finished.
12) Using Objects
Take 4 or 5 unrelated but interesting objects and challenge children to create either a skit or a character description of the owner. Great for oral discussion but also useful for character analysis. Suggested by Jane Knight.
13) Name Characters
This is using art and creative writing, and was suggested by Jeanette Carpenter:
- Fold a piece of paper in half and on the fold line write your name.
- Cut around the outside shape of your name.
- Open your name and you will have a shape based on your letters.
- Colour and design your shape into a character.
- Glue your finished character to a piece of construction paper.
- Write a descriptive paragraph about your character as if it is an alien arriving here on earth for the first time. Give it a name, place of origin, reason for being here, etc.