In 2018 alone, I’ve done over 200 workshops in schools across the UK and US. Often teachers ask me how to interest children in writing – without them groaning and moaning, whining and whinging.
As part of my school visits or in specialised sessions, I work with teachers to help them bring fun into creative writing in schools.
Over the next three blog posts, I’ll be sharing those ideas with all of you. Please feel free to try them out in your schools and when it works, do send me photos, emails, tweets to share the news with me.
In my opinion, there are 3 principles to teaching and guiding creative writing in schools.
#1 – Make it Fun
#2 – Flexing the Imagination Muscle
#3 – Practicing what you Preach
In this post, let’s look at FUN!
It’s no secret that children and adults, do more of what they enjoy. Whether it’s exercise or sports or watching television, it applies. So the first rule is not to force creative writing down the throats of children, especially if they are struggling with writing or spellings or school work.
Here are 10 ways to introduce creative writing in a fun way.
- Teach the children to write jokes and riddles. There is no end to their joy when you let them loose on each other with their little scraps of paper filled with their riddles.
2. Be Roald Dahl for a day – Read funny and strange words in class and ask children to make up new words. Check this out. https://www.theguardian.com/childrens-books-site/2016/jun/14/roald-dahl-dictionary-best-gobblefunk-words
3. Create a class newspaper – fill it with jokes, cartoons, news, advertisements. Check out this fake newspaper generator – https://newspaper.jaguarpaw.co.uk/
4. Write a letter to their favourite author or illustrator or even an imaginary one.
5. Write a recipe for something strange like a witch’s potion or a dinosaur’s cough medicine or the giant’s breakfast.
6. Write book reviews / movie reviews or video game reviews
7. Write a blurb for an unwritten book or a book they’d love to read
8. Author and illustrator visits especially authors from different backgrounds
9. Enter writing competitions like BBC 500 words (Have you been a judge before? Try your hand.)
10. Create an anthology for the school library with children’s work – get them to submit to a deadline. Use ICT classes and English lessons to encourage them to work on it. Once the book is done, add it to the library and lend it to children like a regular book.
If you wish to bring Chitra into your school to run workshops with both teachers and students, see here.