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Boys and Creative Writing KS3/4

Discussion in 'English' started by carebear56, Oct 16, 2018.

  1. carebear56

    carebear56 New commenter

    I'm researching approaches to creative writing that will particularly engage boys. Any ideas, resources, links to websites as well as academic books/reading material very much appreciated!
  2. katykook

    katykook Occasional commenter

    Just asked my 14 year old son about having to write a story he said he prefers to be given the start of a story to continue as he doesn't know how to start one.
  3. roamingteacher

    roamingteacher Established commenter Forum guide

    I second the story starters / writing prompts idea. My boys tell me they much prefer writing adventure stories above all else, but that might just be them.

    How about trying some choose-your-own-adventure writing with them? It's a beast to set up but can work really well, and the collaborative element keeps them engaged as they don't want to let their mates down.

    And then find a REAL audience for their writing - it makes it so much more meaningful and I believe it raises the standard as they don't want to let themselves down.

    Another thing I do is put stations with different pictures around the room. The first round, they annotate all the nouns they can see, the next round it's adjectives, the next round is adverbs and on it goes. (The list comes from exploring a really great descriptive text like near the beginning of Lord of the Flies, for example.) They can then use any picture to write up a powerful description and that is a launchpad for a story - or maybe we just leave it at the description depending on the focus.

    The final thing I'd say is let them vocalise their ideas before committing to paper - I find the speaking and discussion greatly helps them develop their writing in interesting ways.
  4. roamingteacher

    roamingteacher Established commenter Forum guide

    Oh - and lots of Quick Writes: 10 mins of focused writing on a given prompt (which they can also ignore and use their own imagination if they want to). They can share at the end, if they want to, part or all of their writing. They only share what they choose. You do not mark, grade or evaluate unless invited to do so. Make it a regular starter for example. I've seen really reluctant writers come to beg for more.
  5. Jwafula

    Jwafula New commenter

    You could use a short silent film and ask them to write the story. A good one I found on YouTube was Alma. They could watch it. Then encourage them to use language techniques to make their stories engaging. They could decide what perspective to tell the story from too.
    carebear56 likes this.
  6. saluki

    saluki Lead commenter

    The old spec coursework included writing using a film still or a clip from a film as an incentive. Still useful as a starting point. I can remember using Into the Woods and The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. One of my colleagues used The Inbetweeners! (Not recommended!) Twilight Saga could be good. Just research whatever teenagers are into nowadays. We did Christmas adverts - John Lewis and M and S one year.
    Then I concentrate on Setting; Characters; Events.
    Break it down: What time of year is it? Where is it? What time of day is it? What does it smell like? What does it sound like? Crunchy leaves? Slushy snow? Car engines?
    Freytag's pyramid. Group work where they develop the story between them. One group writes the introduction, another the rising action, another the climax etc. Introduce a competition - which group has used the most figurative language techniques? Which group has the best range of punctuation?
    Naylm, carebear56 and pepper5 like this.
  7. carebear56

    carebear56 New commenter

    Thanks for your reply. I like that idea. I have been playing with structure - giving the class the outline plot for a story and this worked well so I'll definitely give this a try.
  8. carebear56

    carebear56 New commenter

    Great ideas. Will be trying some out. Thanks :)
  9. carebear56

    carebear56 New commenter

    Fab!! I was thinking about using film as a prompt. I'll check this one out. Thanks :)
  10. carebear56

    carebear56 New commenter

    Another fab idea. Thanks :)
  11. carebear56

    carebear56 New commenter

    Thank you for your suggestions. I will be bringing these into the classroom.

    Does anyone know of any academic work on boys and creative writing? I'm really struggling to find anything UK based when I thought I would find loads.

    I'm doing this work as part of INSET and SLT want a report/feedback - so I would like to be able to support all these great ideas with a foundation in academia/educational theory.
  12. roamingteacher

    roamingteacher Established commenter Forum guide

    I wonder if 'Teaching the ******* to Write' might have any references - I don't have a copy to hand to check but maybe someone else does?

    Have you tried Google Scholar?

    Why does it need to be UK based because there's a ton of such material from the US...I think...?

    I bet if you wrote to these institutions, you'd be given some pointers:
    And this suggests the National Literacy Trust would be a great contact too.
    carebear56 likes this.
  13. saluki

    saluki Lead commenter

    Another 'old spec' idea. We used to use poetry as a prompt. Boys loved Charge of the Light Brigade. We used to act it out with desks in a horseshoe shape and the "Valley of Death" in the middle. I would 'gallop' into the Valley of Death with my sabre and they would shoot me with their guns. Then I played a film clip. Finally, they had to write their task - with the usual creative prompts.
    Strangely, the boys also liked The Farmer's Bride. I don't know why but they engaged and produced good work. They also liked Singh Song and Give.
    My one of favourite pieces of coursework began " Once upon a time there was a poet called Simon Armitage. He was a rubbish poet and only wrote one poem called 'Give'. It was so bad that the only people who would buy it was the AQA anthology.." The essay went on to describe Armitage penniless and begging on the street. (o.k. the boy failed but I had a good giggle marking it. He wasn't my student - I was moderating for another teacher).
    carebear56 likes this.
  14. saluki

    saluki Lead commenter

    An up to date film which I would probably use would be Star Wars. Lots of action - verbs, adverbs, adjectives, rhetorical questions, alliteration. Describe the characters - they are a rum looking bunch - similes, metaphors, what does Chewbacca smell like??
    carebear56 likes this.
  15. StarTrekFan

    StarTrekFan New commenter

    As a boy, I had posters of trains, cars and things involving science-fiction/space on my wall. Boys also like comics and superheroes.

    Obviously boys vary in their interests, but I would be suggest that creative writing on any of these topics will likely fire their imaginations.

    A cursory search on Amazon shows this, no idea if it's any good though.

    I'd be very interested to know how it goes.
  16. starmandave

    starmandave New commenter

  17. armandine2

    armandine2 Established commenter

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