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'crash landed spaceship' in school grounds to stimulate writing - any thoughts or ideas?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by Amarie, Jun 4, 2011.

  1. Hi
    I know it has been done before, and I know there are a few examples of parent's complaints, but has anyone got any experience of doing a similar 'event' to surprise the children at the school and stimulate some excellent writing? It has taken us a long time to organise and at last we have the help of a couple of willing parents to 'make' the crashed craft and the local police will come by if they can to make it look more authentic.

    Have you any ideas for activities that you could share?
    thanks in advance!
  2. marlin

    marlin Star commenter

  3. Newspaper report - literacy
    recount from different points of view (alien/ child)
    music / poetry war of the worlds inspired
    Story writing - how the spaceship came to crash.

    Is this the sort of thing you are looking for?

  4. Once the initial 'crash' has happened and children have seen it, a week or so later could another event happen? The spacecraft could dissapear? Footprints could appear? It might re-stimulate even more writing opportunities.
    I would love to be able to arrange something like this at my school.
  5. thank you for your ideas - I think I will write a guidance pack for each year group putting in the objectives/outcomes they could 'hit' with the'topic'.
    We have already thought about removing the 'wreck' within a day or two ( have a friend with a trailer!) and leaving a few scorch marks. Also an 'alien broadcast' during Special assembly and various whole school alien fancy dress / mask compeitions and parties.

    thank you for the links will check them out now! It is quite a big undertaking and getting things co ordinated! I plan not to tell the teachers in school so the 'crash' will be suprise to them too! But want to prepare them a bit so hence the packs to give them on monday morning so they aren't left having to think on their feet too much although i hope the children will lead the learning and writing.
  6. oooh dear those links you sent seem a bit scary - we aren't trying to teach space or the planets, it is to stimulate some energetic and creative writing and 'turn on' some of our boys to writing sci fi stories, poems, reports, recipes for alien soup - whatever! We hope that there will be an 'art' spin off too with an exhibition of what we think aliens might look like at the end. Plus a party with lots of green jelly. So a sudden dramatic start, then a fun ending to reward all the hard work.

  7. You could perhaps do instructions too? The aliens may not know how to do certain things and ch. could write instructions on how to do it for them! May make them quite eager to 'help' the aliens! Lovely links to PHSE too, about teaching aliens how we behave etc etc. You could probably also get the kids thinking really creatively, how can we help the spaceship take off again etc hehe - maybe provide lots of materials and get them to try and make a device - I bet some of the younger ones would absolutley love trying to do this!! Can obviously link to lots of subjects, e.g. problem solving in Numeracy. I don't care if in the past people have said it's OTT, think it's a lovely way to engage the children. I know you said it's mainly for Literacy, but it seems a shame to go to so much trouble and not engage the children with it in other areas too!! Theres a lovely book somewhere about aliens and how it's only the children who see them (can't remember the name sorry!)
  8. Sorry to reply AGAIN haha, but if the aliens have gone 'missing', you could get them to do descriptive writing on what the aliens look like, perhaps profiles etc, and put wanted posters up around school. You could even interrupt an assembly by having an 'alien spotted' etc, and you could even get kids to do police reports on what they've seen etc. Could get them using the digi camera too, and get them to take photos of evidence around school etc...perhaps a display board could be dedicated to what has been found and helping them find out more about it?
  9. Don't apologise - delighted to hear your ideas!
    Agree about cross curricular opportunities mentioned above - but I do want the focus to be writing. We do lots of these 'weeks' at my school that link in to, or are devoted to, other areas of the curriculum (music and arts weeks, weeks dedicated to countries and continents etc, Green Week, and other themed weeks and half terms that are really exciting and popular with staff, parents and the children alike! So we get alot of cross curricular stuff but I want to see some fantastic writing at the end.
    I have already thought about the aliens 'beaming down' trophies and prizes for good writing, an exhibition of artwork at the end of the week (aliens, planet surfaces, spaceship design etc) an exhibition of writing work, some children perhaps composing some music, and we have thought of a bringing in bits of the 'wreck' to each classroom to act as inspiration for writing, an alien broadcast, disappearing wreckage mid week, parents coming in to help launch rockets , drama students being 'witnesses' to the crash, faking mobile phone 'footage' of the crashlanding (just lots of red lights etc) cake compeittions, mask competitions, fancy dress opportunities, making green cakes or icing cakes green, supplying classes with alien books (eg aliens love underpants lower down the school but more serious science fiction higher up the school) - but our budget is very limited. Lots of IT opportunities too.

    If you were a teacher at my school, would you want advance warning of this? We (the small team working on this) are keen that the teachers are just as surprised as the children - but would you like a bit of notice to think of activities over the weekend before??

    thanks for all your replies.
  10. marlin

    marlin Star commenter

    I think you do need to warn your teachers that something will be happening - even if you don't tell them what. They might be a bit miffed if they've spent their weekend planning work when they didn't need to!
  11. Yes I agree - would be a bit cheesed off myself! Wondered if a quick staff meeting on Friday before just say there is an exciting event planned that we hope will stimulate some good writing and they probably don't need to plan much in the way of litereacy would probably be enough do you think?
  12. marlin

    marlin Star commenter

    I really think you need to get the other teachers in on this. They may have some lovely ideas that, with some notice, they would have loved to do and would be disappointed at a missed opportunity.

    If you really want to keep it secret then you need to make sure that all of the planning and prep is ready and handed to the teachers on Monday morning - you can't expect them to just look at a few ideas and then captivate the children's interest with no thinking time.

    If was me - I'd want to know. The surprise is for the children and after so much trouble you want them to get the very best experience from it.
  13. You really must share with staff for all the reasons given ie they have good ideas too, they will have planned something else and you want them onside. If you spring it on them theres a chance a member of staff will mess it up and say its not real.
  14. Thank you, I htink you haveboth made very valid points.
    How much 'help' would you give staff in terms of links to planning, youtube, activity ideas etc? Would you just tell them a little in advance and leave it up to them to fit it in to their own schedule, just punctuated with whole school or whole key phase events planned around the sapceship? I suppose I mean, would you tell them a week before what was happening on the Monday, that the outcome for the week was fantastic writing for which there would be prizes, and that during the week there would be 'broadcasts' and other 'alien events' to further stimulate the children plus a couple of parties and competitions?
  15. Is a week going to be long enough? Especially with your end of week prize giving assembly, broadcasts, alien events, parties and competitions?
    I think its a fabulous idea and wondered if a fortnight would be more productive to your 'outstanding writing' outcome. Even with great stimulation, they will still need lots of teaching time in order to create wonderful writing. Especially your KS1 children who will not write as quickly and will need lots of input.
    One question: What do you call these kind of inspirational starters to topics? I wanted to mention them in an internal application letter im writing, and called them "Wow" starters but im finding it hard to explain succinctly. Is there a 'term' that's been coined for this kind of thing?
  16. Initial stimulus or 'hook'? My school does use a tem but I am ashamed to say I can't think of it now ... will think.

    A fortnight would be better in many ways - I will have to have a think about that - it could run in to another exciting week planned by another team though!
  17. marlin

    marlin Star commenter

    I think some discussion is required. Each teacher could agree what their final outcome is to be - I don't think you want everybody writing a newspaper report.
    You have obviously spent some time researching this project yourself so you could give teachers the links etc that you have found and any ideas you wish to share with them. Perhaps you already have fiction stories you think will complement and inspire the writing for each class. The everybody writes site seem to be a really good place to get ideas - follow all of the links - not just the ones on the right of this page my link will take you to as there are other case studies with useful ideas.
    This link might be useful too:
    You can download packs here - as well as order them.
    With some good discussion to set them going and the links and resources made available I think most teachers would be able then to go away and work out how they are going to deliver their lessons and be inspired to create their own ideas.
    Good luck with it all!
  18. Thanks Marlin - yes that is what we want or envisage, with every class doing something different - reports, poems, stories etc.
    The links to everybody writes were very interesting, thank you. I have sent off for some of the packs.

    Thanks to everyone again for their ideas and comments - very much appreciated. Will keep watching this thread and let you know what is going on!


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