In the video above is a little bit of why and how we are launching the story starters. The idea is that as teachers you can set a story starter for homework each week, to encourage children to write creatively and for pleasure. Homework often becomes a chore for both the child and the teacher and there is often little time in the school day to let children fully exploring their creative writing.
Obviously it is up to you how you use the story starters but here are a few ideas:
Just ask them to write a story. Fantastic! Children have fantastic imaginations and love stories as we found with our recent writing competition.
Ask them to write the story using some of the interesting vocabulary, but please be careful with this as we don’t want to stifle their creativity. The interesting vocabulary is not designed to be a spelling list as the story starters cover all ages and abilities.
Ask them to write a story one week and then edit it the next adding in certain vocabulary and grammar. Kids are always amazed when we go into school as authors and say it takes us a few days to write a story and weeks and weeks to edit it.
Use the story starters for a game of storytelling roulette. This is great for developing speaking skills. Each person in a circle tells part of the story. You point to the next person to continue the story. If someone can’t think of anything or are reluctant to speak just get them to say a word of two even if it’s ‘and then …’. There are more ideas on how to use storytelling roulette in the video.
For more writing tips please go to our Facebook page and in the photos you will see all the writing tips we released for our writing competition.
Whilst reading yesterday’s letter to the The Telegraph from leading educationists I was pleased to see their call for a more play based curriculum.
Inevitably the media has focused on the call for children to start school later, this has meant the call for more play based learning has been overshadowed. This letter and most studies have focused on play based learning for the under 5s. I believe play based learning has a role at all ages. When we have a good experience whilst learning we retain the knowledge better. We have something to ground that knowledge to. For instance <blog_break>when I’m in schools telling our Chest of Dreams story there is a section where the characters follow the points of a compass to lead them to the treasure. So whilst I’m telling the story or just after I get the kids to follow the directions in the book. As the children have experience of using the compass points during the game they remember them. Should later on they need to recall the information they can go back in their minds to that experience.
Play based learning is also valuable for dyslexics as they learn best through a multi sensory approach. If they were to read the same information about the compass points, they may struggle to understand it as their concentration will be on reading the words rather than understanding the meaning. However if they learn through experience they are more receptive and can easily understand the meaning. As dyslexia is massively under diagnosed there maybe many undiagnosed children in a class.
So I think Mr Gove’s dismissal of the letter mean that he is missing a great opportunity to give kids a lasting education rather than just equipping children to past tests and putting a whole group of kids at a disadvantage.