10 Tips For Teaching Imaginative Writing to Your Primary Class
“The world is full of magic things patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.” – William Butler Yeats.
Imaginations are wonderful things.
After all, we wouldn’t be able to enjoy a single book, film or play without them; somebody, somewhere, needed to use their imagination to create it.
In order to influence the authors, directors and playwrights of the future, a firm grasp of imaginative writing is critical. How to nurture these skills – particularly when the children in your class are only just getting to grips with expressing themselves through literacy – can be a little tricky, however.
Don’t despair. Here are our 10 top tips for teaching imaginative writing to your primary class.
Weekly creative clubs.
Make imaginative thinking a habit with a timetabled creative writing club every week.
For the writers who aren’t so keen to initially express their ideas, it could become the welcome break from routine which encourages them to open up and get involved.
The focus here isn’t so much a ‘literacy lesson’, but a chance to express oneself through written words – there can be a difference!
Invest in the grammar skills which bring imaginative writing to life.
From adjectives to strong verbs, it’s important to understand how to make a sentence interesting.
By spending this time in your regular literacy lessons, an important foundation will be laid when the time comes to write creatively.
Don’t be afraid to create a time and space where grammar takes a back seat.
Focusing on creativity rather than grammar doesn’t mean that you are encouraging poor-quality work. Rather, the time spent independently on each topic can have great value and in turn lend themselves to each other.
By focusing too much on grammar during imaginative writing sessions, there’s a risk of inadvertently stifling creativity in those who are less confident. Try to keep them in their place – initially, at least.
Read books that are imaginative.
Let your favourite authors lead by example!
Although most books for children contain some kind of creative licence, picking up the most fantastic fantasy tales from the bookshelf can help to get the imaginative juices flowing.
Write traditional stories from a different point of view.
To give the class a head start, try using creativity in a familiar setting.
Is there a story that they all know quite well? Perhaps you read it together recently?
Ask the children to re-write the story, but from a different point of view – perhaps from a secondary character, rather than the original protagonist.
With the original story as a guide, the class can focus on being creative from their chosen angle, as opposed to needing to focus on the plot.
Set the scene.
Again, using a familiar story, practice creative descriptions by focusing on just one scene.
Is there a creepy house that the class can bring to life? How about a peaceful meadow, or a noisy zoo? How can their descriptions enhance the original tale?
Discover a new colour.
For a true test of imagination, try challenging your class to describe a new colour that they’ve just discovered.
It’s not easy – but when they’re the only one who can see the colour, it can’t be wrong!
Using images as story-starters is nothing new, but have you tried letting your class create them?
Ask the children to draw an image that could spark a new story and mix them up in a hat. The class can then pull out an image at random and get writing!
If the drawings aren’t quite clear, they can always ask the artist to explain.
Pretend to be a favourite author.
How would J.K Rowling write a story about their next-door neighbour?
How would Jeff Kinney tell a tale about the first day at a new school?
How would Eric Carle describe your friend’s unicorn?
Pick a theme, pick an author and get thinking!
The Unfortunate Game.
… Only it’s not as bad as it sounds!
Just for fun, sit the class in a circle and give them a story starter, beginning with either ‘fortunately’ or ‘unfortunately’.
The class can then, one at a time, continue the story with either the ‘fortunately’ or ‘unfortunately’ cue.
Where will the story go?
“Fortunately, Freddie was good at baking biscuits.”
“Unfortunately, his mum confused the sugar with salt.”
“Fortunately, they tasted the biscuits before giving them to Gran.”
“Unfortunately, Gran had already put one in her handbag…”
Excited to teach imaginative writing in a new way? Mighty Writer can help!
A unique literacy resource which allows children to quickly pick up grammar and storytelling techniques, as well as use them with confidence, Mighty Writer can transform the literacy skills of your class – almost overnight.