Everything comes from something else; nothing comes from nothing.
Anthony Browne, Children’s Laureate in Books for Keeps January 2010
Inventing texts is a way of showing children how to bring together everything that they know about writing to create something of their own.
I have been doing a lot of work recently on plastic carrier bags and inventing – they are an easy thing to carry around the county!
So here are my instructions for inventing:
- Take one carrier bag and show children a letter written to you from Tesco asking for suggestions to make the bag more suitable as a school bag.
- Ask children to ‘see’ what they would put into this carrier bag to take to school. As each item goes in imagine how the bag feels and looks. (Imaging) Quickly write these objects as a list. Share with a partner and make one list of all the items that you intend to take.
- In pairs take each object and explore what adaptations you would need to carry that item safely. (Expanding an idea) Sketch each adaptation quickly on a separate piece of paper. (Mapping)
- Choose 3 objects that you would like to tell Tesco about and place them into an order that you feel would be best to tell them. (Sequencing map)
- Find your formal voice and start to talk your letter to Tesco. It is at this part you will need to support children in suitable language and detail.
Here is the map that I modelled. Idea number one, internal padding to protect my laptop and a lock to keep it safe. Number two wheels as I always seem to carry a lot around and number three longer padded handles.
Whenever I am questioned by children they always ask, ‘Where do you get your ideas from?’ I always reply, ‘The same place you get yours – things that have happened to me, particularly when I was a child, stories I’ve read, films I’ve seen, paintings and dreams.’