I worked with a school last week on talk for writing and we looked briefly at inventing texts. I took the following characters along with me.
In order that children start to invent texts we need to hook them into what they know already so I drew the characters out of a bag one at a time and asked what stories do you know that have a character like this in it?
For the shark, people obviously suggested Jaws (there has to be a series of dance lessons in this soundtrack) and linked in to an overcoming the monster type story. There was a lot of blood and lost limbs in these stories. As we kept going we started to think about stories where the sharks had lost their teeth – more traditional and in the style of The Leopard who Lost his Spots.
Once Barbie came out we couldn’t think of any stories with her as a character but if we took her as a symbol of a young female character we thought of the girl who lost her leg, a mermaid who swam to the depths of the ocean to recover the shark’s lost teeth or Pamela Anderson!
Groups then set off to devise their own story, acting like magpies and borrowing some of the good ideas from the shared section.
Although we didn’t have time, the next activity would have been to map the story that had been generated and then to start the retelling. Here the teacher’s role is to encourage the use of appropriate story language.
We did however, try the same activity as a non-fiction text and guess what? It works. We mapped what we know about sharks onto a non-chronological skeleton and then orally retold one of the paragraphs.
How have you approached inventing sessions?
Linked posts: Talk for Writing – Inventing Texts