Alien Worlds and Short Burst Writing

In the first half of the summer term we were looking at space in the Y3-4 class. We did a variety of different exercises responding to texts I read aloud or we read together, e.g. The Girl who Drank the Moon (Kelly Barnhill); The Jamie Drake Equation (Christopher Edge); 100 Things to Know about Space. Usually we work on one story per half-term, and plan it in Week 4 of our classes. This time, to change things up a bit, I decided to do lots of different short bursts of writing (we did 3-4), and then plan a longer story in the second half of term. The results have been really good and we had a very enjoyable first half of term! I’m looking forward to the longer stories too, which might come out of ideas from the shorter bursts of writing we’ve already done. 





Touring Toy: Adventures of Ordinary

Touring Toy is a project I set up for my classes in Easter 2018. It was based on the idea from the film Amelie of taking something travelling around the world (in her case a gnome) and photographing it in different places. I came up with the idea of Adventures of Ordinary: making ordinary life into an adventure for a small toy. I realised this could be a really great stimulus and structure for art and story-writing. 

The project was really popular with the children (and with me!) and produced some great language and images, so we are now continuing it this June half-term. I have also set up a twitter account: touring_toy

These are the initial photos I took for Touring Toy to model and explain the project to my classes: 

I captioned these photos with short text phrases. These either were showing how the ordinary landscape had become a scene that might be in an adventure story, e.g. ‘The Boulders of Boot’; ‘The Valley of Vitamins”, or they showed the character’s feelings when faced with this adventure landscape. I wanted the language to be fun and accessible so in my examples I combined using alliteration / metaphor with everyday words that might appear in stories in the characters’ inner thoughts. Here are two examples: 


I gave the students each a ‘Touring Toy Diary’ and asked them to take their toys on adventures with them over Easter, and to take minimum 6 photos of their toys having adventures. The key for the project was for them to understand that the adventures didn’t have to be in ‘special’ places; the toys could go on adventures in their kitchens. It was all about making adventures within the ‘ordinary’. 

I then continued taking photos for Touring Toy and captioning with phrases such as: “Path of the Hero!” “Watching Metal Monsters” “Acrobat in Training” “The Glowing Ring” (guess which applies to which photo…)

These are the amazing results from the students’ touring toy diaries:  

A couple of students created continuous stories with their Touring Toy diaries: