Saturday, 21 May 2011

Writing for boys - with the P.E. department

I joined in a great event yesterday at Ellis Guildford School in Nottingham. The idea was to blend a P.E. lesson with writing activities.

It lasted one hour. The boys were put in teams of five. The P.E. teacher did two ten-minute activities. I did two ten-minute exercises. After each activity the teams were awarded points, which accumulated during the session.

It looked something like this:

1: The teams had to bowl a cricket ball at a set of stumps. Each time they hit the stumps they were given a letter from a football team's name. The first team to guess the team won.

2: I challenged the kids to make up a story by (a) basing a baddie on someone they hated from sport and (b) asking the following questions: who is the baddie, what did they do, where, when, how did they do it and why did they do it. They then 'told' their story and were awarded points by me and the teacher.

3: Relay races. Points awarded for placing.

4: The groups read a one-page cricket mystery I have written. They had to guess who had stolen the Ashes trophy as a team and write an ending. They were then awarded points.

The whole hour was frantic, competitive and often confusing. But it worked. The children carried through the adrenaline of the sports activities into the writing. And that was the idea. To give them a deep motivation to write.

The prize for the winners was a book and a £10 WHSmith voucher each. We had a good budget. But, to be honest, they'd have done it without a there being a prize at all.

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