I am working with my Year 2 children on their snow stories, We watched 2013s John Lewis Christmas advert to get our ideas for our journey story: http://youtu.be/0N8axp9nHNU
We acted out each part of the story, focusing on how to start our sentences in exciting ways and used a word mat to help us develop the verbs.explorers actions. I modelled my version of the story and used 6 pictures from the story John Lewis advert to help scaffold the children’s writing. I wanted them to add as much detail as they could. They worked independently to write the first part of the story and then we discussed how we could improve it by adding different adjectives or adverbs.
I have also used the same short film with Year 6, but used a different approach with these older pupils. I asked them to watch a number of Christmas films and discuss what genres and structures they used:
The discussion was really fruitful as the children started discussing the films that they enjoyed watching and making connections between them.
We discussed genre and story structure and I asked them to think of different stories or films that fitted the following structure:
• A defeating the monster story
• A journey story
• A quest
• A warning story
• A lost and found story
• A transformation story
• A story with a growing structure (eg the enormous turnip)
I then asked them to watch a number of Christmas films and discuss what genres and structures they used:
We then looked at the opening from The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken to discuss how the setting gave the story its heart and I asked the pupils to discuss how the setting was intrinsic to the story.
It was dusk – winter dusk. Snow lay white and shining over the pleated hills, and icicles hung from the forest trees. Snow lay piled on the dark road across Willoughby Wold, but from dawn men had been clearing it with brooms and shovels. There were hundreds of them at work, wrapped in sacking because of the bitter cold, and keeping together in groups for fear of the wolves, grown savage and reckless from hunger.
Snow lay thick, too, upon the roof of Willoughby Chase, the great house that stood on an open eminence in the heart of the wold. But for all that, the Chase looked an inviting home – a warm and welcoming stronghold. Its rosy herring-bone brick was bright and well-cared-for, its numerous turrets and battlements stood up sharp against the sky, the crenelated balconies, corniced with snow, each held a golden square of window.
I wanted the pupils to work in pairs to plan their stories but also wanted to challenge them to create then a 100 word sagas as I wanted them to focus on the language that they chose. To illustrate this I modelled a simple story before showing them the clip that had inspired me!
As he trudged into the darkness, he knew that he was risking his life for her, but he didn’t care. He knew that he would do anything for her: cross the most hazardous river; fight through a blinding blizzard; climb the most treacherous mountain. Her happiness was everything and would spur him on, enabling him to overcome the biting cold and conquer the cruel bitterness of winter. He had to reach his goal or all was lost…. After many hours of hardship he returned and draped the soft, red scarf around her neck and her heart melted, just a little!
I then showed them the clip that had inspired the writing:
The challenge was set and the children worked together to create their own Christmas/snow saga. I kept on stopping them to look at their ideas and sentence structuring, but they were very motivated and keen to complete the task! Jacob wanted to work by himself and I wanted to share what he wrote because he really understood about showing and not telling!
The door to Samuel’s capsule swung open, revealing thick snow as far as the eye could see. He had to find her. He had ten layers of clothes on, but he was still cold. A howl sounded to the west, Samuel sighed. It was a relief, some animals had made it. Minutes seemed like hours, as he wandered around aimlessly. After what seemed like a millennium the sun began to set. He was becoming more tired by the second. Samuel fell to the ground, it was not an option to fall asleep, for if he did he would never wake up…… Jacob Year 6