Drawing on my own experiences of writing Children's Books, Annuals, Television Scripts, and Song Lyrics.and being mindful that children can't write for an entire day, I structure the day's activities as follows:-
09.15am. "Let's Use Our Imagination" I talk to the children about where I find ideas and how I develop them. The main theme of this talk is to reinforce the concept of “What is a Character”. Eg. A zebra is an animal but “Stripes”from the movie is a character. I believe that once a child has a firm handle on the concept of a character, he/she can then begin to place them within their own stories.
10.30am. Nursery – Reception. “The Hungry Caterpillar”
As the KS1 children take their morning break I go into Nursery (if you have one) and Reception and read The Hungry Caterpillar. This is underscored with some guitar music and songs. This lasts for about 15 - 20 minutes. I can do this at any time during the morning but this time seems to cause the least disruption to routine. Yes! It’s hectic for me, and a little intensive …. But it works really well.
10.50am. In the school hall I read “The Grumpy Giant” to all of KS1. I have worksheets relating to this story which was written by David Webb. View and Download Worksheet. It takes about 10 minutes to tell the story and 5 minutes to explain what is required of the children.
11.05am. KS1 return to their own classrooms and work with the photocopied sheets. As KS1 begin to complete their work sheets, I pick out one or two and read them aloud and at the same time I underscore with a little dramatic guitar music. This is always very popular and the children enjoy it. (An hour is probably the optimum duration for any serious work with KS1) Any children showing signs of overwork are encouraged to draw a picture of a giant.)
12.00 Lunch. (During the lunch break I bring my sound and lighting equipment for "A Bumper Bundle of Bears and Books")
This is a performance. The staff are required to do nothing. Many schools invite the press. You may also wish to invite any interested parents, space permitting. Please take as many photographs as you wish, (subject to you school's policy on this.) It won’t put me off if you are beside me as you photograph the children
The children are encouraged to bring their teddy bears.
I’ll take this performance up to about 2.55 or a little later if you require me to do so. If you really want a break during this performance, I can accommodate, but it works better as a continuous item. Even Nursery will go the distance but they should be toileted first.
My "Bumper Bundle ..." is often booked simply as a half-day treat for the children during Book Week or an Arts Week etc. It doesn't have to be part of a whole day that includes the morning workshop.
OFSTED have recognised the fact that boys appear to be less inclined towards creative writing than girls. I have two boys and am well aware of the different approach that boys can take when writing. I am always mindful of this during my workshops and I look to give encouragement wherever possible.