Year 7 are currently working on a creative writing project. Essentially they are composing short stories for a readership on Wattpad. You can see the project outline below. imaginative-writing-project-outline
In order to prepare them for the process of writing, I decided to focus on descriptive writing. As you can see on the project outline above, I asked my students to write a 200 word description of a person, place or thing, before they began writing their stories. This enables me to see their strengths and weaknesses as writers, and to support their creative development. In order to engage my students in their first descriptive writing task, I decided to use video games. I am lucky enough to have an Xbox in my classroom, connected to my IWB, which allows me to use video games easily with my classes. Initially we used Minecraft as a creative writing stimulus. I chose a student to play and the class described what they saw – we focused on trying to use adjectives and figurative language to capture the five senses of our readers. This was fun, but I knew that Minecraft wasn’t the best choice – really, it’s kinda ugly.
The next lesson I used Skyrim. Unfortunately my copy of Skyrim: The Legendary Edition was at home, so I resorted to YouTube. I found the awesome video below – the top 10 landscapes in Skyrim – and showed this to my class. We paused the video on each landscape and in a whole class discussion, as well as writing individually, we described what we saw. I must say, this was a super successful lesson! The boys especially were keen to experiment with words and images, as they knew the locations well and could add an understanding of location and character and mood to the setting. I want to include some of their writing here, but I forgot to get their workbooks from them. I’ll try to remember to do that tomorrow, as I was super impressed with their ideas. One cool strategy that I used was covering my eyes so I couldn’t see the next landscape and having a students describe for me what he could see. It was really fun and also really engaging. His description was powerful and purposeful. I loved this lesson, I hope you try it out and you and your students love it too!