I have just spent some very enjoyable time correcting the children’s ‘free writing’ copies. The children’s writing has been imaginative and entertaining.
Having an audience is an important part of the writing process. I have commented on their work. I also hope to give their work a wider audience by recording regular podcasts on Audioboo.fm
To start the week their classmates and I will give the children feedback. Parents are the most important people in a child’s life, so they would really appreciate your feedback too.
‘Free writing’ is very valuable as it allows the teacher to assess and monitor where the young writer is at and gives children confidence to write. It is considered ‘good practice’ that the ‘free writing’ copy should not be corrected. You may well remember the sinking feeling of being handed back a piece of writing criss crossed with red ‘x’s.
“My story on Monday began;
Mountainous seas crashed on the cliffs,
And the desolate land grew wetter …
The teacher wrote a little note;
Remember the capital letter! “
Short excerpt from a great poem with an important message ‘Creative Writing’ by Gervase Phinn
I have been teaching a hundred years, so I find it very hard not to correct work. Even when the bank manager writes to me I want to correct his punctuation! But it is important that the children enjoy their ‘free writing’ and are proud of their work. Instead I will make a positive comment. Old habits die hard and I may take a recurring error and explain it to the child. Later I may do a mini lesson on this with the whole class.
– Sentence begin with a capital letter and end in a full stop.
– Writing ‘walkt’ or ‘walkd’ for ‘walked.’
– The Magic ‘E’
This post I hope explains then, why the free writing copies are not corrected 🙂
‘Children learn to walk by walking;
children learn to talk by talking;
and children learn to write by writing’.
A wise but anonymous person
A colourful portrait by Jake
In theory ‘Free Writing’ means a child is free to write about whatever they like.
In practice they may say: ‘I don’t know what to write’.
They are free to write about their day or their plans for tomorrow.
The story can be real or imaginary.
Here are some ‘Story Starters’ which may help:
- I never expected that one day I’d open my lunch box and find…
- .I know it was going to be an unusual day when my Mum came into my bedroom and said…..
- Monkeys, meerkats and flamingos belong in the jungle, not in the middle of……..
- Supposing a goldfish could talk. What would it say?
- “A Lucky Day” – Imagine a day when everything goes right for you. What happens?
- “A Tall Tale” – Tell us an amazing story, that couldn’t possibly be true about what happened to you on the way to school that morning.
- “The Secret Tunnel” - Imagine that a door is discovered behind a cupboard in your bedroom. Where does it lead? What adventures do you have there?
- “A Day That I Became Famous” – Imagine that you become famous. How does it happen? What is it like to be famous?
- “Planet …………” Write about a planet that is the perfect place to live. What is it like? What things from Earth would you keep on your planet, e.g. food, animals, places, etc. What things would you not have on their planet?
- “The Town Where Nobody Smiled” - Write a story about a place where nobody smiles. Beginning: What are the people like? What is it like to live there? Middle: What happened to make everybody sad? Ending: Does something happen to make the people happy again? What?
More Story Prompts
- You see a door, that you have never seen before, at the bottom of your bedroom wall. It is only 10 centimetres high. You can see a shadow just outside the door. What is it? What happens next.
- You’re taking your dog for a walk. Suddenly your dog hears something. It pulls on its lead and pulls you along a path you don’t recognize. Where is your dog leading you?
- One day while riding your bike, you hear a loud noise and look up. You’re so surprised by what you see that you nearly fall off your bike. What did you see?
- Your pet start behaving like a human being. It walks on two feet and has a lot to say. What do they have to say to you?
- There is some one being mean in the playground. How can you make them understand that the way they treat others is not right?
- You just got a new pet as a birthday gift. What kind of pet is it? What is its name? Where did it come from? Is it a usual or unusual pet?
- Cut out a picture of a person from a magazine or newspaper that your grown ups are finished with. Write about that person. Who are they? What were they thinking at the time the photo was taken?
When your child has mastered the spelling in the Dolch List they can do some Free Writing at the back of the same copy instead. This writing will give me a better idea of what words are being frequently misspelled.
They should write at least 5 sentences but they are free to write as much as they like. They should remember that:
Sentences should make sense.
Sentences start with a capital letter and end in a full stop.
I would credit the sources for these ‘story starters’ if I could. They are a mix of prompts I have collected them from a number of sources over the years. Apologies for that.