Skip to main content

Drafting - Writing and art workshop Week 4

Lessons on vocabulary gave us a clutch of exciting new words to try out; the drama let us explore the man's inner thoughts; the art work had given us a mood to recreate. It can take time to immerse children in another world, but it is certainly worth the wait! 

First draft!

Week 4



After three workshops worth of discussing, acting, playing around with language, making notes, analysing and discussing how in fact you might catch a seagull to eat it*, we were ready to pour out ideas onto paper in a first draft.

Analysing a text had given the group a five paragraph structure that they were going to follow to explain these mysteries, unanswered by Armin Greder's sparse text:

  • Where the mystery man had come from?
  • How did he come upon the raft?
  • What were his first impressions of the peculiar island?
  • Who are the strange and wild inhabitants of the island?
  • What might the future might hold for the man.

The narrative would be in the first person: the children retelling events through the man's eyes. It is his 'message in a bottle', his last words before being swallowed up by the Island and it's mysteries. 

It was incredible to see the children's creative responses to this task as they planned, designed and brought to life an imaginary but credible story that fills in the gaps of the original. 

The vocabulary lessons had given the children a clutch of exciting new words to try out; the drama had allowed them to explore the thoughts in the man's head; the art work had given them a mood to recreate. 

It can take time to immerse children in another world, but it is certainly worth the wait! 

Here is a brilliant extract from one child's work where the man, a secret agent on a rescue mission, realises all is not going to plan...


"My first mistake was not bringing my map. I must have forgotten it... I was far too busy stealing the raft off my neighbour. My second mistake was not bringing any food. I was feeling hungry. I found some dead fish floating in the ocean and I ate them. It tasted rotten but I was hungry."
Kaleb, KS2

These fantastic ideas, all the product of imaginative discussion and drama that drew on the author's interests make an excellent first draft. Well done to all the children for their hard work!

Next week, we will take these rough diamonds of a first draft and polish them until they sparkle.

*We are in agreement that to catch a seagull to eat it, you have to lie flat on your raft to set a trap, wait until a seagull dive-bombs into the sea to grab a juicy fish and then, before it escapes, snatch it with your hands. But you have to eat it raw. Remove feathers before eating. Yum yum! 

Popular posts from this blog

Filthy wretch or poor thing? Rethinking the Island, KS2, Week 1

A treat for the final half term - a new workshop at a delightful school in Leeds! This half term I am working with two Year 5 teachers to develop a cross-year group, cross-curricular writing project based on my favourite picture book, Armin Greder's The Island . I've done this book many times and every time the response is different! This week, we got to grips with the facts, possibilities and mysteries of the story. What do we know about the story so far? (we only ever read up to page 6 to leave it on a knife edge...) What doesn't this story tell us and what could we infer or predict?     We looked at the crowd of islanders who 'welcome' the stranger's arrival. As in every class, country or community, no group ever sees the world the same way and we discussed how the islanders might react differently to the man. Is he a poor thing who needs to be rescued? Is he a curiosity? Is he a threat? We each adopted an islander and took on their perspective f

Creative writing based on Hokusai's The Great Wave

The Great Wave - Creative writing workshop, Year 6 Week 1: Vocabulary development Inspired by Japanese artist Hokusai's masterpiece The Great Wave , Year 6 are starting on a creative voyage to bring the iconic print to literary life! We spent some time poring over the features of painting: the spray, the wave, the boats and, well hidden, Mount Fuji. After reading an account of Ellen MacArthur's sailing voyages, we began to generate some cutting edge vocabulary to give our writing some sparkle. This was the process: Children labelled the features of the picture, including parts of the wave (crest, barrel, swell, lip) We chose personified verbs for the different features. 'Grabbing', 'scratching' and 'grasping' for the finger-like lip of the wave; 'screaming', 'slapping' and 'whistling' for the wind. The group selected similes for each of the features. The wind became 'a bellowing dragon', the boats w

ARTiculate Bulletin 28.9.15: Black Dog by Levi Pinfold, Book a free workshop.

This week's bulletin features creative ideas for Black Dog by Levi Pinfold. This spooky tale has lots of unnerving qualities: Victorian sepia photos, objects that seem to move around from picture to picture and , oh yeah, a huge slathering hound on the prowl. Perfect for murky autumnal weather. If you try any of the ideas I'd love to see the work your children produce. To request this in pdf format, please join the mailing list by clicking  here  and sending me your details. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Black Dog by Levi Pinfold -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The sinister, murky tone of this book is ideal for gloomy, autumnal weather.  Buried deep in the snowy forest, a large beast is prowling around the house giving the Hope family the scare of their lives. But all is not as it seems in this spooky tale. Is it really a really a giant beast or