Places to start
Reading aloud is an extremely effective, easy and low cost way of triggering imagination. There are lots of audio and video clips and of poems and other writing available on the following websites:
Images from wildlife programmes can be very effective starting points for descriptive writing and also character development. For example, this BBC clip Sengi racetrack. You'll find other examples of how to use wildlife clips in different ways in these sections of the resource:
Michael Rosen’s website includes readings, poems and general enthusiasm for writing.
Poems can be useful as distillations of one moment of a story. They can encourage pupils towards the economy of language of really good writing. More examples include The Children's Poetry Archive and The Poetry Shed.
Music and Poetry
Encourage your pupils to hear story everywhere – with and without words. Songs from musicals are a great place to start as they are often an insight into a particular character’s perspective on the action.
Here are some poems and songs you may find interesting as starting points:
- Mr Bleaney – Philip Larkin;
- Home is so sad – Philip Larkin;
- In the Ghetto – Elvis Presley;
- Harper Valley PTA – Dolly Parton;
- Eleanor Rigby – The Beatles;
- Holy Thursday – Paul Muldoon;
- Bad Blood – Taylor Swift;
- A Boy named Sue – Johnny Cash;
- Coward of the County – Kenny Rogers;
- The Winner Takes it All – Abba;
- Babooshka – Kate Bush;
- Copacabana – Barry Manilow;
- Ordinary Man – Christy Moore;
- Porphyria’s Lover – Robert Browning; and/or
- Wandering Aengus – WB Yeats.
TED talks can be useful as a starting point for discussion. They can help pupils to develop empathy and understand the world from a different perspective. TED talks can also provide opportunities to analyse spoken language, as well as introducing controversial topics, citizenship and personal development themes. The idea here is to understand that inspiration doesn’t always come from artistic or creative perspectives.
Please note, not all talks are suitable to use with a class. You should review each talk fully before deciding whether to use it. You may wish to take snippets of the talks as starting points.
There are many good quality blogs about different aspects of writing:
The Writers Academy showcases 15 top creative writing blogs.
The Novel Factory blog includes many useful links, tips and summaries, specifically about novel writing, but much of the information applies to any type of creative writing.
The Writers Circle is a useful website that has a lot of information and tips for the aspiring writer. There are articles and opinion pieces that may generate lively discussion and good thinking, talking and listening opportunities, while furthering writing aims.
Rewrite, Reword, Reward blog is a good general website about writing and includes useful links.
Creative Writing Now has some great advice for different types and parts of stories. It is very accessible and includes pages for starting stories, ending stories and creating plot twists. It includes some interesting writing prompts to help pupils get started.