Updated: Dec 2, 2020
With December the 1st arriving on Tuesday, one word is on the tip of each child's tongue: CHRISTMAS! It's a word that conjures up a feast of senses - smells, sights, touches, tastes, emotion and, with all of that, a voice and a story (or two) to tell.
Because of this, Christmas is such a wonderful time to tap into children's creative writing abilities. Why? Because it's a great way for them to harness their excitement. They all have the magic of Christmas within their hearts and minds. What better than creative writing to tap into that stored energy, magic, excitement and most of all... first hand experience!
Here are 3 ideas from us at Ink Wing Academy, to you. Example texts are entirely bespoke and hot off the page. We hope you enjoy...
On black card, use cotton balls to paint white snow all over it (you could add a little bit of blue too).
Take a picture of each child in their hats and scarves, or simply zipped up coats with hoods up, and then stick the image of each child on their own Snowfall picture. Add stars on the top with stickers, chalk, crayons or paint..
It's best to physically catch wordy ideas in real snow but as it's not in the foreseeable forecast. Here are other ideas to generate the spark of language:
If your class would respond well to it, read and show 'Snow' by Walter de la Mare
No breath of wind,
No gleam of sun –
Still the white snow
Whirls softly down
Twig and bough
And blade and thorn
All in an icy
Through the air
On still and stone,
Roof, - everywhere,
It heaps its powdery
Of every tree
A mountain makes;
‘Til pale and faint
At shut of day
Stoops from the West
One wint’ry ray,
And, feathered in fire
Where ghosts the moon,
A robin shrills
His lonely tune.
What words do the children like that describe snow? Can they think of any others?
Now, watch just the start of 'Lily & the Snowman' as the snow falls:
Ask the children to think of more words that describe how snowflakes move:
fall, dance, drop, pirouette...
What adverbs can they think of?
Slowly, Quietly, Softly...
Ice angels, ice whispers, snow diamonds
On a post-it or strip of paper, ask each child to put a sentence together using some of their favourite ideas (have them visible in the classroom for them to see).
e.g. Quietly, snowflakes pirouette like icy ballerinas.
Quietly, snowflakes pirouette downwards - icy angels falling from the heavens.
Finally, children write (or type out) their sentences on their Snowfall to celebrate their writing and words.
The Christmas Tree Elf
A fun, imaginative poem written by Michelle for you to create from! Have a listen...
Design your Christmas Tree Rocket.
As a class or in groups, generate the following ideas:
What other words can you think of for Christmas Tree Rocket? e.g. spikey emerald rocket, glistening green rocket, Super Pine-Needled Rocket
Other words for Zoom and movements
Onomatopoeic words for the rocket
What does it pass on the way? Describe it/them to help paint a picture in the reader's mind.
Now, make a poem from all of the ideas! Children could create a verse each or in groups e.g.
My Christmas Tree Rocket
Flies high, trailing the sky
Stars twinkle as it passes.
My emerald twinkle rocket
Fizzes to the moon,
Cartwheeling through fluffy clouds.
My super spikey rocket
Shoots through the inky eve
To catch bright moonbeams.
Extension: The Tree Elf is hiring helpers! Write an Explanation or Instructions for how your Tree Rocket works.
Share your creations as a class or even via Zoom to loved ones.
Narnia Winter Scape
Read the extract from 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe' by C.S.Lewis. Read it as a writer.
What did you like? What effect did it have on you as the reader? Why did it work so well?
On post-its, children answer the following questions - put each question on large paper and rotate around them in groups.
What description could you picture the most?
What idea in the text interested you the most?
This story was first published in 1950. Is there a sentence that you could improve?
'Edmund began to be afraid of the house'. How could you show that Edmund was afraid through his actions rather than telling he was afraid?
Even though he knew that it was only a stone giant and not a live one, Edmund did not like going past it. What phrase could you add on here? e.g. A voice in his head told him to turn back but his feet ignored it. What could you write?
Children stick their answers onto the questions and put these in a visible space in the classroom on walls or on a washing line. Give time for children to explore each other's ideas and discuss what sentences seem to be the most effective and why.
Now, children create their magical Winter Scape inspired by the ideas from C.S.Lewis. Here are some images for inspiration also (from Pinterest).
Once their scenes are drawn (could be using white chalk on black/ blue paper), write a setting description based on their scene. A good tip would be:
Note 5 things that will put the reader in this scene.
What are they doing?
What question might you have?
Here is an example:
Snowflakes dusted the red, wild hair that fell over her face. As she threw it back, her emerald eyes could not believe the sight they beheld…
Blue hues of light throbbed through the freezing air, dancing up and down like soft ribbons twirling through an ice leaden sky. Even though her breath made small clouds in front of her, she was surprisingly warm. This was the snowiest place that Ruby had ever been in. As she slowly rose and began to walk, her feet crunched deep below her. The ground looked like it was encrusted by millions of diamonds as the giant moon that sat on the horizon in front of her, lit up the strange world she had landed in. Where on earth was she? Was it even earth?
(c) Michelle Young
Finally, wishing you all a safe and well festive break. You deserve it! If you do any of these activities I would love to see them! Please email them to Michelle @ firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below.
Have a merry, merry Christmas! From Ink Wing Academy