Anglo Saxon writing workshops
Whilst researching my children’s series Beowuff I found that the Anglo Saxon period is an amazingly rich source of tales and legends which are ideal for story writing. The Saxons told tales of monsters like the sea serpents, elves, charms, dragons. Alternatively, you can write a realistic tale about King Alfred and the cakes or Saxons batting against their sworn enemies The Vikings. If you want to write your own Anglo Saxon story, the ‘flash writing’ story maker on this page will speed you through the planning part and help you get going. (Teachers: see the instructions below the story maker for tips on how to use it in class). If you’d rather write a story about the Romans or the Stone Age – click on one of the historical periods in the right hand navigation.
WORKSHOPS AND ASSEMBLIES FOR SCHOOLS
When I’m not writing books I lead history workshops for primary and secondary schools In the past I have run workshops for Shakespeare’s Birthplace Trust and the Young Archaeologists society. I also visit international schools with Author’s Abroad. Teaching the Anglo Saxons through creative writing is great fun and I’m amazed at what the pupils can come up with when they write their own stories.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call me on 0844 884 1742 if you’d like to discuss prices and availability.
For my free .pdf ‘7 Tips for teaching story writing’ email email@example.com with ‘Tips’ in the subject line.
ABOUT MY BOOKS
If you’re not familiar with the Beowuff series – it’s set in a world ruled by dogs! It’s suitable for children aged 7 years old.
There are two books in the series: Beowuff and the Horrid Hen and Beowuff and the Dragon Raiders. I have an idea for a third book but I am currently busy on the third installment of my graphic novel series London Deep. The first book in this series was a Recommended Read for World Book Day in 2011. My Roman cat series Spartapuss and The Olympuss Games are also worth a look. If you want to find out more, check out my profile (Robin Price) on Lovereading.co.uk’s author profile page
INSTRUCTIONS FOR TEACHERS
The thinking behind this writing frame: ‘Planners’ and ‘Jumpers’
I’ve noticed that there are two types of young writer:
• ‘Planners’ who love to map out their whole story in detail.
• ‘Jumpers’ who hate extended planning and feel the need to get going ASAP.
• Techniques like the ‘story mountain’ are ideal for ‘planners’ but they leave other children struggling to focus. To get everyone off to a good start, I have developed ‘flash’ stories. Armed with a simple framework (like the one above), you can move swiftly through the planning and get their ideas flowing onto paper.
The solution: ‘Flash’ stories
I often do one example first on the board as a ‘demo’ getting them to vote on options.
1. Put the class into pairs. Give them the writing frame to each pair. Get them to pick one option each.
2. Tell them to write from the most exciting part of the story.
3. Tell them to write the story one sentence each. (Make sure you give them one sheet of A4 between two writers.)
4. The person who isn’t writing can draw a picture of their goodie or baddie.
After 5-10 minutes of planning you’ll get everyone writing (in pairs). Within an hour the class should be ready to share out their stories.
TIP: This writing frame was designed for Y1-Y2. I have a more challenging writing frame for older children (Y3-Y6). I have colour coded the writing frames so that blue = easy and purple = medium. Green = challenging. Because creative writing is very open ended – you could use this frame with Y6 and still get some cool results.
P.S. Seven Tips for Story Writing
If you like this approach, there are a lot of ways you can develop it and use it in class. You can introduce or practice new vocab or structures, practice dialogue or even use two flash stories (a few weeks apart) to assess their progress. Flash stories are also ideal for assisted learning (where the adult takes the part of one pair). For my free .pdf ‘7 Tips for teaching story writing’ please email firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘Tips’ in the subject line or call 0845 838 5526 to discuss a workshop.
Feedback on my assemblies and workshops
Robin’s “Spartapuss” assembly was a fantastic combination of Roman facts, story telling and knockabout comedy, that, whilst entertaining the whole school, also cunningly prepared the ground for their own Roman story writing. It’s great to see that children have really been motivated to write for themselves and to read his books. ” Richard Smith, Deputy Head Trafalgar Junior School (April, 2011)
‘Robin has worked very hard giving us a lot of value for money on creating the workshops and on the behind the scenes thinking to bring the project to a head. Robin has been both creative and reliable and has thought through every step of the project. He is professional in all he does and works very well with children and adults alike.’
Dr Elizabeth Dollimore, Shakespeare’s Birthplace Trust, Stratford-Upon-Avon.
About The Beowuff series
I wrote the first Beowuff book with Richard Eccles – and we had great fun researching it.
Beowuff is set in a world ruled by Anglo Saxon and Viking dogs, where people have never existed. However, there is a lot of
accurate historical background in there, including Skaldic poetry, Viking ‘kennings’ and many of the points
are the same as the Beowulf saga. It’s set in Heorut – a ‘meat hall’ not a ‘mead hall’, it’s King Ruffgar, not King
Hrothgar. Instead of fighting Grendel, Beowuff must do battle with Hendel – a monstrous chicken.