Viking story writing
My book Beowuff and the Horrid Hen is set in the time of the Vikings and their enemies, the Anglo Saxons. Your class can write their own stories about the Vikings using this ‘flash writing’ story-maker. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0844 884 1742 for more info on my Viking and Anglo Saxons assemblies and creative writing workshops.
For my free .pdf ‘7 Tips for teaching story writing’ email email@example.com with ‘Tips’ in the subject line. If you are interested in ‘flash writing’ please read on…
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.There is more about flash writing in this article. Rather that read about it – why not give it a go?
Instructions for ‘Flash’ stories
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.)
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: I usually spent 5 mins doing one quick example of the plan they are going to use on the board before they start (as a demo). Get the class to vote on the options.
E.g: Is Erik the goodie or the baddie? Hands up for Erik the Good. Hands up for Eric the Evil? Etc.
P.S. Seven Tips for Story Writing
If you like the look of Flash writing, 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 0844 884 1742 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 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.