3. Supporting pupils in writing a story

Having a good understanding of local traditional tales is a good base for your pupils to devise their own stories. Listening to stories told with animation and which use words to gain effect will give them confidence to take risks in their writing and produce more creative tales.

The purpose of this part is to use local resources to develop your pupils’ skills in writing their own stories and poems. You will also develop your skills in planning learning activities that allow pupils to participate fully. In Case Study 3, a teacher uses a radio programme to stimulate interest about writing stories and the Key Activity uses pictures as the stimulus. With younger pupils, you might want to encourage them to draw pictures for their story; it is important that all pupils feel able to tell a story, rather than struggle with spellings and handwriting.

Case Study 3: Learning from an expert storyteller

While listening to the radio, Miss Sala, a social studies teacher, heard that on the coming Friday there would be a programme in which a renowned local storyteller and writer would be interviewed.

Fortunately, the programme was at a convenient time during the school day, so Miss Sala came to school with her radio. She also prepared to tape-record the radio programme.

Before the programme started, she discussed with her pupils what they knew of the writer, and what they expected she would be talking about when she was interviewed.

During the programme, the writer explained about the structure of a story, the theme/main idea, the characters and setting. She gave some advice on the process of writing. She also spoke about what inspired her and where she got her ideas from.

When the programme was over, Miss Sala asked the following kinds of questions to promote discussion among her pupils:

  • What can you learn from this writer that could help you become a better writer yourself?
  • What inspires her? Are there things in your life or community that you want to write about?
  • What is the structure and content of a good piece of writing?

She asked the last question at the end because she wanted it to be inspired by the bigger issues.

At the end of the lesson, she said that with their next piece of creative writing, she would like pupils to try some of the techniques suggested by the storyteller. She would then mark it by looking for evidence they had considered these issues and give careful feedback.

Key Activity: Writing and telling stories

  • Present pupils with a stimulus to draw out ideas about life, community or broader society. See Resource 3: Pictures for stories for two images that work well, but you might choose anything similar.
  • Using Resource 4: Using pictures as a stimulus for story writing to guide you, discuss the picture your class has chosen.
  • Ask each pupil to write their own version of the story. Encourage them to add in their own ideas and scenarios as they write. For example: What happened before that led to the picture and what happens next?
  • The next day, pupils read their stories to each other in small groups and each group chooses one to read to the whole class. Remind them of how important it is to use their voices and props if possible to help them.
  • You might want to put all the stories into a class book.

2. Exploring traditional Stories

Resource 1: The snake chief