In many families, technology is often seen as a distraction that prevents children from concentrating on their school work. However, if used well, technology can be a powerful tool to inspire children’s learning. Here is one exercise you could use to turn creative writing in to a fun and engaging exercise through the use of an iPad or laptop.
The aim of this exercise is to encourage your child to use a good range of techniques in their essay and to produce high-quality writing. In this activity, the child is not writing a whole essay but a short description of a setting.
There are numerous websites and apps that you could use to inspire creative writing. Here are two of my favourites.
Visit the AirPano website at http://www.airpano.com/
This is a stunning website put together by a team of Russian photographers. The website features hundreds of 360° panoramas and videos of sites from all around the world. You can explore the Kolmanskop Ghost Town in Namibia, swoop down over the Plosky Tolbachik volcanic eruption in Russia, or swim with bears in the Kambalnaya Rvier. Allow your child to explore the website first and discover more about the places they see before asking them to screenshot their favourite scene.
Download the game Epic Citadel (a free app available for Android and Apple).
This is a game set in an impressive fantasy land with medieval towns, rocky mountain ranges and a circus bazaar. Allow the children to explore the land for a short time before asking them to screenshot their favourite scene.
Display the screenshotted image for the child. Explain that they are going to write a paragraph to describe the scene they can see but that they must follow certain rules.
Ask the child to describe the scene one sentence at a time. For each sentence, ask the child to include a different writing technique. This could vary depending on which techniques you have been covering and the age of the child. Here is an example for a child who has chosen a volcano image.
Instruction: In your first sentence, you must use two adjectives.
Student: A ray of golden sunlight shone across the jagged, icy mountain.
Instruction: In your second sentence, you must use a metaphor.
Student: The stream of molten lava was an angry snake slithering down the rock.
Instruction: In your third sentence, you must use a simile.
Student: The volcano looked like a furious dragon, blowing fire from its mouth.
Instruction: In your fourth sentence, you must use onomatopoeia.
Student: Boom! Rocks flew out of the crater.
Once your child has finished, review their writing together and check that their spelling and punctuation is correct. Discuss why their piece of writing is effective and how the writing techniques that they have used add to the quality of their work. For a follow on task, your child could write a full essay with a beginning, middle and end and incorporate this paragraph in to it.