Exciting Sentences – a word of caution

Almost thirty years ago I was discussing alliteration with a group of Year 6 pupils. We looked at examples in both prose and poetry. Later that week I was reading a piece by one of the pupils  – almost every sentence was alliterative. The fault was mine, not the pupils. I’d told them that I really enjoyed a well-crafted alliterative sentence (I still do) but what I’d failed to make clear was that the overuse of alliteration diminishes its power. Read more

Shakespeare’s ‘Henry IV, Part I’ retold in 42 tweets by Alan Peat

As a 50th birthday challenge I decided to set myself the task of retelling ALL of Shakespeare’s plays using Twitter. Each play has to be told in under 50 tweets. This is ‘Henry IV, Part I’!

It’s an entertaining way of considering the plot and could be a useful activity with pupils. I’ll collect the lot into a short booklet when I’m finished. In the meantime here’s ‘Henry IV, Part 1’ in exactly 42 tweets…

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Shakespeare’s ‘Henry V’ retold in 30 tweets by Alan Peat

As a 50th birthday challenge I’ve decided to set myself the task of retelling ALL of Shakespeare’s plays using Twitter. Each play has to be told in under 50 tweets. I’ve begun with ‘Henry V’!

It’s an entertaining way of considering the plot and could be a useful activity with pupils. I’ll collect the lot into a short booklet when i’m finished. In the meantime here’s Henry V in exactly 30 tweets…

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Using ‘Pregnant Moment’ Artworks as a Stimulus for Creative Writing

Using ‘Pregnant Moment’ Artworks as a Stimulus for Creative Writing.

Firstly, let’s establish what an artistic ‘pregnant moment’ is – it’s a defining, critical moment; a significant, frozen moment in time which invites the viewer to ask a multitude of questions such as,

What led this to happen?
What will happen after this moment?
Why has this moment occurred?

Douglas Wolk described the ‘pregnant moment’ accurately in his book ‘Reading Comics: How Graphic Novels Work And What They Mean’ (2007) *1

…the moment from which time radiates in both directions suggesting what’s happened before it and what’s about to happen after it. Read more

Raising Writing Standards by Stealing

For more than two decades I have been a keen advocate of ‘Steal and Adapt’ (Transformational Response) as a key factor in school writing development programs.

A recent visit to the major David Bowie exhibition at the V&A (23 March-11 August 2013) has finally prompted me to briefly collect my thoughts on this subject in print.

Bowie is clearly an eclectic ‘thief’, (…and let’s establish immediately that I do not use that word in a derogatory manner) an autodidact with a broad sweep of interests. He steals from film – Fritz Lang to A Clockwork Orange; fashion, Japanese theatre, Pop art etc etc Read more

Some interesting sentence work from Crab Lane!

“At Crab Lane Primary School, Manchester, we are on an exciting journey to further improve our writing curriculum.  With successful implementation of whole-school approaches to literacy planning, coverage and talk for writing, we reached a point where our focus needed to switch to consistent language and structure around text types and a progressive approach to sentence level work. This is where Alan Peat’s training has been invaluable and given us the foundations for a whole-school writing drive.  The more we share Alan’s sentence types, the more the children want to use them! We are already seeing significant impact in Year 6, where the sentence types have been in operation since September and with the rest of the school now on board, we are expecting high quality throughout the school!”

“One such success story is Brandon Neenan, a child who at the end of Year 5 was a 3b writer. He has fully embraced the range of sentence types in Year 6 and is now producing Level 5 writing on a regular basis. Please see enclosed work as a recent example.”

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DIFFERENTIATION AND POETRY WRITING..some thoughts!

‘If I differentiate my poetry writing sessions is it really poetry?’ was a question posed by Rob Smith on Twitter today. As the answer is far from simple I decided to add my response as a blog since 140 characters seemed unduly constraining in this instance.

The question is a deceptively complex one but the answer is …’it depends!’

Let’s take a scenario that every teacher will be familiar with – a class that they’ve worked with for a term. An effective teacher will know the individual interests of the pupils and DIFFERENTIATING AN ACTIVITY BASED ON PUPIL INTERESTS & INDIVIDUAL ENTHUSIASMS would certainly be a positive thing.  Read more

LINKING ALAN PEAT SENTENCE TYPES AND LEVELS

When I wrote the ‘Exciting Sentences’ book in 2008 I had hoped for, but certainly didn’t expect, such an overwhelmingly positive response. The approach is a simple one: if you give a sentence type a name (such as ‘2A sentences’ = 2 adjectives before a noun) and all staff use the same name then pupils will quickly develop a vocabulary which helps them to analyse sentences in the writing of others AND use a broader range in their own writing.

Feedback with regard to the impact of this idea has been forthcoming from schools as close to home as Stoke on Trent and as far away as New Zealand. Participants at my UK conferences do, however, often ask about the level at which sentences are taught and so, rather than wait until the new sentences book is published in 2013, here are the levels at which I’d INTRODUCE the sentence types. I’ve maintained the same order as the book for ease of use. Read more