Teaching: Creative Writing Word Palettes

It all started when I ran out of time.

My school was staging a mini project centred on ‘The Day the Waters Came‘, a visiting theatrical production based on events surrounding Hurricane Katrina. As Head of English, I was tasked with putting together a creative writing workshop in which students would produce poems, prose, whatever, about the themes raised in the play.

Needless to say, I didn’t have much time to assemble, but I was loathe to just ‘get the kids writing’. I wanted them to not only have a focus, but a self-generated toolkit of words and phrases that they could quickly arrange into effective creative pieces.

Hence the ‘Word Palette’ was born.

Below are screen grabs of my original slides (apologies for the simplicity). When I did this, I stressed the ‘palette’ concept and got the students to use coloured pens/ pencil to create theirs. Otherwise it’d just have been scratchy biro on lined A4. #Uninspring.

Anyway, steps and slides below. Apologies for the Comic Sans. Enjoy.

Step 1:

Pick three topics or general areas related to the main theme. In this example, I used Moments, Characters and Objects.

palette1

Step 2:

For each of these, the students then brainstormed a selection of nouns…

palette2

Step 3:

…before brainstorming a range of ┬áverbs and adjectives. It’s worth breaking this down further and getting them to think of adjectives for each noun and adverbs for each verb.

palette3

Step 4:

I then got my students to focus on one area and find synonyms for their brainstormed words (in a different colour of course).

palette4

Step 5:

Then it was a case of experimenting with figurative language to make poetic phrases. At this stage, most of the kids were off writing.

palette5

That’s it really. Enjoy!

-Unseen Flirtations

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