Imagine you were asked to describe a trip to Mars.
What did you see there?
What could you hear?
How did it feel?
If you were able to answer those questions, you were probably drawing on descriptions you've read in science-fiction texts and images you've seen in films or from photographs taken by NASA. Most likely, you drew on a range of experiences which enabled you to respond to the stimulus.
Starting a piece of writing with a hands-on experience can help to build up young people's capital, equipping them for any writing task they are faced with. It could be the opportunity to see art and history up close at a local gallery or museum, a 'writerly walk' through the local park or a staged event in the school grounds.
We've done lots of work on providing memorable experiences. Here are some of our favourite resources to help you do the same for your class:
- Originally based on a touring exhibition produced by the National Portrait Gallery, our Picture the Poet resource has plenty of activities and suggestions than can be adapted for your local gallery
- We worked with the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich to produce this Trafalgar Tales resource
- Explore your local environment or local history with the Our Places toolkit
- Pupils at Stanhope Primary School explored Kensington Palace without leaving their classroom using VR technology
- Poet Antosh Wojcik shares his experience of working with the Barbican Centre to inspire children's poetry
We will continue to update the page with real examples from schools around the UK. To share your memorable experiences, please email us.
What is Everybody Writes?
Everybody Writes is a universal approach to writing, encouraging a love of writing for all children and increasing the confidence of all teachers in devising original and creative ways to engage children in writing. However, by offering children hands-on experiences to write about and by establishing real audiences for children’s writing, the Everybody Writes approach imbues writing with a relevance and immediacy that makes this approach particularly effective in engaging the interest of reluctant writers as well as giving the most able writers the opportunity to shine.
- Taking writing beyond the classroom: into the playground, community and world of work
- Giving children hands-on experiences to write about
- Finding real audiences for children's writing
- Exploring writing across the curriculum
You can use these principles to create an Everybody Writes project in your school. It could involve staging the discovery of dinosaur bones in the playground to trigger a whole-school newspaper writing project; running a series of after-school workshops for parents and children to write and illustrate a family history book; or setting up a lunchtime blogging club to track the progress of a favourite football team in the Premier League.
Find out more about Everybody Writes.