Using imaginary contexts to create opportunities for writing.
An imaginary village, an imaginary place and a pets’ sanctuary.
Y 4-6 Create an imaginary village
Ask pupils to take on roles as ordinary adult people in a small village.
Draw/digitally create a simple sketch map of the village.
Pupils write their own role cards – name, age, occupation and where they live in village- (explain they are ordinary people).
Pupils compose/create a historical plaque outlining key events in the history of the village e.g. a plaque in a church or on another public building. Writing must be concise to suit the style of plaques/ lists of information.
Writing in role as villagers – pupils describe/depict their houses and views/ write estate agents blurb. Persuasive writing.
Pupils make freeze frame to depict picture on website/brochure to show village in positive. Then write the accompanying text.
Pupils write history book or notes for brochure/website based on plaque of imaginary events.
Create a problem in village – e.g. environmental issue.
Pupils enact a meeting –some in role as villagers and some as local press- to discuss the problem and possible solutions. Meeting chaired by teacher in role as another villager.- use a jacket as a sign you are in role and words like action and freeze to indicate when the dramatic enactment is starting and finishing.
Pupils write news reports of the meeting.
Narrate how the problem was solved – either by no change or some negotiated change. (Children need closure!)
Written report on how problem solved – for website / social media or in news.
Link to real life problems in villages.
Other possible contexts
Pupils in role as residents on an island, new planet, a street.
Pupils in role as workers at a campsite, a circus, a farm shop, a zoo.
Y2-4 Create an imaginary country park: Sunny Place
Create a very simple map of Sunny Park by drawing a river crossed by a bridge and stepping stones – a small forest at one side of the river and a visitors’ centre on the other side.
Ask groups of pupils to select one item each, to place in Sunny Park, to make it more attractive to visitors – plot each one on the map. Do this roughly to record it, then do another neater version using appropriate symbols. Or children can create their own symbols.
Pupils role play visitors and use mime/dramatic play to enact using the place- use a blue PE mat to represent where the river is located and tell them where the forest and visitors centre are represented in the space – put up the map where they can see it – so they can move from 2D to 3D in their play. Make it clear that no props will be used – just mimed actions to represent activities. Challenge them to be safe but inventive.
Pupils write about their day as visitors to Sunny Park
Pupils are now asked to take on the role of park keepers at Sunny Place. Ask them to decide what jobs they would need to do before the visitors arrive. Ask them to mime the jobs.
Pupils write about a day in the life of a park keeper
Create Problem –1) letter arrives complaining about litter – keepers must decide what to do / discuss changes then implement in mime.
Park keepers send written reply outlining everything they have done to solve problem.
Create Problem – 2) planning permission is sought to build a supermarket/ retail or theme park adjacent to Sunny Park.
Park keepers must write in their objections or their support – with reasons.
Narrate how the problems were solved – either by showing them a letter from the complainant or planning dept.- or just verbally- but pupils need to know what happened.
Link these problems to real life country parks.
Y2-3 Create a Pets’ Sanctuary
Pupils create an imaginary pets’ sanctuary – in which they are to play the parts of the keepers – What needs to be there? Write a list together. Draw/create a simple map.
Groups of 2/3 pupils decide on one pet to look after between them– Pupils research and write how to look after their pet.
Pupils in role as keepers use mime/dramatic play to show how they look after their pets. No props to be used – just mime.
Pupils write descriptions of their pets and/ or the sanctuary for the website.
Invent some complaints about the sanctuary-e.g. animals not given enough food or water or kept inside for too long – and ask the pupils to imagine that these have appeared in the press– and visitors may not come unless they reply - pupils write letters in role as keepers on how well they look after the pets and/or how they will improve the sanctuary to deal with the complaints.
Tell the pupils there are no more complaints – A public official has visited the sanctuary and liked it.
Pupils write news reports of this visit– or other positive reviews from visitors.