After spending a good amount of time learning and playing with our legend, we were ready to move onto innovating! Before starting to write anything, I wanted the children to be clear on their setting and main villianous character! Therefore, we set to drawing them! I began by modelling what the setting could be – I explained that we were going to keep it set in Viking times but consider other places instead of a swamp and other buildings instead of a great banqueting hall. The children generated some great ideas!
I then set about drawing a possible new setting for our class innovated legend (please excuse my drawing!)
I wish I had asked them to take photos of their work in Explain Everything and then verbally describe their setting, as I feel I would have got more out of them (a note for next time!)
After looking at the setting, I asked the children to consider a monster to replace the original Grendal. With their help and ideas, I modelled a possible monster and discussed we discussed where he lived in could live in our class setting. After a short discussion, we decided that he lived in the lava at the top of the mountain and so he was going to be a fire beast!
After looking at our characters and settings, we used a copy of the original map and began innovating. We innovated on a class version and then the children innovated their own version to varying degrees.
They practised retelling our version and retelling their own version. After they practised and became confident with their stories, we started to write them up.
As usually happens, some children sprint ahead and some need more time. Because of this, I have adapted the way I undertake shared writing. We aim to work on a quality paragraph (sometimes two) a day with a focus like spelling key words, punctuation, sentence starts, using description etc…. I usually start with all the class together on the first sentence or two and model how to alter the map into text using their ideas; they take notes in their writing journals to support themselves once they get going at the tables. I then ask the children to go and complete their first sentence or two. After a short while, we share our writing so far. Usually by now, some children are keen to just get on and others are still needing some extra support and time. The children who are getting on confidently, I ask to carry on but give them extra challenges to complete as they aim to beat the teacher’s paragraph! The children who need a little more time work with an adult who guides them as necessary at their own pace. For the other children, I continue with my innovation and they follow along with their own. We usually discuss the sentences we are writing and they develop their own. For this unit, this approach has worked successfully so far!
It feels like this post is a little short but actually we have spent a substantial amount of time learning, writing and editing work in this phase.