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Boxing up a story

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    I'm trying to work out how to box up a story. I get the idea in principle I think - it's about finding the basic structure of a story.

    i.e. Meet characters, setting, problem, how the problem is solved, ending.

    So if I box up our class story with the children then how do I get them to box up their own story. Do they draw pictures or do they use the structure of our class story to begin to think of their own written ideas or does it really matter?


    I'm a Year 1 teacher - had the talk for writing CPD but this bit was done pretty quickly.

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     Alan Peat's Boxing clever is a story-making game that can be used across the primary sector. It develops early oral awareness of story structure and appeals to kinaesthetic learners by physically involving them in making their story.

    To set it up, you need eight boxes with the following labels on the outside, and pictures inside:

    Who? (pictures of people)

    Where? (pictures of houses)

    Where next? (pictures of cities or countryside)

    Why? (no pictures here, but blank pieces of paper, for the children to write why the character is making the journey. A good starter question is: who are they going to see?)

    What goes wrong? (pictures of bad weather/a fire/an accident)

    Who helps? (pictures of people)

    Where last? (pictures of any location)

    Feelings (pictures of a happy or sad character)

    Pupils take a picture from each bag, stick them on display sheets and then tell or write the story. This helps build the confidence to tackle more complex story forms

    Pie Corbett uses the story mountain model or five fingers  Opening - build up - problem - resolution - ending

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    How to box up a story

    Although this video is from a year 3 classroom it does show quite clearly how boxing up a story can be used in the classroom. As a sceptic of what I thought was just 'another intervention programme for writing' earlier in the year, my results by Easter for the majority of my class meant that they had already made their 2 sub levels in progress. My advice would be to use the other Year 3 videos to see the whole process in action.
    I felt the biggest change for me in the classroom was to slow down the writing process and go back to using more discussion, modelling, comparing and planning using pictures before I expected them to write. My epiphany was the sentence "if they haven't heard the sentence, they can not write it". I was expecting my children to do more than their experiences of writing and reading would allow them to do, I had to rethink my teaching and go against the grain of my schools writing ethos and I'm so glad I did.

    The videos which support Talk for Writing were useful (even if it was was one of those scarily quiet, non interrupting, do as I'm told without question kind of classes lol) but what was even more helpful to me, on a practical hands on in the classroom need for ideas, was Pie Corbett's ' Bumper Book of Story Telling' (both the KS1 and 2 books are really good reads full of practical ideas)


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