Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Nature-inspired Writing

This morning after Mathswhizz I really wanted to get us all out of the house, but wanted the boys to do something literacy-ish too, as I've been pondering on the subject for a while.  I have no worries re: their reading abilities as per yesterday's post, but was recently remembering the fun they had writing stories and poems last year, and thought it would be nice to give them a prompt again.  A friend had posted some springtime photos online and it inspired me to take the boys out for a walk through our neighbouring fields, specifically to prompt them with ideas for a bit of creative writing.  So that is what we did.  I shared the idea with them, and asked them to look out for things they could see, hear, smell and feel on the way.

Once we were outside they went into usual 'running-about-like-puppies' mode, so I pointed out some bursts of yellow daffodils dotted about the grassy fields, marshmallow-like clouds puffing across the sky, woodpigeons clattering out of the thickets as we walked past etc.  I didn't labour the point too much though - after all, the outdoors is to be freely enjoyed and I didn't want to turn our jolly jaunt into an onerous task.  The boys certainly enjoyed themselves, particularly Youngest who couldn't resist rolling down a hill and sliding in a patch of mud.  We were intending to visit our latest discovery of a little dingly dell complete with bridges over a stream and bluebells getting ready to flower, but as we entered the wood we discovered the path downhill was covered with a steady stream of water oozing out of the hillside...

(the downhill slope into the woods - highest point where we were standing is confusingly at the bottom of the photo)

As we were only wearing trainers we changed plan and walked to the next patch of woodland a bit further on, inside a sort of pit inside the field. At the bottom of the pit was another little stream, and Middle decided that he wanted to try to build a dam, as inspired by the "50 things to do before you are 11 3/4" booklet that he was given at a National Trust property over Easter.  He and Youngest had a few attempts, with Eldest helping, and found it trickier than they expected, but lots of fun...

trying to use rocks to dam the stream

When we got home Middle and Youngest decided to write a poem each, and Eldest chose to write a descriptive piece of prose.  It was soon lunchtime though, and as Eldest was finding it tricky to get started and Middle had got stuck halfway through, I shared a famous poem with them over lunch: Wordsworth's "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud".  It helped that we had visited Acorn Bank in Cumbria a couple of years earlier (one of the places where Wordsworth was said to have been inspired to write the poem), so I found our photos from that holiday and showed them to the boys before reading the poem...

Middle was clearly inspired by Wordsworth's poem and rewrote the first half of his own poem accordingly. Eldest was still struggling so I suggested that he just start by describing the journey as we left our house, and take it from there - once he got started he came up with a very descriptive piece. Youngest wrote his own poem on the PC.  It really made me smile, but then I asked if he could have a go at one that was a bit longer too - he dictated that one to me after a couple of prompts asking him what we saw or did.

We all love being outdoors and after a false start or two, the boys enjoyed writing their pieces too - that was one lovely morning!

Spring (#1) by Youngest
Aaah I love it owt dors evry thing abot it
The end

Spring (#2) by Youngest
Daffodils dancing in the breeze
Building a dam in the forest stream
Birds shooting like a torpedo above the trees
And buds growing on twigs
Dog poo in a big dark pit near a field near a road - and rabbit poo too.

The end 

Spring by Middle
I went for a walk in Spring
I was lonely with droopy flowers near me
Also quite chilly and I could feel my heart frozen
with loneliness
And I could feel a strange feeling
A sort of feeling that you have when you're really happy
And the flowers around me were now yellow, yes I'm happy now
and I could feel the gusts of wind in my face
and a sea of grass moving like waves
I wished it never ended.

The Walk near our House by Eldest
Next to our house there is a path, and if you follow that path you wil find yourself in the lushest of green fields.  The sweet song of birds fills the air.  The glare of the forest next door seems to draw you in with its hypnotic ways.  The twists and turns of this wooded labyrinth tries to keep you in to enjoy its beauty even more.  At the end of such a maze it opens out, almost in relief, to the fields of which you came, with rabbits looking as if to say "welcome back" before darting off in some sort of hurry.  So do not forget of this mystical site beyond the path next to our house.

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