Introducing Time Machine – an event created to help primary children to write epic historical stories and think chronologically. You can organise your own event using the free materials on this site. Alternatively, we can visit your school and run it for you with assemblies and historical writing workshops. Ready to write back in time?
Sorry about the name…
We use an approach called Accelerated writing (or ‘Flash writing’).
Fads in writing change faster the proverbial cheetah. From ambitious schemes like ‘The Big Write,’ to stress-free ‘slow writing,’ where pupils ponder every word. You might suspect that Accelerated writing is another fad, but in fact it’s a simple, elegant approach based on thousands of hours of teaching creative writing in class.
The 7 key things you need to know about teaching writing
It’s easier to write with a partner – so get your class writing in pairs.
Counter intuitively, it is easier to write from the exciting part of the story, than to write from the beginning.
Writing one line (ish) at a time breaks down the task, eliminating pupil’s fear of the blank page.
Despite the packed curriculum, there is no need to choose between ‘grammar’ and ‘creative’ writing. Just as a tennis player needs a whole arsenal of shots, creative writers need language (grammar) to bring their stories to life.
However, writers need to be interested before they start. Use any tactic you can to fire their imagination: props, apps, writing outside class, an assembly, an author visit, video, rap, puppets, publish a book of their stories, do a performance of the work to the class, submission to the hall of fame etc.
Finally – any process that results in a good piece of writing is a valid process.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘7 tips’ in the subject line and we will send you a pdf with more info.
How the Time Machine week works
Each class picks a time period to write about. (Check out the list of time periods on the left hand nav of this site).
If your class likes apps you can use an app to demo a story in front of the class.
(If you don’t like apps you can print out the writing frame and model a story with this instead)
Students write in pairs using our writing frames – one photocopy for each pair.
After an editing session, the stories are read out in front of the class – who pick a couple for the big sharing assembly
at the end of the week. It’s a chance for pupils to hone their presentation skills and gain confidence.
In the assembly, the time machine moves chronologically, so pupils will get a sense of when each time period comes on the time line.
Each class picks a time period. For example:
Reception: The Dinosaurs
Y1: Stone Age stories
Y2: Roman stories
Y3: Stories based on The Tempest by William Shakespeare
Y4: Anglo-Saxons stories
Y5: Egyptian stories
Y6: Mayan stories
Factual or imaginary
Choose a theme that ties in with your history topic or let the class pick. You can keep it factual with topics like Bouddica, Mary Seacole, the Mayans or the Dunkirk landings. Or you could go imaginary and write a new Greek myth, a Roman rat or the diary of a mammoth.
The writing frames on this site provide a scaffold to help students come up with ideas. They are designed for pairs and will speed your pupils through the planning stage making more time for writing. Check out this Anglo Saxon story writing frame.
By the end of the week, every child in the school will have written a story with a partner and read it out in class.
Reception and nursery can make up their own story/characters and tell us about them rather than write them down.
Strong writing outcomes are the norm. Check out some examples of pupils work at http://www.epichalloffame.co.uk
Costs and availability
Please use the materials on this site to create your Time Machine Week – and it won’t cost a single groat. Do get in touch and let us know how you get on. Alternatively, we’d love to come and run the event for you. An author visit can generate a lot of excitement and will give history and writing a boost.
Best selling children’s author Robin Price can visit your school to kick off your Time Machine Week and run creative writing workshops based on any of the 40 topic He has a DBS and insurance and is a member of the Society of Authors.
Robin devised the writing frames on this site and has taught creative writing in the UK and 14 countries worldwide, including Shakespeare workshops for Shakespeare’s Birthplace Trust in Stratford.Prices are based on how many writing workshops you want. If you’d prefer Robin to work with you class rather than a whole school event, that’s fine too.
Email email@example.com for prices and availability. Add ‘7 tips’ in the subject line and we will send you a pdf with more tips.