One of the most important activities for CBN is to promote children’s own writing. It is difficult to break through the conventions they have been taught at school and to promote some innovative fresh thinking around the topics we bring to the workshops. But it can be done.
We are experimenting with group writing, and that has been hugely successful when writing about shared experiences such as Saturday morning or evening.
Another method is to present different first lines for each child to develop themselves. We allow one ‘swap’ if the first line is just not within their experience, but only one – and they are stuck with their second pick. This helps to get past the inevitable sharing of ideas in an informal setting (and copying from somebody with an idea!) and gives everybody a chance to write something different.
We are also developing projects on the iPads as a way of introducing writing ideas in a private one-on-one framework. This will also be extended to recording the stories and adding electronically generated artwork to them. In a practical sense, this also gets round the immense amount of work involved in collating and arranging the huge amounts of material generated in a workshop. This work can also then be published online.