I read this article last week:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/searching-for-life-beyond-earth-scientists-debate-danger-of-messages-to-hostile-aliens-10078189.html

It got me thinking; what would we want to tell our intergalactic neighbours about what it is to be a human being living on planet Earth in 2015? What would we tell them of our history, our scientific discoveries, our art and culture, our beliefs?

So, in looking for an answer to this, I took it to my primary school writing group.  We warmed up by working on some mind maps, generating ideas. It got everyone talking, Madonna falling down the steps at the Brits was a popular theme, I was impressed that they all knew who Elvis Presley was and that they could name the President of America and our Prime Minister (who is old apparently. This was a bit depressing; he’s the same age as me…)

There was a lot of interesting talk about science and I was thoroughly quizzed as to how small ‘exactly’ is an atom and ‘what is gravity?’ Kids are nothing if not inquisitive and challenging.  Oh, and Apple are doing something right with their marketing as all the groups of children named their products.

These are the mindmaps they came up with:.

https://fbcdn-sphotos-h-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xpf1/v/t35.0-12/r270/11034653_10206252834182015_787164493_o.jpg?oh=98db6952b39cf687431d2b4f7e292014&oe=54FBC497&__gda__=1425803478_8072ca8bdcf3bd06457ee587b177416d

https://fbcdn-sphotos-h-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xpf1/v/t35.0-12/r270/11054574_10206252836582075_373918795_o.jpg?oh=4f14e13ebd9fb25d1f0e7f2b7b5a57ea&oe=54FBE473&__gda__=1425804658_e6457f0fff21205e0775b58a70d05459

https://fbcdn-sphotos-h-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xpf1/v/t35.0-12/r270/11028688_10206252833862007_1957603050_o.jpg?oh=e6467ca03597e6cb3168317fcbced9c1&oe=54FC3154&__gda__=1425807422_06cee03e901ece5a1aba428e3376b430

Then they set to work writing and illustrating their information leaflets on Planet Earth.  I’d cut out a range of images I’d found in Sunday supplement magazines and they had fun choosing some to include in their work.  It was fascinating to see what they felt were the important things to include and as always, to see how they approached the activity.  One boy decided to focus on myths and legends, he illustrated his work with a beautiful drawing of a dragon and wrote about Lord of the Rings, witches and wizrds, unicorns and dragons.  Another child imagined he was a flower and told the story of the Earth in its voice., This was a beautiful idea, told with humour and gentleness.  One of the girls themed her leaflet, focusing on places on Earth, technology, disasters and buildings, Here’s her leaflet:

https://fbcdn-sphotos-h-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xpf1/v/t35.0-12/r270/11028093_10206252836142064_1688119822_o.jpg?oh=0c373a94630f3d9a5aefb72148b0f975&oe=54FBF373&__gda__=1425802009_6942fa169f2fc407b9d0b65e786123af

As always, the session seemed to go past really quickly. It was heartening to hear them groan when I told them our time was up.  It was a really interesting session, one of the most rewarding I’ve run for a while. I love to see how they rise to the challenges I set them, how open to new ideas they are and how fertile their imaginations are. It’s refreshing and I take away with me the desire to channel some of their youthful enthusiasm and confidence into my own writing. It strikes me, not for the first time, that I learn as much from them as they do from me.

I’m really pleased to have an article published in issue 2 of Keele University’S Journal of Academic Development and Education, ‘JADE’. I wrote this as part of my MA back in 2012, it’s great to see it published after all this time.

It can be found here:

Can Creative Writing be Taught?

It was a delight to lead Myths and Fairytales workshops today at Sandbach and Middlewich Libraries as part of the Summer Reading Mythical Maze challenge 2014.

Both sessions were well attended, and it was lovely to see some familiar faces from the primary schools I work in!

After an initial warm-up activity involving a pair of socks, a lot of thinking hats and a lively discussion about what characters, creatures, places and objects we might encounter in a fairy story, the children got stuck into writing fairy tales of their own.

Sharing our Fairy Stories at Middlewich Library

Imaginations were in full working order as the children created their stories. They were free to choose how to express their ideas. They chose from a range of arts and writing materials and used them to craft characters, draw settings, colour in illustrations and plan and write their stories.

By the end of the sessions the children had each come up with an exciting story. These included pirate ships sailing to The Land of Ghosts, a fantasy world split into The Land of Darkness and The Land of Light, a witch living in a house of sweets, a mysterious box making children disappear, a little girl living on Seashell Island and discovering a beautiful Snow Flake Fairy living in her wardrobe, and an exciting story set in the world of Minecraft!

Well done to all the children who took part in the sessions. I really hope you enjoyed yourselves and it was a pleasure to meet you all!

As part of the Mythical Maze summer reading challenge in Cheshire East libraries, I’ll be running creative writing fairytale-themed sessions on Thursday August 7th.

I’ll be at Sandbach Library from 11am to 12 noon and at Middlewich Library from 1.30-2.30pm

See the libraries’ websites for further info on how to reserve a space:
http://https://www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/libraries/nearest_library/sandbach_library.aspx

I had the pleasure of leading a Creative Writing session as part of Adult Learners’ Week at Sandbach Library today. Six participants turned up on the day, which I didn’t think was too bad at all for a Monday afternoon!

After an initial warm-up chat sharing the story of our name (its origins, why it was chosen for us), we tackled some creative writing based around memories and the senses. Writing produced included memories of skiving off work to watch Motorhead, going to town hall dances, playing in The Vicarage, Sandbach as a small child, swimming in the Pacific Ocean, experiencing heavy rain in Egypt and being bought a first car.

I was so impressed with the quality of the writing produced and the willingness of people in the group to share their experiences. This made all the difference to ensuring the workshop went well. Reading aloud is often (always!) daunting, especially in a brand new group and it was great to see that everyone felt comfortable enough to share excerpts of their writing.

Thanks to Rowena Gomersall of Cheshire East Libraries for inviting me to take part in Adult Learners’ Week, and thanks to Joan, Trevor, Corey, Lavinia, Sarah and Graham for being there today! It was a pleasure to meet you all.

*Watch this space for future sessions.

I had such a good time chatting with Paul Oldfield and Dr Robert on Cre8 radio, June 11th, 2014
We roamed around all sorts of subjects: being by the ocean in Cornwall, inspiration, the rights and wrongs of women’s fiction as a genre, what it is to be a writer, teaching creative writing – why it matters/engaging hard to reach pupils/developing the skills of emerging writers, The Write Memory – wedding memoir writing – what weddings have been waiting for, found poetry – what it is and how to write it, the joys of vinyl records, Julian Cope, Echo and the Bunnymen and much much more!
http://https://soundcloud.com/lisa-oliver-bunn

Write Now at Haslington Primary School – anthology
or, see the school site at:
http://www.haslington.cheshire.sch.uk/event/write-now-booklet/10543 – and click on latest updates for the anthology

Ready to Write Now!

Creative Writing workshops

in schools and the community

Running now in Haslington Primary School and Offley Primary School, South Cheshire

and with groups of children in the West Midlands, Cheshire and South Manchester

Contact Lisa, Write Now

on 07717 680055

or email lisajoli@hotmail.co.uk

to arrange workshops in your school or local community.

Qualified Arts Award Assessor, Discover and Explore levels – see http://www.artsaward.org.uk for further information.

www.artsaward.org.uk

Qualified Arts Award Assessor – Discover and Explore

Recent testimonial:

Recent feedback from some of the Write Now children.

My son loves Write Now, and his writing is really coming on.’

‘My daughter is absolutely loving these sessions, lots of planning has gone into the sessions to make them fun, enjoyable and worthwhile.’  Kate.

‘Write Now rocks!’  Harry, age 10 and regular Write Now student

‘Write Now is the funnest thing ever.Jonny, age 9

‘Before I did Write Now I wasn’t very imaginative but now I can’t stop having ideas.’ Rebecca, year 5, Write Now after-school club.

Lisa J Oliver 

Freelance Writer

Writer in Education

Writer in the Community

MA (with distinction) Creative Writing Keele University 2012

Read my writing at:

http://verbatimpoetry.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/byLisaOliver

http://www.inksweatandtears.co.uk/pages/?p=5189
http://flashfictionshrewsbury.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/Lisa%20Oliver
http://www.nawe.co.uk/DB/wie-editions/editions/outside-the-classroom.html

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Inspiration …