At the beginning of Y6, I like to give the children writing journals. These books are for the children’s own musings and writing; note- taking; to plan their stories; to write lists and reminders as they fancy; and for quick writes.
Quick writes are short and fun warm-up exercises that we use to get our “writing muscles” in gear. They are usually related to the next writing project we are about to undertake (but don’t have to be) but more importantly, they encourage children to freely experiment with writing styles. These ideas can then be developed or abandoned as the children wish. As the writing journals aren’t marked, children feel much more enthusiastic about “trying” different writing styles or ideas and taking ownership as writers. I usually give the children something to start off with. For example, a reading of an extract from “Boy” by Roald Dahl about how a sweet was invented; then the children make a list of sweets that they enjoy eating; this could lead to a brief five-minute write which is a sensuous description of a favourite sweet OR an imaginative backstory on how another sweet came into being.
Last week, I read children the following poem:
What Happens While We Are Sleeping
Frost. Foxes. Owl-kills.
The wheel of stars.
Thundering lorries with somewhere
to get to by dawn.
Beads of dew forming
along the telegraph wires.
A red deer delicately eating
each closed tulip like a prayer.
Children then wrote their own poems with a similar title. Please enjoy their fantastic poems- humorous, candid, insightful. I really do have a bunch of very talented writers Masha’Allah!
What Happens While We Are Sleeping by Husna
The cotton curtains of the sky darken
And the shining moon is revealed
The sparkling stars like lamps in the distance
Foxes fight and rummage through the bins
The television is switched off
Windows and curtains close
Beds and blankets are opened
Snoring can be heard from the next bed
Pillows comfort a head
And the day goes to sleep.
What Happens While We Are Sleeping by Hafsah
The sky darkens
the moon shines
the world sleeps
except the noctual
a lonely person lies in bed
The stars twinkle up ahead
whilst people lie in bed
my book smuggled under my pillow
night lights on
cats fighting in the garden.
What Happens While We Are Sleeping by Juwayriya
The TV crackling
My brother doing the bins at 2 o’clock in the morning again
Foxes going through our bin
My sister pulling the cover over her
My brother knocking on my wall from his room
Me knocking back from my sisters and my room
My Mother coming to my brothers room to tell him to get off his Chromebook and go to bed
What Happens While We Are Sleeping by Yumna
Owls are hooting
Foxes slyly pad past
Drunkards drinking and smoking
Dogs are barking
Tossing and turning
Flushing in the bathroom
Sister heavily breathing
The garden is bathed in moonlight, alive.
Wind howling, clawing at the window, being the robber that was never there
What Happens While We Are Sleeping by Munira
Lights on in the kitchen
What Happens While We Are Sleeping by Maysoon
Owls wake and hunt prey.
Siblings go downstairs to get a midnight snack.
Foxes stroll through the streets.
Cats fight each other in their gangs.
Fading footsteps as people stumble into bed.
What Happens While We Are Sleeping by Ahmed
What Happens While We Are Sleeping by Hasan
Birds resting in their nest
Stars are shining in the sky
Flowers and plants are still growing
Cars are rushing on roads
People are snoring
Babies are crying
People are working in night shifts
What Happens While We Are Sleeping by Zeynab
Dad snores louder than ever
Younger sister mumbles in her sleep
Younger brother sits and moans and groan
Youngest crying hour after hour
Mum going to fetch milk
Out the window,
People talk and snicker
Cars puff and gruff
Light flickers down the street..
Foxes howl and dig
Dog bark and bite
Cats meow and hiss.
What Happens While We Are Sleeping by Mu’Min
Mums takes my books here and there
Dusting the floor and the air
Dad watching tv
And skyping my family
Fish fighting (because they aren’t compatible)
What Happens While We Are Sleeping by Zain
Birds are tweeting.
Brother yawning so loud.
Mum shouting at dad.
Dad was eating so loud.
Cousin on tv whilst sleeping.
Sister playing with dolls.
Foxes running and sleeping.
Kids trampolining and screaming.
Fireworks are set off.
What Happens While We Are Sleeping by Mohamed
Bright lights passing my window,
Still reading my book,
Time for sleep.