I was recently in Saltoun Primary School where I observed a P1 – P3 class being taught writing. The teacher used a storybag – an idea that she had picked up from this book:

The teacher had filled a rucksack with items and then told the pupils to imagine that they had found it outside the school. The children then used this a stimulus to write a story – and what stories they wrote.

The process started with each child removing an item from the bag and using these as clues they tried to work out to whom the bag might belong.  They then moved into talking partners and then modelled their story on a board. 

The succes criteria were: a main character; interesting begining; exciting middle; an end; capital letters and full stops.

Spelling was not an issue in this lesson – although the teacher has high expectations about spelling when it is a key learning outcome.  In this environment the children were released to use their imagination and not scared to particpate –

here’s an outcome from a P2 boy:

I went on to a P4-P7 class who were working on podcasting some poetry – very engaged.  I came cross this piece of writing by a P6 boy who had written a story in response to stimulus from a painting a book:

The stimulus: