Everybody has a story

Young Adult writer, Paul Stafford returned this week with this effective initiative.  Paul gives students strategies they can use to incorporate historical fact into fiction writing.  Paul uses the knowledge of each group to write a paragraph immersing the reader in a particular historical moment and works with the group for the next paragraph.  Students complete the piece of writing with the third paragraph.  Each group’s work is quite different and exciting.  Think Richard Fidler, Hannah Kent, Peter FitzSimons or Tom Holland.  This is where these writers started.

For a sample of student writing read on…

Following is a first draft example of Year 8 writing from the point of view of the Viking chief who has sailed with his crew to plunder whatever they find where they land in Britain:

Finally!  Three weeks at sea and we’ve just sighted land.  And, better still, there is proof that the gods are on our side – a fine, sprawling monastery; high walls, battlements and all the signs of a well-defended village.  That has to mean something worth stealing.

The prow of the ship makes a rough, scratching sound as they slide up the wet sand of the beach.  Adrenaline pumped through my veins; we heard the first sounds of the alarm being raised; church bells ringing, shouts and screaming, heavy wooden gates being closed.

I don’t need words of encouragement for these men – they know what to do.  Kill everyone in sight.  Steal everything.  Leave nothing behind.