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Help ideas take flight

When I worked with the poet Brian Moses, we were always inventing "good writing ideas", looking out for inventive ways to teach pedestrian points.

I remember tackling "commas in a list" by listing the contents of Margaret Thatcher's handbag and Emu's beak. What might be found in Bart Simpson's backpack or Tiger Woods's golf bag?

This led us on to writing numbered lists of "disasters". Matthew wrote "Five disasters for Superman", beginning with "His tights are in the wash"

and "His Dad tells him to stay out of fights". Joanna wrote "10 disasters for an ant". Her ideas began with, "Meeting a steamroller" and "Being chosen for a school project".

More recently, I've used listing as a strategy for generating images. I put some pictures of the Moon on the interactive whiteboard and we rapidly listed ideas - what does it look like? What does it remind us of? We wrote a few ideas together under the title, "Five ways of looking at the Moon".

Our list began: "The Moon is the white eye of a faceless giant, glaring from the tarmac night". The children wrote lists of extended similes for subjects such as the Sun, a lake, a river, clouds, a rainbow Pie Corbett is a literacy consultant

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