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Lost imagination

(14 Posts)
numbum Tue 05-Feb-13 21:04:02

We were told DD was a high level in literacy before Christmas. However, I've noticed that, now she is being taught the 'mechanics' of writing, she seems to be losing her creativity. Her stories used to make me laugh, make me picture what she was writing about and make me realise she is only 6 with their innocence. But now she's concentrating so hard on making sure she's got lots of adjectives, compound sentences, different sentence starters etc that it seems to be distracting from her imagination and making her stressed out (as much as a 6 year old can be stressed).

I don't know if I've explained that properly but, if anyone understands what I've said, how can I help her?

bruffin Tue 05-Feb-13 22:53:50

Learning any skill means you have to break it down into small components. You concentrate on those components until they become innate and then you start putting them back together again.
Its the same with writing once she is comfortable with the grammar etc then she will start to be able to use her imagination again.

expansivegirth Tue 05-Feb-13 23:09:38

I don't know. I worry about the same thing.

I understand Bruffin's point.

But I also think that this breaking down into small components should come some time down the line, when they are more confident and fluent in expressing their ideas (and less likely to be constrained by the rules).

numbum Tue 05-Feb-13 23:46:48

She was ery confident and fluent in expressing her ideas pre-Christmas. Her sitting at the table saying 'hae I got my compound sentences right?' instead of just enjoying writing is quite frustrating/upsetting. She'll write a sentence and then stop and scribble it out because she hasn't described the night in enough detail etc. I just want her to enjoy writing!

numbum Tue 05-Feb-13 23:47:14

And she's also damaged my V button on the laptop grin

learnandsay Wed 06-Feb-13 06:56:00

Maybe you could play a game of ideas where you both put your ideas and stories down in a scrap book without worrying about compound sentences. And then you copy them up into "best handwriting", on clean white paper.

Pozzled Wed 06-Feb-13 07:38:38

Does she ever tell stories instead of writing them? My DD and I tell stories when we're walking somewhere, no need to worry about spelling etc.

I'd also spend time planning her work verbally before she starts to write- talk to her about the characters and events. You could prepare some adjectives, compound sentences or whatever in advance so that she can just put them in when she gets to the appropriate part of the story

DeWe Wed 06-Feb-13 09:14:42

This is something that I noticed, and was commented on about my dd1 (now in year 7) from about year 4 upwards.
She worked out what she needed to do to get the level and would make sure she included it in her writing. You could see her thinking "good opener: check. good adjective: check. good connective: check, one wow word: check. punctuation, exclamation mark: check. Now next sentence must be a question so I can use a question mark..."
So she got the levels, but very stilted writing because she was concentrating on the words she used. Even the teacher said that it hadn't worked with her showing what she needed to do to get the levels, because she used them methodically.
At one point they gave them a suggested list of openers, connectives, punctuation, adjectives... and dd1 would make sure each suggestion was used once. grin

Dd2 is actually a better writer when it comes to content. She uses good vocabulary, interesting, funny stories, but isn't levelled anything like as high because she writes what she wants rather than worrying about levels.

I find it frustrating because dd1 was always being stretched and pushed, and dd2, who I think is naturally better (but lazy so is very happy with this) is drifting slowly downwards.
Ironically dd1 will always stretch and push herself, so didn't need teachers doing it, whereas dd2 is more than happy to coast, so needs a kick up the backside to work.

jalapeno Wed 06-Feb-13 09:31:38

Oh this is sort of what we are seeing with DS1 in year 3. He finds it hard to get the required elements though and all the stuff he has to fit in and the planning that goes on for days really has proven to be a problem in that he refuses to do it blush

If she is learning how to play the game of education that is no bad thing results wise but I have to confess I worry about the love of learning being lost with all of them. We have seen teacher and senco today and they say his ideas are all there, he has a fantastic vocabulary...but he hates doing the actual planning, writing, revisiting. I can't say I blame him! But then I am a scientist for this reason I think.

No answers sorry but just wanted to say you are not alone...and my DC have broken the left shift and control buttons on my laptop grin

Cakethrow Wed 06-Feb-13 09:48:03

My parents were concerned with this (a long time ago) when I was at primary school.

They were also concerned with school's impact on my brother's art work as he was told he 'couldn't draw'.

So, they got us to do it out of school time.

Follow the rules in school; write/draw what you want/however you like at home. We wrote and illustrated stories, poems, songs and sometimes did research into a topic we liked - it was always of our own volition with no pressure from them and we loved doing it.
No idea if it is as simple as that but wish you luck. It's great you've recognised this and want to do something about it.

Saracen Wed 06-Feb-13 15:20:03

My wonderful high school English teacher used to have this problem with teenagers for whom the mechanics of writing were a challenge. She solved the problem very well by assuring them repeatedly that the most important thing was the content. She had them record themselves saying what they wanted to say and then worked closely with them to help them get it onto paper and tidy it up without losing any of their great ideas.

I noticed the same phenomenon too when I was preparing for A level German. My practice essays were very simplistic in content because I was thinking about style. I finally decided that although it would be great if I were able to think and write in German without an intermediate step, it wasn't possible for me yet. My essays improved a great deal when I drafted them in English first and then translated them into German.

PastSellByDate Fri 08-Feb-13 05:34:35

Hi numbum

I think comments like bruffin's are correct - your child is understandably concentrating on the Wow words, punctuation, Sentence openers, etc... because that's what is being stressed by her teacher as being important right now and that effort may be impacting on her imaginative thinking just now, but I doubt it's lost forever.

Writing skills (the mechanics of physically doing it, the grammar and the style) takes a great deal of time to develop. It's swings and roundabouts really - ultimately you will want your child to write grammatically correct and hopefully articulate sentences, reasonably well spelled - that takes work and focus - but gradually with time those skills will develop.

In the meantime you can encourage imagination through discussing alternative endings to stories, guessing what might happen next before you turn a page in a book you're reading together, writing little stories, drawing, making cartoons, etc... at home to keep those imaginative juices flowing.

You can't control how your DC will develop and what talents they might which to expend energy on. DD1 has a friend who's a fantastic dancer (always given some dancing role and special moves in school assemblies/ plays) but he wouldn't be caught dead in a dance class - much 'too girly'. Now maybe ultimately he'll join something, but nobody can force him to do this. His poor Mum is endlessly dealing with people coming up and saying X is a fabulous dancer, does he take lessons? No? Oh, you really ought to get him into classes right away....' She said it upset her at first, and now she just lets it wash over her. He knows the offer is there, but she won't drag him forcibly to a dance class.

PastSellByDate Fri 08-Feb-13 05:36:02

sorry that should be they might WISH to expend energy on - best get my morning cup of coffee I think....

Bonsoir Fri 08-Feb-13 16:56:16

You need to make sure she has other ways of stimulating/expressing her imagination. It is true that when DC learn to read and write, many of them abandon their previous imaginative, creative self-expression because they are required to focus so closely on the mechanics of writing. Does she paint/sing/play an instrument/play imaginative dress-up games or with a dolls house? Anything where she is able to freely express herself is good.

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