The Moods of the Sea – exploring the craft of writing in six easy steps

Following on from previous lessons where we responded to The Surfer creatively, my current Year 12 students were invited to explore a different approach. From an English Action newsletter, (The English Club, December 2011) titled Moods of the Sea, students developed their writing style by exploring poetry. This is an effective way to embed poetic imagery into narrative responses.

Four contrasting images of the ocean are provided with specific activities that encourage

  • brainstorming word lists
  • sharing lists and adding words
  • writing a story to demonstrate changing moods
  • transforming the story into a poem, creating a new verse for each image
  • reading drafts and responding to feedback.

One student responded:

My brows furrow, my lashes flutter open

For the clouds have robbed the day star.

As darkness tints the sea

We tremble as one.

They rumble, these clusters of grey,

Like drum beats from a forgotten tribe

their echoes traverse the ocean’s expanse

And the tides grow violent

Whispering screams of wind above

Wrench the seas, who wrench me

No air, no light

Only the quiet hum of my thoughts

The waters don’t belong in me

The sea crawls in, uninvited

I push and kick and touch the sky

I’m free, I’m awake, I’m alive.

I also distributed a copy of Bloom’s taxonomy writing activities and we discussed the increasingly complex writing activities that could be useful to complete during study time. These prompts are categorised into the key writing areas stipulated in the Stage 6 English Standard syllabus of

  • imaginative
  • discursive, and
  • persuasive.

I may even set some of these as homework tasks …

*featured image: sea mist, Sydney Harbour, December 2018.

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