Flipping the genre, altering characters... being creative with stories!

Another idea from one of my favourite books "50 ways to retell a story," by Alan Peat has been the inspiration for this blog post, along with my recent post about using Pixar in the Classroom.

Last Halloween, I decided to challenge the children to rewrite familiar fairytales as horror stories after watching a video shared by @SparkyTeaching :

This idea challenged the children in two ways - firstly, whether they could write a story using the features of a particular genre. Secondly, to show a thorough understanding of the original story. They had to use the same characters and loosely the same events in the story but tell it differently to create the haunted tale. Once the children had written their stories they recorded them using Audioboo to create a spooky podcast!

The children loved creating an interesting spin on these familiar stories and the same can be applied to plenty of other genres. After another video was shared on twitter over the weekend by @Bennett31 inspired me to find some other flipped genre movie trailers:

After a little search on YouTube I came across some other examples of flipped genres, here are a couple of my favourites (not all appropriate for the classroom):


I decided to give this a go with a class to see if they could take a familiar film/story and rework it to create a completely different type of film. To do this they used the app iMovie and the range of trailers available. Here are some of their efforts, these then could inspire a story/blurb/persuasive review written in the genre different to the original film/story:

I also really like the pattern that is emerging in popular culture looking at stories from different perspectives. Again it demonstrates children's understanding of a story, but also makes them consider reasons why a character thinks and acts a certain way. @InspiredMind5 is a big advocate of this in his comics approach and you can read some of his examples here. The theatre musical Wicked is the perfect example of this, telling the story from a different perspective and forcing the audience to look upon characters differently with empathy and justifying their actions. Even Hollywood seems to be taking note with one of this summer's biggest blockbuster:

Again as a writing stimulus in class, this could really challenge the children to apply their knowledge of a story in a different and creative way. It would really demonstrate the children's understanding If you have a go with this approach in class, please tweet or email me the results and I will post a link on this blog. 


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