Sport Adverts to Encourage Writing - Engage those reluctant boys!

I am always looking for different ways to engage and motivate children to write and try to provide an engaging hook for the reluctant boy writers, sport is always a great way of engaging some, not all, and can motivate boys to write as it is something they are interested in.

I was asked recently to write an article for the wonderful Springboard Stories. This newly published magazine has a wealth of fantastic cross curricular ideas linked to one central theme. The next issue focusing on sport should be another amazing resource for the Primary Classroom. The article I wrote, uses a famous inspiring video and discusses the possible uses in class, most of which have been tried out to great effect with my class. After writing this article I started looking at other sporting videos which can be used as a stimulus in class. What I enjoy about using these videos is that they are not necessarily just focusing on the sport but rather examples of characteristics sport encourages children to develop. These traits such as motivation, building character, overcoming adversity, dealing with failure are just a few life skills sports instill in children. The following videos are great examples of the ways sport can engage children but also inspire them to work and try harder.

 This first example - is the Nike Advert from the 2010 World Cup and carries an inspiring theme of "Write the Future!" This video will have the boys hooked as it starts some of the biggest names in the footballing world - Rooney, Ronaldo and Drogba to name a few and I love the "Sliding Doors" effect it portrays. The film ponders the question of how specific decisions can alter the direction of our lives.

The "what if" aspect to the advert could inspire some fantastic contrasting writing. Take the Rooney section, where you see the moment his pass is cut out and he has flashes of what would happen to his life - becoming a villain, losing his fans etc. He makes the decision to tackle and this is completely contrasted with the hero status he recieves. This could be a powerful stimulus for a writing activity. Children could write from the advert or even come up with their own examples.

The advert also provides plenty of opportunities to create some wonderful suspenseful writing. The last 30 seconds where Ronaldo is fouled and lines up the free kick would be great to write as a build up to the climax. Children can also describe the atmosphere of the packed stadium, what could they see? hear? smell? touch?

Another of Nike's adverts which can inspire some great writing is the "Take it to the next level," advert. Another inspiring example which shows the journey of a non-league footballer rise to the top of the footballing world. There are however snippets that I would consider inappropriate for children (what do you expect with Guy Ritchie as director) - at 54 seconds the footballer signs his autograph onto a girls chest and at 1.23 mins he plays a prank on a team mate where he pulls his pants down. Despite this, there are excellent opportunities for children to be inspired by this message of following your dreams, working hard and being reward for that. The last 30 seconds would be great for some descriptive writing again leading up to building suspense similar to the previous video.

Moving away from football this clip from the Movie, Friday Night Light's, shows the dying seconds of the State Championship game. The way the scene is shot can be great for again encouraging the children to build suspense. They can use similes and metaphors to describe the tackles and movements of the players. It is also a great way for children to show their empathy for characters by writing recounts of those final moments and the agony of defeat as the game finishes.

Now moving onto some Poetry! I love the New Zealand Rugby Team's Haka, I think it is one of the most intimidating and intense rituals of any sport. This advert shows it in its purest form and could inspire some great poetry where children maybe write the message they think the Haka is trying to portray or use it to make descriptions using similes and metaphors or what you need to be a New Zealand play. Children could also research the history of the Haka and write a non-chronological report about it. They could learn the dance and write instructions or even make up their own dance.

The next two examples are from Sky Sports and are great for asking the children to write using the show not tell writing technique. The show not tell technique encourages the children to describe through actions or speech how a character feels or what is happening in the story. Alan Peat explains it here. My challenge would be how could they tell me about the action from the pitch without writing about anything happening on the pitch? They would have to describe the reactions of the crowd, managers, officials, the opportunity for describing the senses would lead to some very effective writing. Or another poem? The ingredients for the perfect football match maybe?

I am in no way encouraging you to use all these videos however to use something different to maybe engage and inspire children especially those reluctant boys to put pen to paper and write, they may work for you. If sport is not the thing for your class please look at how using popular video games can inspire writing. CLICK HERE


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