Early on, it may be worth thinking about specific genres of non-fiction writing that your collection might support. The types of non-fiction that children create at school are:
- Persuasive writing (e.g. adverts)
- Discussion or ‘balanced argument) writing (e.g. the arguments for and against widening a motorway)
- Recounts of past events (e.g. diaries, biographies, journals, newspaper reports of events)
- Non-chronological reports (descriptions – e.g. the life and habitat of the cheetah, how the Roman army organised itself)
- Explanation texts (describing process – e.g. how a steam engine works)
- Instructions (e.g. recipes, rules, how to build an Anderson shelter)
This document gives some of the key features of the six non-fiction genres.
Most of these types of writing will include an introduction (which sets the context for the writing – and may be inspired by your artworks or objects), a set of statements and a conclusion, rounding things up.
It is absolutely fine for children to be inspired to create only some elements of a piece of non-fiction during a museum or gallery visit – there is no compulsion for the complete piece to be written (or even planned) during this time. This is one example of where work in museums and galleries can sit within a broader scheme of work in school.
This document gives some additional pointers on planning a non-fiction based workshop.