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Written Expression & Creative Writing

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Before you begin any story you need to spend a few minutes thinking (and –even better- jotting down) words or phrases to remind yourself of key ideas and points.

What will my story be about? Where will it take place? Who will be ‘in’ the story?

Don’t make your story like everybody else’s: make it special by having a fascinating plot, an unusual setting and ‘colourful’ unforgettable characters. If you really try hard to do this your stories will go from being just ordinary to very special.

Delilah the Dolphin
Suppose Delilah was a much-loved dolphin who performed tricks for the public at an oceanarium.

The plot below tells how a gang of criminals captured Delilah and smuggled her out of the country. 

*an oceanarium is a large sea water aquarium for keeping sea animals*

Plot: The gang enter the oceanarium in the middle of the night, firing a drugged dart into Delilah. They tow her to a waiting mega-yacht, fitted out with a large pool (this is Delilah’s home for the voyage to Krukimenza). The gang’s plans become undone when Kira, Head Dolphin Trainer at the oceanarium, discovers Delilah’s whereabouts when searching the internet. The gang is captured and Delilah brought back home.

Your task: 

Write a paragraph of 6-8 sentences describing one of the gang members.  Mention physical appearance, character traits and any idiosyncrasies this person possesses.



Image result for ghosts

1) Do you think ghosts exist?

2) Why are people afraid of ghosts?

3) How would you feel about entering a so-called haunted house, alone?

4) Some people have been known to spend a night in a cemetery. What might be their reason(s) for doing so?

5) Imagine you could be a ghost for 24 hours. What would you do? (e.g. would you scare someone? -who/ why/ when/ where/ how?)


Definition & Example

Here are some words with their definitions. 

In each case write a sentence containing the word.

(your sentence should neither be too short nor too long and you should try to use excellent vocabulary; use an example from your own experience or from something you’ve seen, heard or read about).


i. sticking out: prominent teeth.     

ii. outstanding or important: a prominent citizen.

Now write a sentence containing the word prominent.


i. information sent from one person to another.     

ii. the meaning of something such as a book or what it tries to teach you.

Now write a sentence containing the word message.


i. a declaration or statement that you will do, or keep from doing something.     

ii. signs of future excellence: to show promise.

Now write a sentence containing the word promise.


i. excellence: a painting of merit  

ii. merits: the qualities or features of something or someone, whether good or bad: let’s take each case on its merits

Now write a sentence containing the word merit.



Similes appeal to your readers’ senses by comparing objects, characters etc to things your readers are familiar with.

Similes come in two kinds: 
      1) comparing things using like    
      2) comparing things using as.

Similes help us to make our point, to ‘drive home’ the image we’re trying to convey.

Consider these examples:

– The coins in the treasure chest glistened like a million twinkling stars in the night sky. 

– I was as happy as a polar bear on ice.

– My experience of snorkling in the coral atoll was like a fantastic dream.

– I was as excited as a palaeontologist in a pit of dinosaur bones.

Your turn:

1)   Write a like simile to describe an extremely loud thunder clap.

2)   Write an as simile to tell how you felt when you noticed that your bicycle had been stolen.

3)   Write a like simile to tell about an approaching swarm of bees.

4)   Write an as simile to say how you felt just before an important test or exam.

5)   Write a like simile describing how your friend looked after being caught in a rain storm.

6)   Write an as simile about your new kitten as it played with a ball of wool.


Conjunctions: Joining sentences with ‘when’

Two sentences can be joined by using when at the beginning or in the middle.

Example:    The light turned green. The bus drove on.

  • When the light turned green the bus drove on.

  • The bus drove on when the light turned green.

Join each pair of sentences in two ways:

1. The wind blew. The sea became rough.

2. The performance finished. We all applauded.

3. We collected wood. We lit a fire.

4. The dog came. Its owner called.


1. When the wind blew the sea became rough.   The sea became rough when the wind blew.

2. When the performance finished we all applauded.   We all applauded when the performance finished.

3. When we collected wood we lit a fire.    We lit a fire when we collected wood.

4. When its owner called the dog came.  The dog came when its owner called.


Acrostic Poem

An acrostic poem is a special kind of poem.

The first line begins with the first letter of the title, the second line with the second letter of the title, the third line with the third letter of the title, and so on.

Here is an example of an acrostic poem:


Skimming the sky

The clouds build up

Over the mountains

Rain, thunder and lightning

Make people stay inside

See them listening and waiting

        Now write your own acrostic poem, with a subject of your choice. 


Curious Combinations

Use the table below to write a story based on the combination of birthday months particular to you. You may (but don’t have to) use your combination as the title.

Example 1: If your birthday is in June, your mother’s is in January and your father’s is in September, you would write a story about Mr Wilson’s absolutely huge chess set (and your title -if you wanted- could be ‘Mr Wilson’s Absolutely Huge Chess Set’).

Example 2: If your birthday is in December, your mother’s is in April and your father’s is in February, you would write a story about Sylvia Morris’s gigantic red refrigerator (and your title -if you wanted- could be ‘Sylvia Morris’s Gigantic Red Refrigerator’).

My Birthday Month


My mother’s Birthday Month


My father’s Birthday Month



Aunty May’s


absolutely huge




The Benson Twins’


magical pink






ugly-looking, useless




Old Mrs Hamilton’s


gigantic red


letter box


Uncle Tony’s




table lamp


Mr Wilson’s


brand new




Ned the Builder’s


incredibly cool




Professor Pumpernickle’s


unbelievably shabby




The Alien invader’s




chess set




mysterious silver




Dr Smithers’


unpredictable purple




Sylvia Morris’s







Creative Thinking 

Here are the beginnings of some stories. Choose one and finish it. 

Additional instructions  (1) have two main characters; (2) if you wish, you may make your story fun/humorous (3)  include an animal of your choice in your story

– Suddenly, the sky lit up…

– He limped toward the waiting train..…

– There was a loud bang and then…….

– The young musician walked nervously on stage.…

– A huge black bear lumbered toward the highway…

– Out of the darkness and into the light of the campfire came…

– A piercing scream was heard…

– I didn’t believe in magic spells, but…..

– The huge crocodile opened its jaws wide…

– The express train roared on into the night…

– The tornado moved slowly toward the Jacksons’ house.

– The tiny boat slowly pulled away from the shore…

– Under a blazing hot sun an empty road stretched far into the distance.

– The army sergeant roared, “

– There, right in my own backyard, was…

– His name was Ludwig.

– A strange, unusual smell came from the swamp…

– I felt my body shrinking, shrinking…


Vocabulary Building Favourite Animals

Image result for panda    

1. My favourite animal is …(complete the sentence)

2. Why I like this animal …(1-3 sentences)

3. My description of this animal …(1-3 sentences)

4. How my favourite animal moves…(1-3 sentences)

5. This animal likes to…(1-3 sentences)

6. It doesn’t like…(1-3 sentences)

Here are some words that could be used to describe animals:
alert   alluring  amiable   appealing   authoritative  belligerent  bizarre   captivating   charismatic    clumsy   commanding   coy   cultivated   enchanting   endearing  erratic   exotic   ferocious    frail   gargantuan   gentle  gluttonous   graceful    hulking  humble  imposing   impulsive   inquisitive   intriguing   majestic   mischievous   nocturnal  patterned  placid   radiant  regal  robust   serene   sleek  slender   streamlined  striking  stunning   subdued   timid  unadorned   volatile  vulnerable

7. Choose two of the above words that apply to your favourite animal.

8. Choose two of the above words that do not apply to your favourite animal.

9. Use the word majestic in a sentence about any animal other than your favourite.

10. Choose the words robust and serene in the same sentence about any animal.

11. Choose eight different words from above to describe the following animals (use one adjective for each animal):      a. dolphin     b. tiger     c.mouse     d. giraffe     e. elephant     f. crocodile     g. whale     h. gorilla


More Creative Thinking 

Coin near a Drain

A $1 coin falls out of a lady’s handbag and rolls along the footpath before settling next to a drain.

The lady goes to pick it up but a young boy gets there first and walks off quickly with the coin in his hand.

The agitated lady follows the boy, protesting that the coin is hers.

Imagine you are the coin. Give a first person account of what happened and where you end up. 

Additional instructions: 

(1) describe the initial scene

(2) say how you came into the lady’s possession

(3) discuss what was with you in the lady’s handbag

(4) describe how it felt when you hit the footpath

(5) mention who you would rather be with, the lady or the boy


 Nature, Wild & Wonderful

Image result for wind blowing trees storm

Choose one of the natural features below and then, adhering to the *additional instructions, write an interesting fictional story about your experience of it.

thundering waterfall     forbidding canyon      raging river      tranquil lake               towering tree     erupting volcano      gentle breeze   violent earthquake           bubbling brook     crashing waves      steamy swamp    giant surf

*Additional instructions:
     – Write in the first person.
– Include: one young person apart from yourself; a crippled old man or lady;  an animal of your choice.
– Conclude with a surprise ending.
– Give your story a suitable title.


Australian & American Spelling
**click on graphic for print version**

Here are the principal differences in spelling between Australian and American Spelling.



Final -l is always doubled after one vowel in stressed and unstressed syllables in Australian English but usually only in stressed syllables in American English, for example:

rebel> rebelled

travel > travelled

rebel> rebelled

travel > traveled

Some words end in -tre in Australian English and -ter in American English, for example:





Some words end in -ogue in Australian English and -og in American English, for example:





Some words end in -our in Australian English and -or in American English, for example:





Some verbs end in -ize or -ise in Australian English but only in -ize in American English, for example:

realise, realize

harmonise, harmonize




Vocabulary, Grammar & Spelling
**click on words below for print version**

Vocabulary Building

Find the meanings of the words in bold.
Write each word and the correct meaning from the brackets next to it. Then make up a sentence for each word.

diligent (cheerful, hard-working, lazy)          

exceed (go beyond, give up, expect)          

extend (pay back, look after, stretch out)

humane (strong, kind, manly)

unassuming (humble, the end, small)


14 Ways to Practise Your Spellings

1. Alphabetize the words.

2. Divide each word into syllables (use a dictionary to help you).

3. Write the words and circle all the vowels.

4. Write the words and circle all the consonants.

5. Write the words and cross out the silent letters.

6. Write the words neatly in pencil or pen.

7. Write the words in REVERSE alphabetical order.

8. Write sentences using the words. Underline the word.

9. Study the words for 10 minutes at home. You must bring in a signed note.

10. Take a practice test at home. Write any missed words 3x each. Include a parent’s signature.

11. Print each word. Next to it, write it in cursive.

12. Write a very short story using at least 10 of the words. Underline the words.

13. Write newspaper headlines using the words. Underline each word.

14. Print each word. What do you think the definition is? Write it down. Then, look the word up in the dictionary to check.



(a cross-curricular activity involving dictionary skills)

Arrange each of these words in their correct categories. They must be placed in alphabetical order.

SET 1:    tomato   beaver   pomegranate   ammeter   theodolite   dingo   microscope   avocado   buffalo   alligator   grape   pliers

Animals: ………………….

Fruits: ………………

Tools or Instruments: ……………………..

SET 2:     mahogany   geranium   dahlia   aluminium   bronze   hickory   tulip   uranium   palm   eucalypt   gladioli platinum

Flowers: ……………………

Minerals: ……………………

Trees: ………………….

SET 3:    larynx   croquet   quotient   kidney   vaulting   marathon   remainder   cranium   divisor   sparring   difference   corpuscles

Your Body ……………………..

Sports ……………………

Mathematical Terms ……………………

SET 4:   valet   decanter   couch   brewer   rye   scuttle   stevedore   paspalum   kikuyu   chest   farrier   coffin

Grasses ……………………

Containers ……………………

Occupations …………………



The following passage is about a storm. Rewrite it with correct punctuation:

suddenly there was a deafening roar     the cyclone hit with full force    mr simmons yelled come and take shelter in here     in a few minutes the fierce winds quietened down a bit      gee I dont ever want to go through that again said sams auntie whod come all the way from brisbane


Reading Comprehension
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Frederick the Fisherman

He was always there when I arrived, just before sunrise. He’d be sitting at the end of the jetty, rod in hands, waiting for a bite.

A most unsociable fellow he was. We’d sit there for hours, just him and me, and not a word would be spoken. I used to try to talk to him but all I got were one-word responses, sometimes only grunts or nods, so I gave up. He obviously preferred the silence. Maybe he was deep in his thoughts, I never knew.

I’d heard that his name was Frederick. No-one could tell me any more about him than that. He’d been coming to Coogee Beach for about five years, every morning (weather permitting).

I don’t know how old he was. It was hard to tell really. He was always dressed the same, summer and winter, with one of those fishermen’s hats with a flap down the back, a dark waterproof coat, and big blue rubber boots. He had a full grey beard with flecks of black; his hands were weathered and gnarled.

Did he have a family? Where did he live? No-one knew. And I think no-one cared.

Frederick didn’t catch too many fish. When he did get a bite he’d reel it in, take it off the hook, throw it in the bucket, cast his line again and sit back on his folding chair…no words, no gestures, no emotions.

It annoyed me that he kept fish that were undersized; in all the hundreds of times I sat out there beside him I never saw him throw a small one back.

Occasionally a boat would pass by and someone on it would wave. I’d wave back. But not Frederick. I don’t think he even noticed boats. He’d just stare blankly, vacantly, at the water.

One winter’s morning I arrived at the jetty. It was fresh and crisp, good for fishing, but Frederick wasn’t there.

Days passed.
Still no Frederick.

Then one day I was reading the newspaper and I came across this:

Obituary: Frederick William Thompson, 1939-2009. Former Professor of Mathematics at the University of Western Australia. Respected and admired by colleagues and students; renowned for his humour and for making mathematics fun and interesting. Cause of death: unknown (suspected broken heart). Mr Thompson was the devoted husband of Laura (deceased) who was tragically drowned in a 2004 boating accident.

RIP Frederick the Fisherman.

Story Details

Genre:   narrative
Mood:   sombre, reflective
Vocabulary Enrichment:    unsociable   preferred   gestures   renowned   colleagues   tragically   inwardness   solitary

Figurative Language Used:    paradox

Talk about or Write about

1. Why do you think Frederick went fishing every day?

2. Frederick’s ‘inwardness’ and solitary behaviour can be explained by a tragic incident from his past. Do you think he may have been on the boat when his wife drowned? What may have happened?

3. Why should we not be too quick to judge people who we don’t really know?

4. A tragedy can affect someone’s future behaviour. Perhaps a wonderful experience may also affect future behaviour. Can you think of an example?


Literature (Prose, Poetry etc)
**Click here for print version** 

Tarantella  by Hilaire Belloc

Listen to Tarantella here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kttgrzt5IW0

Do you remember an Inn, Miranda?
Do you remember an Inn?
And the tedding and the spreading
Of the straw for a bedding,
And the fleas that tease in the High Pyrenees,
And the wine that tasted of the tar?
And the cheers and the jeers of the young muleteers
Under the vine of a dark verandah?

Do you remember an Inn, Miranda,
Do you remember an Inn?
And the cheers and the jeers of the young muleteers
Who hadn’t got a penny
And who weren’t paying any,
And the hammer at the doors and the din?

And the Hip! Hop! Hap!
Of the clap
Of the hands of the twirl and the swirl
Of the girls gone chancing,
Backing and advancing,
Snapping of a clapper to the spin
Out and in –
And the Ting, Tong, Tang, of the Guitar.

Do you remember an Inn, Miranda?
Do you remember an Inn?
Never more, Miranda,
Never more.
Only the high peaks hoar
And Aragon a torrent at the door.
No sound
In the walls of the Halls where falls
The tread
Of the feet of the dead to the ground
No sound
But the boom
Of the Waterfall
Like Doom.

Talk about or Write about

1. What is Tarantella about?

2. How is the poem similar to other poems?

3. How is it different?

4. Both rhyme and rhythm are strong features of Tarantella. What is the difference between rhyme and rhythm?

5. Choosing two or three lines from the poem show by finger-tapping or hand-clapping how Hillaire Belloc varies the rhythm.


How to Write Wonderful Stories
**click graphic for printable lessons**


If using material from this website please attribute source:

           Australian Teacher: http://australianteacher.org


So that we can make this site as classroom-friendly as possible we would be pleased to hear from teachers who have tried any of our ideas, suggestions or lessons with their classes.
Just a very short note mentioning year level, idea/suggestion used, whether it was a written exercise, class discussion or debate, and any other useful feedback would be appreciated.
(school name optional but State would be of interest)
                               Send feedback to info[at]australianteacher.org 


4 Responses to English

  1. deborah mcarthur says:

    There are some great ideas here, thankyou for sharing these and helping to make life a little easier

    • Thank you Deborah.

      Glad our ideas are helpful.


      Ron and Jacqueline

    • Terine says:

      Thank you for the wonderful free resources you have provided.
      I have used your numeracy and literacy ideas. Your website is one of my favourites because I don’t have to think about numeracy conversions and Americanism – your content is localised.

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