Generating Ideas

Part Two:
Time to complete: 1 hour
Resources needed: a notebook

In this part of the course you will explore some of the activites Sita and Jane use to generate ideas which will eventually become part of a work of literature. This may be a communal poem, like the Rivers poem produced through their work at the Islington Centre, or it could be a story.

Start a Notebook

Both Sita and Jane use notebooks to collect words, ideas, memories, doodles and artwork which may become part of their stories. Start your own notebook to try out ideas from the course and begin building up your own treasure hoard.


On the first page of your notebook, write out and complete these sentences:

My art, drawing, painting is…
My writing is…
My creativity is…

For each response try to work out the small or large narratives that formed this idea of yourself.

During this course, we hope to see if your ideas of your creative selves (and your students’) shift as a result of this process.

Warm Up Activities

Now watch the videos of Sita and Jane’s warm up activities below and try each one for yourself in your notebook.

Name Game

Begin by saying your name, and choosing some rivers that are significant to you and why.

As you name your rivers, scribe them down in your notebook to begin your ‘treasure hoard’ of words and ideas.

Word Flow

Starting with the word ‘river’, try some word association – letting your ideas flow freely from one word to the next. You might want to try this activity with somebody else to help you to get started.

Note down any words that speak to you in your treasure hoard.

Doodle Listening

This activity is all about combining images and words, to bring even more ideas to mind.

You could start by asking a friend or family member to share a memory of a river, while you doodle images and words that spring to mind, or try doodling along to Sita’s excerpt from Jasmine Skies in the video.

Try it in the classroom

A Creative Hearth

Creating a different atmosphere for the classroom is an important invitation for creative work.

When organising your creative ‘Hearth’, place something in the room that gives you pleasure or that is perhaps a part of your own story eg a sari, table cloth, cup and saucer or holey stone as a reminder that this process is about bringing something of yourself to the creative hearth.

In exploring the theme of rivers invite students too to bring an object or memory, drawing or photo of an experience on a river with them to the session (a sailing boat, a stone, a shell, a fish)

Teacher as Scribe

The main skill ‘the teacher as scribe’ needs is one of deep and playful ‘Communal Listening’.

Remember that you are modelling how ideas flow from what we read, from stories we are told and from images. It’s an opportunity to share ideas, imagination and empathy, as well as exploring distinctive creative responses and individual expression.

Take all ideas and label them with the pupils’ names to validate and celebratate their contributions.