Writing workshop — the Rose Red City

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By Teresa Saunderseducation journalist and children’s writer

Explore the geographic wonder of Petra as a stimulus for non-fiction travel writing

map of petra

This article is designed to help children write non fiction. The activities will develop their ability to form sentences and help them to research and present information.

ACTIVITIES Ages 7-9

1. Travel trail

Learning objective: to collect and present information in different forms.

Read the online Petra text to the class using visuals, where possible, to reinforce the information. Then recreate the text on a sheet of A4 paper, make photocopies, and cut the paragraphs into six separate strips. Divide the class into six groups. Give each group one of the paragraphs. Make a large, horizontal display area across the classroom wall with pieces of red card, and challenge the class to create a Petra travel trail. Each group should stick their paragraphs onto the display in sequence, and then enhance them by adding thought bubbles. These should be based on their impressions of travelling through Petra.

2. Question time

Learning objective: to record information from reading texts.

Once the children have become familiar with the Petra text, write some questions about it on plain postcards. Invite the children, either individually or in groups, to select a card at random and to write a short answer to the question they have chosen:

  • Where in the world is Petra?
  • Why is Petra called the Rose Red City?
  • Who were the Nabateans?
  • Why were the Nabateans so rich and powerful?
  • What happened to Petra when the Romans came?
  • How do you enter the city of Petra?
  • What is the el-Khazneh?
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