Want to get your pupils excited about writing? Find out about BBC Radio 2's 500 Words and spark their interest with lesson plans, activity sheets, and much more.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the 500 Words story-writing competition, the largest of its kind in the world for children. It has one aim: to encourage children to realise that, no matter what their background or education, their imagination matters. Last year, the competition received almost 113,000 entries, and the winners and runners-up had their stories read to millions of people on the BBC Radio 2’s Breakfast Show, hosted by Zoe Ball. The winning pupils won a Chris-Evans-sized (1.88m) stack of books, in addition to 500 books for their schools.
The BBC and Oxford University Press have worked in collaboration to create a huge number of teaching resources to support pupils' creative writing. From exciting live lessons to activity sheets, you can find everything you need to help your pupils write amazing stories right here.
1. Free live lesson
On Thursday 16th January 2020 at 11am, the BBC will be hosted a live, interactive lesson to inspire pupils to come up with their own 500 Words story ideas. Tailored especially for schools, the programme includes a downloadable lesson plan and accompanying resources for ages 5–7 and for ages 7+.
The lesson was hosted by BBC Radio 2’s Breakfast Show host Zoe Ball, CBBC’s Rhys Stephenson and Hacker T Dog. They’ll be joined by 500 Words judges and authors Charlie Higson, Francesca Simon and Frank Cottrell-Boyce who will be providing budding writers with their top tips and advice on how to start their own 500 Words stories. You can watch the lesson with your class at 500 Words 2020 – Live Lesson.
2. Free lesson plans and activity sheets
Get creative in the classroom with fun lesson plans and easy-to-photocopy activity sheets including story inspiration, word fun, and editing support, all created by Oxford University Press. Download the 500 Words Learning Resource Pack.
There are also lots more resources available from the BBC, including word clouds, author tips, Bitesize lessons for several age groups, and 500 Words posters to stick up around school. Take a look at the BBC's Collection of learning materials for use at home or in the classroom.
3. Creative writing tips from Oxford Owl
For more ideas on inspiring your pupils to write, take a look at our free articles and videos:
- Blog post: 4 tips to inspire children's creative writing >
- Blog post: 4 fun ways to develop characters for a short story >
- Blog post: 4 top tips for writing great plots >
- Blog post: How to find the perfect words for your story >
- YouTube: Oxford Owl creative writing playlist >
- Article: How to write your best story ever! >
- PDF download: Harriet Muncaster's Guide to writing stories >
The competition for 2020 has now closed.