Critical writing – Descriptive dystopian writing lesson plan

What's included?

Two-page PDF lesson plan

Key Stage



Years 7-9


This KS3 critical writing lesson starts with a clip from 2009 post-apocalyptic film The Road, linked to the theme of Lord of the Flies as a dystopian novel. Literary texts can be a powerful inspiration for students’ own writing.

Opening the lesson with an engaging clip or visual image related to the learning is a great way into the gateway of a child’s imagination.

Analysing language

Pupils often struggle with the concept of ‘analysing language’ or pinning down the elusive ‘effect of the word or phrase’. By teaching students to write critically, actively choosing the words they employ, we begin to demystify this term.

Writing creatively on a theme linked to a text is a motivational and exciting prospect for teachers and students alike. We must give students opportunities to be creative and to realise that their writing has real value.

If pupils can write for themselves, and have their written words valued and respected, then they can start to begin the process of evaluating other texts.

Starter activity

Screen a melancholic clip from film The Road (with or without sound) as an introduction to writing a descriptive piece about a dystopian vision of the world. This allows students to think about what this really means.

Ask pupils to write down keywords and/or sentences from the clip. Feed back through class discussion about how the film creates a dystopian world. Which words would students use to do this in their own writing? This is instead of writing down the keyword ‘dystopia’ and its definition, which does not support deep learning.

Laura McGlashan is acting deputy head for teaching and learning at Burnt Mill Academy. Browse more free KS3 English reading and writing lesson plans. You can also download free Year 7 English worksheets and browse resources for Banned Books Week.

Critical writing KS3 English lesson plan
Critical writing – Descriptive dystopian writing lesson plan

You'll also receive regular updates from Teachwire with free lesson plans, great new teaching ideas, offers and more. (You can unsubscribe at any time.)

Which sectors are you interested in?

By signing up you agree to our Terms & Conditions and privacy policy

Explore teaching packs

Pie Corbett Ultimate KS2 Fiction Collection
Pie Corbett Ultimate KS2 Fiction Collection
Fire up KS2 pupils' imagination with this collection of 20+ fictional stories, written by literacy expert Pie Corbett. Each ... more
20 x resources
Pie Corbett KS2 Non-Fiction Collection
Use Pie Corbett’s non-fiction texts to inspire your KS2 pupils to get writing. Each resource contains an original text in ... more
6 x resources
Pie Corbett KS2 Poetry Collection
Inspire KS2 pupils to be creative and express themselves with this pack of Pie Corbett poetry. Each of these Pie Corbett Tal... more
7 x resources
WAGOLL classroom resources
WAGOLL Packs from Real Authors
Peer inside the mind of award-winning children's authors and help pupils understand how to create engaging characters, capti... more
8 x resources
Art KS2 inspiring medium term plans
Art KS2 Inspiring Medium Term Plans
Get pupils' creative juices flowing with these expert medium-term art plans for KS2. Each resource consists of a full half-t... more
6 x resources
Magical Harry Potter Teaching Ideas
Magical Harry Potter Teaching Ideas
Spark pupils' imaginations with these inventive and exciting teaching ideas, all themed around the wonderful world of Harry ... more
11 x resources