5 Scots Writing Activities

Display of Scots adjectives describing a bacon roll, including honkin' and mingin'!

There’s much more to Scots language activities than reciting poetry out loud once a year! Dare to be different and try one of these engaging writing ideas either as a stand-alone activity or as part of an interdisciplinary approach. All can easily be adapted, and if they tickle your imagination enough to devise your own creative approaches to Scots writing lessons please share via the comments box below!

Cinquain Poetry

This type of poetry is great fun and really addictive. It suits Scots language work really well as it can easily be adapted to most topics while reinforcing vocabulary and grammar points. There are different ways to approach cinquains, with some forms being quite complicated and therefore more suited to secondary school students. However, this example is really straight forward – and the best bit is that it’s a five-line poem that doesn’t have to rhyme!

Line 1: one noun/one word title

Line 2: two adjectives to describe the noun

Line 3: three present participles to describe the noun (remember in Scots they will end –in)

Line 4: four word phrase about the noun

Line 5: one synonym for the noun

You'll end up with something like this:


            sleekit   gleg

    lowpin   rinnin   howkin

gallus   tousie   wee   beastie



Have a go and see what you can come up with!

Write instructions in Scots

Write a design brief / set of instructions in Scots for others to follow. This is not as daunting as it sounds! Look at the attached example of Shetlandic origami devised by Bruce Eunson and use the Scots instructional language vocabulary sheet to try this out for yourself. You never know, you could create instructions to make a Mr Tattie Heid Gruffalo!

Devise an article for the UNCRC

Another non-fiction writing activity, this time tying in with citizenship as well as Health and Wellbeing:

Using the Scots translation of the Rights of the Child, learners could think about and discuss what they think are the most important rights for children. In groups, they could then devise a new Article that they would like to see included in the Convention, and use their own Scots vocabulary or an online Scots dictionary to record their class additions.

Create a 'Wanted' poster for the Gruffalo

Using the Gruffalo in Scots as stimulus, ask learners to make a list of all the Scots adjectives used in the book, then find and record their English definitions. Encourage learners to compare their list with the rest of the class to create a joint adjective list. This could then be used to create a ‘Wanted’ poster for the Gruffalo, using as many Scots adjectives as possible. (Ask learners about their lettering, layout and illustrations. Learners could use a computer for this activity.) Some research into 'Wanted' posters – and Gruffalos - will be required!

Scots Stottin Sentences

A great 5 minute warm up to any literacy lesson is the Scots Stottin Sentences activity. Make up a selection of basic Scots sentences for the class, and type each one at the top of their own sheet of A4 paper. Laminate the sheets to make reusable, wipe-clean resources and distribute to pairs or trios. Ask the learners to improve or ‘up-level’ the sentences – and be prepared to be amazed at the creativity and engagement that ensues!

One example could be:                   A daft dug.

Possibly expanded to:                     A daft dauncin dug.

Further improved by:                      A daft drookit dauncin dug.

Or even:                                      A daft drookit dug dauncin in a dub.

And so on; you get the idea! Great fun, and it doesn’t have to be limited to alliteration!

We hope these activities inspire you to introduce your learners to Scots in the classroom! For further ideas, check out our other blogs on Scots in schools. If you want to check out some Scots books for children, Education Scotland have created book lists for 3-7, 8-11 and 12-16, comprising books written in different regional dialects.


Katrina Lucas

Katrina Lucas is a primary teacher currently working as one of four Scots Language Co-ordinators at Education Scotland.