A friend of mine, Bill Boyd, is a literacy adviser. His twitter page (@literacyadviser, funnily enough) and blog are always a good source of ideas for encouraging the development of literacy skills across the curriculum. I remember Bill talking about a 50 word 'mini-epic' that he used to employ when teaching where students had to write on a given topic using the exact word count, no more, no less. I've used the same thing recently with a new rotation of S2 students that I've been seeing since the start of May. It's excellent for encouraging kids to summarise rather than perform a straight lift from a source. Here are some examples of their work. It also leads perfectly on to the mentos experiment we look at next.