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Showing posts from August, 2009

Memoir Monday -An Island Adventure

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In San Juan we waited for some time for our connecting flight to St Kitts. Repeated announcements through muffled speakers informed in-transit travelers that flights were delayed -and, in some instances oversubscribed. Weight restrictions meant that only twenty-four passengers could be carried on planes originally designed to carry forty-two. A standard offer of $300 was presented to any passenger who would willingly ‘jump off’ and take a later flight. The announcer kept reminding everyone that weight restrictions were the cause of the problem. A man sitting opposite me continued tucking into a pizza. A quick glance around the lounge confirmed that there was in fact, an oversupply of fat tourists.

We finally boarded for St Kitts and then spent an hour in a hot, cramped plane with a hairy-armed hostess who dispensed miserable bags of cheese and onion chips to passengers who only wanted to escape the heat of the cabin. I desperately wanted to tell her that she could keep her Fokker Frien…

Boy Writers

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I have been reading Ralph Fletcher's book, Boy Writers -Reclaiming Their Voices in which Ralph puts forward the view that teachers need to broaden the circle and provide boy writers with greater choice if we want to more fully engage them as writers. Ralph articulates the view that boys come to writing with unique issues and perceptions of the world and if we want them to remain in the game, we need to understand the world in this frequently reside.

This approach does not advocate promoting the interests of boys at the expense of girls, rather, there are approaches that can be incorporated into our teaching that will lead to boys more fully embracing writing. Each chapter of the book contains many practical suggestions under the heading, 'What Can I Do In My Classroom?'

The aim of the book is to be practical, not political.The book also contains a number of samples of boys writing. They provide concrete examples of what motivates boy writers. They are included as models of…

Building Community in the Writing Workshop

I have recently been working in a Grade 4 classroom at Heany Park Primary School in Melbourne's eastern region. The focus of the writing has been developing memoir pieces. The teacher, Prue Nimmo has provided her students with a high level of support by immersing them in the genre. She has read memoir pieces to her students. She has written several memoir pieces of her own and shared the development of her writing pieces with her students across several lessons. Prue has worked tirelessly to ensure her young writers take the learning journey along side her. Telling her personal stories, Prue has signalled to her students that their personal stories are valuable as well. Her teaching has focused on the structure and features of the genre. She has taken time to alert her students to the need to write with the audience in mind, and so her students have worked hard to engage their readers with snappy, attention grabbing leads. Time has been given over to discussion and planning so tha…

Writing About Reading - Reading Reflection Journals:

Writing in response to literature can be a great way for students to organize their thoughts, explore what they think, and generate ideas. One of the strengths of writing in journals is that it allows students to capture all of those great ideas that generally float off into the air during the discussion.

Journal writing can also become drudgery if students are asked to write too often, given little choice or inspiration in what to write, or if they simply don't have anything to say.

While some students eagerly share their impressions about selections they have read in class discussions, others are less comfortable and keep their thoughts to themselves. In an effort to encourage all students to think more about what they read and confidently share their observations and opinions, some teachers are turning to the reading reflection journal and are gaining insights they never anticipated.

The Value of Reflection Journals
Journals assist teachers to gain insights regarding student com…