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Showing posts from February, 2010

Where Do Writers Get Their Ideas?

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During this past week, I have been focusing on this particular question, trying to tease out the connection to the world the writer inhabits. it is this world that provides the ideas a writer can mine. It is the rich vein the writer must tap to create texts.

Our youngest writers frequently undervalue their own lives and the small and large moments that punctuate those lives, as a source for writing. They often cling to second hand experiences derived from watching television and dvd's, playing video and computer games as a narrow source of potential writing ideas. They remain unaware that this means their writing is frequently a rehashing of somebody else's ideas.We are all influenced by such experiences, but it would be sad if it was used to the exclusion of all those rich experiences that take place beyond the small screen. Kids miss out if this is all that inspires their thinking.

 So how do we assist our students to make stronger connections to their own experiences? Afteral…

The Slice of Life Writing Challange for March

I am participating in this year’s Slice of Life Writing Challenge set up and run by two amazing educators –Two Writing Teachers, Stacey Shubitz and Ruth Ayres, as I did last year. Participants have to create a slice of life writing piece each day for the month of March. The aim is to write and share a story about my day, for the entire month. Last year I met the challenge, - Difficult though it was, given time constraints of work, life and the time differential between Australia and America. But I have to say, it was a buzz!


I am hoping that some of you might take this opportunity to extend your own writing by taking up this challenge too. Your writing credibility with your students would rise quite markedly if you decide to take part. It might seem like a big commitment, but that’s why it’s a challenge.

In order to make things more interesting, a group of writers and publishers have donated items as giveaways for participants (see details by going to http://twowritingteachers.wordpres…

Making Ending Punctuation Work

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By the time students reach Grade three they have been exposed to, continually reminded and alerted to the importance of using ending punctuation at the conclusion of sentences. However, if we look at the writing samples they produce early in the school year, we notice how intermittently they appear in their work. Such punctuation often appears by chance rather than conscious effort.


If we want developing writers to develop consistency in the use of ending punctuation we need to teach them to value its use in their writing. Wouldn’t it great to have young writers using this type of punctuation with thoughtful intent?

How do we achieve this?


Start by initiating a close study of how such ending punctuation can be used to make writing more interesting for the reader.  The message needs to be-  This particular punctuation actually helps to convey the writer’s voice!  Remind them to link their reading of their writing to an emotion - anger, happiness, frustration etc. The message and the endin…