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Showing posts from July, 2010

Writing Ideas: Photograph Your Small Treasures

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Invite your students to gather some small artefacts from around the house. Have them arrange the gathered items in a pleasing design, then when satisfied that the items are clearly presented- take a photograph. These simple items form a pictorial topic list that writers may delve into. Each one has its own unique story just waiting to emerge. If your students don't have access to a camera have them bring the selected items to school and do the snapping there! This is a wonderful stimulus for promoting talking and thinking about wriitng intentions. try it yourself first and share your discoveries with your students. Show them the writing that springs forth. The photo above repesents my quick household gatherings. The writing that follows sprung from scanning and thinking about the assorted items.
Sea Glass
The beach is not a place to labour
Too warm and damp
And soft
Never a place to conjure flights of fancy
It rises against one’s mind
Washing away thoughts of tidy resolution
One is captu…

Effective Writing Instruction -Do You See What I See?

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When one steps into a Writing classroom it is implicit that the following components be present in the structure of the writing workshop:


Instructional Groupings

Whole Group

• Teacher demonstrates a writing strategy or skill using either a mentor text and/or their own writing.


• Anchor charts are created (with student input) as resources to support writing development.


• Students engage in meaningful conversations around their writing, using think/pair/ share, turn and talk, peer conferences etc.


• Adequate time is provided for writing rehearsal and review and reflection.


• Explicit links are constantly made between reading and writing.


• Writing tasks undertaken are purposeful and authentic.


Independent Work

• Students actively engage in writing tasks or confer with peers or the teacher.


• Students may read and/or research as they explore aspects of a particular genre or craft strategy as part of the inquiry of text structures and features during the initial stages of a genre study.


• The teache…

Melbourne Writers Festival Schools Program

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Just sharing the news regarding the upcoming Melbourne Writers Festival Schools Program. Think about those young writers who have exhibited special talent and interest and let them know about this opportunity.

Go to:
http://www.mwf.com.au/2010/content/mwf-2010-standard.asp?name=Schools-program

NEWS: Top Ten Writing Blogs for Teachers Announcement

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I am pleased and somewhat pleasantly surprised to learn that Living Life Twice, this humble little effort to raise the profile of writing has been named number three in a list of the Top Ten Blogs for Writing Teachers. The list was compiled by Maria Magher for  On Line Degree Course Site.

The list contains some useful support information you may wish to access. It is included in the Top Ten List of Blogs for writing teachers.


I invite you to check it out at  http://www.onlinedegrees.org/top-10-blogs-for-writing-teachers/

The Chance to Rant About An Issue

Stacey Shubitz, from Two Writing Teachers, posted this and given the fact that next year's NAPLAN focus for writing is persuasive text, this idea has some relevance...

Stacey Writes:
My afternoon session, “Writing from the Heart: Finding Your True Voice,” at the TCRWP Writing Institute was taught by James Howe (aka: Jim). During the course of the week Jim provided us with a variety of writing exercises, which lasted from 5 – 20 minutes, to help us write from the heart. One of the many exercises he gave us was:



Use a news story you’ve connected with emotionally to see where it takes you.

I didn’t bring a newspaper with me that day, but I did bring my iTouch, which has The New York Times App on it. I went to my saved articles and found one that resonated with me several months earlier. I found myself writing non-stop about Samuel G. Freedman’s “A Jewish Ritual Collides with Mother Nature,” which is an article that elicited a strong reaction from me when I read it months earlier. (Hence …

Charting Our Progress -Using Anchor Charts

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Anchor charts are important tools for students to use during Writers' Workshop and aid them in remembering procedures, craft strategies,ideas and expectations. When teachers co create such charts with their students, the students frequently develop a sense of ownership because the recorded information reflects their ideas, their language. Once constructed, charts can be copied in a smaller format for students to place inside their writer’s notebook or writing folder as a further point of reference. Charts should be added to over time. This reinforces the fact that knowledge grows across time and space as we investigate and discover. Anchor charts should be removed when no longer needed. They could stored as flip charts. Anchor charts need to be posted in the classroom where they are easily accessible to students in order to serve as a resource for their writing.
Teachers who develop anchor charts with their students and refer back to said charts frequently throughout writer's …

A Place For Teachers To Begin Writing

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Childhood is a rich source of writing inspiration for all writers. For those teachers unaccustomed to writing for and with their students, it is a great place to commence.


It is that place and time in our lives when curiosity and experience collided and sparks flew. Curiosity was at its peak and experience was in short supply during childhood. It is where we all discovered consequences, painful lessons, joy and success, emotional legacies and the reality of our physical imitations. It is in childhood that we first don the ragged cape of invincibility only to be left holding a tattered remnant as we enter adulthood.
As a starting point for writing I encourage inexperienced adult writers to recall aspects of childhood as a place to dive into some writing. The range of experience is enormous –ranging from disappointment to triumph! The full range of human emotions condensed into those special years.
Starting in this place will assist you to connect strongly with the lives of the students yo…

Lack of Attention- Too Much Screen Time!

While this article is not specifically about writing, it most certainly has implications for teaching writing, In fact it has implications for any learning situation. Therefore, I post it as a matter of general interest.
Too Much Screen Time Can Threaten Attention Span
By Kathleen Doheny
MONDAY, July 5 (HealthDay News)


Too much time spent watching television and playing video games can double the risk of attention problems in children and young adults, new research finds. The study is the latest of many to point out the ill effects of excessive screen time, whether at the computer or the television.


Researcher Edward Swing, a graduate student at Iowa State University, compared participants who watched TV or played video games less than two hours a day -- the recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics for children aged 2 and older -- to those who watched more.


"Those who exceeded the AAP recommendation were about 1.6 times to 2.2 times more likely to have greater than avera…

Writing Announcement Guest Blog at Two Writing Teachers

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It gives me great pleasure to announce that this Friday USA Eastern Time I am the guest writer on the Two Writing Teachers site!http://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com/


This is a great site for teachers of writing and one that I support. So naturally, I’m quite honored to have been invited to submit as part of their summer series of guest bloggers. If you are at a loose end, or in social limbo at this time (Saturday, Australian time), I invite you to drop by and check it out. My topic of choice is how writers rehearse before they write- Think, before ink! I can’t guarantee that you will be as excited as I am, but it might deliver you to a new and different place on the information highway!

Happy Times Reading And Writing
Alan