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Showing posts from June, 2014

Assisting Student Writers To Establish A Sense of Setting

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I have been encouraging three classes of Grade 5 writers to devote more attention to establishing setting in their writing. I explained how setting assisted readers to gain a sense of place for their characters. It assists the reader to see where the plot is unfolding  and where the struggle is taking place. The setting can be used in many ways in a piece of writing. 

A brief description of a place is an excellent way to set the scene at the beginning of a piece of writing. It gives the reader time to feel at home before moving into the real action,
I further urged these young writers to consider their senses when writing about settings.To enhance their sense of setting, I asked the students to think about a place with which they were familiar.The idea was for them to walk around the chosen setting in their minds. To visualize the elements of the setting is important in capturing the place they are charged with describing. 

Here are some examples of the writing they produced.

'I walk …

Employing Poetry To Make Emotional Connections To The Surrounding World

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Young poets can be assisted to make broader connection with the world around them. They can seek an emotional attachment to their surroundings and find common ground to other entities.We are not separate from the world that surrounds us. If you look closely you will see part of yourself in everything else.Who are you at this moment? Right now!Who are you when you take off your mask?I began this lesson by playing a song by the Swedish group, ‘Oh Laura.’ I first heard it used as a soundtrack to a car advertisement. I initially asked the class (Year 7) just to listen to the words, because we not only write with our eyes, we write with our ears.I played the song a second time and on this occasion I provided these young poets with a copy of the words. I asked them to discuss in their table group, the things they noticed about the writing. They talked of repetition. They mentioned the use of the pronoun ‘I’ and the connection the subject made to the world through the use of comparison.Relea…

Anticipating the Annual A.L.E.A Conference in Darwin, Australia July 9-12

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I’m keenly anticipating this year’s ALEA (Australian Literacy Educators Association) Annual National Conference in Darwin. The conference takes place in the Darwin Convention Centre, DarwinCity and runs from July 9-12. The theme of the conference is, 'Anticipating new territories-buildingstrong minds,placesandfutures.'
I am fortunate to be presenting two workshops during the conference.

Creating Voice and Choice In Writing, Using The Writer's Notebook
This workshop will explore practical ways to make writing instruction authentic and engaging for students using writer’s notebooks as a resource. I will share a range of notebooks as practical examples of living the writing life.

Writing Under the Influence of Patterns in Poetry
In this workshop I will be promoting the power of poetry to engage young writers and ways in which structural patterns support inexperienced poets to engage in meaningful poetry experiences.



I am also looking forward to attending a number of scheduled sessi…

Developing Reflective Student Writers

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When we reflect upon our writing lives, it is a form of meta-cognition. We look back in order to discover. We may uncover truths. We may discover we are unconsciously skilled. We may also discover the need to redirect our energies. We may unpack important details or revelations to guide our writing lives forward. These are the signposts essential to writing development.
As teachers of writing, it is vital that we encourage the growth of these same understandings with student writers. We must assist them to have a level of awareness surrounding their own learning.
If we teach mindfully we can assist the inexperienced writer to learn how to think and operate independently. In this way, the young writer can be assisted to be aware of their thought processes. Attaining such a level of awareness will help them immeasurably as learners and in the process they will grow to become better writers.
If we, as teachers encourage student writers to use reflection as a thinking tool as well as a writi…

Harvesting Words Then Letting Them Emerge

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I have been away from this space for some time. I have not been idle though. I have continued writing. It has just been in other places. My notebook writing has been vigorously pursued and I have been working on a new book. I have also been working, travelling and reading.
Annie Dillard’s words in ‘The Writing Life’  resonate frequently. ‘The writer is careful what he reads, for that is what he will write. He is careful of what he learns, because that is what he will know.’ I keep these words close at all times.  A writer needs to absorb ideas and indulge in adventures in order to provide output. It is in living that the writer harvests the essential treasure to be transformed into words.  I had to immerse myself in the experience before the words could emerge. My recent adventures are swirling around in my head. They are ready to be transformed into words…
I recently returned from almost four weeks in Italy. During my visit I saw a host of noteworthy things. A week in Rome, a week on …