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Showing posts from February, 2015

The Writer As Collector -Using A Writer's Notebook

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Adelaide February 28th

Looking forward to returning to Adelaide to present a workshop on using the writer's notebook as a collection zone for my writing ideas and how we can share this information with student writers The Writer as Collector - Using a Writer's Notebook Presenter: Alan J Wright Saturday 28 th February, 9.00 - 1.00 Location: Glenelg Club/Gliderol Stadium: (Bignell Room) Brighton Road, Glenelg East Registration costs: Individual Member: $95, Student: $70, Institutional: $120, Non members: $150
A Writer’s Notebook presents as an essential resource for teaching writing. It is a safe place for writers of all ages to harvest and experiment with ideas and launch more in depth writing projects. Teaching effectiveness in the writing classroom is greatly enhanced when teachers model and demonstrate how writers use a notebook to explore writing ideas. As a writer and educator, Alan Wright has maintained writer’s notebooks for more than three decades. In this workshop Alan will…

Recounting Some Thoughts On Writing Recounts

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In the early years of writing many teachers require young writers to create personal recounts of particular events and incidents in which they have been involved. The aim of the recount is to relate experiences or retell events. The writer is aiming to either inform, entertain or reflect. In the piece the writer needs to create a relationship between themselves and their reader. While recounts can also be factual and imaginative, generally  the teaching focus in these  initial years is on personal recount.
In order to write a satisfactory recount students need to know: How the text is structured How language features are used to achieve the purpose of the writing.An awareness of consistently using simple past tense in conjunction with expression of time and place. The use proper nouns or pronouns when making reference to participant

The word choices the young writer makes should be influenced by certain factors:
What do I want my writing to do?( it needs to be an accurate retell of the ev…

A Chance To Grow As A Writer- The Annual Slice of Life Story Challenge

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Since 2009, I have taken part in the Annual Slice of Life Story Challenge. This writing challenge involves sharing a story about your day for the entire month of March. I will be taking part again this year. One of the greatest benefits of being involved is the sense of community this month of writing engenders, it's also the discipline it brings to the writing task. My involvement since 2009 has enabled me to compose hundreds of writing pieces. I am grateful for that alone.

For those of you who are up for a challenge, I ask you to consider throwing your hat in the ring, as they say, and join 'Slicers' from all over the world in this rather compelling writing exercise. Not only will it give your writing a real impetus, there is also an opportunity for your students to become involved as well. I commend this to you as a great opportunity to boost your writing output, as well as the writing in your classroom.

Here are the details of the challenge as supplied by the highly orga…

Slice of Life Story -A Place To Contemplate Writing

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I am certainly a creature of habit. I do like some degree of certainty in my life. I have defined routines. I repeat these actions regularly.That’s why we call them routines. I recall the words of Mary Ellen Giacobbe  who said, ‘In the most predictable environments, the most unpredictable things can happen.’ She was talking about writing classrooms at the time, but the idea rings true for a range of scenarios.
My focus on routines and rituals has been heightened by the news that my regular coffee haunt has been sold. I face an imminent decision. My loyalty has been to the owner and her friendly and capable staff. I trust the quality of the coffee. I enjoy the conversation and the atmosphere generated in this little cafĂ©. I feel a sense of loyalty to the organization,  if you like. I can walk in at any time of the day and receive good service and a welcome smile. They know me, and I know them. I feel a bit like Norm from Cheers, minus the expansive girth and the presence of alcoholic i…

Dealing With A Range of Emotions in the Writing Classroom

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Emotional response is critically important in writing.  It’s part of the total package. Our emotional responses manifest themselves in many ways. Sometimes it's the writer. Sometimes it's the writing. Sometimes it's the way it is taught.
I find myself thinking about some common classroom scenarios and my personal response to such matters:


My heart sings when kids enter classrooms announcing 'I know what I'm going to write about today.' It’s clear evidence of rehearsal in the writers mind.
I find myselfdisappointed when a teacher doesn't instinctively allow a young writer to hold the pen during an editing conference. Ownership of this task is critical to the developing writer.
I rejoice when a teacher is brave enough to share their personal writing with their students.
I am warmed when a young writer demonstrates a willingness to persist with a writing problem. The inner drive to solve the problem becomes an irresistible force.
I sense a feeling of sadness when a…

Kids Deserve Writing Teachers Who Write Alongside Them

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Another school year has commenced here in Australia and an increasing number of teachers have taken up the challenge of maintaining their own Writer’s Notebook.
Those who are just beginning to develop their writing lives often request examples of the types of entries one might gather when starting out. Entries,that will serve as examples to share with their students. Entries that will show students how their teacher interacts with the world.
I sincerely hope we begin to see the whole class topic, 'My Holidays' disappear as a starting point for writing! It saddens me when this happens. It frustrated me as a student. It has continued to irritate me as an educator and writer.  It sets the bar of expectation so low for your teaching, and denies what we know about effective writing instruction.
Much better that classrooms hum with rich conversation about what is important to write about for each individual writer. Time invested in pre writing activities such as -drawing, discussing, …

Slice of Life Tuesday - Wonder and Curiosity Courtesy of The Frogmouth

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Yesterday, I had the absolute delight of seeing a family of Tawny Frogmouth birds in a tall gum tree near my house. Vicki, my wife had alerted me to their presence.  They were sitting quite high in a tall eucalypt  and had attracted a succession of curious onlookers. I tried to get a clear photograph of these intriguing birds, but they were positioned in such a way that a clear shot was not possible unless I was prepared to climb twenty metres up the tree… This morning following my usual walk I returned armed with my camera  to see if they were still there. They were conveniently sitting on a lower branch and plainly visible. I got the shot I was hoping for. A lady passing by asked me if I’d seen the owls in the tree. I had to gently inform her that were in fact Tawny Frogmouths, not owls. She appeared surprised by this revelation and continued to her grand-daughter, ‘Look sweetheart, can you see the owls?’  These amazing little birds remind me of Easter island statues. They sit in tree…