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Showing posts from January, 2017

Setting Expectations For The Writer's Notebook

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As a new school year begins, it is timely to remember your students are largely inexperienced writers so they will be looking for direction from the most proficient writer in the room- their teacher.
Firstly, I believe it is important to establish some protocols with your students regarding the way the writer's notebook is managed and maintained. 
I suggest you invite a discussion about how, as a community of writers you are going to best use this writer's resource. From the discussion try to establish some non-negotiables regarding the management and care of the notebooks.
I present the following ideas as a  possible starting point. As you grow to understand the needs of your young writers, you will no doubt modify some of these expectations. They need to reflect the immediate needs of your growing community of writers. 
We write in our notebooks at school.We write in our notebooks in places beyond our school.We can find suitable topics and ideas from our lives, our reading, and …

Rereading- Finding Treasure In Old Words

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New Ideas From Older Words
I frequently myself discussing the importance of rereading to writers, -all writers, experienced or less experienced. Young writers need to be encouraged to develop the habit of rereading older notebook entries in order to discover new ideas. It is an opportunity to rediscover old treasure as well as new possibilities hidden among those older words.

Nancie Atwell in ‘Lessons That Change Writers’ offers messages about writing laden with timeless value.
She writes, ‘Writing is as much an act of reading over what we have written as it is drafting new writing.’
These words set me to thinking. A lot of student writers are not consciously skilled in the act of rereading. For this reason it needs to be drawn to their attention. We need to show them how and why rereading is an important skill to add to their writing armoury. They need to see it explicitly modeled and valued by a proficient writer. This way they are more likely to adopt this valuable practice.
A lack of c…

Giving Student Writers A Great Start in 2017

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Making AGreat Start To Writing in 2017

The new school year is on the horizon in Australia.
I have prepared some thoughts to assist teachers to launch writing in their classrooms in the early days of the new school year. Hope you find the attached thought helpful in presenting your writing program in 2017.

My sincere hope for this year, is for student writers to encounter teachers who are focused on how to write, rather than what to write. In order for this to occur, teachers of writing must be prepared to commit to being writers too. Writing alongside your students will send them a vital message regarding the importance of being someone who chooses to write. it will immeidately elevate writing in the minds of impressionable, curious learners. I urge you to be bold and brave. Become the risk taker you want your students to be.


I can say this with full confidence; every teacher possesses the potential to be the most influential writing mentor students will encounter in any school year. 

You …

Summer Reading -Feeding The Writer

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Books For Summer -Feeding The Writer

It is comforting to have assembled a collection of books ready for my summer of reading. These books will nourish my need for knowledge, challenge my thinking and sustain my writing life.

As a life long learner, books provide the necessary spark for progressively chipping away at my ignorance. 

I love it when I see heads bowed in pursuit of understanding as readers of all ages lose themselves in a book. I love the privacy of reading and the public sharing that often follows. I love the notion of books as travelling companions and guides. I love that a book can make me ambitious. A book has the capacity to be transformative. A book can help me escape and take me to new worlds and offer new ideas, propositions and understandings. A book can challenge my current beliefs and prejudices.

I draw much comfort from knowing books are inseparable from my view of myself as a writer. Over the years I have lost count of the times I have informed students and teacher…

Writer's Notebook- The Gatherings Of Summer

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Summer Samples From The Writer’s Notebook



Random Notebook gatherings. Looking back, observing, reflecting, the summer break is a great time to read ,write and collect. The act of writing begins with an idea and then putting your thoughts down on the page, one word- and then another. It is practice. It involves the forming of habits. School resumes sooner than we like. Launch a fantastic year in writing by offering your students a glimpse into your writing life. Present as a teacher who writes.  To invoke a famous advertising quote- Just Do It!

LOOKING BACK The backyard remains at the centre of many of my childhood memories. So much seemed to happen in this space. We played many different games in the confines of the backyard. We learned to socialize and be gracious about victory and defeat. Simple games like giant’s treasure, chasey and releaso were enacted here. It’s where we ran, chased wrestled and fought. It’s where I wrestled the giant who lived across the street, Ronald Hope, before…