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Some Writing Conversations To Launch the School Year

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  In the early weeks of a new school year, we would hopefully expect to hear conversations around writing raising matters with student writers, similar in intent to the types of matters listed below. Conversations that prompt thought and produce action. Are you writing about things that matter to you -matters you care most about, matters close to your heart? If your students are writing merely to please a teacher or impress their peers, then this conversation is quite important. We should never embark upon writing we don’t care about. It should matter to the writer. It might actually be a piece they need to write quite urgently because they never want to forget that particular moment/ feeling/ event/ experience. Is there something you are hoping to see improve around your writing this year? How do you intend to achieve this change? Do you know why you are writing about a particular topic/issue/idea? In other words, have you thought about why it is important for you to write about this

ALEA Conference, Darwin, 2022, Donald Graves Address

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Donald Graves Address, ALEA Conference, Darwin, July, 2022 Donald Graves I am both proud and humbled to be invited to deliver the Annual Donald Graves Address at the Australian Literacy Educator's Association (ALEA) National Conference in Darwin, at the Waterfront Conference Centre, July 2022. Rare air indeed, to follow in the footsteps of previous presenters, Mem Fox, Ralph Fletcher and Robyn Ewing among others. I feel duly honoured by this special opportunity I have been afforded. Most importantly, it presents as a highly valued opportunity to honour the incalculable global contribution Donald Graves' research made to the teaching of writing, as well as his personal impact on my teaching and writing life. My heart sings... Donald Graves was a writing revolutionary who impacted pedagogical approaches to writing, across numerous countries. I very much look forward to shining a light on his incredible legacy -past, present and future. Hopefully, Covid willing, I will get to s

The Season Of The Summer Scribes

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  At the conclusion of each school year, I feel compelled to write, urging teachers to quarantine a little of their well deserved holidays break time for some writing.  As we rapidly approach the end of another challenging year, my message remains unerringly simple.  If you are a teacher who writes, it is easier  to present as a writer who teaches.  Will you be embracing the challenge of keeping your own writer’s notebooks in 2022? Well, that notebook will greatly benefit from some early feeding and the summer presents as a potential feast… I am aware of the level of exhaustion that exists in schools at year’s end. It is probably more so following the unerring demands of these Covid years.  The need to tie up a multitude of loose ends prior to school closing for the summer holidays remains.   The final days of school seem to take the longest time of all the many school weeks. School becomes the epicentre of fatigue for both students and staff. I am also aware that on summer’s horizon t

Using The Writer's Notebook To Reflect and Ponder

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  We can use our Writer's Notebook in an infinite number of ways to collect limitless entries. Once collected these entries can be used to inform writing projects we wish to pursue -now and in the future.  Here are some random entries from some of my notebooks to highlight the range of entries I gather from my various worlds. Some have been gathered from the physical world. Some are observational,  while others are personal reflections. Inexperienced writers need to be shown all the places a more experienced writer goes in order to add notebook entries. Remember, a writer's process is important.  The question might be pondered after reading such entries-  Why did the writer choose to gather this particular entry in their notebook, and how might it be used later ? I’ve decided I would never make a good pirate, despite my illusions. For a start I possess the buoyancy of a boulder and the thought of climbing up to the crow’s nest gives me nose bleed and wobbly legs. My balance is

Young Writer's Program- Some Reflections

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   My involvement in presenting the Young Writer's Program in conjunction with P.E.T.A.A. (Primary English Teacher's Association of Australia) and the Victorian Government over the last two years has enabled me to share a range of writing ideas to support the continuing development of enthusiastic young writers.       These student writers have demonstrated an aptitude and interest in writing and have participated with much enthusiasm in these two day workshops.       For more information regarding this program, contact PETAA.    *  Many of the recurring messages shared with these young writers are applicable to all writers, so I happily share them now: You need a good pen or pencil with you at all times. It should feel balanced and comfortable in your hand when you write.  It is an advantage to carry a writer's notebook at all times. A notebook that suits your particular needs as a writer. A notebook that is not just for school.  Writing in a writer's notebook can have

Writers Often Write About The Unexpected

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  Some writers are known for their unusual story lines and their edgy, unconventional characters. Often these characters are hard to forget, such is their unforgettable image planted in the mind of the reader.  Writers also use tension and suspense to maintain a reader's interest. Writers use imagery and fine details to engage the reader and often throw in something quite unexpected to ensure the reader stays engaged.  Encourage student writers to create a list (in their writer's notebooks) of unexpected or unusual events that have taken place across the course of their lives. Think about a surprising turn of events, or a mysterious or inexplicable occurrence.  Remind them they can use these listed events to create a piece of writing. They can apply an unexpected event to themselves, or link it to a character of their choosing. They can place the event anywhere they like and have it happen at the time that suits the story they wish to tell. Alert them to the mood and reaction o

Writers Write About Things Important To Them

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   W riters choose to write about those matters that possess meaning for them. They write about things that deliver excitement, enrich them or inspire them. Through their writing, readers gain insight to what the author found meaningful and the reason why that matter is important to write about.       By choosing to write about topics and ideas that have personal connections, the author's task is made easier. The task of engaging the reader also becomes easier.       When writers choose to write about familiar things and things critical to them, they tend to include specific detail and vivid imagery to assist the reader to understand the true significance of the writing. This increased care frequently leads to the writing being elevated well above the ordinary.      Being aware of this critical consideration is invaluable to inexperienced writers. If they choose topics with which they have a strong connection, then they will find it easier to create pieces of writing aligned to the

Curiosity- Essential To Growing Young Writers

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Curiosity Writers are well served by the presence of natural curiosity. Curiosity about a wide range of things. The great thing about curiosity is that once it takes hold, there is no cure. A curious writer is never in danger of becoming bored.  At least that's how it has always been for this curious learner... Curiosity frequently leads me to writing. It is a natural form of learning and helps us to become more attuned to observation. By becoming a collector of information-whether trivial or significant, I can apply the findings to my writing projects. Writing provides a powerful outlet for the learning and observation we have acquired. Writers learn to observe closely the world around them. They read books, watch news and current affairs programs, they do a lot of people watching and examine things within their daily lives. They also ask themselves lots of questions about the things they've seen. Furthermore, they jot down their observations and then use their notes to help t

Why Writers Collect Writing They Admire

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  Writers  Collect Writing They Admire   Writers need to read extensively. They often read a wide variety of things and are frequently drawn to words and ideas written in particular genres, styles and forms according to their individual interests and writing projects. Writers frequently collect different kinds of writing. Why? They harvest these extracts, quotes, words and works for amusement, inspiration curiosity and fascination. Writers often closely study such pieces in order to develop their own writing; their own technique and ideas. The point I’m making here is that it is quite legitimate to collect such words in your own writer’s notebook. By doing this, you allow yourself and your words to be guided and inspired by writers you admire. Hopefully the words nestling beside your words encourage you to strive to emulate your writing mentors. For many young writers, the thought of collecting examples from writers they admire might never have crossed their minds. This knowledge

New Poetry Anthology! 10.10 Different Ways To Look At TEN

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I am immensely proud to be one of 58 poets, both new and well established, from all around the world to be part of a brand new, freshly minted  poetic publishing collaboration under the wonderful guidance of editor and compiler, Bridget Magee.  10 categories  based on  TEN : TEN tative TEN derness TEN acity TEN  More Minutes TEN sion I Wouldn't Touch That With a  TEN -Foot Pole TEN  Little Fingers /  TEN  Little Toes Take  TEN TEN th _____ I  TEN d To '10.10 Poetry Anthology: Celebrating 10 in 10 Different Ways' is now available in most places in paperback and Kindle versions via your preferred on line book seller or local book shop. It is available in paperback and hardback (plain blue cloth cover) versions distributed by IngramSpark.  You can ask your local independent bookstore to order a copy, or order directly (to be sent anywhere in the world) via the website bridgetmagee.com. This brand new book would make a great gift! These  58 poets  from around the world, both we