Showing posts from June, 2012

Slice of Life Tuesday - A Great Day for LUNES!

It's cold and grey writing day, so today my thoughts have turned to lunes!  What an indulgence.

It’s one of the recurring themes in my writing of poetry. Such a simple poetic structure, but lots of fun. Lunes require three lines. That’s all. Three simple lines. A pattern to follow. They go like this:

3 words 5 words
3 words –but with a twist at the end!

A lune has more flexibility than its ancient cousin, haiku and has no essential connection with nature. It’s just 3/5/3 and away you go!
So lunes it is. Today, my notebook swells even further as I fill the pages with an assortment of lunes. All the time, I’m trying to snap the reader to attention with the final line. Shock and awe…
With lunes every word must do its job. There is no room for pasengers. You are forced to tinker and slide word fragments around in your head in search of the best arrangement. Embrace the challenge. This is all part of being joyfully literate!
Think of lunes another way. They make a great introduction to poetry…

Helping Students Add DETAIL To Their Writing

I recall how my teachers often glided by as we were engaged in writing and following a cursory glance at our assembled words frequently uttered the phrase, - ‘You need more detail’while waving a finger above the page. They would then move on again seemingly before we had a chance ask a follow up question. We were left to ponder the deeper meaning of ‘details’ and what exactly this meant for our writing. They didn’t hang around long enough to go into detail about details…
For me this has always been a sticking point. Telling a young writer to add more detail without explaining what this actually means for the writing is about as useful as a paper vase.

So, the question arises, -What do we mean by detail?
Well, we need to unpack the idea of detail so the writer can see exactly what is meant. Too often this translates to throwing a host of adjectives into the mix to make the writing more ‘descriptive.’Teachers sometimes tell students, ‘You need to add some adjectives to make the writing mo…

Reading Feeds My Writing

In this National Year of Reading in Australia, I find myself constantly marvelling at the impact of books on my life. As a life long learner, books provide the necessary spark for progressively chipping away at my ignorance. All across Australia, celebrations of our literate lives are taking place. A warming well spring of activities is occurring in towns and cities the breadth of Australia in 2012 and it serves to remind us of the significant contribution reading makes to our lives.
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 c…

Writing in The Style of A Mentor Author- Margaret Wild

Recently, I have had the good fortunate to work with some Second Grade writers and their committed teachers at CairnleaParkPrimary School. Together, we have devoted considerable time becoming more familiar with the literary work of Margaret Wild. Adopting this author as a mentor has enabled all of us, teachers, consultant and students to become more deeply acquainted with Wild’s personal writing style. Apart from the enjoyment of sharing this author’s books (through multiple readings), we have devoted time to exploring such aspects of writing as themes, characters, settings and the like. This close study has provided multiple opportunities to notice some of the different craft moves Margaret Wild consistently employs as she writes.
The teachers of these enthusiastic learners did a great job gathering a host of books enabling students to deeply explore the work of this mentor author. Margaret Wild became part of both the reading and writing workshops in these classes.

This is the pl…

Digital Storytelling- Death Alley Walk, Legian,Bali

A recent break in Bali enabled me to enlist my writer's notebook and camera in a joint venture. In recent days they have assisted me to create a digital story based on a setting I find fascinating. I share it with you now.

Digital story telling represents a further opportunity to share our writing lives with an audience.  I shared my digital story with two grade four classes in the hope that it sparks possibilities for them as writers.

Empowering Our Youngest Writers

In recent days, I have spent a considerable amount of time in classrooms along side our youngest writers. I have worked with teachers of these emerging writers and in every instance these educators are striving to provide opportunities for their students to develop a healthy perception of themselves as writers. Daily opportunities to write on topics and ideas selected by the students themselves have been a feature. Encouragement for students to experiment with sounds and letters as they develop increasing confidence to composing meaningful messages for others to read. These young authors are developing important understandings about what it means to write. They are also being consistently supported to learn useful strategies to guide them in the processes of writing. Gradually they are forming a sense of form and genre and craft through their writing experiences. They are also experimenting with writing conventions. I witnessed powerful evidentce of students' reading the room'…

Slice Of Life Tuesday -Change Marches On

Change never goes away. It's a constant in our collective lives. It’s fingerprints are everywhere. Sometimes change is subtle and unassuming; sometimes change is dramatic and overwhelming.

A week ago I was in Bali, warm and relaxed, enjoying a few days of Bali beach culture. Today I am back in Melbourne in winter gloom; the wind blowing relentlessly around me as I navigate my way through the working day. Climate change is real! A six hour plane ride makes a world of difference to your comfort levels. Bali fades into the grey gloom of my wintery existence. I’ve changed from beach gear to my heavy winter coat and my favourite winter scarf. Wardrobe change as a survival mechanism.

I saw change occurring on the beach in Bali as well. The tourists are no longer arriving in the profuse numbers they once did. Economic gloom in Europe and America has spread like a dark cloud across the globe and the hawkers who scratch out a meagre living selling their wares and services on the beach stri…