Showing posts from August, 2015

Promoting Curiosity and Wonder Among Student Writers

I have been promoting the use of magnifying glasses in classrooms for some time. I want the curious learners in our classrooms to have the opportunity to discover and celebrate natural wonder. I recall how much fun I had as a small boy with my own magnifying glass. –Seeing snails and slugs up close, or watching ants and noticing their fine feelers, or exploring nature’s wonders in the fine lines and patterns on leaves. There was for me, a fascination observing the world through this magic portal; this round window. 

I want the natural curiosity children possess further stimulated by the experience of seeing small wonders up close and personal. I hope a magnifying glass stimulates their imagination and creativity. I hope they respond with wonderment and awe. A magnifying glass is not a piece of cutting edge techno wizardry, but it is a powerful tool for determining answers to questions that spring from every day experiences. Seymour Simon said ‘ I’m more interested in arousing enthusias…

'Show Don't Tell' -Providing the Power to Improve Student Writing

I am increasingly aware there exists in some classrooms, a confusion  over exactly what is meant by the term, show, don't tell, and how to present it to student writers...
We often refer to the Show, Don't Tell craft strategy when we read students’ writing and notice they've told us that they’ve had a good time, or that the ice-cream they ate was good, but don’t show us by giving a specific example. To help students see how other writers show and not tell, choose parts from texts presenting clear examples of ‘show and not tell.’
One of the most common traps writers fall into is to try and tell things in their writing instead of showing them. They say things like, “The little boy was angry”
This type of writing tells the reader something, but it doesn’t show. The words used don’t create a clear enough picture in the mind of the reader. The immediate question is, 'What did the boy do to indicate he was angry. Anger can show up in many ways. 'How did the boy display ange…

Slice of Life Tuesday - Surrender to the Sea

A Tuesday poem. Inspired by the feint winter sunlight over the bay as I turned towards home along the esplanade this afternoon. I dream of summer, seemingly a world away at present as Australia endures a wet, windy winter.

Surrender to the Sea
The beach is not a place to work hard Too hot and damp And soft Never a place to conjure up fanciful dreams It rises against ideas Washing away thoughts and grand plans
Rhythms of the sea capture our attention Waves Slap the shoreline endlessly Wind Dashes through the trees beyond the scrubby headland The slow flapping of a seagull skimming the surface of the bay steals our gaze
Under the spell of beach scenes We relax We stretch Our thoughts flatten Leaving our minds bare and open
Like the shoreline at sunrise The busy rush of the day is erased Just as the tide washes away yesterday’s sandcastles The ragged edges of our minds are gently smoothed like sea glass

Overcoming Obstacles to REVISION

A frequent lament among teachers of writing is the resistance encountered among some students when it comes to revision. However, such resistance tends to evaporate when certain elements become essential to the writing workshop.
Topic Choice/Genre Choice
When young writers are writing what they really want to write about, the words tend to flow more easily and as a consequence, the writer displays a greater commitment to the challenge of ‘getting it right.’ From this position, the writer often approaches revision with increased endeavour. Choice is central to success in writing. It increases ownership and assists the writer to develop a sense of voice. If a student feels a greater sense of self in the writing, they take greater care with the words and the message. They are therefore more likely to embrace revision.
Authentic Purpose
There needs to be a real purpose for the writing that is undertaken.
If writing is viewed as ‘something we do at school.’ The likelihood of revision being embr…