Showing posts from December, 2016

Teachers and Writing Topics

A teacher laments how students struggle to think of topics for their writing. ‘They never seem to come up with much, they can't think for themselves, so that’s why I have to give them sentence starters.’The words jar in my ears. 

I have had this kind of exchange numerous times over the years...

Teachers coming from this paradigm frequently ask. ‘Could you demonstrate how writers get their ideas?’ I find myself wondering if the teacher has ever considered this same question?

I get the distinct feeling I am expected to fix these young writers in some way. I feel strongly that the answers lie elsewhere. Had any inquiry taken place? Had those young writers been asked to explore this same idea? Had they been asked- what makes a good idea for writing? Where do writers find ideas? How do they prevent ideas from drifting away?

Demonstrating and modelling how we connect to the world around us is a vital lesson for our students. We need to demonstrate how we see the potential in things for writ…

Summertime Is The Write Time


The end of the Australian school year is rapidly approaching. At the conclusion of every school year the need to tie up a multitude of loose ends prior to the summer holidays is paramount. It is a demanding time

However, I am equally aware there is a period of time looming on summer’s horizon when tired educators will have time to relax and regenerate their energy reserves.- A time for relaxation, holidays, family and recreation. 

May I boldly suggest that summer holidays present a fantastic opportunity to embrace your inner writer and launch your very own writer’s notebook? If you have already made this decision - I applaud your actions. What a wonderful investment in your role as a teacher of writing!

Writers And the Gathering Of Ephemera

All that ‘raw stuff’ I paste into my notebooks includes an array of what is often referred to as ephemera. The printed or written matter, not necessarily intended to be retained or preserved. tickets and tabs, brochures and other bits and pieces of paper and card.  By preserving such items in my notebook I am changing their intended destiny. Imagine the power one feels in such considered action?

Hold on Ephemera, I've arrived to save you from recycling hell!
When I secure these items in my notebook, it’s because I want them to last. I am consciously extending the life of these items.  

Their preservation is important to me. I want them to act as memory markers. We writers are magpies; collectors of ephemera. The stuff we rescue may turn out to be important records of life and social customs, popular culture and national events and issues. Who knows? And while it may also be viewed as treasure by the gatherer, it may seem insignificant to another. The value is in the meaning the item …

Teaching Poetry- Not For The Faint-Hearted

POETRY, Not For The Faint-Hearted As a poet and an educator I am driven by a desire to have poetry viewed as consumer friendly by young learners. I want them to enjoy the sheer magic of words, the way I do. I want to share my love of language in the hope that they will come to know poetry as one does a friend.What's concerning is that in too many classrooms the teaching of poetry has been reduced to a clinical examination. The poem as autopsy. The dis-aggregation of wondrous words by teachers who feel little empathy with the poet’s desire just to be shared.
Moira Robinson, a former neighbour,  in her book Making My Toenails Twinkle, reminds us that sometimes we miss the point of poetry when she states, If we are going to start defining poetry by the number of times spring daffodils are mentioned, or by measuring its degree of seriousness on some poetic Richter scale, we will finish up with nervous breakdowns.’If we truly want our students to appreciate poetry to the point that they …

Summertime And The Writing Teacher

The Writes
 of Summer

Another school year is drawing to a close in Australia and in many schools planning for 2017 is underway. It seems timely to appeal to teachers and urge them to take up the challenge of being a teacher who writes and a writer who teaches. Join an ever expanding number of educators who write for and with their students. Teachers who lead by example and can confidently look their curious learners straight in the eye and proudly announce- 'I'm a writer, just like you.'  
Entries gathered in your very own writer's notebook serve as examples to share with their students. Entries that show students how their teacher interacts with the world. It sends a clear message that as a teacher, you value writing.
Such entries are rich, varied and authentic examples of writing.  Such writing might lead to the extinction of the whole class topic, 'My Holidays' as a yearly starting point for writing! It saddens me when this happens. It frustrated me as a student…

VIDEO -Poetry BOOK 'I Bet There's No Broccoli On The Moon'

Now SEE This!

Hello everyone. Here for your information and entertainment is a short video about my brand new poetry book, I Bet There's No Broccoli On The Moon. Just click on the link below and it will take you directly to the poetry zone!