Text Types and Creative Writing: The Why of the Project Specific text types are taught at specific times within the school year. Less time for students to immerse themselves regularly in creative writing for its own sake. Using an author gave credibility to the project. Sandy Fussell, who led 3 workshops is a real writer! Collaborating on a project allowed students at both schools to participate in workshop – costs are also halved Being passionate about a subject is contagious Allowing the students to choose their writing topic was empowering for the students
Connected Classrooms, Technology and Web 2.0 Access to video conferencing & keen to utilise this by sharing author Sandy Fussell via 3 workshops conducted via VC. (Connected Classrooms) One goal enabled students to publish their writing via a website, allowing others to view their work. This motivated students to produce their best work. Used a blog as a reflection tool for students which provided valuable feedback Students increased their ICT skills presenting their writing as an e-book allowing for easy publishing on a website. A combination of MS PowerPoint and MS Movie Maker was used.
TLs and Authors Waniora PS is fortunate to have as one of its parents, local author Sandy Fussell who is passionate about writing and sharing this with students.Sandy Fussell Grant funding was secured for the project from National Literacy & Numeracy Week which financed three workshops led by Sandy and her time in which to read the e-books and provide feedback to the students.
The What and How Workshop One – Waniora PS Where do ideas come from? Hemingway said: You write about what you know, what you love and what you hate. Students had to develop the best excuse for forgetting their homework in one sentence. Character development. Authors often use pictures as a starting point. Students selected a character picture and interviewed their character. Then listed physical characteristics, positive and negative attributes of character.
The What and the How Emphasis was on showing, not telling. Using description to show the reader the character. Eg As he walked, his head poked forward so that he looked like a great bird of prey. Students understood how this technique gives a character more body. Discussion that not all characters may have positive traits!
The What and theHow Workshop 2 – Thirroul PS: Settings Students selected a picture setting and were told to close their eyes and imagine they were there. Used senses to help describe their setting and writing a paragraph about what they felt, smelled, heard, saw etc Using who, where and when to build a plot. Students selected an object and imagined they were in their setting with their character. Wrote about what was happening. Who else was present? How and why?
Endings Resolving issues. Different endings – funny, sad, cliffhanger. Three people are climbing up a mountain. They havent told anyone where they are going. One man falls and breaks his leg and stuck on the mountain, he becomes dangerously ill. Students had to write an ending.
Writing Begins After the 2 nd workshop, students began to write their stories during their library sessions. Could select character and setting pictures provided by Sandy to kick start or use their own ideas. Focus was on showing not telling and using dialogue for a purpose. Students were inclined to overuse dialogue! Students often visited the library during lunch to continue their writing and editing. Committed to producing their best Students at Waniora worked in pairs, those at Thirroul worked individually
Making the ebook Using MS PowerPoint, students wrote their stories on slides, inserting pictures as needed. Saved each slide as a jpeg file and uploaded into MS MovieMaker, adding a page turn transition to give the impression of a book. Sandy wrote posts on the blog and students commented Every student at each school completed the project.
Wrap Up Workshop The final workshop at Waniora was led by Sandy giving her feedback on stories she had read so far.feedback Focussed on a positive aspect in each story At the end of the project, students were invited to comment on their experience via the blog.
Teacher and TL Reflections While teachers felt the VC was impersonal at times, the students enjoyed the novelty of participating and sharing ideas with another school One hour sessions were often not long enough. The project allowed students to improve their writing. All students completed the task, some repeated the process at home. The project was very engaging for the students ICT skills increased through manipulation of 2 pieces of software
Teacher and TL Reflections All felt the project was successful as it achieved its objectives. Rather than an isolated task, the strategies Sandy introduced can be reinforced within the classroom Students were keen to create additional e-books and enjoyed follow up writing with a web 2 tool Storybird (TPS)
Student Comments Those ebooks took a long time to write but when we watched them they were so so cool Mali, TPS Sandy Fussell was a big help. It was fun doing it with Waniora public school. I loved it so much that Ive done one at home.IT WAS LOTS OF FUN! Sandon, TPS I learnt alot of things about doing ebooks. Ive learnt how to be a better writer with all the punctuation. I think i could be a writer when i grow up. Noah, TPS I had a great time making the e-book with my best friend Cassidy. My book was Tega the Ninja Cat. It is an exciting adventure action packed story, so read it and join in the Kapow action. Shane, WPS
Examples Blog Link WPS and TPS Student E-Books E-Book Instructional video Web 2.0 e-book tools: Mixbook Meegenius (books to read and personalise) Meegenius Storybird Tarheel Reader