Professional learning led by well known authors, held at the NSW State Library, did not disappoint. The authors provided valuable insights into how they develop engaging texts and suggested techniques for teachers to use with their students to build creativity in their writing. I took away many practical highlights from the day that I am excited to implement in my classroom.
- Developing strong characters: List characters and their characteristics, this can be done with well known characters, e.g. Harry Potter - strong but doesn’t always feel it. Would we have seen this characteristic if there wasn’t a villain?
- The importance of time frame: Some of the best stories we know were written over many years, we need to be mindful and clear to students that the expectation is to write a short story. We need them to be focused enough to actually finish the story, e.g. do not use the next day this happened, then this…
- A class activity: Use 3 post-it notes for ideas; 1 for orientation, 1 for complication, 1 for resolution. The older they get we can add more notes in, such as more than one idea for the complication as we build suspense. So tell them a 5 sec story.
- Develop an opening line with the students and then they can keep going. It was a dark and stormy night…. Know where you are heading with genre.
- Figure out what your characters want and find ways to stop them from getting it. It is your job to make it hard for your characters to get what they want.
- Class activities that build student capacity to appreciate other perspectives, e.g. tell the story from bully's perspective, from bully's friend’s point of view, as well as from the perspective of the person being bullied.