This week we ran a Creative Writing Day for the new Year 12s in the Mid North Coast. We had 200+ students attend and the focus on the day was amazing! We really worked them hard for four hours and they just kept lapping it up.
The day consisted of 4 sessions. The first, by Teresa Welsh from the Coffs Harbour Senior College, was on stimulus ideas for belonging. My session using setting symbolically within the narrative was next. Jo Bellette from Dorrigo HS then looked at moving their writing beyond the generic and finally Jon Hart from the Senior College looked at different models for structuring their writing. The presenters did an amazing job and their ideas and strategies really gave students and teachers a brilliant head start into this aspect of the Advanced Course.
There was plenty of time for writing and sharing as well as lots of ideas to get them thinking about Belonging. Starting now, we are hoping that both students AND staff give Paper 1, Sect 2 the time and focus it deserves. Over the next few weeks they will hopefully start experimenting with and extending on the snippets of stories they started this week building into full narratives ready to share with others.
Over the next couple of terms we are encouraging them to develop several scenarios, characters, settings and values and play with putting them into a variety of structures and purposes/focuses. In this way they will be fully prepared for anything the Paper throws them and have a chance to showcase their skills and confidence as writers. That is the dream and at least this week we have lit the spark.
If you are interested i seeing what we presented on the day, please feel free to visit the blog I have established for the group, Mid North Coast Advanced English. This place will hopefully become a place for the students to share their writing, seek feedback and support each other. As well, teachers will add resources to it during the year to extend and challenge the students.
I would love feedback from other teachers on how they are tackling this section of the exam. EG. What are other English teachers doing to develop their students creative writing skills? How much time are you spending on this aspect of the course?