My friend and colleague of many years Angela Stockman is now going to be working with teachers and communities to start their own Writing Studios. I’ve been learning from Angela for a long time and watched and read with great interest the work she has been doing with young writers. Angela shares her learning with all and that is special. Angela made an announcement today and I am delighted for her.
Well friends, I’ve been called to travel down a brand new pathway as I continue this writing studio journey of mine. The good news is that I’m beginning to realize the vision that launched the WNY Young Writers’ Studio ten years ago: starting this summer, I will be helping school districts, community leaders, and even nonprofit agencies launch and sustain their very own writing studios within and well beyond western New York.
Equally, Steve Peha has received another award for his book Be A Better Writer and once again I am incredibly pleased that Steve and his wife Margot are receiving recognition for their amazing work. I’ve been using Steve’s work for many years. Visit Steve’s site Teaching That Makes Sense.
I manage with Steve Australia Writes with Steve Peha Facebook group where Steve shares his work and responds to questions from members. To access the group you will need to request membership.
Recently I’ve noticed that one of my posts is receiving many views. The post is about communication and leadership which I wrote after attending the Leadership for Community Engagement program. One of the program leaders was Dr Elizabeth Mellor and I wrote a summary of her ideas in a previous post which I have reposted below.
You, as a leader, will be different to a manager, you will be finding solutions, you will use your courage and confidence to influence others, you will speak a common language and find that common language so you can move forward. You will empower others and be an enabler so you can shift barriers. You will encourage others to ‘think big’ and work towards delivering transformational change. You will coach others on how to measure change, be respectful and a listener so you understand and collaborate.
You will not shy from anything and you will get in and learn. You will empower others to solve problems because you can’t fix it all. You will take risks and from taking risks you will gain experience to put into other aspects of your role. You will give others a voice and act on what they want and work side by side with them to achieve your common goals. You will be capable of ‘unlearning’ and not be judgmental. You will build a ‘treasury’ of good practice to help you evaluate actions and capture what has been learnt so you can measure the impact of changes and improvements.
And finally, you will deliver to every child and family. Your flexibility will be key to you being a leader, as without flexibility you will impede innovation. You, as a leader, must leave the profession in a better state and by building the capacity of others you should do yourself out of a job!
This week the CSIRO visited my school to run a ‘hands on’ session with the Prep children on the ‘Science of Toys’. Sean, our very ‘cool’ fun CSIRO scientist ran the session and had the children engaged from the moment he spoke. If he wasn’t a scientist, I’m sure he would be a comedian. He knows I’m writing this and I hope he reads it. Thank you Sean for making science so real and fun for this group of students.
The children had a wonderful experience and were very keen to talk and record what they learnt. Interactive Writing -student led was the strategy of choice to extend the children’s understanding and record this experience. The children’s writing was then made into a little book for the children to read and illustrate. Conversation and discussion about their shared experience was used to revisit the vocabulary the children would need. The children were given their ‘freebie word’ (read previous posts) and asked to write 3 – 4 linked sentences. Extending the children’s writing and using ‘coloring words’ – adjectives, is a focus for this group of young writers. My Intern (4th year university teaching student) has planned and led this whole process. Her planning and teaching has been outstanding! ( Jacinta, I know you read this blog – so well done – ‘You make me proud and humble!)
-jointly composing a large print text on a subject of interest to the students
-sharing responsibility for the recording at various points in the writing.
This eases the transition to independent writing by:
-making explicit how written language works
-constructing words using orthographic and phonological knowledge
-producing a text that can be read again.
Source – Sofweb
The children have been illustrating their ‘little book’ which will become a ‘take home’ book. Having talked about how important illustrations are to support meaning, the children have been taking great care to make sure their pictures will help others who read their book. This also reaffirms the importance of looking at pictures when reading to scaffold meaning. I’ll include photos of their illustrations in a future post because their drawings are amazing! Why? They understand the importance!
I’ve included links to some great research articles about Interactive Writing which is an essential element of the Language Experience approach.