Tuesday, October 6, 2009

First Workshop Ever

Finally getting around to blogging my first workshop experience. I was petrified. But in true Sandy-style I was determined to make it as hard as I possibly could. I signed up for video conferencing. Hey, if you're going to make a fool of yourself first time round, why restrict it to one school? Let two schools have a laugh.

Fortunately for me I had friendly library faces to work with. Mrs Mac at Thirroul Public School and my own children's librarian extroadinaire, Jane Pretty. So lots of help there to begin with. And the kids were very keen.

I sent out an SOS to my writing colleagues. And I have to do a thank you speech here because I am truly indebted to these friends for their advice, notes and shared exercises. Drum roll. Red Carpet. Janeen Brian, Sally Murphy, Sheryl Gwyther, Dee White, Claire Saxby, Lorraine Marwood, Julie Nickerson, Katherine Apel and Sally Odgers. What a name dropper I am.

I have to detour here for a moment and talk about Sally Odger's wonderful e-book (Giving our Kids) A Reason to Write. It's an absolute treasure trove of information about how children (and adults) write - from their different approaches and thought processes to how to best manage their writing strengths and weaknesses. I began by flipping through the pages for exercises I could use in my Workshops and ending up reading it from cover to cover. Thoroughly recommended and at $7 for the PDF - it's the best value for money resource you can buy!

But back to the workshops. Two out of three are complete with the follow up/evaluation still to come. They were wonderful fun. They didn't go perfectly - the video conferencing was a new experience all round - but the end result was absolutely golden. The kids enthusiastically produced heaps of writing. OK. Not all of them. There was one child who I suspect was waiting for a real author to show up. It's not quite as magical when it's mum even if you are really proud of her! Here are some sample efforts - ebooks created based on the workshop sessions.

You can visit the project at Thirroul Public School's blog.

2 comments:

Mrs Mac said...

Yes, we were treading new ground but Sandy had the students intrigued and engaged from the start. When you have kids wanting to work through their lunchtime because they hadn't finished writing then you know something's working!
So for any other teachers and teacher librarians - consider your own 'writer in residence' program....this is how I see our workshops. I know the students at Waniora probably claim Sandy as their own, but now the kids from Thirroul do as well! Sandy has also given us strategies, as teachers which we will continue to use in the classroom. A fantastic experience!
Mrs Mac
Teacher Librarian, Thirroul PS

Kids Music said...

It is a very nice and good post. Keep up the good work.

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