The Word Picture Gallery

17 Nov

Welcome to Monday’s Muse! Every Monday morning of the school term in 2014, Write Away With Me posts an open ended writing and/or storytelling activity that you can try with your class or your children at home.

This term at The Writer’s Club, we are focusing on developing strong imagery in our writing. Our warm up activity last week was adapted from a great resource book titled, ‘Unjournaling’ by Dawn DiPrince and Cheryl Mille Thurston.

I asked our young writers to imagine they are walking through a gallery of framed canvases. The first canvas is white. The title of the work is called:

Polar Bear Eating Ice Cream in a Blizzard.

The next canvas is black.

Create a title. Set a timer for 2 minutes. Encourage students to write more than one title if they have time. Share writing.

The next canvas is red. Create a title.

Now picture a canvas of any one colour of your choice. Do not tell anyone the colour you have chosen. Now write a title.

Have your classmates guess the colour of your canvas by the title you have written.

Display titles and celebrate your gallery of word pictures.

Happy Writing!

After 25 years teaching experience, from Early Childhood to VCE, Beth Cregan combined her passion for books, writing and storytelling to launch ‘Write Away With Me’. Now in its fourth year, Write Away With Me offers a wide range of original and creative storytelling and writing workshops across Victoria. Our high energy workshops cover a wide range of writing styles/genres and a flexible approach, means it’s possible to tailor the experience to match the needs of your students and your school. Interested in booking a workshop for your class? Check out the range of storytelling and writing workshops today! Workshops for secondary classes and Professional Development programs are also popular.

I Remember

26 Oct

Monday’s Muse has taken a short break this term as I have been overseas, attending The Readers and Writer’s Festival in Ubud, Bali and taking some time out to focus on my own writing projects. I must say, I enjoyed every minute of it and have returned, full of new ideas to try.

Natalie Goldberg is one of my favourite writers. I tucked a copy of ‘Wild Mind – Living The Writer’s Life.’ into my backpack. I love the way Natalie  talks about her writing practice – that space and time she carves into every day to move her arm across the page and simply write. This book is full of short poignant stories about her writing life and lots of writing exercises to try.

One of the exercises Natalie suggests, which I have tried many times over the last weeks, is to start a sentence with “I remember…...” Those two simple words force you to open up those tight spaces in your mind and see what’s behind closed doors. Sometimes I would give myself a theme such as Kids I Remember at Primary School. It’s been forty odd years since I have attended primary school but when I sat patiently, the images would start to come and I would quickly capture them with my pen. Other times, I would just start with “I remember” and keep writing – about anything and everything. It felt more like playing with images than writing and when I read over my words later, I could see all these wonderful little details appearing before my eyes; like the red shirt worn by the boy who threw a piece of wood that collided with my head and floral pattern on the blue couch where I lay afterwards, waiting for my mum to pick me up.

But Natalie goes further to suggest that after you finish your I remember writing, you have a quick break, maybe a drink of water and then pick up your pen. This time start with, “I don’t remember…” Look at your image closely. See what’s lurking beneath it. What is it that scampers off and tries to hide when you pick up that memory?

I used both writing prompts to start our first workshop of the term at The Writer’s Club which resulted in some original and wonderful writing. Memories like the birth of a little sister or the way you actually believed fairies existed, all spilled out onto our pages. And then the underbelly, the parts you can’t remember. It not only generated some detailed writing but some lively discussion and lots of ” Yeah I remember that too!”

So this week, I invite you to try this writing prompt with your students.

I remember

and

I don’t remember.

See where it takes you…

Happy Writing!

Beth Cregan

Come Away With Me – A Writing Retreat

21 Sep

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Everywhere I go this week, I’m greeted by trees bursting into blossom! Welcome to Spring! A wonderful time to reflect on the progress of the year so far and to harness our energy for the term ahead. Next week, I’m heading to Bali where I’ll attend The Writer’s Festival and take time out to nurture my body, mind and spirit. It’s an opportunity of a lifetime to devote myself to my writing – the very same passion that drives my teaching and my business as a whole. Twenty five years ago, I launched my gap year in Indonesia and started my daily writing practice – one habit I’m so grateful to have continued over the years. I invite you to journey with me as I attend an Ayurveda Retreat, participate in lots of writing workshops and even try a silent meditation program. (Most people I know laugh when I mention the silent retreat….) I’ll be updating on FacebookTwitter, Instagram and on this blog so if you dream of escaping the world for a while, I’d love the chance to share my adventure with you! And if you have any tips, yummy restaurants, not to miss sights – please share those too!

 

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Playing With Metaphors and Similies

15 Sep

Welcome to Monday’s Muse! Every Monday morning of the school term in 2014, Write Away With Me posts an open ended writing and/or storytelling activity that you can try with your class or your children at home.

This writing activity explores how a few well chosen words can create metaphors, similes and vivid imagery. Life is our muse, our inspiration. What imagery could we use to describe life and living? Below is a slideshow presentation brought to you from by Senior group at Parkdale – 2013. Writing like this, always makes my heart sing. This might just be the perfect way to end a writing term. There is much scope for creative thinking, writing and philosophical discussion here. I used SlideShare to create and share this powerpoint. It’s easy to use and share with others – classmates, parents and the wider school community. Enjoy!

After 25 years teaching experience, from Early Childhood to VCE, Beth Cregan combined her passion for books, writing and storytelling to launch ‘Write Away With Me’. Now in its fourth year, Write Away With Me offers a wide range of original and creative storytelling and writing workshops across Victoria. Our high energy workshops cover a wide range of writing styles/genres and a flexible approach, means it’s possible to tailor the experience to match the needs of your students and your school. Interested in booking a workshop for your class? Check out the range of storytelling and writing workshops today! Workshops for secondary classes and Professional Development programs are also popular

I Love Lists: Part 2

08 Sep

If you have been following Monday’s Muse, you’ll know I love lists! I have used Alan Ahlberg’s list poem, ‘Things I Have Been Doing Lately’ to insire many a writing workshop. (You can see the poem and read my earlier post here.) This term at The Writer’s Club, we’re exploring personal writing with a focus on developing a daily writing practice. Personal writing gives us a chance to to celebrate our unique style and writer’s voice so I thought I’d share last week’s workshop with you.

As part of our journalling experience, I have introduced a range of writing activities that capture a moment in time, so ‘Things I Have Been Doing Lately’ seemed the perfect starting point. We read the poem together. It has just the right amount of humour and truth to capture the life of a typical nine year old. How could we use words to do the same? Capture our life, right here and now? The results were wonderful. What I love most about this sort of poetry is the opportunity it provides to play with humour which can be a difficuly writing skill to master.

Hudson kindly let me share his poem on the blog. We loved it.

Things I have Been Doing Lately

Writing this poem.

Picking up my pen.

Opening my pen lid.

Picking up my pen lid again.

Moving my arm.

Raising my eyebrow.

Swinging on my chair.

Back and forth.

Side to side.

Looking at the time.

Day dreaming.

Spinning my pen.

Thinking about what I had to eat last night.

Tapping my note pad.

Flicking the pages.

Do I have A.D.D.?

 

After an opportunity to share our poems, I gave out sentence strips and each club member created a title for a new list poem. We collated them on the noticeboard- such a great collection of writing possibilities such as:

  • Things That Make Me Happy
  • 15 Things I Want For Dinner
  • Things I’m Good At
  • Things That Make Me Different
  • 10 Things I Couldn’t Care Less About
  • Things I Love Doing On The Weekend

I’ll give each writer a  copy of the list titles for their journals. I would have loved the opportunity to have students choose a random title and use it to inspire a piece of writing but we ran clear out of time. This might be possible in your classroom. Things I Love Doing On The Weekend may be an alternative to your usual Monday morning recount.

Happy writing!

Beth Cregan