Sharing Time @ the Writer’s Club
This term @ The Writer’s Club we’re writing quest stories. In the first four workshops, we mapped out a setting, developed characters and created a reason for the quest (plot). Now we are busy tying it all together and writing, writing, writing. We’re pretty lucky. We have lots of space, two teachers, a student assistant and sixteen children who love to write. Yet despite these near perfect teaching conditions, I’ve had to fight the urge this week to provide a handout or organise ‘an activity’. Why is it so hard to let go and hand the process over to the kids?
So Neve, Jeanene and I, spent the session working alongside each child and finally it was time to sit together in a circle and share some of the writing. The kids were modelling these amazing writing techniques such as imagery, humour in dialogue and how to build suspense. And I think I finally got it. This is where the real jewels are. This is the ‘stuff’ you can’t teach in handouts. Writing is a social act. Its success hinges on engaging your audience. These young writers were getting the chance to see whether their writing could stand up on its own. They were also getting the chance to listen to their peers, to laugh out loud, to feel the suspense, to empathise with the characters. Sometimes in my effort to get the kids writing, I don’t leave nearly enough time for this magic to occur. But I’ve seen the light folks and I’ll be raising the status of ‘Share Time’ in the future so watch this space!
In the meantime, this article by Suzanne Williams provides some tips on how to develop workshop time with the kids you teach.