12 December 2013

Spilling Christmas Ink...Wish List

At the start of the year, I began a writing initiative based on both my experience of teaching free writing, and following my reading of the book Spilling Ink.

My post in August, Spilling Ink: Writing Journal Agreements outlines this in more detail.

I try to make each prompt visible on a single slide, and we work on the same prompt for the week.

We have written about all sorts of things, from shapeshifters to thunderstorms, garlic gum to invisibility potion.

Learners are always given the option to choose the prompt, or write about something they need to write about. They can fold over any writing that they wish to keep private.

They are also encouraged to go back and rework previous writing, revising to make it better, or making into something new. I ask them to focus particularly on areas we have looked at in lessons, such as narrative perspective, sentence clarity, adjectives or noun phrases etc.

Sometimes I will give specific targets to learners as they need it, such as working on tenses, subject-verb agreement - or simply aiming to write more. Perhaps I will ask prolific writers to slow down and consider each word more carefully, and focus on quality over quantity.

I have been amazed by the work that has been produced and am SURE that I have at least one potential best-seller among my fantastic writers.

I have been astounded by the insights I have into the learners from their writing; their thinking, hopes and beliefs; their unboundless imagination and limitless creativity. It is also quite moving in terms of some of the things that have been shared with me; some learners will reach out to me in their writing, opening a doorway for me to find them help and support.
Learners share their work with peers each session and are encouraged to share with the class any interesting or great writing they have read. They are also asked to choose their best piece each two weeks, and publish it on their blog.

Some learners have written in their journals about how much they enjoy the freedom to express themselves and play with words. They say that they appreciate being able to choose what to write and to not be tied down by assessments or deadlines.

For our final week of the semester, I am going to provide them with the chance to create a wish list. It is to be in the form of a letter poem and must use as much alliteration as possible.

I look forward to reading what their wishes are for the coming year, and even more - in continuing with encouraging a community of writers.

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Mazer, A. and Potter, E. Spilling ink: A young writer's handbook, 2012, Macmillan. Print.