I hope this week’s edition finds you well.
A letter from author Anne Lamott on the value of reading:
"If you love to read, or learn to love reading, you will have an amazing life. Period. Life will always have hardships, pressure, and incredibly annoying people, but books will make it all worthwhile. In books, you will find your North Star, and you will find you, which is why you are here. Books are paper ships, to all the worlds, to ancient Egypt, outer space, eternity, into the childhood of your favourite musician, and — the most precious stunning journey of all — into your own heart, your own family, your own history and future and body. Out of these flat almost two-dimensional boxes of paper will spring mountains, lions, concerts, galaxies, heroes. You will meet people who have been all but destroyed, who have risen up and will bring you with them. Books and stories are medicine, plaster casts for broken lives and hearts, slings for weakened spirits. And in reading, you will laugh harder than you ever imagined laughing, and this will be magic, heaven, and salvation. I promise."
ENHANCING LITERACY ACROSS SECONDARY DISCIPLINES
The first of the courses that I’m facilitating this year through the Victorian Academy of Teaching and Leadership began recently – ELASD. This course is in its second year and proved to be very successful in 2021.
A feature of the course that is obvious in the title is the focus on literacy across secondary disciplines. This is something that has had numerous iterations over the last 20 years, without significant success across education systems. There has been an increasing amount of research around disciplinary literacy over the last few years, which has influenced the course material, and is a game changer.
What is less obvious from the course title, but is equally important, is the leadership component of the course. The leadership content is focused on Michael Fullan and Joanne Quinn’s ‘Coherence Framework’.
There are many challenges in the secondary space, but I argue that there are also just as many opportunities. The coherence framework is an excellent way for schools, networks, and entire systems to be strategic in their actions, in bringing about sustained excellent practice.
An article from the ‘School Administrator’ in June 2016 can be found online and gives you a taste of what is in the book, and therefore the course.
There is another intake of ELASD which will begin in semester 2 that is currently open for enrolments. I have included below the dates of the workshops and a link to register if you are interested.
Four workshops: July 15th; August 17th; September 1st; October 6th
This year in my work with schools around writing, I’ve been focusing more and more on the writing process. In a lot of cases this is the missing link to lift the writing standards in the classroom, and when done properly it leads to really authentic writing.
Many students don’t have an effective writing process that works for them. i.e they regularly abandon pieces, everyone has to die to finish the piece, they abruptly write ‘to be continued …’, everyone wakes up, etcetera.
Even those students who have an effective writing process, their writing process is still being formed. i.e they need to hear from other students/teachers/writers regarding their writing process to help shape their own, and make their process (and writing) even stronger.
Generally speaking, teachers don’t share their own writing process enough. We are more likely to share our thinking when we are reading, but we need to do the same thing when we are writing. Students think that we can get our writing perfect first time, when nothing could be further from the truth. Students need to hear our struggles when we are writing and what our thought processes are.
There are a number of quality resources online where published authors and screenwriters share how they go from their initial idea to the polished end product.
The link below is a YouTube clip of screenwriter John August (‘Big Fish’, ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’) sharing his creative process.
Study Group will definitely be going ahead online in term 2.
Thank you to those of you who have registered your interest. I will be in touch regarding the text we will study, and the dates when we will meet. If you’re interested in joining this talented group, let me know asap.
Thanks for reading and see you next week,
P.S Feel free to provide me with any feedback regarding the newsletter, or anything for that matter via email. Also, let me know what topics you would be interested in reading more about.
In case someone forwarded this to you, you can sign up for the newsletter here.