Telling and writing stories is my life. I grew up in a family of storytellers and I learned most of the tools of the trade listening to my mob telling yarns at the dinner table.
Stories were a way of life before they became my day job.
The Young Writers’ Days are a forum to foster the love of story and share the things I’ve learned.
The program is delivered as full-day writing workshops for select students, one day each term. Each day follows a similar format but the content is different. Teachers can attend with groups of students from their school when staffing permits, but homeschooled, unschooled and independent students are welcome.
This is not a remedial group; this is an extension program for young people who write for fun.
The students bring their own pens and pencils, morning tea and lunch. A notebook is provided.
Students pair with a partner of their choice (or with help from the facilitators).
We’ll explore aspects of writing as a creative pursuit and the students will write their hearts out, experiment and consolidate their skills.
The students work autonomously and silently during writing exercises and then read and discuss their creations with partners. They are invited to read their work to the group if they want. Scot and the group offer supportive comments and observations about the reading and the writing.
We take regular breaks to move and refuel. Computers aren’t required. Phones are welcome.
The student body nominate individual works based on their merit for inclusion in an annual anthology. Selected works are transcribed and edited by the writer in their own time, given additional editorial support then submitted for final approval.
Teachers are invited to join school cohorts for the day. In exchange for your normal duty-of-care responsibilities (a roving eye at lunch and recess) the days offer five hours of certified professional development referenced against the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (APST), comprehensive notes, a chance to liaise with other educators and a behind-the-scenes look at the commercial application of English.
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Scot Gardner is a qualified teacher, counsellor, gardener and funnyman. He’s also the internationally acclaimed and multi-award winning author of fifteen books for young adults and kids. Combining his passions for teaching, narrative and literary art has resulted in the Young Writers’ Days—a safe place for creatives to stretch their wings and hone their craft. He has current Working With Children clearance.
About the Support Staff
Robyn Grant administers the day and provides logistical, technical and emotional support. She’s a first-aider and qualified natural therapist. She has current Working With Children clearance.
In order to respect the diversity of teachers’ professional learning and development, The Victorian Institute of Teaching (VIT) and the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) use a rubric of standards as a reference when reflecting on teaching practice. Each year, teachers are required to complete 20 hours of APST-referenced professional development, comprising elements from each of the three domains (Professional Knowledge, Professional Practice and Professional Engagement).
Certified hours of involvement with the Young Writers’ Days could be considered PD in;
1.2 – Understand How Learners Learn – Structure teaching programs using research and collegial advice about learning.
2.5 – Literacy and numeracy strategies – Apply knowledge and understanding of effective teaching strategies to support learners’ literacy and numeracy achievement.
3.2 – Plan, structure and sequence learning programs – Plan and implement well-structured learning and teaching programs or sequences that engage learners and promote learning.
3.3 – Use teaching strategies – Select and use relevant teaching strategies to develop knowledge, skills, problem solving and critical and creative thinking.
4.1 – Support participation of learners – Establish and implement inclusive and positive interactions to engage and support all learners in learning activities.
4.2 – Manage learning and teaching activities – Establish and maintain orderly and workable routines to create an environment where time is spent on learning tasks.
6.4 – Apply professional learning and improve learning (of learners) – Undertake professional learning programs designed to address identified needs of learners.
About Connections to the Australian Curriculum Standards for English
The Young Writers’ Days are designed to be fun, but there’s a serious side. The course content has many touch points with the Australian English Curriculum from Years 6-10. Just don’t tell the kids …
Extracted from ACARA – The Australian Curriculum for English
Accessed 25th August, 2016
Create literary texts that adapt or combine aspects of texts students have experienced in innovative ways (ACELT1618)
Experiment with text structures and language features and their effects in creating literary texts, for example, using imagery, sentence variation, metaphor and word choice (ACELT1800)
Plan, draft and publish imaginative, informative and persuasive texts, choosing and experimenting with text structures, language features, images and digital resources appropriate to purpose and audience (ACELY1714)
Re-read and edit students’ own and others’ work using agreed criteria and explaining editing choices
Develop a handwriting style that is legible, fluent and automatic and varies according to audience and purpose (ACELY1716)
Create literary texts that adapt stylistic features encountered in other texts, for example, narrative viewpoint, structure of stanzas, contrast and juxtaposition (ACELT1625)
Experiment with text structures and language features and their effects in creating literary texts, for example, using rhythm, sound effects, monologue, layout, navigation and colour (ACELT1805)
Plan, draft and publish imaginative, informative and persuasive texts, selecting aspects of subject matter and particular language, visual, and audio features to convey information and ideas (ACELY1725)
Edit for meaning by removing repetition, refining ideas, reordering sentences and adding or substituting words for impact (ACELY1726)
Consolidate a personal handwriting style that is legible, fluent and automatic and supports writing for extended periods (ACELY1727)
Use a range of software, including word processing programs, to confidently create, edit and publish written and multimodal texts (ACELY1728)
Responding to Literature
Share, reflect on, clarify and evaluate opinions and arguments about aspects of literary texts (ACELT1627)
Create literary texts that draw upon text structures and language features of other texts for particular purposes and effects (ACELT1632)
Experiment with particular language features drawn from different types of texts, including combinations of language and visual choices to create new texts (ACELT1768)
Create imaginative, informative and persuasive texts that raise issues, report events and advance opinions, using deliberate language and textual choices, and including digital elements as appropriate (ACELY1736)
Experiment with text structures and language features to refine and clarify ideas to improve the effectiveness of students’ own texts (ACELY1810)
Use a range of software, including word processing programs, to create, edit and publish texts imaginatively (ACELY1738)
Responding to Literature
Reflect on, discuss and explore notions of literary value and how and why such notions vary according to context (ACELT1634)
Explore and reflect on personal understanding of the world and significant human experience gained from interpreting various representations of life matters in texts (ACELT1635)
Create literary texts, including hybrid texts, that innovate on aspects of other texts, for example by using parody, allusion and appropriation (ACELT1773)
Experiment with the ways that language features, image and sound can be adapted in literary texts, for example the effects of stereotypical characters and settings, the playfulness of humour and pun and the use of hyperlink (ACELT1638)
Create imaginative, informative and persuasive texts that present a point of view and advance or illustrate arguments, including texts that integrate visual, print and/or audio features (ACELY1746)
Review and edit students’ own and others’ texts to improve clarity and control over content, organisation, paragraphing, sentence structure, vocabulary and audio/visual features (ACELY1747)
Use a range of software, including word processing programs, flexibly and imaginatively to publish texts (ACELY1748)
Compare and evaluate how ‘voice’ as a literary device can be used in a range of different types of texts such as poetry to evoke particular emotional responses (ACELT1643)
Create literary texts that reflect an emerging sense of personal style and evaluate the effectiveness of these texts (ACELT1814)
Create literary texts with a sustained ‘voice’, selecting and adapting appropriate text structures, literary devices, language, auditory and visual structures and features for a specific purpose and intended audience (ACELT1815)
Create imaginative texts that make relevant thematic and intertextual connections with other texts (ACELT1644)
Create sustained texts, including texts that combine specific digital or media content, for imaginative, informative, or persuasive purposes that reflect upon challenging and complex issues (ACELY1756)
Review, edit and refine students’ own and others’ texts for control of content, organisation, sentence structure, vocabulary, and/or visual features to achieve particular purposes and effects (ACELY1757)
Use a range of software, including word processing programs, confidently, flexibly and imaginatively to create, edit and publish texts, considering the identified purpose and the characteristics of the user (ACELY1776)