Writing has become my main thing.
Whether for work or for pleasure – in my case, I’m fortunate that things often sit in both camps – I spent a lot of time around writing.
I write, for starters. I write children’s books and I write poetry and I write blogs and newsletters and marketing materials.
I help kids to write. I run poetry retreats with my friend Adisa, and I run creative writing networks for pupils from groups of schools. Life writing and writing-for-self form an integral part of our ‘KUDOS’ projects at OtherWise Education, taking writing as part of self-care and self-development.
I help adults to write. I am a Lead Trainer for a new Literacy organisation, and am also training on poetry with Just Imagine and the Writing for Pleasure Centre. I run my own OtherWise training for schools on creative writing and supporting teachers to develop their own writer-identities. I’m an English Lecturer with a SCITT, working with trainee teachers to introduce them to poetry teaching.
And I am pleased to linger about in a writerly world. Lots of my friends are writers of children’s books and education books, and they are passionate advocates for literacy and English teaching. Lots of friends perform and write, write and sing, act and write… they live wordy lives.
I feel hugely privileged, because writing matters and when I do it, I feel like I do.
It’s a feeling that everyone deserves to have: to think, to write and to be read (if you want to be read).
Over the next year, my work and my interests are likely to focus even more deeply on writing, and on how we can introduce it in a way that is empowering, creative and good. I’m finding my niche in the teaching of writing, and it aligns very neatly with the Writing for Pleasure pedagogy. For as long as I am working in a way that allows me to see adults and children alike finding their voice in writing – sometimes finding themselves there too – then I will continue to feel rewarded in what I’m doing.
In amongst all of the projects with others, I haven’t left myself enough time to write as much as I would like to. I will be protecting that time, in future. In the meantime, I have looked through this old lumbering blog of joy, and isolated those which are of interest to anyone who wants to think about writing. This may be the teaching of writing, or it may be the experience of writing for self.
- Does your confidence as a teacher writer alter children’s writing?
- A reflection on Teresa Cremin and Debra Myhill’s work on Teachers-As-Writers. What is it like to be a child in your writing classroom?
- Writing as clear as muck
- Short thoughts on the importance of clarity. Do we try to cram so much into our sentences that it overburdens the reader?
- Really? What do you actually think?
- About the fact that so much of children’s writing we generate in school is inauthentic, hollow and lifeless, despite the fact that they (and we) are capable of so much more. What happens when we credit kids with the freedom to actually express what they think, rather than a mildly-engineered version of what we have told them to write?
- Freedom through constraint: exploring sonnets with primary kids
- Overview of the experience of teaching sonnets with a Year 5 class.
- Quick thoughts on clarity
- Depth and Defiance: inviting children to become poets
- Reflections on the 2018 poetry retreats, in which the children who wrote with most flair notably ignored some of our parameters
- Children making writing that matters to them
- About the impact of pupils being able to make more authentic choices in their writerly expression, and how this supports rather than challenges the quality of the teaching of writing
- Improve your storytelling
- About how we can share our own stupid and silly stories, gleefully and in ways that are purposeful
- Teaching with ‘Can I Build Another Me?’
- Lesson plans and reflection on using Shinsuke Yoshitake’s ‘Can I Build Another Me?’ as a route into writing and drawing about our lives
- Teaching for Sprezzatura
- Promoting writing with a free-flowing freshness.