Student Cafeteria

Tuesday, March 19, 2002

To begin some autobiographical writing we have been making hiss-tory snakes in our visual journals. Students have looked up some snakes in reptile books and have traced or hand drawn lovely big snakes in their visual journals. Then we mark out the scales and fill these scales with abbreviated details of our lives - with events that stand out in our memory. When they are completed the hiss-tory snake will provide a good summary and enable students to identify the moments that they want to write more about. For example, Lee's hiss-tory snake records the time when he cut his head open and the time his dog died. Corey has included the date of when he first went to the football with his father. The snakes will become quite elaborate and the pages will be decorated with other bits of information about the individuals life experiences.

Once the snakes are completed it will be easy peasy to write an extended piece. So! Why not try making a hiss-tory snake in your visual journal. Or alternatively you can go to Snakes and Ladders here at Soul Food and find out how to use the old game to develop your autobiographical writing.

Saturday, March 02, 2002

In our Year 12 English class the other day I produced a copy of the Velveteen Rabbit, an old picture book that addresses the issue of nursery magic and discusses how toys become real. One hulking lad, upon seeing the picture book, spontaneously sat on the floor, just as he had done when he was at primary school. Magic happened in our classroom.

Everyone sat down on the floor in a semi circle while I sat on the chair reading the much loved story. We laughed a lot and remembered the last time we had sat like this. Who was next to you? Who was the teacher? What was she wearing? What did you have for lunch that day? What was the best story? Do you remember show and tell? Which toy did you really love?

Write it down I insisted! Write it all down! Catch those memories before they disappear. Katie remembered how Shannon sooked in Grade 1 and we all fell about laughing as Shannon protested. We looked at the pictures of the rabbit and sighed when he became real.

Then everyone returned to their tables and spilled out memories on to the page.

Anyone who tries to tell you that you cannot learn how to write has not seen the magic which happens when people have something to write about.