Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Near The Home Straight

This week I had a visitor in my Creative Writing Class. We have to do this, it's compulsory.

We read Wild Africa, by Justin D'Ath before going on to the writing. The learning intention was ""To learn from reading".  It really is a good idea to do this, because they can discuss the good and bad points of someone else's story before going on to their own.

I asked the class's lowest student to do another outline, which is all he is capable of doing.  Next week, which will be the second last session of this subject for most of the class, I will see if I can persuade him to write an extra sentence with each of the questions. But that's about all I can get out of him. He has missed a lot of classes anyway.

I rejoiced when one student finally finished her story, but it needs a LOT of fixing of punctuation, spelling and grammar. I began by pasting it into a Word document. I spent at least an hour on editing, but it's nowhere near finished. I might ask her to begin by doing a spelling and grammar check. That won't do all of it, but will help.

Still - it's finished! This student has been slow but steady. Only one story, but she got on with it.

The others got something done, anyway, though not complete.

I think I'm learning as much as they are how to do this and how NOT to do it.


Sharon Marie Himsl said...

An outline is a good way to begin for any writer, good or bad. Some encouragement maybe for the slow learner?

Sue Bursztynski said...

Quite right. And I have given each of them a template on which to do an outline and this has helped - one student even described it as a lifesaver! ;-)

But this is a one-semester subject, so what doesn't work will have to be left alone and started again with a new group of kids. I've never taught it before - NOBODY at my school has - so it has all been trial and error. The student chose it because his friend was doing it, not because he is a keen writer So for him, it has been ONLY outlines to fill in - first an autobiography, then a set of questions about his favourite sport. This week, I praised him for finishing the questions and then asked him to add a sentence or two to each answer. It worked. Next week, if he 's there, I will get him to copy and paste his answers into a single post on the class blog.

Lexa Cain said...

In my day there were no computers and no spell checks. I shudder to think about all the things the teachers had to go through to correct our papers. Hang in there with your students. There might be a real writer in the bunch!

Sue Bursztynski said...

Thanks, Lexa! In my day too. :-) Typewriters were for future secretaries, so we never learned. I had one at home anyway and was very glad to have it, but you can't spellcheck a typewriter. ;-) Spellcheck is handy, but I ended up doing my students' edits from scratch on my part, because the grammar check got it wrong much of the time. It's only a machine. I do have one who wants to rejoin me next term because she is a passionate writer. Not as good at spelling, grammar and punctuation as she could be, but writes lovely stuff.