Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Holiday Adventures 1: The One with Writing A Book

As part of their K2 project many years ago, the twins had to make a book from start to finish. They remember that, especially Jordan who actually goes back to kindy every year to talk to the K2 children about the book she wrote when she was their age.

Anyway, when the opportunity came up this holiday to 'write a book' at Writing Sprouts with their friends, both of them were keen to do so, though Jordan more than Evan. But he went along quite gamely and they ended up having so much fun that they couldn't wait to get dropped off in the morning. The workshop ran from 9.30 to 12 every day but they would clamour to be dropped off at 9.

I had to work so I didn't see much of what they did. But that also meant that all I had to go on was theirs and their friends' feedback.

One of the first things they did at the workshop was to learn to write acrostic poems. So when I asked what they thought about the workshop, they gave me an acrostic poem in response.



To elaborate:

They got to play games. They played charades and they played a version of Pictionary. They got to draw funny things on the board and it never ceases to amaze me how much we aren't on their wavelength. They get what each other draws. I have to look at it as a drawing and try and interpret from the oft-unclear scribbles what they are trying to communicate across. But with each other, they're so in-tuned with each other's frequencies that they get it before the unidentifiable squiggles are complete. It helped that all the children in the workshop were round about the same age so they got each other's humour. Therefore, it was fun.

Well, they now know how to write an acrostic poem. But beyond that, Edna (who ran the workshop) gave them a lot of scaffolding about how to create a story. She taught them to use story maps, mountains, the 'hamburger' ingredients to writing a story. I asked Evan if they helped him. The matter-of-fact answer was "Yes, that's how I wrote the story".

Subtext: Duh, Mommy!

Now, to see if they actually do it when they have to write on their own. 

According to them, it was good noisy. Noisy because they got rowdy when they played games. Noisy because they got to read a crazy poem. Noisy because they got to talk to their friends about what they wanted to write. They got to discuss what they wanted to write. Evan and his friend Mark decided to join brains and co-create and co-write their book. They divvied the work, chatted about what needed to be done, how to do it, how to grow the story and eventually put it down and paper with illustrations.

It was happy noise.

Neat not as in clean and tidy. Neat as in cool. Writing wasn't labourious composition. We have come to the sad conclusion that composition isn't really writing. But what they discovered during the workshop was that 'composition writing' wasn't the only form of 'acceptable' writing. Edna got them to create their stories as comics and learning how to write dialogue with the speech bubbles. I have since found scraps of paper round the house with comics scribbled on them. Not to be thrown away, I have been sternly warned.

They even got to write dedications for their books and they took that very seriously. I know that if I were a kid and I could write my every single page of my own book right up to the dedication page, I'd be absolutely chuffed too.

Evan's dedication was a bit unclear so I had to ask him about it again for Edna and he told me that it was for, in a nutshell, everyone in the family, because they were special. That was beyond thoughtful and neat, in my opinion.

Creating comics

Jordan's comic strip.

A story about Pencil Potter.

And Lord Correction Tape.

The Pencil family safe.

Why yes? Yes to what?

In response to my questions, my 9 yos rolled their eyes at me. They roll their eyes far too much. Ophthalmic callisthenics, my favourite new term.

Anyway, yes was to all the regular questions. They had fun, they'd do it again, they had a great time.

This coming weekend, they get their published books and we get to go their book-reading session.

Having written a book. One thing to check off the bucket list and one thing off their Holiday Wish List of Fun.

Disclaimer: This post was written in collaboration with Writing Sprouts. Photos are from Writing Sprouts though it's our two cents' worth!

Writing Sprouts is an English Language Arts School for kids. Its specially crafted literacy programme leads kids to creative writing and the opportunity to self publish their work. Writing Sprouts conducts weekly classes, holiday workshops, private coaching, fun literacy events and more.

It is located at 308 Telok Kurau Rd
Vibes@East Coast #01-03/04
Tel: 6247 7173


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