To write is to paint a picture in words. It can be pleasure, pain and frustration, and surprise when it works well. Writers have the power to create and transform things; they can inform, enrage, move, persuade, or seduce us by the written word. The following resources provide opportunities for your students to meet a range of writers. They can find out more about some popular authors and discover some new ones, and the references will assist you to develop writers of the future.
This website and accompanying free ezine by Linda Aragoni is focused solely on teaching writing to secondary students and contains many helpful and practical tips for the classroom. The left-hand menu will help you navigate to the components of writing which you are most interested in; highly recommended is the information on thesis statement writing, helping struggling writers, and Linda's trademark 'Writing Skeleton'. There is also information on the site for students if they are seeking support for writing or practice tasks. Sign up for the free ezine, emailed to you each month, which contains new writing tips, prompts and samples. A great free resource to develop writing skills in your students.
This site was created in order to provide aspiring writers of all genres with free assistance. The site provides step-by-step guides for writing short stories, novels, poetry, scripts, and memoirs, including things like how to show not tell, creating convincing character profiles using questionnaires, and the art of wriing dialogue. The site also offers free writing courses which span over days or weeks and are completed by email. The site also contains a designated teaching resource page including lesson plans, however, many of the other pages could easily be utilised in the secondary classroom.
This wiki, created by a professor of English Education at the University of Minnesota, focuses on teaching writing using digital tools. This wiki will provide you with some fantastic ideas on integrating tools like social media and online discussion forums into your writing lessons. There is also extensive information on collaborative writing using digital tools, evaluating digital writing such as blog writing, and reflecting upon digital writing in order to stimulate growth in your students' writing. A fantastic, free, and easy to navigate resource which provides practical tips based on sound pedagogy.
The Online Writing Lab at Purdue University offers helpful writing and grammar tips, as well as information on many text types, and scaffolds and templates which will assist students in their writing. You will find the resources for Instructors and Students Grade 7-12 are classified into categories which will help you teach the writing process and steps to your students from Stage 4 right up to the most advanced Stage 6 students.
Presented by NEALS, this instructional story-writing program with author Christopher Cheng is aimed at students in late primary school, however it would also be appropriate for early Stage 4 students, and students who are struggling writers. The tutorial can be downloaded as text or viewed as a video presentation. There are also lesson ideas under the 'Resources' tab which are structured according to Bloom's Taxonomy.
Australian language, letters and literature found at the Australian Government's Culture and Recreation portal allows you to access a rich diversity of Australian writing. This site is definitely worth searching and the comprehensive list of related web links to Writers' Centres, Libraries, Associations, Journals and E-materials will be very helpful.
Writer Jane Yolen conducts a myths writing workshop on the Scholastic site. Students are guided through very clear instructions, step by step, as they create their own myths. An extra bonus is the online publication facility that is available and students are able to publish and read their own work and that of their peers. The Myth Brainstorming Machine is a great place to start for generating ideas. This is a wonderful resource.
Wake Up Brain!
The following SlideShare presentation provides some helpful activities to get students' minds active and ready to write.
View more presentations from Ethos3
See also the section on Creativity and Imagination for ideas about creative writing.
About Writers (General)
A Celebration of Women Writers is a great repository of a huge range of Australian references. Simply click on the name of the female writer you are interested in and you will be taken to whatever material is available, and for contemporary authors, it is usually their own website.
The Centre for The Macquarie PEN Anthology of Australian Literature was set up to promote scholarship and research into Australian writing, and this led to the production of an Anthology of Australian literature published in July 2009. The Anthology is a landmark in Australian publishing with over 500 extracts from more than 300 writers. An online teachers' guide with 10 units of work for Secondary students and with multimedia resources- all available for free download from publishers Allen and Unwin - accompanies the Anthology. The Anthology of Indigenous Literature was published in May 2008.
This link is from a section called Literature on the personal website of Perry Middlemiss from Victoria, Australia. Although his selections may appear idiosyncratic there is a fascinating collection of Australian writers to explore. He provides bibliographic detail, quotations from the writing, and excerpts from reviews. An interesting place to investigate and handy for obtaining a brief overview and a list of the works of a particular writer.
The site of the Australian Society of Authors contains up to date news about the issues affecting Australian writers as well as various literary projects. It is a professional organisation that focuses on supporting Australian writing. There are good links to a range of authors' personal sites. You can subscribe to 'Australian Author', published three times a year. There are also some interesting pieces such as a portfolio on comics and graphic novels.
This site - Inside a Dog - by the State Library in Victoria is brilliant. It should be bookmarked on all young people's computers as it encourages them to engage with books in a rich variety of ways. There are recommendations about books, students can read and write reviews, download interviews with the authors, listen to podcasts of chapter one of a variety of books, write their thoughts on a forum and contact the resident author (a rotating seat). It is creatively presented, stimulating, and really taps into their imaginations.
Some specific writers
Australian writer John Marsden's website is cleverly designed and would capture anyone's interest. For teachers, there is an index of lots of novel assignments and many extracts from his books that are freely available to you For students, his blog feature is well presented and it could be a good model for their own online writing.
The blog of author T. N. Tobias has fantastic tips on writing for both amateur and professional writers, including techniques for creating plot twists, and how to motivate yourself to get writing. Check out the 'writing' tag (under the 'Cloud' on the right-hand side of the page) for all posts concerning writing and writing tips. Tobias also offers book reviews which may interest Stage 6 students.
This site has been created to explore John Marsden's Tomorrow, When the War Began as well as his other books in the series. Richard Simpson is a fan and he has developed an array of activities and commentaries as his responses to what he had read. It's a great resource if you were looking at the books and it includes writing samples, ideas to explore in class, and some drama extracts created from Marsden’s prose. Students would find this an interesting site to analyse from the perspective of writing about someone else’s work.
This is Neil Gaiman's children and young adult fiction website. It features information about Neil's books, and under 'Extras' you will find videos of interviews with the author, movie trailers, and also readings of his books.
The Jane Austen Society of Australia (JASA) is dedicated to all things Jane Austen. The site is a useful one to explore and has excellent visuals to show the historical period and many features of Austen's life. The society's journal Sensibilities, which can be accessed online, has fascinating articles written on many aspects of the fiction and Austen's world. There is even a crossword on Emma's men! It provides a wealth of links to all the key material you would ever want if you are teaching Austen's novels.
This is a wiki which has been established to collate all information about Terry Pratchett's fictional Discworld. If you are using this text in the classroom, this site is useful to access as it has character profiles for every character, information about the imaginary 'context' of the novels, and also information about the mythical origins of the stories. The site is not visually appealing, and remember that as a wiki information may not be completely reliable (although the site is monitored).
This website belongs to Cynthia Leitich Smith who writes fiction for young adults but she also has a wide variety of published work, including picture books and contemporary Native American writing. This is a helpful resource because it contains many tips for writing and journaling, and it is extremely well organised with lots of online resources for teaching easily accessible.
See also the section on Picture Books for a comprehensive list of authors and their websites or blogs.
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