National Writing Project Launch, 11th October

The National Writing Project UK launch on the 11th of October saw the inaugural meeting of the first NWP group in Scotland.  Emily Gillies, NQT English at Springburn Academy, reports on the event. Inquiries about NWP Glasgow can be directed to Lisa Hamilton at gw17hamiltonlisa@glow.ea.glasgow.sch.uk . Lisa has written about NWP on here own blog, here .

On Wednesday, October 11th I had the pleasure of attending a National Writing Project UK event at Springburn Academy. The event was a launch for not only the first National Writing Project group in Glasgow but indeed the first in Scotland, and was an exciting opportunity to learn a little bit more about what the National Writing Project does, as well as learning about some practical approaches to teaching creative writing in the classroom. The event was well-attended by a mix of both primary and secondary teachers, and offered opportunities to share good practice and to discuss and reflect upon what we had learned.

Simon Wrigley, one of the co-founders of the National Writing Project UK, opened the workshop by explaining the philosophy behind the project and stressing the importance of creative writing, for both pupils and teachers. We were then asked to think about our own experiences and memories of writing, and encouraged to share these with the other members at our group, which opened up interesting conversations about the emotions associated with writing. We reflected on how these experiences – positive or negative – have influenced our adult relationships with writing, thus highlighting the importance of allowing children to have opportunities to write creatively in an encouraging, positive environment.

We then engaged in a free writing activity, in which we wrote about one of our memories or experiences for five minutes, without stopping to plan, review or edit our writing. These five minutes flew by and afterwards, we were once again encouraged to discuss and reflect upon the activity, with many in my own group describing the experience as “freeing” and “cathartic”. I very much enjoyed this writing technique as it forced me to write without worrying too much about whether it was “good enough”, which I believe is one reason I myself am hesitant to even begin writing in the first place. Many of us found that, once we had started writing, the ideas flowed very easily and the most difficult thing about it was writing quickly enough to get everything down on the page within the allotted time! We were not forced to share our work but simply to read back on it and reflect on the experience of writing itself.

Almost the instant we started reflecting on the free writing activity, I could see how it would be a useful activity to use in class. I have a National 5 class who are very reluctant to begin writing their Personal Writing pieces for their Folio, for numerous reasons, including not knowing where to start when it comes to writing about a personal experience. However, I feel like an activity such as this, where pupils and teachers are all engaged in the writing process together, where there is no pressure on creating the “perfect” piece of work, and where pupils are not forced to share their writing unless they absolutely feel comfortable doing so, is the ideal jumping off point. I will certainly be using this with my National 5 class and have plans to use it as a starter activity in BGE classes as well.

 

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Two fantastic upcoming SATE events (2): How success in Literacy and Language improves Wellbeing

On the 20th of September, SATE are delighted to be hosting an evening seminar with Professor Sue Ellis of the University of Strathclyde. Professor Ellis will explore current policy challenges whilst also looking at evidence on effective teaching approaches. She will also focus on the way aspects of literacy, language and literature contribute to pupils’ social, emotional and intellectual wellbeing.

Professor Ellis has a strong commitment to knowledge exchange and to research that directly supports improved literacy outcomes for pupils. The recurring themes in her work concern literacy and equity, policy implementation and teacher development. She is the co-author of the highly-regarded report Closing the Attainment Gap in Scottish Education published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation in 2014.

You can sign up for this event at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/sate-seminar-how-success-in-literacy-and-language-improves-wellbeing-tickets-37562945782.

See you there!

Two fantastic upcoming SATE events (1): The National Writing Project

Founded in 2009, the National Writing Project UK aims to deepen understanding about what writing is, what it can do for teachers, and how the process of writing can be more meaningfully managed in schools. It is a not-for-profit co-operative, a network of teacher’s writing groups run by teachers for teachers, and a research project that aims to explore writing and find out further answers to the question, ‘What happens when teachers gather together to write and share their writing?’ 

Each meeting of a writing group gives teachers a chance to share ideas, resources and approaches to teaching creative writing, with members leaving each session with something new to try with their classes. In addition, the National Writing Project UK reports attending a writing group boosts confidence both in teaching writing and in teachers writing for themselves.

Currently there are twenty-one NWP UK writing groups meeting regularly in England. In October, for the first time, a Scottish branch of the Project will launch in Scotland.

On Wednesday October 11th, a Glasgow branch of the NWP will hold their launch event at Springburn Academy in Glasgow. Simon Wrigley, co-founder of the NWP UK, will be in attendance. He will give a brief introduction to the NWP and the research it carries out, before leading us in a session of prompted writing. We will end with a discussion of strategies for encouraging creative writing in the classroom.

All teachers of writing ­­- primary, secondary and tertiary – are warmly invited to attend. Below is an outline of the launch event. If you are a keen writer or a nervous writer, a teacher of writing and think joining the Glasgow NWP writing group might be for you, please come along! All welcome.

Any questions or queries, or to let us know that you intend to come, please get in touch with Lisa Hamilton, English Teacher at Springburn Academy on;

gw17hamiltonlisa@glow.ea.glasgow.sch.uk

Or connect with Lisa on Twitter @MissHamiltonEng

National Writing Project – Glasgow Branch Launch event

Wednesday 11th October, 4pm.

4:00 Welcome and Introductions; NWP – the evolution of this teacher-led, research project – the evidence so far – experiential learning of writing for UK teachers interested in 

  • exploring their own process – half-termly opportunities to write in a trusted group, 
  • reflecting on the changing nature of writing and learning, 
  • networking with other NWP groups, and collecting evidence of the effect of teacher-owned CPD on well-being, agency and pedagogy

4:10 Sampling common NWP practices: quick writing exercises including free-writing or ‘automatic writing’

4:30 More sustained writing practice

4:45 Listening and responding to others’ writing, sharing your own writing, discussing how to develop meaningful/ discovery writing across the curriculum: –

  • free-writing, 
  • writing alongside pupils, 
  • initiating, developing and sustaining writing journals and writing groups

5:00 Questions, further discussion and future dates and venues of Glasgow NWP

5:15 Finish 

 

 

SATE Seminar: The Autism Friendly English Classroom

We are delighted to announce our first South Ayrshire SATE Seminar, on the 6th of September at 4.15pm in Marr College, Troon.

The approach taken will be to recognise and value your expertise as English teachers and to enable you to import understanding of autism into your classroom practice.

This session will provide an overview of the autism spectrum. There will be particular focus on the potential strengths of and challenges for autistic learners. Autistic thinking and information processing will be explored. There will also be an emphasis on the impact of the environment and the importance of wellbeing in relation to learning. There will be a focus on practical approaches, useful resources and the opportunity for discussion.

The session will be delivered by Charlene Tait, Director of Practice & Research for Scottish Autism.

Tickets can be booked through Eventbrite at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/sate-seminar-the-autism-friendly-english-classroom-tickets-37058695556 .

We look forward to seeing you there!