YARRAWONGA COLLEGE P-12
On 24th May I start my ‘author-in-residence’ at Yarrawonga College, P-12 and I can’t wait.
I’ll be working with students in years P-8, helping them tell their stories. The theme of the project is Your Story is Our Story
There will be puppets, writing crafts, museum visits and research – all part of the project. The residency is for four and a bit weeks and at the end of it, student stories will be written, edited and compiled into anthologies. Every student will have a piece of work published.
It’s a huge undertaking, and the staff at Yarrawonga College have been truly incredible in getting behind the residency, and Project Coordinator and Leading Teacher – Curriculum and Pedagogy, Rebecca Sprague has gone above and beyond to ensure that everything’s in place and the needs of both students and staff will be met.
I’m truly privileged to be spending time at this regional school. They haven’t had an author visit in a very long time and my ‘author-in-residence’ works in with their mission and commitment to boost literacy levels and inspire kids to write.
WHAT I’LL BE DOING
- Running writing workshops for P-8, showing them how authors create their stories and the different forms that stories can take.
- Encouraging writers in Years 5-8 to start their own writer’s groups and experience the fun of writing.
- Running Writer’s Workshops at lunchtimes for Years 9-12.
- Working with a Marketing and Editorial committee comprised of students to design, edit and compile the anthologies.
MY PROJECT GOALS
- I want every student to believe that their own personal story is just as valid and important as anyone else’s. Everyone has a story to tell.
- Inspire students to create their own works, and to understand that there is more than one way to tell a story.
- Empower students to tell their stories in the way they want.
- Meet Australian Curriculum learning goals that enhance student’s understanding of their place in the world.
- Inspire students to love storytelling and writing as much as I do.
- Introduce students to new ways to tell stories and techniques that authors use
- Inspire students who love creating to follow their passion and consider a career in the arts.
- Help students who love writing to help each other by setting up writing partnerships and writer’s groups that will continue after I’ve left the school.
PREPARING TO BE AN ‘AUTHOR-IN-RESIDENCE’
There have been many steps to get to this point including:
- Providing an outline of how I have inspired kids to write – and the kind of program I will run at the school.
- Worked with the potential Project Coordinator on a submission for funding from Creative Victoria through their Creative Learning Partnerships program (other state and federal funding bodies may have money available). We were successful in getting funding but due to Covid-19 the project was postponed for 12 months.
- Visited the school and spent a day with staff discussing how the project would work and what they hoped to get from it.
- Worked on a plan for how many sessions each year level would need to brainstorm, write and edit their stories.
- Devised a plan to fit with the school’s timetable.
- Worked with the Project Co-ordinator to obtain printing quotes for the anthologies.
- Outlined a volunteer program to encourage local residents to get involved in the project at the school – helping students with learning differences to tell their stories, and potentially providing assistance putting together the anthologies.
- Provided press releases and other publicity suggestions to secure support for the project and interest volunteers in assisting with the program.
- Identify which of my books are relatable to the project, and help the school share them with students in advance. For example, Beyond Belief (inspired by the true story of Muslims at a Paris mosque) will be used in upper primary and early secondary classrooms to demonstrate the importance of setting and the importance of telling our stories and understanding our place in the world.
- Made introductory author videos for the students to excite them about the project and encourage them to be comfortable with me being in their classrooms.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT
In spite of all the preparation, this will be an organic and creative project and I can’t wait to see how the students respond.
I’ll be blogging about the residency here so stay tuned for more over the coming weeks.
Thanks to Creative Victoria and Creative Learning Partnerships for making this program possible.