Reflections on Touring Schools
I’m now in the last week of the Wordsmiths tour of schools with cookbook writer Alessandra Zecchini and comic book writer Johnny-Angel. This is part of the Going West Books and Writers festival which is a touring programme that takes writers into Auckland intermediate and secondary schools. The goal is to engage with and inspire students, talk about the writing process and our various paths to publication.
So far we’ve visited the following schools:
Monday 13th August: Blockhouse Bay Intermediate
Tuesday 14th August: Bruce McLaren Intermediate
Wednesday 15th August: Te Atatu Intermediate
Tuesday 21st August: Rutherford High
Wednesday 22nd August: Kelston Girls College
Tuesday 28th August: St Dominics College
Over the course of the next two days, we have a busy schedule of four more schools:
Wednesday 29th August: Massey High and Glen Eden Intermediate
Thursday 30th August: Henderson Intermediate and Kelston boys High
I’ve loved doing this. At first, I was a bit nervous, especially given that our first visit was in front of 900 children. Authors are a funny breed – most of us aren’t really into self-promotion. It’s all very well to tuck yourself behind your desk and furiously write but actually talk to people face to face – well. Let’s just say I wasn’t the best. I’ve got better though. That’s the thing with practice. It’s like anything – the more you do something the better at it you get.
The thing is, after the first couple of schools, I really found myself getting into it. I am, after all, talking about a person and books that I know something about i.e. myself and my works. I’ve really enjoyed engaging with the audience and reaching my target audience. It’s nice to think that I am making even more of a difference than I’d do normally in my everyday teaching life. The Rapture Trilogy targets this age group so this exposure isn’t something I’d normally get teaching 7-8 year olds.
I’m passionate about literacy and writing. I like to think that passion is contagious. All three of us talk about the purpose of writing. Not every one of these young adults will become an author but I want them to see that all writing has a purpose. Being able to write helps in so many ways, in so many careers. Hopefully, some of them will be inspired to keep reading and keep writing. As I stress so often – practice, practice, practice. My first novel wasn’t much chop but I’ve got better. Why? Because I read a lot and I write a lot. I’ve learnt from my mistakes and I’ve grown as a writer because of it. Even if I only reach a small fraction of my audience, I still count that as a success.
Each book in this series:
• focuses on both surface and deeper features of students’ writing
• describes the features of non-fiction text types
• includes levelled writing exemplars for student analysis and group or class discussion
• models how to use exemplars to stimulate and develop students’ writing.
In this series, Phillip Simpson shares his expertise in teaching writing with teachers. He provides a clear and concise account of writing pedagogy followed by sections on each of the non-fiction text types – recounts, reports, explanations, expositions and
procedures. These sections include descriptions of the structure, text features, and purpose of each text type. An engaging collection of carefully-chosen texts is included
as exemplars of each text type. Discussion points that support students to analyse the text structures enhance the teaching value of these exemplars. Non-fiction Writing will support teachers to teach the details of writing with clarity while inspiring students to write with confidence.
The Year 5-6 book
Here's the year 7-8 book
Ah, bless you Kat.
Click here to see all 10 books.
I promised that I would upload a photo of my slightly obsessive bookcase on goodreads. Couldn't figure out how to do it there, so here it is here. Even though this was custom built, I'm starting to run out of room. We've been looking at moving house recently and it's got to the point where I won't consider any other house unless it's got room for me to put in a bigger bookcase. I keep buying books even though my back reading list is stacked so high it keeps falling off my bedside table.
Margaret Mahy Day
To commemorate and celebrate the life and work of a great storyteller, I was at Avondale library to read a few of Margaret Mahy's books during their story time session. Thanks to all the library staff and of course my listeners!
Phillip W. Simpson
Phillip W. Simpson is an author of YA and children's books.