Creative writing can be challenging for teachers. Some lack confidence and aren’t sure where to start. Others love teaching it, but don’t have the time to find approaches and techniques that are fresh and successful. Imagine: The Australian Students Creative Writing Book is a resource for all teachers, those who love teaching creative writing, like Sue and Jodi, and for those who struggle. Imagine… is filled with no-nonsense advice and many easy to use exercises that have been trialed and tested in classrooms. It even has black-line-masters to make teachers’ lives a little easier. While aimed at upper primary and lower secondary students, the book is relevant to all student writers. All activities can be adapted to suit any age group. Imagine… is divided into four sections, Preparation, The Craft, Revision and Publishing. In Preparation, the authors discuss the importance and role of the classroom environment, equipment, how to inspire and motivate children to write, and warm-ups before a writing session. Warm-ups help students to focus. This chapter is filled with dozens of warm-up prompts for immediate use in the classroom, and all chapters of the book begin with additional warm-ups. What’s The Problem explains the critical role of the problem in creative writing. Once they grasp this concept, students find creative writing a more enjoyable experience, and teachers find it easier to help students develop their stories. Finally, the authors share ways to generate ideas, plan stories and how to approach the first draft. The second section, The Craft, discusses the important role that beginnings, characters, dialogue, setting and titles play in narratives. Each section starts with suggested warm-ups and chapters are filled with exercises suitable for students to complete individually, in groups or as a class. The exercises require little preparation, but achieve big results. Revision is filled with ways teachers can help students make their draft sparkle. From improving description to choosing stronger words, this section is filled with examples and ideas to help students practice revising skills. The final section, Publishing, presents a range of ideas to celebrate young writer’s achievements. Writing is hard work, so it is important that finished work is recognised. The last sections of Imagine… are again practical resources for teachers. A glossary explains writing terminology, the suggested reading list features books, mainly picture books for ease of use in the classroom, which illustrate various aspects of author’s craft and the ways in which authors use characters, setting, the problem and other techniques to tell their story. The final section, and perhaps the most useful is the selection of black line masters for classroom use. Imagine: The Australian Students Creative Writing Book is designed to be a practical book which requires a minimum of preparation to ensure success. Its what teachers have been asking us for when we visit schools to run workshops with students. It’s simple, easy to implement and most of all, achieves results.
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