Last week I visited Patana International School in Bangkok. During the week-long visit, I conducted writing workshops for grades 1 – 5. In the 2nd-grade workshop, I focused on hooking the reader with a good lead and using strong verbs and vivid details. The subject of our writing was sea turtle hatchlings. My directions were simple: you are sea turtle hatchling, break free of your eggshell with your egg tooth, clamber to the surface and then dash to the sea and swim away. Whenever I have given this assignment in the past, students write wonderful pieces of prose with lots of active verbs and turtle-ly vocabulary. How surprised and overjoyed when I saw what one group of second graders produced. Inspired by writing about sea turtles, they created comic strips of the hatchling’s journey to the sea. So cool!
Check out the teacher’s blog of the experience:
This week we have been incredibly lucky to have a visit from
children’s author, photographer, and naturalist Steve Swinburne as
part of our Non-Fiction November.
In our session with Steve on Wednesday we were blown aware by not only
his passion for writing, but his fascination for wildlife. Steve lives in
Vermont, a state in the United States, and is fortunate enough to be
surrounded by an incredible landscape and wildlife. It is through nature
which he uses his experiences and facts about nature and wildlife and
transform them into beautiful story books that children love.
The book he shared with us was TurtleTide, which told the story of sea turtles
coming to beaches to lay their eggs.
In the session with Steve we learnt the first things a writer needs to do is
“get it down and fix it up” a motivating phrase that enhances the need to get
your words out of your head, get them down on paper and then you can go
back, edit and fix them……mistakes are good!
Steve also shared with us the 3 important things to remember when writing, “If you, as a writer, have active verbs, cool details and a hook to grab the reader, you are halfway there to making your writing really sparkle.” This was something we
got to practice with Steve in our writing workshop.
Following this session we were inspired to take his non-fiction story of the
journey of the Turtle, and adding our own creativity to the concept and our
current learning on writing comics, we created our very own comic strips of
a turtle’s journey.
3H were inspired by Steve’s energy, passion, poetry, and singing about how to
be a writer and our need as a world to understand and respect animals. We
look forward to our next visit to the library to search for his books!