'Write Something Amazing'
Just a few of the schools I have presented at: Holy Redeemer PS Surrey Hills, Penleigh and Essendon Grammar, Burke Hall (Xavier College), Essendon PS, St Vincent de Paul PS Strathmore, St John Bosco's PS Niddrie, Holy Cross PS New Gisborne, St Brigid’s PS Gisborne, Sunbury Heights Primary, Mt Macedon PS, St Ambrose PS Woodend and Woodend PS. Gisborne Library held a ‘Library Lockdown’, where the library was open only for 10-13-year-olds to attend a special writing session I ran. In 2018, I also spoke to students at a school in London, UK.
I work with Preps to Year 7s. Prep class sessions are separate, while other sessions can be by grade, or group grades 1 & 2, 3 & 4, 5 & 6. All sessions involve student interaction throughout.
Grade 3 to Year 7 sessions require 50 - 55 minutes, allowing for student interaction during the session and a short question time at the end. Prep, 1 & 2 sessions are between 30 - 40 minutes. I find groups of 25 - 50 students per group works well, although I have presented to groups of 70 - 100.
From one of the teachers:
Thank you so much giving up your valuable time Karlana and giving our Grade 5/6s some direction with their editing. As you had already guessed, editing is neither an area of great enjoyment or skill for our students. In hearing that even you as an author spend much time editing, that characters names and even concepts change during this process was eye-opening and motivating to hear. Upon discussions following your visit, students discussed the importance of editing, for fixing up spelling and punctuation but also to check for ideas and general readability. I suddenly have students saying they are writing their own books and wanting to share parts of these in class, above and beyond our regular writing sessions. Thanks for the motivation, Karlana.
I am passionate about getting kids to read widely and to learn the basics of writing well from a young age. As they transition through the upper primary years and into secondary school, it is vital that they have the skills to write clearly and logically - and for their work to be interesting!
Pre-Covid, I ran Writing Skills Incursions in schools, inspiring students from Prep to Year 7 to look at their writing in new ways to take it to the next level, creating something they can be extra proud of. The skills I cover can be applied to both fiction and non-fiction writing.
Topics I discuss interactively with the students, targeted to the group’s age level, include:
- why we read and why what we like to read leads to what we write well
- what to write about and how to tackle topics you might not want to write about
- writing what you know
- developing the story and giving it a unique angle
- the importance of the dictionary and thesaurus, and the importance of editing (and editing again...and again)
I use popular authors the students would be familiar with to illustrate many of these points.
Other specialist sessions are available for Grade 5 & 6 and Year 7 students, including Next Level Editing and Writing Migration Stories. Please ask if there is any topic you would like covered.