Home' Focus : Focus Magazine Spring 2014 Contents ELPHIN CAMPUS
Children’s Book Week provided a perfect
example of ways in which the students of
today learn very differently from generations,
or even decades, past. Contemporary
research about learning highlights new
understandings of how the brain assimilates
and adapts to new learning.
Encouraging curiosity and fostering
creativity are central to this.
Ephin campus staff brought books alive
for students though innovative programs
that included workshops with poet Cameron
Hindrum and immersion in creative writing
challenges – and singing – with singer-
songwriter Reuben Koops.
Reuben inspired students from Years 2-5
with a series of workshops over a full day in
Linking to the theme of ‘connect to
reading, reading to connect’, Reuben
explored song lyrics with students and led
workshops to rewrite words of the popular
song ‘Happy’ by Pharrell Williams.
Students defined a song as ‘creative
writing put to music, something that is
memorable, has a catchy tune, a beat,
rhythm and . . . an inspiration through words’.
A small group of students from across the
classes joined Reuben for an intimate chat
about song writing and music.
Sessions with authors Julie Hunt and
Sara Mithen and illustrator Natalie Stone
sparked much discussion and learning
about storytelling and writing techniques,
proofreading and editing.
Julie Hunt, an award winning Tasmanian
author, spent time working with the Year 3
community and guiding them through
a Writer’s Workshop, the culmination of a
four week online writing project. Julie writes a
range of books for children – picture books,
chapter books, graphic novels and novels.
Apart from writing, she told students she
loves building and travelling, has visited many
countries which have provided inspiration
for her books, and she lives in a mud brick
house with a composting toilet.
Students created a picture of themselves
wearing a ‘magic hat’ describing their unique
qualities as a way of introducing themselves
to Julie, who then compiled the pictures
together to produce a ‘60 Magic Hats’ poster
for classrooms to display.
She then talked to the students about the
process of creating stories and guided them
through each stage.
After completing and posting the stories,
Julie recorded individual feedback for
students to assist them in developing their
writing talents. This has been an innovative
and engaging experience for the Year 3
A group of retired teachers and ex-
students of the College returned to read to
small groups of Early Learning students. The
enthusiastic response of the students and
their engagement with the literature showed
their thirst for reading.
The Year 2-5 LIVE@Elphin on Thursday, led
by Year 2 O’Loughlin, focused on the 2014
award winning books from the Childrens’
Book Council and Friday’s Year 2-5 Chapel,
led by Year 4 Buck, saw students sharing
the theme of ‘King Pin’ (by Nick Bland). The
appetite of students from Early Learning to
Year 5 for reading (and writing) was wonderful
The excitement generated spilt over into
the celebration of National Literacy and
ConneXions welcomed local author, oral
story writer and poet, Lyndon Riggall back
to workshop with students. The focus was
exploring poetry and building on students’
connections developed with the previous
week’s work with Cameron and Reuben.
Lyndon took students on a poetry journey
and challenged them to participate in a
poetry slam based on a topic word.
He discussed his latest writing adventures
and inspired students with a taster of his
recent sci-fi novel, The Drift, which he
completed last week . . . “I am looking at my
mother, waiting to see if the red light on her
head is going to start flashing . . .”
Learning experiences such as these
develop student skills and knowledge of
specific reading and writing techniques
(from the curriculum). Importantly, they also
engage and inspire students to read more,
to write more and to delve into new aspects
of literature. Their curiosity and creativity are
Head of Junior School
Curiosity and creativity
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