Recalling memories, drawing sketches and acting out small scenes were all techniques introduced to Afternoons with TTF participants by Gita Varadarajan, the session's presenter. Who knew writing could be so interesting, interactive, and yes, fun!
Stressing the importance of a personal connection to that which we write, Gita had participants focus on exploring real moments from their own experiences.
Gita Varadarajan, a former Bangalore area teacher, is now a student at Teachers College Columbia University, USA where she is completing her masters degree in Literacy Education. A truly interactive session, she began by modelling the specific steps of the writing workshop model and then providing participants the chance to practice the methods themselves. Planning, drafting, writing, revising, editing and finally publishing their pieces. More than 30 teachers were busy writers for the afternoon, when TTF organized AWTTF, “Writing Matters: A fresh look at the Writing Curriculum” at Holy Angels Higher Primary School, Bangalore.
Writers, as participants were addressed throughout the afternoon, understood through direct experience how much easier writing becomes when describing something real and relevant. When given the choice to decide on a narrative, combined with concrete strategies for revising like adding feelings, dialogue and action, stories seemed to write themselves.
Following the portion on the Writing Workshop model, Gita continued with the reading aspect of literacy. Modelling read-aloud behaviour, she demonstrated asking higher order thinking questions that required participants to predict what would happen next, what they thought characters were feeling and draw conclusions about the story.
The afternoon concluded with a series of questions and answers and teachers suggesting ways they can implement some of the strategies in their own classrooms. Some of these classroom applications included, organizing partner work, planning time for student writing and encouraging students to write about what they know. The teachers at Holy Angels Higher Primary School, participants from other area schools and the TTF staff who attended, all benefited from the demonstration of new techniques.
Posted by Julia Bach, TTF Bangalore Centre