On Saturday, I spoke at the South Australian English Teachers’ Association (SAETA) English Teachers’ Refresher Course about my Year 11 EAL (ESL/ELL) students and my teaching strategies for creative writing.
Out of Eden Learn is one strategy that I employ in nurturing creative writing and insightful perspectives.
Strategies to empower students’ creative writing
Before my presentation, I listened to Rosie Egan talk about teaching resources and strategies to help students succeed in creative writing. Rosie spoke about how to move students beyond producing formulaic responses that are reliant on scaffolding. She said how these responses limit students’ ability to achieve and suggested strategies that develop students’ creativity:
- Personal Voice-
- Digital stories that are lively, quirky, authentic and original
- Journalism- writing for an audience
As I listened, I was struck by the connection of these creative writing strategies to the Out of Eden Learn project.
By incorporating Out of Eden Learn into my year 11 ELL class my students are developing their creativity in new and exciting ways that extend the ELL curriculum. Here are some examples from my 2016 and 2017 ELL students that demonstrate Rosie’s strategies for producing creative writing.
In response to Footstep 2, Everday Borders, from the Stories of Human Migration Project, one of my students posted this reflection to share with the other schools on the Out Of Eden Blog.
My image of the clock shows the boundary of time, the border between the past, present and future. Time is an independent variable therefore, it sets its own border and it is very compelling. It confuses you when you think about how did I get into this position, it makes you wonder- Do I cause the changes or will change still happen without my interfering? What are the possibilities for everything to be the same? Do I want everything to be the same? Which one is better, the past or the present? At the same time, time also answers all of the above “Whether is good or bad it will pass, no matter of bright or dark it will come, but you get to fill in the adjective and I will achieve the verb.”
Here is a digital story in response to Out Of Eden Learn’s ‘Listening to Neighbour’s Stories’
Out of Eden Learn gives students an authentic audience and an online space to publish their writing.
Long stretching road –
This is a photo of the road outside my school in Australia. It appears that we could get to the Adelaide Hills at the end of the road. I took the photo when I was crossing it. The scenery was picturesque and caught my eye in an instant so I stood in the middle of the road and recorded this fascinating moment. At that time, I had just been in Adelaide for a few days and I sent numerous photos to my parents so that they were able to visualize my living and study environment.
I found that most of the roads in Adelaide are wide, flat and seemingly endless. There are usually very few people and cars travelling on the roads they could even be counted using fingers.
The roadside scenery is fascinating all the year round as it is consistently changing depending on the seasons. If we pay more attention to it, we can find that each season has its own unique beauty.
For me Out of Eden Learn is nurturing these creative writing skills by students expressing their personal voice through multimedia and by having a connection with a global audience.
A final thought …
Out of Eden Learn is a global learning environment that puts curiosity and connection first. As Will Richardson says, creativity is born out of curiosity and
Connection amplifies curiosity. This Internet thing has been the greatest boon to curiosity ever.