Leaky Elbow Syndrome


I often joke about how many of our students seem to have holes in their elbows and their wonderful ideas drop out before they hit the page!
I think we forget how hard it is for children to coordinate ideas, handwriting, concentration, punctuation etc and get ideas down.
My favourite lesson every day is WRITING and I am amazed as I see the creative process begin anew with each lesson.
The blank page is transformed- one minute it is empty- the next there are ideas, “wonderings”, creative “splats” and sadly sometimes one word and a pencil that just won’t move!
When I ask children what they would like to write they describe how they have many ideas and just cannot choose. Sometimes they have a HUGE idea and they are frightened to begin because it will take so long to write or they feel they cannot spell the words.
There are so many variables and teachers need a very full tool-box and a huge dose of understanding to be able to effectively teach written expression.
We sometimes use story starters- especially when children are tired and we are approaching the end of the year.
As children LOVE random choices, we often cut these up and they take one as a lucky dip. They act as “circuit breakers” so their brains can zoom in on just one idea!
If I give them too many topics to choose from they will get into the “kangaroo caught in the spotlight” syndrome and simply stop!
I have given you some of our story starters here and invite you to try them out. We are always devising more and at the moment we are working on a new Christmas set.
We share all our writing strategies in our writing workshop for teachers- ALL KIDS CAN WRITE. Please contact me if you would like to attend the forthcoming ones in Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane or Singapore.


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