3 November 2009
Children dressing up as their favourite fictional character and visits from popular local authors were features of a week of writing in September to focus attention on the narrative style at Ss Peter and Paul School, Lower Hutt.
Narrative writing is considered to be exceptionally difficult not just for children, but for a vast range of age groups who struggle to use this tool in their writing. Narrative writing has been highlighted as a key component in the New Zealand Curriculum for schools this year. Widening the imagination to stimulate ideas for children’s writing was the purpose behind ‘Narration Mayhem’ Week, the last week of the third term.
The week involved an assortment of activities. For example, ‘narration station’ presented displays of the best writing throughout the school. On Wednesday, the pupils had the opportunity to dress up as their favourite character. In the afternoon the school held an open day for parents to encourage children to show off their writing progress.
Different authors also visited and shared their writing techniques with the eager pupils. New Zealand artist, Good Morning show arts presenter and novelist, Fifi Colston, and Ss Peter and Paul School teacher and author, Patty Hayley, discussed how they incorporate the narrative into their own writing. Each author read out and dramatised snippets of their work as an interactive activity where the children had to work out for themselves the narrative style. This created stimulation and excitement for the children as they were given the task of writing books of their own.
Well known New Zealand storyteller Dick Weir told the children about his long career in children’s broadcasting at Radio New Zealand particularly as the presenter and producer of the children’s programme, ‘Ears’. Then some of the students interviewed Dick Weir on his work with ‘Fly My Pretties’. Dick spoke of the decision to make Fly My Pretties into a book and shared his numerous ideas for a sequel. Dick said his inspiration stemmed from ‘the kids we work with in schools’ and the proposal that ‘those ideas could be used to write the sequel’. The incorporation of children’s ideas into his own work served as an inspiration to the young writers. The children said the project was ‘an exciting, fun week to take part in’.