My year 7 class is having a 15 minute free writing session, so here I am.
It’s an interesting thing – studies have shown that kids’ writing improves if they’re given opportunities to simply write whatever they want to write. No “What I Did On My Holidays” or things like that, just an orange exercise book and 15 minutes every now and then to write WHATEVER they want to write about. No teacher observations, no corrections… it’s their space. We’re doing it in the junior school.
The kids absolutely love it. Some kids are writing a novel, others are using it as a diary, others are writing a mishmash of stories, diary and poetry. One little naughty boy in one of my year 7 classes lost his orange book and was mortified when the year 7 student managers handed it back to him. He’d basically been wasting his time, writing lots of swear words (how dashing and daring) and one of the SMs had written a note on the last page of his writing. “Settle down a bit, mate.” He spent the first couple of minutes of his writing time ripping certain pages out of his book and shredding them, before settling down to write a story, presumably with the more ‘racier’ phrases cut out.
At the end of the session I let them show their friends what they wrote, if they wish. They love this. They look and giggle and make comments on their friends’ work, while other kids quietly pack away their book, unwilling to share. Either way, it’s all good.
It’s nice to see them really enjoying this task. Every time it’s ‘Orange Book Time’ you can hear a pin drop in the room. Or Dan writing something on the front of his book with a very squeaky texta.
Time’s up in one minute. Off to do some work on ‘Coraline’ after this.