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The novella - a constructivist senior unit in writing

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Philippa Wintle

on 27 March 2015

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Transcript of The novella - a constructivist senior unit in writing

Why teach this unit?
The best teachers we had, the ones we remember, are those whose expectations of us, exceeded those we had for ourselves.

The best teaching we do, is the teaching where we exceed expectation.

Exceeding expectation requires risk taking, because to exceed there has to be a degree to which we have an unexpected outcome:

In risk taking:
* We become intuitive
* We reflect on the success of our intuitive processes
The Short Story
What components do we have in a short story?

The narrative graph - and discussion of process

Student Reflections
How do we
teach creative writing?

* Use of Senses

* Show not tell

* Language Features
The novella - a constructivist senior unit in writing
Everything we do, works. Regardless of the nature of instruction, our students will generally continue to achieve.

This is why we tend to see new methods as 'change' as opposed to opportunity.

This unit provides the type of opportunity that forces facilitative instruction, that is responsive to individual achievement. There is room only to therefore reflect on process through the course of the unit, room only to ask,
in what ways
, are students learning as opposed to
1) The effective inclusion of figurative language should be when being literal does not give the idea justice. Students must be
to use figurative language deliberately.

The danger is that students are using language without intrinsic purpose and only to please a teacher and marking schedule - the assessment is without meaning.

2) Language features must not simply be seen as metaphors and similes, but also verbs, diction and powerful parts of speech. When we these devices for an intended effect, it becomes a feature of our language.

So what?

In order for students to practise using language with authenticity, the study of language must be embedded in meaningful teaching and learning. Students must
the power of language, not simply know the remembered effect of memorized language features.

If students can achieve without direct instruction, our responsibility lies in making students
in the process and evolution of their writing - we can influence this.
Assigning roles and early stages
Creating discussion
Having impact on your peers
Students know what success looks like as they begin to shape the learning
Surface learning to deep learning - student navigated transition (challenge in becoming accountable

The Writing Process
Assessing students on their learning, not something summative
Drive students with their success
The formative nature of the work allows you to observe and feel positive about the process, makes you a positive educator

Tech – not because you have to tick a box, but because it encourages a focus on process, it means you can monitor, students can learn, borrow and feel empowered by others
Providing formative evaluation
Students are receptive to feedback, because they are invested
See impact that you are having as a teacher
Deliberate learners / deliberate practice

Students understanding the pedagogical language that teachers use - they completely understand the value in the process, as a teacher
They are reflective learners reflecting on process
Explore the
of the decisions I made, not so much the outcome
Connection to setting


Physical descriptions
Activity building in intensity

Sub plot (if there is one) activity mimics that in the main plot

Type of activity is dependent on the way tension builds

Still things unsaid, undiscovered

Tension still builds due to way the resolution of action is treated

way the climax resolves determines the theme.

Importance of finding meaning/understanding in treatment of climactic activity



Social conditions/context


What is hidden?


Power relations established
Further motivation...
Can creative writing be seen as a measurement of summative achievement more than an evaluation of creative processes?

It is student skill, not performance, that will serve them in their futures.

If we
don't have national assessments in place to assess 'learning'
(although writing prtfolios certainly support this), we have to design units where students realise the value in learning processes. We do this so students can become deliberate, reflective and empowered learners.

A problem
Concepts taken from John Hattie's - Building Connections and Cohesion (NZ Festival of Education March '14)

Becoming empowered as an educator by discovering that your methodology is rooted in pedagogical theory. Motivated by success. Success occurs because of risk.

Curricula could be designed with more internal coherence and, consequently, would be
effective, once they deliberately separated the task of

achieving a certain level of performance
in a skill from that of
generating conceptual understanding
within a given problem area.

Glasersfeld, E. v. (1989, July). Synthese. Cognition, Construction of Knowledge,
80 (1), pp. 120-140.
2.1 - Analyse specified aspect(s) of studied written text(s), supported by

Specified aspect(s) are selected from:
• purposes and audiences
• ideas (eg character, theme, setting)
• language features (eg figurative language, syntax, style, symbolism, vocabulary,
sound devices)
• structures (eg part text, whole text, narrative sequence, beginnings and endings).

2.3 Analyse significant aspects of unfamiliar written text(s) through close
reading, supported by evidence

Significant aspects of texts are selected from:
• particular audiences and purposes
• ideas (eg themes, attitudes, beliefs, experiences, feelings, insights, meanings,
opinions, thoughts, and understandings within the text)
• language features (eg figurative language, syntax, style, symbolism, vocabulary,
sound devices)
• structures (eg part text, whole text, narrative sequence, beginnings and endings).

2.4 Produce a selection of crafted and controlled writing

Produce a selection of crafted and controlled writing using language features
appropriate to audience and purpose to command attention involves: the sustained
and inventive or articulate use of language features, distinctive personal voice,
dimensions or viewpoints to create meaning, effects, and audience engagement.

Selection of writing means that at least two pieces are chosen from a range of drafts
and taken to publication standard.

Written pieces may include – descriptions, narratives, poems, personal accounts,
scripts, reports, commentaries, text reviews, articles, short fiction, essays,
Ideas may include – thoughts, feelings, experiences or sensory qualities, facts,
opinions, information, observations, and argument.

Crafted writing involves a systematic process of reworking and reshaping the writing,
and selecting language deliberately to achieve a planned whole.

Controlled writing involves the deliberate use of language features to produce writing
that is precise, planned, and coherent.

Using language features involves:
• vocabulary selection
• syntax
• stylistic features
• written text conventions (including spelling, punctuation, grammar).

Teaching at our best
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