As I tour schools talking books and writing, so many teachers express an interest in bringing more creative writing back into the classroom. Much time is spent teaching narrative styles and critical thinking skills and great tools for writing in a test environment but so little time is left to allow teachers and students to experiment with the kind of free-written creativity that I enjoyed when I went to school.
Recently I received a letter from Payton, a participant at one of my school holiday writing workshops and then a follow-up letter from her mother, Diana, a year 6 teacher. I include Payton’s note (to Tom, the character in My Life and Other Stuff I Made Up) because it made me smile and Diana’s note because it shows how she is instituting a fantastic program she calls www (‘write write write’) in the classroom with excellent results.
I love your book it is so funny!
It is so good even my mum is reading it.
This goes to Tristan Bancks.
i went to your workshop at The Childrens Bookshop and
thought it was great!
You are really funny and i like the way you right stories.
Please email back
Just wanted take a few minutes to thank you. My daughter, Payton attended your writer’s workshop at the Children’s Bookshop in Beecroft during the holidays and was inspired. I too gained so much from the short time I was able to observe. She has followed your website ever since and has been emailing you. I thank you for taking the time to read it and respond. It means so much to her.
I am a Year 6 teacher and I think she mentioned in her email that I read “Scab” to my class on the first day of school. It was a great way to break the ice with a group of cool pre-teens. They loved it and couldn’t wait to hear more from your book “My Life…” I showed them your website and have also timetabled a writing time into our class timetable EVERY DAY. I loved the book you showed the children at the workshop where you would write ANYTHING every day. We used to do that years back as teachers until it went out of vogue. Thanks for inspiring me to bring it back and make the time for it.
I gave the children a special book which we gave a word graffiti cover and I’ve called the writing session “www.” which stands for “writewritewrite.” The kids loved it from the beginning.
I used your top tips for writing from your website and told the children that they had to keep writing about absolutely anything and that they could not stop until time was up. It was wonderful to hear them groaning when I said time was up and many said,”that went too quick!”
Keep up your good work in inspiring young people with your knowledge about writing and your great books.
Great to hear you and teachers like Diane are bringing creativity back to the classroom Tristan. I'm a writer and used to teach English and have long been in despair about the lack of time devoted to writing. Let's hope the curriculum pendulum swings away from testing and back to promoting imagination and something more than teaching to the next exam. Keep up the great work!