Every Friday afternoon, my Writer’s Club meet to share our latest work, new ideas and, of course, complete the flash fiction and haiku challenge of the day. All this is done in half an hour. But, one of the first questions I ask when a story is discussed or an idea is framed for peer discussion is: what’s the hook?
Books flow in abundance from adults willing to share their lives or create escapes for others to enjoy. The purpose of these writings, the hook, is vitally important for any child to grasp if they want to become good writers. I can correct their grammar and spelling or focus on punctuation till I’m blue in the face. Alas, it doesn’t make their stories any more interesting if they don’t have a hook, a purpose.
Through so many sites, companies, self-help books and other paraphernalia, we are taught the winning structure for getting our written word published – the how-to and what-not-to-do. In school, we focus more on getting the children to write legible sentences that fulfill the protocols set by government standards (which never stay the same). While some children sail through and grasp the concepts thrown at them with ease, others struggle and need a change of tack to get them to enjoy learning about grammatically correct sentences that mean absolutely nothing to them in the scheme of things. But, imagine if, just for a change, we focus on their enjoyment of the task. Imagine if we motivate them to find what’s missing from their work and to add it in all on their own.
That’s my purpose. I find the key to turn the engine to get the child motivated enough to find the missing link. Sometimes it works, sometimes it does not. That doesn’t mean I give up trying different ways, nor does it mean I ever think a child is a failure or incapable of improvement. It’s thinking outside the proverbial box of education and finding that spark to ignite the young minds to infuse their work with their personalities; to find the hook. I aim to enhance their skills as writers and become something that won’t tick all the boxes immediately, but will send them off with a confidence to learn more and achieve something greater than just a good grade: self belief.
So, the next time you enter a classroom or run your intervention groups, think of that exceptional child in the corner looking at you with his or her chin held in defiance to learning…and smile. You are the seer, the oracle. Give that child the key to unlock the knowledge trapped inside and set his or her mind free. After all, what’s the hook to this tale?
Posted in Weekly Trail, Wensfriesday
Tagged blogging, blogs, children, learning, literacy, school, support, teachers, teaching, writing
Taking this opportunity, during the dying throes of 2017, to wish you a happy new year filled with new opportunities, love and happiness. For those fighting the interminable battle of wills with the grim reaper, I send powerful prayers and wish you success in your battle. For those simpering in the corner, waiting for the tide to turn, I say, grab every opportunity to cross the great beyond and find your happy place. Don’t take no for an answer. For those who just want to live another year in peace and harmony, I wish them all the best.
As my phone lives out its last few moments (since my battery is dying and the little android cannot recharge to save its life), I want to reach out to all my friends and family and send salutations for the new year.
Hope exists – as long as we keep our eyes open to the opportunities. Don’t close your eyes this coming year. Seek out the truth and support it.
Happy new year everyone and let’s make the new year count.
I’ve been good this week. Tear ducts were dry and barren through the prep work for Bird’s send off.
Today was a challenge. So many moments flared my sensitive nose and treacherous eyes; hugs from friends, close family and loving workmates set me off like a timed sprinkler system. I almost questioned why I had come in to work to act like their personal tragedy walking around the library.
It was during our morning mass, as I sat there promising myself I wouldn’t tear up, that my friend/workmate leaned over and whispered, “If it gets too bad, I’ll hold your hand.” Such a simple thing to say, but it warmed me up and made me giggle. I could picture the children sitting at our feet looking at us as if we were completely mad. It made me want to laugh out loud. I realised that I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else but in the fold of friends who find the time to make you laugh when tears are the easiest things to reach.
Later, I sat in the library smiling at the passing teachers and the innocent faces of the children going to class. My mind drifted to a message a friend had sent. She pointed out this moment in life was like Dorothy riding through the storm that whipped her away from all she loved into the midst of a tornado with no direction to get home. Emotions might be in turmoil, but you meet amazing people along the way. People who might normally feel like strangers that are willing to go out of their way to make you feel better. People who message to find out if you’re okay, or send food, spend time with you, send cards and teddy bears and flowers. People who don’t really have to but they do.
Yes, the wicked witch of sadness might be circling with her crying monkeys of terror, but there is always someone there to chase her away.
I checked my shoes to see if they had turned red and I clicked them together three times just for the fun of it.
There’s no place like home!
Picture Courtesy of
Posted in Weekly Trail
Tagged bloggers, blogs, care, friends, friendship, love, mourning, sadness, support, thursday, work, writers, writing
One of my favourite blogs and special docs tells it how it is from a doctor’s perspective.