School can be a really busy place, with many interruptions to a timetable and routine experienced almost on a weekly basis. Christopher Herz, our author from New York has kindly offered to run further lunchtime classes with those students who are interested in further developing their writing skills.
Here are the challenges we face when working cross hemisphere, cross continent, time zones:-
- Timing of session with a school’s busy curriculum: the need to meet at lunchtime, as students come from across year levels – year 6 through to year 10. (Wouldn’t it be wonderful if students could be released from their class for one lesson to do this? Sigh! but that is there is this perceived need that the curriculum must be covered in individual timetabled subjects)
- Suitable times: finding a suitable time for both sides – Hawkesdale and New York. Our early school morning coincides with late night before New York. Our lunchtime pre-daylight saving is 11pm New York time. Too late to expect anyone to link up with us on a regular basis, when there is work the next day.
- The School Year: The timing of the school year – the need, therefore, to wait for daylight saving, to start which is into term 4 – a crazy time of year for schools in Australia as we this is our last term and senior students finish early, school camps are on etc
- Finding a suitable day, knowing that our today is Christopher’s tomorrow
- Achievable time span: the need to keep the number of lunchtime meets to an achievable time span
- Student commitment: getting an ongoing commitment from students to complete tasks given within the week
- Extra curricula school activities that can interrupt student attendance
- Achievable outcomes: Working out the best approach to the writing activities – getting achievable outcomes within a limited time span. Christopher is doing this for free, so we do not want to encroach too much on his precious time.
Attempting to overcome the challenges:-
- Offer the weekly lunchtime class to years 6 to 10. Students come on a volunteer basis but must be committed to completing the tasks given by Christopher
- Avoid extra curricula school activities
- Agreeing to a 5 week program to avoid end of year activities
- Christopher came up with great idea of “Writing through the Senses”. Each week, he will use a different sense to inspire students to think beyond their imagination and create plausible characters, scenes and stories that will be engaging and captivating to their audiences.
- Christopher told students that they must write for 15 mins everyday and carry pen and paper with them at all times, jotting down notes when they can.
- And so, we have now completed two weeks of linkups – each one offering further challenges (which will be written about in further posts) but also some wonderful inspiration provided for the students and their writing, sheer engagement on the part of students and Christopher’s obvious passion coming through.