It’s a particularly challenging year for finding entertaining things to do in Melbourne, but let’s be honest - the need for boredom busting in the school holidays is nothing new.
I remember driving my parents crazy with the sentence, “I’m bored” all the time! The things I found to do turned out to be things I still love: reading, writing, and creating. School holidays are an excellent time for pursuing activities you already enjoy, as well as giving new things a go.
If you’re seeking some inspiration these school holidays, here are a few ideas that never get old:
We believe in building supportive relationships with the young writers in our workshops to give them space to feel safe expressing themselves--after all, creative writing workshops are all about learning to express ideas clearly and creatively!
We asked one of our Workshop Leaders, Feiya, about the connections she forms with the young writers in her workshops, and why they are so important in guiding kids along their writing journeys.
Young writers who have their stories published show tremendous creativity, focus and discipline - some relish the chance to show their pieces to their friends and family, while other kids are motivated by the tangible goal of completing their work by a deadline. We love providing opportunities for kids to see their work published, and hereâs how we do it:
Have you ever listened to a child tell you a story that contains a million amazing ideas, but they don't quite fit together? Maybe you know adults with the same problem!
If our ideas are hard to follow, our audience will find it hard to enjoy the story. This is why it's important to structure our writing.
A well structured story:
As young writers become more confident, they can play with story structure (for example, by starting at the end). This can be a lot of fun! But it's still important to make sure all of the story elements are there, so that readers are never scrambling to fill in too many blanks.
How to help your child plan a well-structured story:
There are many ways you can do this, but here's one we use often!
Once they have their story idea, invite them to:
Then there is just one thing left to do: start writing the story!
Ria (Grade 3) used this prompt to a plan a story about her dog, Rex. Have a listen to her explaining her plan:
Ria turned her plan into a story by expanding her notes with details and descriptions. Read the finished story below!
Our studio space has always been bright, colourful, and full of little details that could spark an idea or a story. Having taught in lots of different spaces, we've seen what a difference this makes. It sets the tone for our workshops: you walk in and know you're in the creative zone! When we're in different spaces, such as a school classroom or online, we get extra creative to try and recreate this feeling.
9 August is Book Lovers Day, a highly prestigious day in everyone's calendar. It will come as no surprise that we love books at Creative Write-it, and our studio housed hundreds in our awesome bookshelves. We'd love to show you, but since we are all at home we'll just have to show you our bookshelves!
We asked our Workshop Leaders to share pictures of their bookshelves and something they love about them.
Read on to discover five things we love about our personal bookshelves.
They lived underground. Ever since ‘they’ had come, the above was no longer safe. We still told stories of looming trees and ripe, colourful fruits, but they were just stories. The grounds people could not go above, or else they would be punished. Adam prepared his gear. He took his black vest out of the cupboard and pulled it on. He then pulled his hood over his head, with two small slits for his eyes. He looked at the clock: 11:57pm. It was too late already. Adam swung his backpack over his shoulders and strode out of his room. Mr Flaherly sat down calmly drinking a cup of tea. Mr Flaherly had been good to Adam. Ever since Adam was a young boy. Flaherly had taken him in.
“I know it's no use tellin ya not to go,” said Flaherly in his strange accent, “but be careful out there.”
“I will be Mr Flaherly,” said Adam.
“Bring us back somethin nice,” he called after Adam.
The hole opened at 11:59 exactly and Adam jumped out. He clutched his knife tightly, as other communities often tried to attack. Adam cautiously walked to the corner store, careful to stay in the shadows. He opened the vent and slid inside. Adam crawled and crawled until he saw a trapdoor. Now it was the hard part, the waiting. Minutes and hours gradually slipped away. Adam understood. No raid was every well planned. Then, it came.
BOOM! The wall burst into pieces as Adam punched the trapdoor and jumped down into the store. He filled his bag as quickly as he could. He could see them running towards him, rifles in hand. Adam zipped his bag and ran out of the store. He saw the guards stop running and give up. Now it was the next part, the slaying. Nobody had enough time to get much food during a raid, so Adam had to hide in a bush, ready to take out other runners. A runner ran down from many yards away and Adam tensed himself.
Adam exploded outwards and threw his body on top of the other runner. They struggled as Adam drew his knife and stabbed him in the chest. Then, Adam grabbed the other runner’s bag and swung it over his shoulder as well. He then saw it. Barely visible in the night, but it was there nevertheless. The green. It was larger than anything Adam had ever seen. There were bits of the Green where Adam lived, but they were barely anything compared to this. Then. He snapped back into reality. Adam sprinted to the hole. He took one last glance at the green and dived back into his world below.
He lowered himself down slowly and dropped onto the hard, metal floor. Mr Flaherly had told him about a time when people visited each other and brought gifts. A time when people enjoyed each other’s company, and smiled and laughed. These times seemed difficult to imagine. Nowadays everyone was so absorbed in their own lives that hanging about was out of the question. Adam thumped the door of the administration office and dropped the bag down in front of it.
He then went down the dark metal staircase and entered his cube. In each cube there were four flats. Mr Flaherly and Adam lived in flat B. Adam took the key from his pocket and opened the door. Mr Flaherly stood there, drinking tea in the same position he had been twenty minutes ago.
“Did-ya hand the goods in?” he asked, not bothering to look up from the table.
“Yep.” Mumbled Adam. He was too tired for a conversation.
“Corrupt administration. We’ll be lucky to get a scrap.” Muttered Mr Flaherly to himself.
He was right. The administration never gave enough food or resources despite how much Adam got after every raid. Adam planned to become a raider when he was of working age. Raiders planned the raids and got to live in much better facilities than others. Adam could even bring Mr Flaherly with him. He shoved his gear into the closet and turned in for the night.
He woke up with a rifle to his head. He jumped out of bed but the soldier didn’t even seem fazed.
“Security footage revealed it was you rascal.” Grunted the soldier. He grabbed Adam by the collar and pulled him towards the door. Mr Flaherly lay on the floor, his eyes closed as the other soldier watched over him.
“No.” said Adam defiantly. There was no way. Not Mr Flaherly. He had always been there. He couldn’t die just like that. But he made no move and simply lay there. He was long gone.
“NOOOO,” screamed Adam. “This isn’t fair! You can’t do this!” he roared with tears forming in his eyes.
“Kid. Fair died out long time ago,” said the soldier as he pulled Adam out the door and threw him down the staircase. He was only a boy, but he had been a victim of this system. The soldiers simply walked away, refusing to think about it a second longer
As you may be aware, health authorities across the country are currently responding to the emergence in Australia of the Coronavirus that has emanated from China.
The latest government recommendations, which we are obliged to follow, are now requesting that if you or your children are returning to Creative Write-it after travelling to Hubei Province, China, you are required to stay home until 14 days after last being in Hubei Province.
Information from the Department of Health Victoria includes advice that if children become sick (e.g. fever, flu-like symptoms, sore throat, headaches, breathing difficulties) after having recently had links to Wuhan or the Province of Hubei within China, or in contact with someone who is a confirmed case, they should present immediately to a doctor and not attend school or other programs including Creative Write-it while unwell.
Creative Write-it will always follow the advice of public health authorities in these circumstances. We ask you to be especially aware of this current situation in the interest of public health.
Thank you for your support and cooperation.
Where has the year gone? It's Semester 2 (Term 3) already!
We've definitely continued the momentum in which we started the year and have done loads of writerly things in the lead-up to this semester.
The Great Book Swap!
In June, we held a Great Book Swap to raise money for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation. We're thrilled to have met our fundraising goal of $150.
Creative Holiday Fun! - July 2019
July's 'Epic Winter Journey' holiday workshops were loads of fun! Eight booked-out days of creativity included inventing the grossest Lil' Monsters' Takeaway menus with Ben, discovering mysterious objects from the future with Luke, and writing our very own myths and legends with Marie.
Over the holidays, we also welcomed three new lovely Workshop Leaders! If you're around this term, you'll see Feiya, Kiara, and Patrick joining our existing staff.
While some are finalising submissions for the Boroondara Literary Awards, all young writers are encouraged to submit to our 2019 Writ-Bits anthology. This year's theme is 'mix-tape' - have you ever listened to one of these? It's made our Workshop Leaders very nostalgic! We're looking forward to seeing lots of stories, poems, and comics being polished for publication this term!
Term 3 has been off to a flying start. In case you missed them, we have new Story Explorers issues to get comfy with, take you on wild adventures, or make you giggle with the clumsy mistakes of fictional characters:
We value feedback, and strive to make Creative Write-it the most inspiring and enjoyable place it can be for all young writers and their families. Recently, we invited young writers to share their tips, suggestions, and general comments, with the chance to win the entire shortlist of the 2019 Readings Children's Book Prize! Here's our winner, Harvey. Doesn't it look like a stack of fantastic reading?
It's time to get back to writing and editing! Thanks for reading, and we look forward to writing with you soon.
P.S. If you've never visited the studio before, check out the little video below! This was filmed by Workshop Leader Luke, and features our Director Amy sharing a little of the Creative Write-it story. Enjoy!
Short answer: lots!
Now that we're nearly halfway through the year, we thought it would be a great time to share a few highlights from our ongoing adventures with young writers. Let's get on the recap, shall we?
Story Writing Clubs & Writing Mentorships
If you're subscribed to our newsletter, you probably know that we have now opened enrolments for Semester 2 for small-group Story Writing Clubs or one-on-one Writing Mentorships. These run six days a week and are suitable for writers of all abilities from Prep - Year 10. Suitable times vary, so it's always best to chat to us first about what you're looking for so we can make sure your child has the best time at the studio.
Book your place by July 15 to take advantage of full semester pricing!
Creative School Holidays
Following our booked out Summer Story Camp (January) and NAPLAN Preparation Series (April), we have just announced the 'Epic Winter Journeys' series for July. Sign up for all three days and receive a 10% discount!
See the full program including Little Monsters' Takeaway (Prep-Year 2), and story development workshops at our Hawthorn Pop-up Studio.
School Programs across Victoria - and books!
Then there's actually working with local schools! You can often find Ben, Marie, Amy or Vicki leading workshops at various locations during school hours. These range from ongoing programs that continue every term, to special programs that take place over a few days. Next month, Ben and Amy are very excited to be heading to Hamilton to tour local schools as part of Wooly West Fest & the Literacy Challenge across the Southern Grampians Region.
Check out our bookshop to see anthologies from Tintern Grammar, Serpell Primary School, Balwyn Primary School, Templestowe College, and maybe others in the future where you know budding writers go? (Hint, hint - we're always happy to hear from you!)
Story Explorers: sharing stories by young writers
Since 2018, we've had a monthly e-mag edited by Workshop Leaders, featuring stories from Creative Write-it writers on all sorts of broad themes.
2018 themes included Music, Special Places, and Nature. It's great to see how young writers respond so creatively to them!
Parents, Workshop Leaders, and young writers alike always look forward to seeing which three stories will get selected, and who gets interviewed for the Q&A.
As readers, you also have the option to join in by trying your hand at the writing prompt at the end of each issue!
Take a peek through 2019 issues so far:
Our team is growing!
Over the last year, we've had some new additions to the team who are now very familiar faces at the studio. You can learn more about Jess, Tamara, Gemma, Luke, Leonie, and Izzy by visiting our social media pages, or read more about our whole team right here. We're also really pleased to have our newest Workshop Leader Kate on board!
This term we say a tentative goodbye to Vicki, who has been a regular at our studio and school programs for the past four years. She has played a big part in sharing what we do with local media and schools, and will continue to be involved in the development and teaching of school programs in the future.
Want to be involved? Here's how you can join us!
Thanks for following us on this epic creative journey! We all look forward to writing with you soon.
- Gem, Guest Blogger
Where young writers (and some older ones) write.
All material is published with the provision that it is the writer's own work. If any material submitted to us for publication is found to be copied or in any way constitutes an infringement of someone else's copyright, it will be removed. Copyright remains with the young authors.