Posted by: Natalie | October 12, 2011

The World of Marking Mountains

I wish this was some kind of pun on cartography, but alas it is not. I have just completed what feels like a marking marathon after spending my evening commenting in literacy books, topic books and Big Writes (the latter a pointless endeavour in my current situation, if you ask me). I was about to compose a post which pretty much complained about the fact all my evening has passed with a blue biro, turning countless pages of unstructured waffle. But then I realised, I’ve actually quite enjoyed myself! This is something to remind me of when I complain about it again in future!!

It is fascinating seeing the writing process in its rawest form, seeing the development in language, which I have to say is seriously lacking in general amongst our TV fed youth. I remember, so vividly, whilst carrying out such tasks, why I am so devoted to stories to begin with. The reasons I love to share books and teach writing are the same that spur me on to accomplish my own writing tasks – they’ve just got a little misplaced beneath the ever increasing pile of paper which is my new life. Particularly amongst the more talented of my writers, I find their humour and skill and inspiration which drags me back into the realms of my own dreams. Today was an especially fine example. We have been watching Star Wars to understand how mood and pace can be portrayed in film and in writing; the mood element has entertained me greatly.

The task was set for children to adapt verbs and adverbs (in the first instant) to alter the mood of a scene. Before long we had Darth Vader donned in pink capes or floral ensembles, skipping merrily through the Death Star, his voice no longer a deep rasp but squeakily breathing like a mouse with a sore throat. Luke Skywalker, no longer trembled with fear but jiggled giddily on the spot as if he was desperate for the loo! Some of their scenery descriptions were even more stunning; the malevolently blinking lights of the surrounding console suddenly shimmered and sparkled like soft, animal eyes; like the galaxy of stars shining in the bright night sky beyond. I hasten to add, these suggestions do indeed come from the brightest of stars – those who actually choose to read! Not exactly rocket science, but so very, very important.

These children use their reading experiences to inspire their writing, it creates sponges of talent which absorb every little element of detail you can throw their way. It is so wonderful to experience and so unbelievably incredible to know that in some small way, this writing is being honed by little old me. It is by no means perfect but it is such a motivating experience! It gets my typing fingers twitching and my own creative juices working over time – if only my brain were not so saturated come the evening. My down time so far has not even seen my knitting skills put to any use, despite having a brand new book to play with. It has been so exhausting, these first few weeks, that I have only managed to read in erratic fits and starts. But its all good. I was chatting to a friend tonight (ok, so might not have worked allllllll night. I have also had three mini calls with Steve. And had to get y brother to rescue my petroless car from outside my flat – technically not my fault. Angles and gravity played a BIG part. So yeah, not really worked all night. Really can’t moan then!) and he asked, like others, if I was happy. And I am. So very much. Obviously there are a few tweeks I would make to my existence, but then who wouldn’t? And happiness, lets be fair, is the biggest hurdle to get over – without it we will accomplish nothing.

As it is, I have accomplished a vast amount in these past six weeks and those positives need to be put pride of place, instead of focussing on the myriad of things we have yet to accomplish. This was always part of my negativity – I forget the good in place of the bad (gosh my Literacy set would be complaining about my poor adjectives there!) but I genuinely believe my mind set has altered, permanently. And this mutual inspiration is partly responsible – if I can keep my class enthused and creating and happy, they in turn will push me on to greater things. They might even convince me to actually post out my submissions! We can hope!

Right, waffling done. Night all.

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