Monday, February 13, 2012

Skype chat with Janelle Lee

Today we were lucky enough to have a Skype chat with author, Janelle Lee. Janelle spoke to us about the importance of keeping a Writer's Notebook. It was great to chat with a published author to find out about being a writer and how she gets her ideas, inspirations and what she does with them. We all have so many new ideas.

Before our chat we came up with some questions to ask her.

(click picture to enlarge)
Here is what we learnt-

Janelle's first book 'The Carter's Big Move' was published in 1996. It took 17 drafts and nine years to be published! She started writing when she was six. Janelle described her Grade four teacher and told us about how he had encouraged her and her writing. She said she is always inspired by her family.

We asked Janelle why she writes, she said simply that she loves it! She described her writing as something she owns- nobody tells her what to write or how to write it. It is hers. She owns it. Janelle explained that she gets ideas for writing as soon as she walks out the front door. She said there is always a story in everything as long as you keeps your eyes and ears open. 

Janelle described her best memory as a writer was when she went to a writing conference in New York last year. She explained how she met with an editor and got lots of advice. Janelle described that some of her goals for the future are to write 100 books and to write a screen play. She even met with a Hollywood movie director to get some advice. Janelle is always learning!

Janelle writes many genres, her favourite being books for children but she has just published her first adult fiction book called 'Hell Has A Harbour View'. She has another being published at the moment which is about Bondi beach. Janelle's favouite book that she has written is called 'Paragon' but it hasn't been published yet. Janele said she loves Charles Dickens and her favourite book is 'Great Expectations', she also loves 'The Colour Purple' by Alice Walker. 

Janelle answered that writing makes her feel a range of emotions, depending on what she is writing about. She said that she always feels sad when a book she is writing comes to an end, but she soon moves on to writing about something else. 

Janelle keeps all of her ideas in notebooks and manilla folders. She said it is important to keep her ideas and notes so she can go back over it. She said it is also important as proof that she wrote it incase someone was to plagarise her work. Janelle also uses butchers paper and story maps to keep track of her story ideas and development. 

Janelle gave us some ideas for when we write a story. She said to start at the end, write about the characters and write all of your ideas down before you begin. 

While Janelle hasn't won any awards personally some students she works with at Gol Gol Public School in NSW have won two national prizes and an ABC radio award.

Janelle said the best thing to do to become a better writer is to write what you know, there is no point trying to write about something if you don't know about it. She also said to challenge yourself! Use new words and extend your vocabulary. A big piece of advice was to READ! She said the more you read the better writer you will be!

Thanks Janelle for a great chat!

We will be chatting some more with Janelle during the year to discuss different parts of the writing process. Stay tuned for future posts.

What kinds of things do you put in your Writer's Notebook?

What's your favourite thing about your Writer's Notebook?  

How do you think the Writer's Notebook can help you become a better writer?  

Would you like to be an Author one day?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Writing Quality Blog Comments

Today in Grade 4,5,6 we discussed writing quality blog comments. It is important to write quality blog comments becuase it is a published form of writing that can be read by people all over the world. Take a look at our Answer Garden on what we believe makes a good comment. Can you add anything else?

What makes a good blog comment?... at

We then looked at a checklist created by Miss Spink and agreed that this is what we will use to help us write quality comments. You can see the checklist here- We are all trying to write EXPERT comments.

What do you like about blogging? 

Do you think you are an expert at writing blog comments?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Welcome to 2012

glitter logo maker -
Welcome to a new year and a new class at Aitken Creek. For some of us, a new school too! It is great to start a fresh new year! There are so many new people in our class and we are starting the year of with 29 students. Can you find all of our names in the word search below?

Make Your Own Word Search

We hope that everyone had a fantastic holiday. Add your favourite holiday memory to our wall wisher!

What are you looking forward to in 2012?