WLA Noteworthy

Term 2 2015

Craig Smith

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Craig Smith visits the Waikato

Craig Smith- The Wonky Donkey Man!

Crawshaw School in Hamilton hosted around 100 children from Waikato schools who were captivated by Craig as he sang his way through a selection of his very popular stories. He told us he is always very impressed when students get so involved in his stories that they need to leap up and dance along with him.

Some feedback from Springdale School:

“Thanks to the Lit Assoc. Our kids really enjoyed meeting Craig”.

“I thought he was really cool and I loved his new song Square Eyes”

“I loved the puppets he got the kids up to use”

“I liked the raindrop sound he made with his fingers and his mouth”

“We got to hear about his new book he is writing- Rock n Roll Baby”

“He was ‘cool as’”

After school a group of enthusiastic teachers gathered at Crawshaw School in Hamilton to listen to Craig as he outlined his journey so far with not only the hugely successful Wonky Donkey (600,000+ copies sold in 5 years!) but also shared some of his other stories and sang a beautiful song written for his as yet unborn infant. He shared his writing/ creative process with us. He has an idea, writes the music and then the lyrics. Craig writes to the music.

This is in contrast to the way that Elton John & Bernie Taupin create their work as Taupin writes the lyrics and then gives it to Elton to add the music. An example of how difference is to be celebrated!

A very special afternoon topped off by Craig agreeing to sign some of our books.

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National Library Newsletter link

Louise Dempsey Workshop

On Wednesday 29th April, WLA was again fortunate enough to be able to present a workshop with Louise Dempsey. Over 200 hundred teachers from many areas of the Waikato were treated to powerful professional development over an engaging and motivating two hour period. Louise presented us with practical and manageable ideas to use in our classrooms. She very generously provided links to her presentation along with all the resources and tips on how best to use them.

All the feedback the WLA received was highly complimentary and many teachers gave us further ideas for more workshops in 2016.

Thank-you Louise for sharing your passion for children's writing and to all of you who attended this workshop. The children in the Waikato area are very lucky to have such dedicated teachers.

The WLA would also like to sincerely thank Puketaha School for hosting us. We really appreciate your support.

You can find out more by following this link


or on her Facebook page


Quotes from teachers who attended this workshop.

"As a beginning teacher I often find myself wrestling with the idea of 'what is the best way to teach writing?' It is such a critical part of a junior program and therefore pretty imperative that you have some idea of what works well and what perhaps doesn't work so well. Previously to the workshop provided by the Waikato Literacy Association, in conjunction with Louise Dempsey, this thought process was a daily occurrence. However this 2 hour session of Professional Development in junior writing was so fantastic that I left feeling confident that I no longer had to wrestle with the idea of the most effective way to teach writing. The 2 hour session was interactive, insightful and practical.... all things a beginning teacher dreams of when signing up for different PD! Louise shared many real life examples of methods of feedback, lesson structures and little handy tools which teachers have already proved enriches their writing programs. It was such a great opportunity to hear about different approaches I can use in my own classroom. This opportunity was brilliant and one which I would highly recommend. I left the space, itching to get back into the classroom and try and find out if I really have found out what some of the best ways to teach writing are! As a beginning teacher, or even a teacher with years of experience, I don't think you can wish for much more than being engaged, excited and driven to try the new learning one experiences whilst out on these courses. Lucky for me, Louise Dempsey's 'Editing and Improving writing in Yr 1-3' did just that!" Ngaia Mason B.T. Hillcrest Normal School

"I found this course very beneficial, Louise was very easy to listen to and gave real classroom contexts and examples which were great. Louise also gave useful tips on how to manage the rest of the class while working with small groups during writing time, which as a beginning teacher was very helpful. " Pip Stewart B.T. Hillcrest Normal School

"The Louise Dempsey course for me was really affirming, that certain aspects of my practise are on track and I also picked up several things to incorporate into my writing programme.
I have taken the following things back into my classroom

Use of specific success criteria- not trying to give children an entire rubric

Writing teacher feedback in a section of the page that has been divided

Use of symbols to identify specific things to work on that are child friendly

Having children identify 3 mistakes to correct

Coaching children to give specific paired feedback

I like the way this workshop just focused on the editing process and only a section of her book as I was able to absorb more information"

Krystal Roskam, Vardon School

ANZAC Day Children's Books

There have been some wonderful books written for children about the ANZAC story. We thought you might like to see some of our favourites.
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