Seven Steps writing fun

WHEN YOU LOOKED AWAY 
By Kayla Jones (Year 10)

It was the three-hour phone call that made me stay awake. I told you to look up at the moon and the stars. At that moment, we both were looking at the same thing. I hoped you could see what I felt for you. But you turned and looked away.

They say that the scariest moment in a story is just before you start writing! 

The ability to write well is important for life and across all areas of the curriculum, yet students often find the prospect of putting words to paper daunting! 

It’s this common experience that led English Head of Studies teacher Shanelle Fiaalii to search for a new way of learning about writing. She discovered the Seven Steps to Writing Success program and, over a period of ten weeks, trained her team of English teachers as well as the Primary teachers in the theory and practice of Seven Steps for better stories and persuasive writing. 

“It really is a different approach to writing — and makes it so interesting. It gives students structure and makes their writing so much better,” says Mrs Fiaalii.

Seven Steps breaks down the key elements of writing. By following the steps, students avoid frustration and that ‘bogged down’ feeling, which can be very self-limiting. When students experience success, their confidence improves and this increases their willingness to learn and leads to greater communication and engagement between students, teachers and peers.

What’s more, the Seven Steps program makes writing fun!

“The Seven Steps program has given my students the confidence to know that they can write! When they work through the seven steps, they realise they can write something interesting and successful.”

Why not ask your child about Sizzling Starts, Tightening Tensions, Dynamic Dialogue — or what a story graph is? What have they been writing lately? Maybe they can read their own story to you at bedtime.

Thanks, Mrs Fiaalii, for finding a new way to make writing fun!

Tips for developing writing confidence at home 

“Making the Seven Steps part of everyday life like these examples will help your children retain the information and naturally apply it, thus becoming better writers,” says Mrs Fiaalii.

  1. Watch TV ads. You know — the ones that 'tell a story.' In 30 seconds, some ads can create a start, tension scene and great ending, exactly like the story graph your child will have learned about in class. Ask them about this.
  2. Next time you are watching a movie with your kids, see how the movie begins with lots of action to grab your attention. Adventure movies are especially good at this.
  3. Read picture books with your kids and look for the tension scenes. Picture books are short, so it's easy to find where the all-important tension builds before the ending.
  4. Record a conversation at home. Listen to all the rambling, half finished sentences and 'umms' and ‘er’s'. This is great proof that strong writing does not have to be based on real life!
  5. Test with your kids how words form pictures in our minds. Slowly read these examples: “Red flowers stand tall and cheerful in a vase.” “There's a baby elephant under the tree in our garden.”
  6. Watch movies and see how little of the 'boring bits' they use. They rarely show people using the bathroom, brushing their teeth or blow-drying their hair. Even stranger, notice how people never seem to travel, they just ‘arrive'.
  7. Many authors actually get their ending first — and then figure out the story working backwards! Here's a fun ending: 'Crocodiles don't like fly spray.' Try brainstorming with your kids what the story could be. You can be as crazy as you like!

More 50-word stories

More 50-word stories produced by Mrs Fiaalii’s Year 10 English class:

CONSTRUCTION
By Flynn Dixon

Karen loved her job, but she can’t do it anymore. She built those new bridges. Construction was finally done. Safety was number one priority - guaranteed best in the world. People from all around came to see. But her most recent was her worst. She never got to finish safety inspection.

THE FLOWERS GREW
By Kayla Jones

We watched the orange sunset. We watched the leaves change colour. We watched the sky turn grey and turn back to blue. We knew we were both flowers, growing together. Everyone looking at us, admiring how beautiful we were. Your seasons suddenly changed. And mine, well they stayed the same.

MY LOVE
By Jemma Kyle

I first saw him at the coffee shop. I saw him next in my arms. I saw him in the hospital, thinking, 'How can I lose him right now?' I saw him in my dreams as we danced together. But as I walked down the aisle, I saw my future.