Eight of our top Year 8 writers were given an amazing opportunity at the end of last term: they were invited to participate in a creative writing workshop where they acted out part of the hero’s quest before writing about it. Not only did they experience in some small way what the hero might have felt, but they did this as part of a group of four, each forming a band of heroes with three other students from Terrace, Girls Grammar and All Hallows.
Originally it was intended for the quest day of the workshop to be held in the Roma Street Parklands (The Land of Remorse), however torrential rain in the early morning prevented this from happening, and All Hallows library was quickly transformed into The Land of Remorse instead. While this didn’t give us the realistic atmosphere we had hoped for, it did prove that the workshop could be run in a school environment.
On an introductory afternoon, students met fantasy author Kirilee Barker (the Supreme Sorceress), who handed out group colours and character strengths from a ‘choosing bowl’. Students were also given a journal to record their thoughts and feelings during each of the eight activities the following day – four involving teamwork (The Armoury, The Field of Doom, The Stone Table, and The Cursed Quicksand), and four involving augmented reality or virtual reality apps on iPads (The Epic Citadel, The Enchanted Forest, The Eerie Escarpment and The Tunnel of Terror). Students also used QR codes to watch videos, and the augmented reality app Aurasma to solve a riddle and earn extra powers to defeat the evil power.
On the third day the students worked all day with the Supreme Sorceress, crafting and refining their ideas, with each group developing a shared storyline, setting and characters on a shared wiki. Early this term the group met again for peer and teacher editing, and then a final presentation afternoon was held where the Supreme Sorceress awarded certificates and prizes for many different aspects of the stories. Prizes were also given to those in each group voted by their peers as the best contributors/ workers of the group; we’re very proud that Grammar boys won three of these peer awards.
Brisbane Grammar School also featured extremely well in the line-up of awards, with the following being presented to our boys:
- Best Opening – Runner-Up
- Most Exciting Sequence – Runner-Up
- Best Description – Runner-Up
- Best Character Development – Winner
- Best Group Setting – Runner-Up: Group Atreyu
- Best Group Setting – Winner: Group Eragon
- Best Group Plot – Runner-Up: Group Dumbledore
- Best Group Plot – Winner: Group Excalibur
- Best Individual Story – Runner-Up
- Best Individual Story – Winner
Our boys very much enjoyed the whole experience, with one of them commenting:
“When I was granted the opportunity to be able to work with other Spring Hill school students to develop and model a fantasy story with a group of three others from Girls Grammar, All Hallows and Terrace, how could I refuse the offer? I honestly believe this experience, working with Kirilee Barker, has enriched our writing skills, which will definitely assist us in years to come exploring literature. I value this course, as the staff didn’t just leave you to write a story without any assistance – they placed us in our characters’ shoes in a range of situations and explained to us how to write and compose a successful piece of work from another perspective. Thank you to the teachers running this course, and to Grammar, Terrace, Girls Grammar and All Hallows for making this experience possible and all the more enjoyable.”
Resources used for this workshop, and student feedback videos, can be found at springhillyoungwriters.wordpress.com.