On Tuesday April 5th Nayland College’s year 10 extension class presented their work on poets in a Writers’ Day. Year five and six Nayland primary, Tahuna and Broadgreen students attended the event. They were invited to Nayland College to learn about the poets’ connection to Stoke streets. The year 10 class planned this day to meet a class challenge goal: to present their work in a public place for the wider community to interact with.
The day began with an introduction to address the primary students. They sat down in the school hall to listen to three guest speakers: children’s book illustrator Tracey Duncan, publisher Robbie Burton and English teacher Mr Fa’avae’s brother, Nathan Fa’avae. In the workshop students completed quizzes such as the quotes quiz, the writers’ walk quiz and a word find activity. All the answers were found on posters displayed in the hall.
“There were lots of opportunities but they had to go to it themselves,” year 10 English student Ella Kruger explained. They all took a break for lunch then the final guest speaker, Nathan Fa’avae spoke about his biography. “These were students interested in writing and when they’re together it’s a real buzz,” English teacher Mr Fa’avae said.
Since this event was a first of its kind for Nayland College, it was a new way to showcase the students’ abilities and creativity. All the planning, fun activities and the primary school kids’ enthusiasm added to the good experience for the teacher and year 10 students. “It’s a real highlight to see a group of young people selected from their schools to come and participate in something that they enjoy,” Mr Fa’avae said.
“Initially the aim was to look into our literary heritage or inheritance for having streets in Stoke named after great poets and writers of English,” Mr Fa’avae said. It turned into something else. “We were going to do a writers’ walk on a Sunday but we built the idea up which became this day for the primary school kids,” year 10 English student Oliver Stark explained. The event was bigger than first expected. “A month out from the Writers’ Day we had a full programme and we emailed the schools and there was a lot of interest from the local primary and intermediate schools,” Mr Fa’avae said.
Each student in Mr Fa’avae’s class had roles to play in the Writers’ Workshop. “My role was to direct kids, so they’d come to me saying ‘hey I need this certain question answered’ and I’d show them the posters and walked them through it,” Ella Kruger said. It was important to Mr Fa’avae that the event was student run. “What we got was a balance between teacher led learning and student ownership.”