All Around Australia

This term, Stage 2 classes (grades 3&4) are learning about Australia and in particular, its special places. We are learning about mapping the states, territories and capital cities and adding those places all over the country that have special significance.
We are looking forward to sharing information with students at Ellenville Elementary School in New York, possibly even sharing some of our iconic children’s picture books – eg ‘Are We There, Yet?’ by Alison Lester.

Student Writers in Action

TPS students have been working hard this week, editing their work and creating their ebooks. So engaged were they on Thursday, that several worked in the computer lab during lunch! Students are keen to finish their books prior to Thursday 24th September when Sandy will again be participating in a video conference with students sharing their writing. I have placed a link on the right to enable others to see what the students have been writing about. More to be uploaded during the week!

Mrs Mac

A Writer In Action

I thought I would let you know what I have been doing since our sessions so you can see what it is like to be a writer in action. I have spoken at 11 schools and two libraries. I went to the Children’s Book Council lunch in Darling Harbour where I sat and had lunch with a school – the same way you can at the Illawarra CBCA lunch  every July in Wollongong.

I flew to Queensland for the Ipswich Children’s Writing Festival. There I met some authors and illustrators whose work I admire. I met Jan Ormerod who wrote Water Witcher and Janeen Brian who wrote Where Does Thursday Go? Both these picture books were favourites with my boys when they were young. I also had lunch with Terry Denton and Marc McBride who does the wonderful illustrations in Deltora Quest.

On the writing front I had to rewrite a lot of my new book. Being an author involves lots of editing and rewriting! The book used to be called Mexica Runner but now it has a new name – Jaguar Warrior. Do you like the new name? It will be released in March 2010. I am also writing Samurai Kids 5 which will be called Fire Lizard. That book has a new name too. Originally it was called Lizard Breath but too many people said that sounded like an insult. I like Fire Lizard better anyway.

Session 2 at Thirroul

I was truly amazed at some of the writing that came out of this session. Especially the work on settings. I could just imagine I was out on the frozen icelands, cowering in the haunted house or sitting in the rainforest. We covered  many aspects of story writing. We added to our ‘who’ building block so that by the end of the session we also had ‘where, when, why, what and how.’ We explored settings and plot. We investigated beginnings and three great ways to start a story – dialogue, a sound or a big piece of action (like someone falling off a cliff). And then we went to the other end of the story and looked at endings – happy, sadn and cliffhanger (where the reader has to make up their own mind about what might have happened).

I am very excited about our next session where I get to see some of the books you are creating.

Session 1 at Waniora

I think we definitely have some future writers at Thirroul and Waniora. The funny (and sometimes slightly gross) stories were flowing – Andy Griffiths watch out! I’m interested to know what everyone enjoyed most. So get those comments going, guys!

For those who have forgotten what we did (there was a lot to rememebr!) – we began by warming up our brains and searching for homework excuses. Always handy to have ready! Then we looked at character development. Everyone chose a card with a picture on it and then ‘interviewed’ their character to find out more about him, her or it. Animals were popular choices and at Waniora we had a whole table full of horses! Next we looked at describing our character – their physical, positive and negative characteristics. Many kids chose to create ‘bad’ characters which of course they are lost of fun to write about. There have been some very famous ‘bad guys’ – like Dr Hook, Voldemort and the White Witch from Narnia. We also looked at dialogue, how it helps us to ‘show not tell’ and wrote a dialogue based on two of the interview questions.

Hmmm. That sounds like a lot of work and it was. Everybody worked very hard. Some stories made us laugh. One was a bit scary and all of them were good fun. I’m looking forward to visiting Thirroul next week. I know sometimes it might have been a bit hard to hear as Mrs McGuiinness, Mrs Pretty and I got used to the equipment but we’re experts now!

Hi from Sandy!

I know lots of Waniora people but not very many from Thirroul so I am looking forward to making new friends. I like Thirroul Beach and go there often. I think that would be a good setting for a story. Another good setting for a story would be the soccerfields across the road from Waniora.

See you tomorrow everyone.
icon_smile Sandy Fussell


National Literacy and Numeracy Week Support


We are now very fortunate to have the support of  National Literacy and Numeracy Week with recent news that our writing project has been successful in gaining  grant  funding.

National Literacy and Numeracy Week is held across Australia from 31st August – 6th September, 2009. The theme for this year is ‘Getting the Basics Right’. If you would like to read more, click here.

Another initiative  of National Literacy and Numeracy Week is National Reading Day, which is to be held on September 2, 2009. Read more about it here.   What will YOU be reading?       books

Check back soon…….our writing begins this Thursday with Sandy Fussell!

Welcome to our School Blog!


This blog will be used for MANY purposes! Our first is a collaborative writing project with a neighbouring school – Waniora PS. Both Thirroul and Waniora Public Schools are north of Wollongong and sit between the Illawarra escarpment and the sea.

We will be commencing our project Week 1 of Term 3 and look forward to sharing our progress via this blog. We are lucky to be working with local author Sandy Fussell, who will be guiding our Stage 2 students through the writing process, sharing her expertise. Keep returning to our blog to read what the students are learning, their reflections on the process AND their finished work!


Students will be creating an ebook to publish a story. Here’s a short video on how to create one using both powerpoint and moviemaker!

e-book instruction video