Elaine Forrestal

Upper Primary/ Lower Secondary Writing Workshop

Short work­shop

Dura­tion: 1 hour
Num­ber of stu­dents:
Ide­ally, one class group per ses­sion (max­i­mum of 30 stu­dents)

  • Over­head pro­jec­tor, white­board (or Pow­er­Point facilities)


  • Some­thing to write on
  • Some­thing to write with
  • (Draft book, note­book or paper used for mak­ing a rough draft)


Stu­dents will be told a story, with visu­als that may include pho­tos, pic­tures, maps, shown on a screen or blank wall.

Stu­dents will be given the oppor­tu­nity to tell a story of their own.

And/Or they will be invited to ask ques­tions about the story told to them.

Stu­dents will then work inde­pen­dently for 10 min­utes get­ting their ideas down on the page. This will be a rough draft. Spelling, punc­tu­a­tion, neat­ness will not be empha­sised at this stage.

Break for gen­eral dis­cus­sion and stu­dents to ask any ques­tions about books, pub­lish­ing, being an author.

Edit­ing and redrafting

A suc­cess­ful, pub­lished short story will be read and ‘pulled apart’. Stu­dents will dis­cuss with the author the tech­niques that make that par­tic­u­lar story work.

Stu­dents then read what they have writ­ten so far, and make changes.

Give their char­ac­ters a voice
Take out infor­ma­tion that the reader already knows or can work out for themselves.

Full day workshop

Ideal for stu­dents who are keen writ­ers or have shown inter­est in improv­ing their writ­ing skills.

Num­ber of stu­dents: Max­i­mum 30 stu­dents per ses­sion

  • Over­head pro­jec­tor, white­board (or Pow­er­Point facilities)


  • Notebook/draft book/exercise book
  • Pens/pencils/word proces­sor


Stu­dents will be given a range of ‘story starter’ options or they can work on an idea of their own if they already have one.

1st hour

This will fol­low much the same pat­tern as the 1 hour work­shop, except that more time can be given to the first draft.

2nd hour

Dur­ing this time stu­dents will work on their drafts and the author will spend time with each one, mak­ing sug­ges­tions and offer­ing advice.

3rd hour

Using pen­cil, stu­dents will work in pairs and act as each other’s edi­tors. Once they have made sug­ges­tions (in pen­cil so that they can be rubbed out later) on their partner’s work, they will dis­cuss the sug­gested changes with their part­ner. The author will again mon­i­tor their progress.

4th hour

Act­ing on advice given by the author and/or their part­ner, stu­dents will make a new draft of their story.

Depend­ing on the age and abil­ity of the stu­dents, some fin­ished work may be pro­duced, but it is impor­tant to allow the stu­dents them­selves to decide whether their story is ready for publication.