Writing – interest and publications

My writing space 14 May 2015

My writing space 14 May 2014

I have always loved writing. From as early as I can remember I used to write stories, songs and poems. They were scribbled on bits of paper, written in notebooks and tucked away in wait for the day that I would be famous.  That day is no longer important.

Through different phases of my life writing featured more or less prominently depending upon other choices and distractions, but has always been there.

One thing I loved about teaching, in addition to the wonderful children and the privilege of supporting them on their learning journeys, was the opportunity it gave me to be creative. My stories, poems, songs and lessons always had an appreciative audience.

Now I share my writing with a wider audience. This blog was the first step in the process to  establish readilearn, a collection of teaching resources for the first three years of school. Resources include estories (digital stories), interactive teaching episodes, and printable resources that focus on the teacher’s role in supporting children’s learning.

The main focus of my blog is education but I also post snippets of other more recreational writing e.g. short stories, songs and poems as I enjoy writing in a range of genres and for a variety of purposes. I am proud to belong to the Congress of Rough Writers at the Carrot Ranch, writing flash fiction in response to a weekly prompt.

While I am proud of the educational writing that has already been published, and of much that I have written that is not yet published, I still dream of one day seeing my name on the cover of a “real” book, of being a published author. Whether or not I achieve that goal is probably of lesser importance than my ability to keep working towards it.

The drawer full of rejection slips for short stories and picture book ideas halted (but did not extinguish) my quest in that direction. I had more success with educational writing and was temporarily satisfied with writing I could do to enhance my teaching role. Now I spend my time writing teaching materials and blog posts for readilearn in addition to posts for this blog. There will never be enough life for all I wish to write.

Previous Publications

Poetry

A Thank You For in Beauty Is . . . an Anthology of young Verse Refulgence Publishers (age 16)

Education is . . . Linkletter, Meanjin Reading Association, 1983

Articles

The Bionic Man – Cloze with a difference in Reading Around, Australian Reading Association, 1981  

Baby’s Play Mat, Have Fun Will Travel, Australian Women’s Weekly, 1990

To School or not to School, Classroom Magazine, Ashton Scholastic, 1993

Materials to support educational software

Discovering Bush Rescue, Jacaranda Press, Brisbane, 1989

Kraken, Jacaranda Software, Brisbane, 1989 (click for Kraken reviews)

Vegetable Patch, Jacaranda Software, Brisbane, 1990

Fleetfoot Express, Jacaranda Software, Brisbane, 1992  

Clockwise, Jacaranda Software, Brisbane, 1992  

The Land of Um, Greygum Software, Brisbane, 1995 (Republished in UK by topologika software as Scally’s World of Problems; now also available in the App Store as The Land of Um.)

Saltwater Crocodiles (for the Spinout Stories) Greygum Software, Brisbane, 2002

Employment as a writer

At various times throughout my career I have been employed as a writer; my most recent employment being with Education Queensland as an early childhood science writer writing unit plans and overviews, lesson plans, and teaching and learning resources for use mainly in years one and two.

I was previously employed by Education Queensland for two brief writing projects in the mid-nineties; one involved writing maths and literacy materials for years one and two, and the other involved writing a support package for parents.  

Other publications

Writing Skills Years 3 – 4, Excel Basic Skills Series, Pascal Press, 2000  

Writing Skills Years 5 – 6, Excel Basic Skills Series, Pascal Press, 2000  

English Action  6, Oz Educational, 2001 Macmillan

English Focus on Text Level 5, Macmillan, 2001  

Ausmaths 4 Teacher’s Resource Book WA, Oz Education, 2002

Ausmaths 5 Teacher’s Resource Book WA, Oz Education, 2002

Literacy Teaching Notes for Real World Maths Book Just for Fun, Mimosa Shortland, 2000

I am hoping to add to the list in the near future with some manuscripts finished and others on the way.

clockwiseKraken UmScally

Um appWriting skills

22 thoughts on “Writing – interest and publications

  1. rosemariethrupposie

    Hi Norah,

    You are a writer. This blog is evidence of this. Well structured, entertaining texts on a wide variety of topics. A dedicated passion for writing, sharing ideas in a way that makes your audience want to read. I have thoroughly enjoyed watching your development as a writer in this genre. Do not take this dedication for granted. Others of us have tried and failed. This is professional writing that is of great value to to other teachers. Your blogs are more read than many of the textbooks written by academics and researchers. This may be a sad statement in many ways but it is true. People are reading your years of research. Congratulations.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you, Rosie. I really appreciate the generosity of your comments. Coming from such an experienced and highly regarded educator as yourself I value them highly.
      I like that you, as others, have used the word “entertaining” in your comment. After writing the post I thought of the title “edutainer” (I Googled it and see that others have used it also, but I did come up with it unaided!) I’ve always said that teaching, especially in the early years, is show business and I like to inspire/encourage learning while having fun. What do you think? I know you were/are always an edutainer too! Thank your for being a reader, supporter and commenter. It is great to maintain the connection here. I apologise for taking so long to respond to your lovely comment. I have had a busy week. 🙂

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  2. Steven Spagnolo

    Lovely box art there. Do you still (or happen to) have the floppy disk media for Vegetable Patch and/or Fleetfoot Express (preferably the Apple // version)? Would really love to see these preserved. If so, please contact one of the Jacaranda “old-timers” at Greygum Software.

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    1. Norah Post author

      Hi Steven, it sounds like you must have been involved with Jacaranda and the Greygum “old-timers” at some stage, were you? Maybe with the box art?
      I do still have the floppy disks. I thought Greygum would still have them too. Have they requested them of you?

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      1. Steven

        Hmm, involved… sort of, but it isn’t so simple. I have only been in direct contact with Steve and even then, it is only by email or post. For the past few years, I have voluntarily been working for/with him to recover the old Jacaranda titles to floppy disk images (before the contents become lost through media deterioration). You might say that it is a bit of an obsession I caught when I was desperately trying to locate an Apple // disk image of Raft-Away River.
        Greygum have some of the floppy disks, or sometimes at best a master (or backup master). Unfortunately, Vegetable Patch and Fleetfoot Express happen to be some of the titles they no longer have media for.
        The titles we are either missing or are yet to preserve include Cardsharp, Cave Surveyor, Crossing the Mountains, Dessert Quest, Fleetfoot Express, Pieces of Eight, Transformations, Vegetable Patch, Wheat Farmer, Wordsmith and Wordswork. That’s quite a list, but well over half way. We have imaged 19 other titles so far – including one or two of your own from memory (probably those you list in this page).
        I admired the box art because the master floppies are almost exclusively plain hand-written labels… from a physical appearance alone that isn’t much to get excited about.

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        1. Norah Post author

          Hi Steven, That’s interesting stuff. That is one difficulty with advancements in technology – the old stuff gets lost. I saved a lot of my father’s writing onto floppy disks and now can’t access them. I guess there will be somewhere that can help me out, but I can’t do it myself. It’s a bit disappointing.
          Anyway I do have Vege Patch and Fleetfoot Express floppy disks as you can see in this photo: https://norahcolvin.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/vege-patch-and-fleetfoot.jpg
          I will contact Steve about them. I have been contemplating seeking his advice re a book app I have in mind anyway, so now this gives me another reason to contact him.
          I have just checked your titles again and I also have Cardsharp, but none of the others.
          I’ll be happy to be able to help. 🙂

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          1. Steven

            That would be wonderful – any little bit helps and 3 out of 11 is a good dent. Oh, lovely disk labels – and the logo on the disk pouch – wonderful – I’ll preserve those with a hires scan. Thanks Norah. Roughly how many floppy disks of your fathers work do you have? Feel free to email me directly if you want to take this offline.

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            1. Norah Post author

              Thank you Steven. I am pleased to help. I appreciate your offer. I’ll check out the disks and get back to you. They are the smaller 3.5 variety I think. 🙂

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              1. Steven

                Either 3.5 or 5.25 floppies shouldn’t be a problem. I would be pleased to help you migrate those works and will hopefully have as much success with your floppies as with the Jacaranda floppies.

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                1. Norah Post author

                  Sounds good, Steven. Thank you. I have been in contact with Steve. He is happy for me to send the disks to you directly. I will be out of town for the next week so will contact you when I am back. 🙂

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  3. lorilschafer

    That’s a very impressive history, Norah! When I was in the fifth or sixth grade I had a teacher who was working on a YA novel. Every week she would read us a chapter from it – and we loved it! I’m sure we were good guinea pigs, but now I realize how important sharing that with a real live audience must have been for her, too. Take that for what it’s worth…

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    1. Norah Post author

      It’s worth a lot, Lori. Thank you! There is a saying something like, those who can do and those who can’t teach. I like to think I chose teaching because I have a special way of supporting learners on their journeys. I also like to think I can write, a little anyway, and shared my joy of writing with many children who may see the value in creating through writing, whether it be for personal or public purposes. Being able to express oneself is not only powerful, it is a joy.

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  4. Diane

    Your name is already on the cover of “real” books and those educational writing books have likely made a “real” difference in the lives of the teachers, parents, students and children who have used them. But yes, I do hear you about wanting the fictional books that are singing in your soul, to gain the same recognition. I share that goal, so let’s both “keep on striding” and remind ourselves that the joy comes in the journey, not the destination.

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks for your warm support, Diane. I hear what you are saying about my name on the cover of “real” books, and I appreciate it, but many readers don’t consider the books “real” as they are not of interest to the general public. Knowing that we are sharing the journey will keep our stride strong, purposeful and on track. Thanks for your company.

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