My novel for children Amir: Friend on Loan is officially out. It is published by Garratt Publishing and is being distributed by Cengage publishing. You can read a sample chapter here. It is aimed for Year 7 and Year 8.
To celebrate the publication of Amir: friend on Loan I'm listing a giveaway via Goodreads of two copies. Click below to enter. If you're interested you can buy a copy via My Shop page.
Amir has been best friends with Dragan since they were in kinder and the boys are looking forward to starting high school together next year. Even though Amir’s parents are Bosnian Muslim and Dragan is of Serbian Orthodox background, the boys think of themselves as Australian and their cultural differences have never mattered ... until the Balkan war breaks out. Suddenly their family tells them that they are not supposed to be friends because Bosnians and Serbs are fighting overseas. Can they find a way to keep their friendship in the face of their family’s opposition?
Also I am doing a book author event for Coming of Age: Growing up Muslim in Australia with Demet Divaroren, Irfan Yusuf, Alyena Mohummadally, and Tasneem Chopra on Saturday 29 March at Collins Booksellers, 67 Puckle Street, Moonee Ponds, from 1pm to 3pm.
So now that I'm a teacher I'm going to be sharing some resources that I develop as I journey along in my new career.
One of the assessment tasks that my year 8 English class had to complete was a letter to the teacher. I created a template format for my students and a scaffold of useful language to help them write the letter. I wrote them a letter introducing myself using this format that was the model I referred to when deconstructing this task.
One of the assessment criteria was deep reflection and insight and so I emphasised to them that they had to explain why they had developed their favourite list or why they wanted to pursue a certain career. It was not enough to just list these.
Each student completed a draft and then a final copy adapting my feedback. When submitting their final copy they had to attach the draft so I could observe how they adapted my feedback.
Before they began writing I shared a PowerPoint slide of my first novel The Good Daughter after I had received my edits to show them that writing is a process and that no one produced a perfect first draft first go.
I had a very great uptake in students adapting my feedback for their final drafts and receiving high scores for grammar, punctuation and spelling. Students also reacted very positively to receiving a letter from me and then having to reply to this.
Below is my format and a word document you can download. I hope it proves helpful.
Sender Address (use school address)
Receiver address (use school address)
Heading “Introducing myself”
First body paragraph: Tell me your name, about your cultural background, and about your family and/or your friends.
Second body paragraph: Tell me your favourite subjects at school and why you like them. Tell me your favourites list (favourite TV shows, movies, books) and why you have these on your list.
Third body paragraph: Tell me about your passions, hobbies and what you think you would like to do as your future career.
Fourth body paragraph: Discuss your goals and tell me what you would like to achieve in the new year (hint: reflect back on what your career might be and what you need to do at school to achieve it).
Closing sentence (I look forward to getting to know you./ Hope to hear from you)
Sign off (Your friend, Your student, Yours sincerely,)
(where you write your signature)
Name: My name originates from…/ My name means …../ I was given my name because…
Family: I come from a large/small/medium family… / My role in the family is … / I am the ___ sibling…
Friends: I have a big/small/ group of friends… / My friends and I have in common
Interests: My interests are ___ because… / I got into my passion because…
Goals: My goals are… / I want to achieve…
Amra Pajalić is an award-winning author, an editor and teacher who draws on her Bosnian cultural heritage to write own voices stories for young people, who like her, are searching to mediate their identity and take pride in their diverse culture. She writes memoir, young adult and romance under the pen name Mae Archer.
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