What are Teacher's Notes?
The hope with a lot of books, especially books in children's fiction, is that they may be distributed to schools and taught to kids as part of their curriculum.
This could be a lesson specifically about creative writing, and using a YA book to examine point of view, voice, descriptions, characters, dialogue etc.
Or it could be a lesson that digs a little deeper, looking at interpreting theme, symbolism within text, or maybe even just trying to raise some open ended questions to get kids thinking differently.
And a lot of teacher's notes include little tasks that students can do, or discussions points etc.
Well, at least this is what I figured out after reading a lot about them on the net, and finding a whole heap of examples to go through!
Examining Your Story from a completely Different Angle.
Actually, it was a really interesting experience working on these notes, because it really forces you to examine your story from angles you’ve never thought of before, basically to see what questions, themes and ideas you can draw from the text.
The whole time I kept thinking how strange it was, to start pulling out hidden symbolism or themes from a story I’m so familiar with, which I obviously didn’t insert on purpose, but if you look closely enough you can find all kinds of questions that teachers’ could ask their students to encourage critical thinking, emotional intelligence and skills like interpreting themes beyond the text.
So all in all it was a very interesting experience.
My version of the teacher notes was a bit of a massive brain dump, and I believe that Wakefield Press then did some tweaking and editing of them a little bit, but hopefully I will have the opportunity to share them here in the future, for anyone who is interested.
The process was quite fascinating, and I also really liked googling teacher notes of other YA novels to see how they were structured and what sort of questions and activities they drew from the text. It is a wonderful way to further explore a story, and I am kind of fascinated to start reading more teacher notes, particularly for YA novels I really loved, as I think they can give a deeper understanding of the meaning behind certain stories and help with the skill of critical reading, which I am still learning myself.
I will admit that writing the teacher notes was extremely hard for me.
Whenever I am in the position of doing something creative with a direct end goal of showing it to other people (unlike writing novels where you have no idea if you’ll ever manage to get it in front of someone who matters) I find myself burning with embarrassment for the dumb things I am sure I am writing. Working on the teacher notes was no exception. I was positive every question I was asking was dumb and that I was embarrassing myself, so it was a real struggle.
But at the same time, I felt very proud of myself when I had completed the first draft.
It is a wonderful thing to be given a new challenge that you’ve never faced before, and ultimately succeed in creating the thing you set out to do.
So that was great in the end, despite the struggle!
But hey, what is art without a bit of struggle?
Some Examples from my Teacher Notes Draft!
So I guess I better show some of the things I put together to give you an idea, though I'm not yet sure how these may have changed for the final version.
There's some little bits and pieces in here from the book, but nothing too spoilery!
Here are some of the draft questions I put together!
So it basically goes on and on like that, and then gets even more into pointed questions about creative writing and POV and stuff like that.
Anyway, I hope that was interesting, as I certainly hadn't come across Teacher Notes prior to this experience!
Thanks for reading!
Had you ever read Teacher Notes before?
Let me know your thoughts!