As part of Year 8’s work in English on The Gothic unit, an exciting and unique opportunity arose for one lucky class. On Tuesday 4th December, 8y8 had the chance to link their learning on the creative writing process with that of an established and renowned literary gamechanger.
Susan Hill, author of ‘The Woman in Black’ and over fifty other wide-ranging works of fiction, spoke live in-lesson to the students via a telephone link from her writer’s retreat on the other side of the country. The link with Hill came about through my mother's blog ‘Dovegreyreader Scribbles’, a true online home for the real reader. Over the years she has forged close links with Hill, and both were only too happy to help when I reached out to find ways to offer my students a powerful connection with the book industry.
After working co-operatively to devise questions which would help them towards success in their final task for the unit, volunteer speakers from each base group of students fired their best interrogative shots at Hill. She responded with incredibly useful information, evidenced by the sound of frantic note scribbling from across the room at each nugget of wisdom that floated out of the loudspeakers. Conversing for half an hour in total, the lasting impact on the students could be measured by the smiles and air of excitement that filled the classroom.
I would like to extend my thanks to Adam Hodgess, the Learning Technology Manager at the school, for all his help in securing the technical resources to make this happen, and Susan Hill for offering her time to this project.