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November 2016 ACCESS
U NLOC K THE IMAG INATIO N
BIRT HS CR EATIV IT Y
CHANGES THE WORLD
Exciting opportunity for NSW Primary Schools!
The National English Curriculum places significant weight on teaching students to
Think Imaginatively and Creatively (ENE-10C).To support teachers in this program,
bestselling children’s author and illustrator Matt Stanton has developed a
1hr session for Early Stage 1 to Stage 3 students, which he is
touring around NSW Primary Schools for a strictly limited time.
Highly interactive, engaging and funny,
Matt’s sessions teach students the power
of their imagination by scaffolding a repeatable
process for creativity. He leads them through a story
about imagination, discusses setting, character
and story structure and works with all the students
to create a unique character, which they can use
to compose their own literary texts (EN1-10C,
ACELT1607, ACELT1586). Each session is differentiated
to suit ES1, S1, S2 and S3, ensuring that all students
leave the sessions knowing that they have an
imagination that is easy and fun to use and with
the confidence of a step-by-step system to
overcome creative obstacles. Pre- and post-session
activities are also provided to enhance the learning
Matt Stanton is a young bestselling children’s author/illustrator. A quarter of a million copies of his
books are in print. His critically acclaimed Books That Drive Kids Crazy series, created with his wife Beck,
has been included on the CBC Notables List, been shortlisted for ABIA Children’s Book of the Year
and is listed on Better Reading’s Top 50 Books for Children. He is also the co-creator of the mega-
bestselling Fart Monster series and is working towards the international launch of his middle-grade
series in 2017 – chapter books for fans of Andy Griffiths and Aaron Blabey. He speaks regularly with the
Sydney Writers’ Festival and the Somerset Celebration of Children’s Literature, and stars in a weekly
YouTube show providing free funny drawing lessons to primary students.
Do any of your students feel
daunted by the blank page?
Do any of your students feel
frustrated when they can’t get
what ’s in their head onto paper?
Do any of your s tudents get stuck
creating the same thing
over and over again?
Do any of your students say
‘I can’t do it’?
A DATE FOR
Click here for Matt’s FREE Education Newsletter!
This engaged and interactive reading
experience could never be described as
In fact, nearly all forms of humour require
active engagement with the joke’s text in
order to understand it. If we look back at
the world’s funniest joke above, the humour
comes as we realise that ‘let’s make sure
he’s dead’ can be understood in two vastly
different ways. We see that the first way we
interpreted its meaning was not the only
meaning that could be deduced. In other
words, the humour is in reflection. The
punchline forces you to review what you’ve
just read. It says, if you engage in this text, if
you study it, you will be rewarded.
Active readers read beyond words. They
read ideas. They read to ‘get it’, to understand
the text, not just to finish it. They learn that
within the words printed in front of them
the writer has gifts to offer them, which if
they engage with the text, they can discover.
I agree with William Fry — creativity and
humour stretch the same muscle. The skills
are the same, whether students are using
them to understand humour, to read actively
or to create something of their own.
The reason that I do what I do is because I
believe that books inspire the imagination,
imagination births creativity and creativity
changes the world.
The work that we are doing together,
encouraging children to discover books
and to fall in love with reading, is crucially
important work. In 2016, now more than
ever before, we are competing with the
latest devices, video games and social
networks for students’ attention. To fight
that fight, I am committed to using every tool
in the toolbox, and I have found that having
humour in our classrooms and having funny
books on our shelves are some of the most
powerful tools available.
So, what’s so funny about the imagination?
If we give students the chance, they’ll show
us that there are many answers to that
question. They’ll probably also make us
laugh a lot along the way.
* From Happily Ever Laughter, Peter
Doskoch, Psychology Today.
** Kids and Families Reading Report Australia,
Scholastic, YouGov, 2015.
*** Schallert & Reed (1997), p. 79, as
quoted by Matthew D Zbaracki, MA, 2003, 'A
descriptive study of how humor in literature
serves to engage children in their reading'.
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