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Students blow teacher’s mind!

Sydney-based Teacher Librarian, Linda Gibson-Langford PhD, shares her journey from having to cajole her students at The King’s School to Write a Book in a Day in 2016, to the incredible outcome and rewards for the students and herself.

“What? Write a book with 7 other boys! No way!”

Raising funds for The Kids’ Cancer Project as part of the experience? Well, yes Miss, of course!”

“Lock ourselves in a room for 8 hours and concentrate on one task – cooperate, collaborate and be creative – tough call, Miss.”

“But hey, we love challenges, and since it is a competition too… ok you got us!”

“And that was the beginning of our first ever Write a Book in a Day experience.

The day sped by (with a small dip in energy around 4pm) but right from the start, the vibe was beyond my expectations.

Our group of 16 creatives combined their skills in literacy, communication and, so importantly, critical collaboration, in such a way as to support each other, laughing at each other’s ideas but not being judgmental. Constructive criticism was welcomed and encouraged. Being able to manage their time was beyond my belief.

Both teams of 8 boys remained focussed throughout the day, faithfully giving critical feedback to each other as the day progressed.

The calibre of the writing and illustrating was certainly more than I had imagined from the boys.


Not once did my colleague and I feel the boys would not get there and of course they did, submitting their final copies at 7:47pm and 7.52pm, respectively.

I read their stories after they left that night. Yes, they began with a sense of humour; yes, the twists became apparent; yes, I certainly could see a fable in both stories (were they aware?); and yes, I understood why many of them thought their story was a bit edgy towards the end, possibly not happy enough for the anticipated audience. I didn’t think so. Themes of inspiring others to be brave, to collaborate, to find yourself, your voice, to mature. The stories were GOLD. There was even a lesson in each story, not a competition prerequisite, but for both teams, the moral arose.

Beyond the long day of writing, the boys finalised their sponsorship, and were the nation’s highest fundraisers. I felt they demonstrated brave hearts, empathetic hearts, charitable hearts.

Standing in front of my Kingsmen the next day, I put my toes together, I bent in a deep bow, fingers in third position, arms sweeping into a graceful arc and gave them my thanks. It’s times like this that makes your role as a teacher so very special.”

Congratulations to The King’s School, whose entry was one of last year’s award winning books! View 2016 winners