Earth Day


Our contribution to Earth Day was to spend time reflecting on what the Earth meant to each of us. We began by exploring what we currently know about the Earth and why it is important to us. We then examined a video about Earth Day and the effects of pollution. Our final task was to write about our ideas of what would be needed to make a perfect world.


What the earth means to us
by Jackie

The earth is important to me
It is green and lush
Pretty and green
Purple hills new trees green plants
Purple hills lovely fresh air

Pollution is horrid
I pollute the world by buying packaged products
I want to save the world
I want to stop plastic pollution and rubbish

Pollution is really horrid
I want an earth full of healthy air and full of beautiful green vegetation
I am very happy to be here and have a world that is healthy and nurturing.


Earth is beautiful.

by Tyler


What the earth means to me
by Sammy

Clean water
Clean air
Green trees
Green grass
Fat dairy cows
Beautiful places

Dirty water
Smoky Air
Rubbish in the water – beach, creeks, dam, sea, lakes, oceans, pool
I don’t know what to do about this rubbish

Perfect World
Clean air
Clean water
Healthy house
Clean house
Clean food
Healthy food
Healthy animals
Less rubbish

What the earth means to me
by Erin

Earth at Maleny
Green trees
And earth beautiful

Dirty water
Rubbish water

Perfect World
Clean air
Clean water
Clean food
No pollution
Healthy foods
Clean ocean
Healthy animals
Less rubbish
Nice feel
Nice and safe




The sense of smell permeates our writing

For three weeks, EPICC participants have been exploring the sense of smell, what different smells mean to them individually, and how the sense of smell is used in creative writing.

The Madeleine Effect

At the outset of Marcel Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past, the smell of “petite madeleines” famously reconnected him to his childhood. The memories they evoked were grounded in images of a place. In this respect, his account vividly displays a recently deciphered characteristic of long-term memory:  the sense of smell acts as a bridge between present and past. In fact, it has been found that olfactory memories take us further back in time than others.

Jackie wrote:

A whiff transports me to a different place and time

Coffee powerfully takes me to early childhood

I smelt the coffee brewing and realized that I could dream about when I was young and mum and dad were drinking coffee while I lay on the floor.

Adrian wrote:

Inhale, exhale, just breathe, close your eyes, be transported to another time, must be an important memory to invoke this connection, can’t decide how. Inhale, exhale, close my eyes, be transported to another place, do I feel safe here, or will I open my eyes and land back in reality? Breathe in deeply, be covered and immersed in their scent, carry this memory forever so when I smell this scent again, in a different time and place I’ll be brought back to you.

The smell of horses … when I first got my horses and just began to learn to ride.

by Sammy

Memory from smell is like a tugging on my brain and heart recalling how I felt and where I was,  just a quiet tugging which I could ignore or embrace.

by Adrian

 Sense of Smell as Place

Smell may be the most underutilised and yet most effective way to evoke a sense of place.

Jackie wrote:

Sense of smell as place

Yellow smells take me to EPICC

Sunny friendly safe

Yellow smells are food, laughter, and creativity.

Tyler wrote:
I like chips at home – yummy smell.

The smell of chips remind me of my home and transports me to my home and sitting and watching tv.
by Jackie


Adrian wrote:

As I rolled through the hospital doors, my nose was hit by a wave of disinfectant mixed in with the overly sweet smell of processed food it must be dinner time It reminded me of being in group homes before mum and dad brought me home I felt alone and sad.
As I woke up, I was aware of the delicious fragrance of cinnamon and cream wafting around my unit. I was brought immediately back to the first time mum made rice pudding in our old house. I’m instantly at ease as I nestle back into my blankets feeling safe and warm.

Smell as Character Trait

 Writers regularly use visual cues to distinguish one character from another. Richard Price  is one author who uses scents the same way, marking his characters with distinctive smells, like the tracks of a woman’s perfume and the effect it has on the hero.

Adrian wrote:

As Chris sat next to me, I could smell an intoxicating combination of coffee and fresh herbs. I could fall asleep to that combination but, if Chris is there, it’s time to work . As dad walked in to my unit the scent of sweat and freshly cut grass followed him inside and I’m reminded that he works hard to look after my garden while I sit and eat breakfast because he loves me.

Jackie wrote:
Sense of smell as character trait
People have their own aroma
Fresh or foul
People leave a lingering trail of their presence.


One day there was a little boy who lived in a house with three little pigs in the forest far far far away. His name is Pungent Peter who was a little nutty boy who got into trouble by the three little pigs in the house. Pungent Peter got spiky h air and he is sticky with peanut butter sandwiches. When he was eating his sandwich at school, he got very angry at himself. The three little pigs said to Pungent Peter to go and have a shower or a bath. He is very dirty and he went to the bathroom.

by Sammy

The small boy played in the mud.
He was covered from head to toe with smelly mud .
His mother yelled you pong. Go and have a bath.

by Jackie

As Frank ran back inside covered in dirt, his mother called to him frantically “go back outside I have friends over and you stink of sweat and mud and crushed grass.” Frank smiled shyly at his mum as she suggested “why don’t you play under the sprinkler to freshen up. ”

by Adrian


The old man tried to hug the young girl.
Go away she screamed. You smell horrid. Just then the girl’s father came along.
What do you think you are doing?
Leave my daughter alone, you miserable old man.
by Jackie

A witch who is wearing a black coat and a black hat is putting her arm around the girl.  by Sammy

One day there was an old man trying to hug a little girl who said to the old man, the witch, to go away, don’t touch me. Her sister Cinderella said to the old man, the witch, to take her away. The little girl’s name is Annie. The old man, the witch, found the girl Annie in a farm house with animals. Cinderella saved Annie, her sister, and went back home far far far far away from the old man, the witch.
by Sammy

Elizabeth ran through the woods  but her shoe snagged on a tree root and she fell, sprawled on the ground, and as she lay there she was dismayed to feel drops of rain begin to splat against her exposed skin. As she began to sob into her hands where she lay she felt a warm hand on her shoulder and a voice saying, miss are you ok here take my cloak, you’re freezing . Elizabeth sat up to thank the kind stranger but as she turned to face them she was greeted by a wave of the stench of rotting teeth and flesh. Elizabeth recoiled in horror and instinctively blocked her nose. As the stranger glanced awkwardly away Elizabeth felt her cheeks flush in shame at her rude behaviour and realised that she too probably stank after days on the run. Elizabeth noticed that the stranger pulled some leaves from their pocket and placed one in their own mouth and extended their hand to Elizabeth offering her the other. Elizabeth breathed in this new scent with delight, the leaves smelt fresh, minty and clean. She shoved the leaves into her mouth and closed her eyes, when she opened her eyes the stranger was gone and in his place remained his cloak.
by Adrian

Smell as Mood


Great feelings are evoked by the smell of my mum and dad.
Mum has a smell of clean beautiful almond smell.
She cuddles me close and the waft of almond covers me.
Love and caring are impressed in my hair and clothes.

Dad smells like world and musk rolled together in a delicious bundle of manliness.
He hugs me tight and my body smells of a hint of him.
I am a girl who has a boy flavor lingering on me.
by Jackie

As I open my eyes I am instantly grumpy. Why is Lori clattering in the kitchen so loudly? I huff and close my eyes as I try to go back to sleep but I am becoming aware of the scent of coffee wafting through my unit. I’m suddenly much more aware and feel pleased at the prospect of waking up for the day, my bad mood dissipating into the air.

by Adrian

Terror reeks at the smell of beetroot.
Beetroot is dark and ripe in smell.
It makes me feel sick.
Mum gives it to me but I hate it.
Tell her please.

by Jackie

Tyler wrote:
The smell I like is the smell of the rain.

Garbage in a bin
Putrid rank
The smell makes me ill
I want to vomit
I want it gone
Take it away
Wash the horrid smell away

by Jackie

I can recall the smell of my sister and feel a rush of love for her.
Heartfelt and moving because I love her.

by Jackie

Sammy wrote:

The smell of the hospital scares me and I don’t like the smell of hospital food too.

I like the smell of my mum’s potato bake homemade in the oven baking. The smell makes me feel good.

Smell as Culture

Smell is not just a biological and psychological experience, it is also a social and cultural phenomenon. This topic was discussed in some detail. There was no time left to write about the idea of smell as culture.

The afternoons at EPICC involve playing instruments, singing, and creating and acting in plays. Some interesting plots and characters have been developed. Everyone has such a lot of fun acting. The acting sessions are full of laughter which makes everyone want to do  more.

Tyler enjoying the drum playing.


Erin enjoyed playing the finger cymbals, while also playing bells on her wrist.



Jackie sees the keyboard and is off to start playing. Definitely, her favourite musical instrument.


Jackie as Frances, the celebrity star.


Michael … striking a pose as quite a villain!


Sammy as Little Red Riding Hood.


Adrian as Edvard the Evil.



Touching feeling not to be confused with feeling emotions

Friday, 18 March 2016

Alice Owen led the EPICC group this morning in a movement-dance therapy workshop. Here are some photos of the action.




After the workshop, participants reflected on the session and wrote about their experiences with consideration of what happened and how it made them feel.

Sammy wrote:
We did some dancing this morning with Alice. Alice showed us how to dance and move around. I felt that it was very good and happy. It was amazing dancing around the room.

Jackie wrote:
Alice came today.
She did dancing with people.
It looked colourful.
People moved slow and fast, high and low.
They looked amazing.
I was scared but wanted to join in.
I was angry at myself.
I missed out even though Alice and Debbie tried to help me join in
It was amazing to be cuddled safely by Debbie
I needed that reassurance.
Touch is crucial to feeling safe.

Erin wrote:
Alice showed us dance. I feel happy. Nose kissing touch. Silky scarves.

We revisited the idea that beginner writers tend to confuse touch (feeling) with feel (emotion).

  • For example: I touch the piano key, I feel scared.
  • Should be: I touch the piano key, I touch the cool smooth key.

Following that we began touching and writing about ice cubes and playdough. Here are some of the descriptions that were written about what was seen, what was felt when touched, and the sound/s that were heard.

Ice (written by Jackie)

Very horrid to touch
Small cubes
Clear as crystal
Frozen graves
Crunch crack groan

Ice blocks (written by Sammy)

I touch it
Cold, hard, rocky
Freezing wet
The ice is coming out of the water
The ice looks like water
Wet and freezing cold hard cubes
I touch it
Sounds crackling

Ice cubes on my hand
It is cold and melts
Changes into water
(written by Erin)


The playdough is hard as a rock and soft and smooth and like cookie dough and cookie and cream
You can see bright colours in playdough
You can roll out sausages and round like a ball and a cookie dough
You can use different colours in the playdough too
You can write your name on the playdough
The playdough is very pretty and nice and cute and beautiful too
It smells nice. Yum yum yum yum
The playdough looks like a ball and bounces like a soft ball on the table
Boom boom boom
Click click click
The playdough sounded like boom boom boom boom boom boom
(written by Sammy)

Playdough (written by Erin)
It felt soft and it is pink and purple colours and it bumped onto the table.
Sounded like a car on the table


Play dough is not easy for me.
It will need to be softer.
It was hard and smooth.
It cocooned my fingers.
You helped me to touch with pressure
It was firm and felt odd.
It went clonk clonk on the table.
(written by Jackie)

The final writing task focused on writing ‘The Balloon’s Story’. Each participant was given a deflated balloon. They had to look at it and consider the following questions:

    • Where did it come from?
    • Where is it now?
    • What happens when a person touches it?
    • What happens as the person blows air in it?

The balloon’s story (written by Jackie)

One day a small red and white balloon was born. He was being shoved around and packaged squashed in with other balloons. Debbie saw them in a shop and it was just the right shade of red for creating with. She bought them and delivered them to EPICC. It felt scared just like Jackie felt about it. It was filled with air and then went swoosh through the air. It was pleased to escape. Jackie was pleased it was gone.

I go to a birthday party. The balloon came from a Maleny shop and in Debbie’s car. The balloon blowing is hard work. Blows air and the balloon sounds like fffffffffffffff. (written by Erin)

 Sammy came up with lots of different ideas of where the balloon was: at a birthday party; travelled from Debbie’s house to the table at EPICC; came from a birthday party shop or IGA, or perhaps came from her house.

Sammy wrote that the deflated balloon:
White spots with red
feels like a mouse
When the inflated balloon was let go, Sammy wrote:
The balloon blow up in the air, sky
flies away in the air
The balloon is hard work to blow up
I like when the white dots blow up like a spotty dog or a person who is a spotty person

 The afternoon session was focused on music: music making, music appreciation, and singing and playing the piano and some new instruments. Here are some photos of everyone at work and play during the music session with Cardie. Check out our EPICC shirts, as well.


Kinaesthetic learning: How is it relevant to us?

Friday, 11 March 2016

We have already explored what it means to be a visual learner and an auditory learner and how these are relevant to each person in the EPICC creative writing-music group. Today’s focus was investigating how being a kinaesthetic learner was relevant to each of us.

On first reflections, everyone thought this was NOT something that they could relate to. They did not see themselves as being kinaesthetic in their learning. The data that shows the prevalence in kinaesthetic learners seemed to confirm everyone’s initial thoughts.


Further investigation, however, challenged each individual to rethink who they are as a learner. We explored each item listed on the kinaesthetic learning style characteristics slide …. and … everyone one of us could identify items that described characteristics of each person. Michael identified that he loves to act. Jackie wrote, “I like to do things like writing and play music.” Erin wrote about how she likes to “touch people to get their attention and to speak slowly and loudly”. Adrian wrote, ” I like doing physical activity like swimming”.


Debbie explained how our sense of touch is controlled by a huge network of nerve endings and touch receptors in the skin known as the somatosensory system. This system is responsible for all the sensations we feel – cold, hot, smooth, rough, pressure, tickle, itch, pain, vibrations, temperature, …

We then explored the sense of touch and how it enables us to investigate ourselves and the world around us by feeling it and learning about the texture, shape, and size of things. As we progressed with touching various items, we came to the realisation that tactile images can be powerful sensory stimulus to creative writing. We also became aware that describing touch in our writing would allow a reader not only to visualize a scene, but to experience it.

We experimented with writing touch descriptions using adjectives, then similes and then naming the object. The following are samples of our creative writing productions.

The handle is cool and hard while the brush is spiky, prickly and rough and it tingles and tickles when I brush it against my skin.

As prickly as a porcupine
Brush (written by Adrian)

My object is smooth and soft.
It is like a lovely warm hug.
It is a washer. (written by Jackie)

My object is springs and stretchy
Like a hair tie
It is a rubber band or tube. (written by Erin)


We explored our clothing: what it looks like and how it feels. Here are the creative writing responses.

My clothing (by Adrian) EPICC shirt Looks like Colourful and bright picture on a black background. Striking contrast like a piece of artwork. Feels like Soft and rough at the same time. Needs to be washed in fabric softener Neck tie Looks like Black and square shaped Feels like Quite rigid and rough

My clothing (by Jackie)

I am wearing my first set of EPICC clothes.
I am in black, orange and white.
I can feel my clothes pressing on my body.
It feels like a very great beautiful rainbow.

My clothing (by Erin)

I am wearing a colour t-shirt on top EPICC top.
Erin is wearing a swirly skirt, colour red and black.
I wearing a colour black stretchy tights.
They feel soft like a fairy wing.

The next writing task was to:

  • Select an object (free choice)
  • Now think about what it is and what it is used for
  • Picture in your mind a scene where someone is using this object
  • Imagine feeling the object’s texture, temperature and shape while it is being used
  • Begin writing …

Here are some samples of the creative writing that was produced.

Writing task (written by Adrian)
Object: shoe
Used for: accessories as I don’t need them
Texture: soft yet firm, hug my feet, rough on my heels

Adrian sighed as his companion brought out the shoes he had selected for Adrian to wear that day. Idiot… He has dressed Adrian in purple shorts but selected red shoes.  Adrian knew though why these were his companions choice, they were the best fitting shoes he owned, both soft and firm and only slightly rough on his strangely shaped feet. As his feet were jammed into the red shoes he felt grateful that he would at least be comfortable though mismatched. His feet sank into the shoes as one sinks into a bean bag. Adrian wished he could tell his companion he didn’t want to wear the purple shorts,  and that he could explain that wearing shoes for him is unnecessary but make his outfit appear more normal.  Adrian realised that his red squishy shoes weren’t the problem but his colour blind companion was. 

The object is your car. (written by Jackie)
Debbie’s car
I am off to uni with Debbie.
Yay I am so excited.
Her car is blue and bubbles with music.
I love the songs of love and fun.
You get to talk and sing with her and it is amazing.
I love uni days.
It is my favourite day of the week.
I learn new things and talk in class.

In our final writing task, each person had to think of an activity thing like to do. They then had to think  and write about:

  • What is happening (sequence of events – what you see and hear)
  • What touching/doing is happening (kineasthetic/tactile)
  • How this makes you feel (emotions)

Dancing costume (written by Erin)
I put my dancing costume on.
I put a ballerina tutu on.
I find a CD and start the music and then I dance.
My feet are on tip toes.
My arms are up. Fingers moving.
My whole body is like a spinning top.
It makes me feel happy.

Getting into bed (written by Adrian) “Time for bed?” My companion will ask. My tired eyes will light up as I begin to wiggle and stretch in my lounge chair indicating to them that yes, in fact, I would like to go to bed. I will feel my chair begin to tilt me up to an almost standing position as they wrap their arms around me. I relax into their firm hug like hold and close my eyes. I feel myself being rocked gently with each step they take toward my bed and I can feel myself already being to drift away. Suddenly the gentle rocking changes momentum and my legs are almost flung up and my body is coming down almost too fast. My heart lurches into my throat and my body stiffens. My body will connect with the mattress and I will let out a breath I won’t have realised I was holding. I will try and repress a huge smile and begin to giggle. The blankets will be brought up over me and will envelop me in a warm and safe embrace. I will hear indistinct chatter and maybe lips press onto my forehead as the world will slips away.

Swimming (written by Jackie)
Mum helps me get my togs on
They are soft against my skin
I love how they feel
Into the water

At the end of every creative writing session, we reflect on the session.

Reflection (by Adrian) This was a great session. Turns out I’m very kinaesthetic I found the writing tasks very easy once I understood what it was all about I like that this is a safe place we can share our other work and would like to do more of that
Erin wrote: I enjoy writing and Veronika helps me.

Jackie wrote: I enjoyed finding out about how I am a kinesthetic learner.
I found some of the tasks challenging because I had to think about my experiences.


Exploring Emotions

Friday, 4 March 2016

In this session, we explored the classic writing rule, “Show. Don’t Tell.” The idea is that the writer needs to create vivid images that show the reader what is happening through action and description versus telling them. Burns (2003, p.2) maintains that “emotions in particular are fertile ground for getting showy where it’s easy to lapse into mere telling”. The following examples show the difference between telling and showing. A basic tell sentence is: Tom is scared. Consider this show alternative: Tom’s face went ashen. His breathing came in ragged gasps. We found it is trickier to do this than we imagined it would be.

We began by examining different character’s motivation. We queried: Why are the characters doing the things they’re doing? What makes them do what they are doing? We noted that the character’s personality and the situation in which they are in influences their motivation.


We watched a short video clip from the animated version of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and analysed Alice’s personality and the situation in which she found herself in order to determine the motivation for her actions.

  • Personality: Alice is young, energetic, a little naïve, and very curious
  • Situation: The appearance of a rabbit in a waistcoat with a pocket watch, whom Alice follows into Wonderland.
  • Motivation: The rabbit presents Alice with the opportunity to embark on an adventure by following him down the rabbit hole. This situation combined with Alice’s curious nature motivates her to follow. Alice is not motivated to stop and think about her actions ahead of time.

We explored how other writers have used the “Show. Don’t Tell” technique in their writing. The use of ‘showing’ versus ‘telling’ meant we had to spend some time trying to identify what the situation was and why the character was acting in the way they were.

We then examined images and wrote individual responses as to these, practising using ‘Show. Don’t Tell’ to describe the situation, motivation and emotions of the characters represented. It proved to be challenging and yet a lot of fun as each individual interpreted the emotions and situations differently and came up with a range of plausible contexts for the provided image. Please take some time to read the writing done by the EPICC participants.wk5.2Girl is giggling. (written by Erin)

This girl is laughing at a joke that someone just told her. The funny joke was ‘Why did the chicken cross the road today?” (written by Sammy)

A young boy. He is crying, sobbing even because he is lost. He feels scared and lonely. (written by Adrian)

The person is a young boy from Africa. He is laughing out loud. He is very happy because he is having fun with his friends. (written by Jackie)



He is feeling very angry and frustrated because his business partner has just called him to tell him that he has been caught committing fraud and he is implicated as well. He has always valued honesty in his business dealing so this has been a breach of trust. (written by Adrian)

The man is laughing at phone on YouTube Doctor Martin TV show. (written by Erin)

The man is a businessman who has found out his girlfriend is leaving him. He is furious and screams at his phone. (written by Jackie)

The man might be watching the football and laughing at the video. (written by Sammy)


I can see the smiling girl. Her head is up and she has got her eyes closed. She is wearing a wrap. She looks like a princess or a queen because of the shiny beads on her wrap. (written by Sammy)

Indian girl is laughing at the Coast at the Plaza at Nambour. She looks like a beautiful princess. She is wearing a cloak with beads. (written by Erin)

The little Indian girl began to giggle as she saw what her uncle had placed in her hands; she had never held one before but recognised it from a book she had seen and she wondered where he had found one. She knew it would have to be their little secret. What is it? She’ll never tell, they could get in to trouble for having it. (written by Adrian)

She  is a small child who is dressed up and giggling. Debbie raised her eyebrows. She was not happy that Reddie had her new shawl. She cried out and Reddie ran away crying. (written by Jackie)


4 Ms: eMotions, Music, Masks, Material

Friday, 19 February 2015

The focus this week was on expressing emotions in creative writing. We explored the six main categories of emotions and how each emotion is represented in our faces, our thinking, particular effects on our insides and on the outside of our body. We also examined how we can misread a person’s emotions e.g., a shaking body could represent excited, sadness, fear, or cold. The environmental/contextual elements that influenced emotions also were explored.


Everyone participated in writing about their emotions and how it affected their thinking and bodies. Some of the emotions were difficult for individuals to write about. Others were easy.

Sammy was powering today with her writing. She wrote and wrote and wrote: 35 pages in all. Big bold writing spread across the pages regardless of lines. Her thoughts poured out across the pages. Sammy had a strong desire to write independently. She asked people to leave her to get on with her writing. In all, this made for a magnificent event to witness. Congratulations Sammy on your writing work this week. The following is her writing about ‘happy’:

I feel very proud of myself when I feel very happy

I feel happy when I ride on my horse called Aldo at home

I feel very proud of myself and I feel happy when doing some cooking

I am smiling and excited, proud, heart pumping, happy in myself

I have lots of goals in my life and good dreams too

When I buy something, I feel very happy

each day

one day

or when I got to the movies too

I feel very happy

I feel very good in myself

happy song

I feel great every day


Erin wrote about each of the emotions identifying links to her love of family members, music , dance and fairies. This is her writing about sadness and excited:

I feel sad

My mum leaving my room

I miss you Pa

Pa is die and Ma is sad

Is crying tears


I let my guinea pig die.


My knees are shaking good

Laugh and excited

Jump and smiling

Jumping beans

Her wings shimmering on fluttering tummy


Jackie wrote about tenderness and how it relates to her and her mother:

Tender is kindness and love
I find mum tender
She smiles gently
She touches me with gentle caresses and it makes me feel clothed in warmth
I love her very much
I am blessed to have her in my life.


The afternoon with Cardie was full of music: singing, playing instruments and dancing while waving swathes of material, and dressing up in cloaks and masks. Here are a few photos to give you some insights into the fun had by all.








Creating with thanks to Apex Maleny

Friday 12 February 2016

EPICC Maleny was the vision of two parents who called up one like minded educator. Good intentions for people with disabilities abounded! The key challenge was locating funding to get this venture operational.

Apex Maleny enabled the vision of EPICC Maleny to be launched by providing operational funds for the first term of ten full-day sessions.  To date, three of these ten full-day sessions have been completed. They have proven to be positive and productive learning opportunities for all participants.

The following is the feedback participants wrote to Apex Maleny:

Jackie Irwin

I want to thank the Apex people for supporting EPICC Maleny.

I am able to do lots of creative writing here.

I can’t do that otherwise.

I have had opportunities to play musical instruments and be in a play.


Erin Cameron

Thank you Apex Maleny. I LOVE IT!

Sammy Grigor

Thank you Apex. Coming to EPICC is good and fun. I learn things here and try new things. I really enjoy the music and writing too and I really enjoy coming each day. It makes me very happy too.

Adrian Kooistra

Thank you for helping to create a safe place for us to explore our creativity. This group has been a great experience for us all and I hope you know how appreciative we all are for your generous contribution .

I am learning to effectively express myself which allows others to see me as a real person. Thank you.


To date, participants have written descriptions and poetry using adjectives, similes and onomatopoeia. They have focused on using their vision and hearing abilities to inform their writing. They also have explored what it means to be a visual learner and an auditory learner, and considered how these do or don’t relate to each individual.

This week, participants used a magnifying glass and digital microscope to look more closely at objects. Their observations informed the content of their writing.

Sammy wrote:

  • Under the microscope the strawberry is big and shiny, and the seed lumps are green.
  • Michael’s leg was like a rainforest with lots of trees.

Erin wrote:

  • The fairy has shiny silver wings with green eyes like grass.
  • Leaf: smooth, lots of lines, hair on stem, small brown spots and dots.

Michael wrote:

  • The leaf has furry hair on its stem. I could see faint veins on the underside of the leaf. Under the magnifying glass, the veins become more pronounced. The hair becomes like pointy spikes.
  • The leaf has a lot more hairs on it under the digital microscope. There was also a lot more veins as well. Kinda like the human body.

Adrian wrote:

  • DIGITAL MICROSCOPE: The lines on the palm [of Debbie’s hand] look like rivers, streams, and streets from the window of an airplane.


Jackie wrote:


Feathery and straight

Like little wands of magic

Collecting grasshopper eggs

Holding them safely in its arm


Golden flowered

Has leaves circular in shape like a very ball like structure

Vines snake across their surface like dangerous serpents

Growling prowling cloudy snakes

We also explored two video clips (Sydney New Year Eve Fireworks and The Outback Sky) using, firstly, our sense of vision and, secondly, our sense of hearing. These experiences were used as stimulus to writing a poem.

Fireworks by Sammy Grigor

Fireworks look like rain

They look like stars in the sky flying over the clouds

They look like circles too

They look like sparkles on a Christmas tree



CRASH! Music thumping!

Middle of the night count down.

Popcorn Bang Pop Pop Pop


My heart would be beating

I would be scared and shocked and frightened

I would be nervous and scared of the noises in the black sky



Sydney NYE Fireworks by Adrian Kooistra


The fireworks are crackling like sparklers at a birthday party,

The fireworks appear to flame out like magical bursts of fire and extinguish like candles in the wind. They fly through the air like an exploding rocket.

The fireworks are reflected in the water illuminating the boats there.


The fireworks explode with resounding booms and crackles like rapid cannon fire.

The crowd quiets as the music is introduced creating a mood of awe.

The fireworks are loud and can initially induce fear but the spectacular light show causes the fear to pale in comparison.


Wow! My mind quiets as I am overcome and overwhelmed by the beauty. Like the rest of the crowd I am held totally captive.


Sydney NYE Fireworks by Michael Givinchy



Fireworks look like colourful flowers

Fireworks look like torpedoes or rockets heading toward heaven

Fireworks exploded into thousand tiny particles falling down like rain

Fireworks exploding like two atoms colliding and sending other particles all over


Fireworks sound like popcorn popping in a pan

Fireworks sound like thunder rolling across the night sky

The music sounds uplifting and happy


Sizzle sizzle


I felt as if I made it through another year

I felt that the music uplifted me and that I could do anything if I put my mind to it


Sydney NYE Fireworks by Erin Cameron

I look at fireworks

Fairy wands

Sparkling balls

I listen


I feel scared and shocked


The outback sky by Jackie Irwin

I can see stars in the night sky

I can see clouds rolling through the sky

Like curly creepy crawlers

The solar system is bright and luminous


Birds sing and caw

Kookaburras laugh

Music sings the day away

Whirl whip

Crickets chirp

Cheep cheep


Very loud chirping

Tinkling stars like musical bells

Caroling choirs

Cheep cheep

Crickets chirping cheerily

I thought how much I wish I could be transported to that moment in time.

It felt like a relaxing place to go.


The outback sky by Adrian Kooistra

The clouds reflect red, orange, yellow as the sun sinks below the horizon like a flaming ball of fire

The trees hang in the night sky to a background of stars that cover the sky like fairy lights hanging on a black curtain.

The sky opens up and I catch a glimpse into heaven, the Angels appear as dazzling lights.

This must be how the Big Bang appeared, darkness interrupted by startling explosions of light.


Crows squawk, kookaburras laugh,

The music distracts me and I am glad in the moments where the music is silent and I can hear crickets chirping and a bird singing it’s beautiful melody.

I think I can hear the trickle of flowing water.

I have the feelings of calm and peace flowing through me like the water flowing under the outback sky.


Another positive and productive day!

Friday 5 February 2016

The second full day session began with setting personal intentions for the day. Everyone quickly identified what they wanted to get out of the day.

This day’s focus was on using the sense of hearing to inform creative writing. We began with an investigation of what it means to be an auditory learner. Participants, carers and teachers, everyone got involved in the discussion around this topic. Personal anecdotes were shared. Strengths and weaknesses in this area were revealed. This proved to be an engaging way to examine our commonalities and differences. I invite you to take a look at the key slide provided below, and ponder on how these elements do or don’t relate to you as a learner.


Using our sense of hearing, we listened to soundtracks and looked at how other authors incorporate sound elements in their writing. Our creative writing involved practising using adjectives and similes to describe sounds, and learning about how to use onomatopoeia to represent sounds in our writing.

Just in case, you can’t recall what this means, here is the definition and some examples. Onomatopoeia is when a word is used to represent a sound. Most of you will be familiar with how comic books use onomatopoeia, even if you do not know that is what the literacy term is called. Note how, in this comic clip, the word POW! is used to describe the sound of the punch connecting with the criminal’s jaw (The image was accessed from–0hF9lXCU2o/VC6uWKTHVII/AAAAAAAAxjI/EzBUvXf9igo/s1600/bat9.png).


Samuel Coleridge used onomatopoeia in his poem ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ to describe the sounds of the ice cracking. These and other examples provided stimulus for our writing.


(Extract taken from Onomatopoeia: Definition & Examples, YouTube video accessed via

One of our major piece of writing on this day was about ‘The Storm’. The first section of the poem required the writer to write about they see when there is a storm. The second section was written after listening to a sound track of a ‘tropical storm’, and the final section is about what the person hears inside their head when there is a storm.

The Storm

The storm is far away

It is grumbling and frightening

It is very dark and ominous

The clouds are billowy and black

Lightning jaggers from the sky

It seems to break

It is like a marvelous machine

The rain is teeming down

Pitter patter pitter patter

Grumble groan growl

The thunder is grumbling and growling

Sounds overwhelm me

It is loud like an orchestra gone crazy

It is loud in my head

I am overcome with emotion

I am happy and scared at the same time

by Jackie Irwin

The Storm

The sky gets very cloudy and dark


The trees move and it gets windy too

Drops of rain start to come down from the sky

Lightning flashing


Rushing down



Rustling trees


Inside I am scared

I am shaky

I am worried

I am upset

by Sammy Grigor

We also had a go at continuing on from a story starter that contained onomatopoeia words. Here are a couple of examples of what was produced.

Boom! Crash! Bang! A tree fell in front of me. I had to keep moving. (sizzling start)

In the forest, the trees were moving all around me. I am scared and worried. My heart was beating as fast as you can imagine. I keep running. The rain is pouring down on my face and clothes. I run out of the forest and I see my house. I am so happy to be back again, and I get warm and dry.

Ahhh! Noo! I didn’t want to go. The man pushed! (sizzling start)

I could feel the air rushing in my face.

I was crying. It was terrifying for me.

I landed in the mud.

He was the manager of IGA. Just because I was cheeky to him, he pushed me.

I wanted to yell at him for being so mean.

I suppose he was warranted to be mean, but I did not like it.

The afternoon was a musical adventure. Musical instruments were explored! Favourite songs or singers/bands were collected and trialled! Ideas for joining them together into a musical play experience were brainstormed! The action began!!

Another fabulous day of creating finished, we reflected on our personal intentions and the events of the day. It is heartening to hear participants’ comments such as: It was fabulous to be involved; I appreciate everyone’s support; I was excited to make up a story; My story worked well; I liked the kookaburra and storm sounds.

As I reflect on this week’s session, I realised it is all about how we work together. To me, this image represents what WE are all about at EPICC:


The first full day conquered!

Friday 29th January 2016

The first full day session was full of uncertainty for everyone! It was the first time we would be getting together to learn about and participate in creative writing and music making for a full day.

It seemed  to me (Debbie Rossow) that I had taken on a massive task much like a mountain that needed to be climbed upon and conquered! I knew a bit about some of the participants and their writing abilities. I didn’t know about others. I knew there were particular aspects that they or their parents/ caregivers wanted them to become more skilled at or perceived a need for them to begin to experience. I knew there was a great diversity in the participants’ knowledge and experience. I knew everyone wanted to be a better writer and to engage in musical experiences. I knew everyone was keen for this to be a positive and productive experience. Planning in place, resources organised, equipment ready, excitement built as the day began!

The session started with exploring what each person was excited about doing today. Participants then identified their intention for the day. An intention is a statement about how you want to be or what you want to get out of the day. There were a variety of intentions stated. Jackie said “I want to be open to new learning today”. Erin was keen to share her harp playing skills with everyone. Michael wanted to work on developing more interesting starts to his writing. The diversity of intentions reflected in part the diversity of the interests, desires and experiences of the participants. The intentions set up a goal for each participant to work on during the day. It also set up a challenge for Cardie, Veronika and me to reflect on and adjust our plans on the run in order to assist participants in addressing their intentions.

This day was focused on using the sense of vision to inform creative writing. Learning styles were examined with a focus on visual learners, in particular.  Did you know 65% of people are visual learners?  We explored what being a visual learner means and what is needed to help their learning.


Using our sense of sight, we examined pictures and other authors’ writing and engaged in writing activities that enabled us to develop rich visual descriptions. Our focus was on how to use adjectives and similes to develop rich descriptions in sentence and poetry formats.

We located nouns in the room and then explored applying attributive adjectives to one: flowers in a vase. In case you don’t know what an attributive adjective is, I have included the definition here. An attributive adjective is in front of the noun it is describing and gives attributes (qualities, characteristics to that noun- size, colour, shape, texture, appearance, pattern, condition, material). We explored the attributes of size, colour, shape, and number of the flowers. We then wrote sentences using some of the attributive flowers. Jackie wrote a simple descriptive sentence: I can see two little flowers. Others wrote a mixture of simple and complex descriptive sentences. We also explored how to use attributive adjectives can enable us to develop a descriptive pyramid poem.

We also explored how attributive adjectives can enable us to develop a descriptive pyramid poem. A predicative adjective comes after the verb to be or a linking verb and describes the subject of the sentence.

The final writing technique examined was simile. A simile involves making a comparison between two things using ‘like’ or ‘as’. Again, visual images (photographs and a video clip) were used as stimulus to our thinking and writing. The following are Jackie’s written responses (with similes) to the various visual stimuli.

WK1.2     The vine is like a rope.

WK1.3.pngThe feathers on the eagle’s wings are like dancing fingers.

WK1.4.png   The waves are like clear water in a glass.



The glasshouse mountains are as majestic as the young teenager.
They are clothed in green.


Video clip: Once in a blue moon by Luke Taylor, accessed via

 I can see a huge orange ball skimming through the black sky.
The lighthouse is standing tall as a totally awesome young person.


In today’s post, you will see that I have included samples of Jackie’s writing. Permission has been gained for this to occur. When we have gained permission from other participants to share their work, you will be able to read samples of their creative writing as well.

Cardie spent the afternoon working with participants to compose and perform a musical play. I will leave that to her to share with you.

In concluding the day, everyone shared their reflections on the day. Jackie wrote: I wanted to say that I enjoyed the day. It was interesting and you were fabulous with us all. I would like to thank you and Cardie and everyone for figuring out [what] to do. I am looking forward to the next session.


Indeed, the day proved to be positive and productive for all, and definitely conquered in a successful manner. A desire to make a difference accompanied by positive expectations and engagement were the forces at play enabling this success.

EPICC Maleny is launched!

Over the past few months, you may have heard some chatter about a new group for people with disabilities called EPICC being established in Maleny.

What is EPICC, you ask? EPICC stands for Empowering & Promoting Inclusive Creative Community. Each word has a special meaning related to the key values of EPICC Maleny:

  • Empowering – making someone stronger and more confident
  • Promoting – supporting and actively encouraging and furthering the progress of individuals
  • Inclusive – including everyone without exception; embracing and valuing diversity
  • Creative – relating to or involving the use of the imagination or original ideas to create something; engaging in creative work
  • Community – living locally; sharing or having certain attitudes and interests in common

EPICC Maleny proposes to provide creative learning and socialisation opportunities for people with disabilities in our local community context. This project aims to provide an innovative, post-school educational experience designed to foster and enable the learning of new skills and strategies, facilitate self expression and provide socialisation opportunities in our local community. The program will consist of literacy and creative learning experiences via writing and other creative modes including music.

January 22, 2016 saw the launch of EPICC Maleny with an orientation session. This was a half-day event which focused primarily on getting to know each other. Everyone arrived feeling nervous and anxious! As participants engaged in writing and music experiences, they  shared information about who they are, where they live, and what they liked and didn’t like.  They also explored what ‘respect and trust’ sounds like, feels like, and looks like. The following is a compilation from written responses by Adrian, Zane, Michael, Jackie, Sammy and Erin:

Respect & Trust

Feels like …

you can rely on people


warm and happy

warm and cosy

equal and valued

adds value

confidence in self


Looks like …

giving space

attentive body language

like each other


kind and Erin’s mum (Hilary)




helps me


Sounds like …

telling the truth (genuine)

encouraging words




happy and polite

kind words

song everyone can enjoy


The feedback from participants at the end of the session showed a range of positive feelings had developed over the course of the session. A great time was had by all!!