A child today can wake up and through the glory of the internet, watch real time video of lions and elephants at an African watering hole. She can go to school where she gets to have a conversation with an astronaut who’s orbiting the earth, send an email to her grandparents who are travelling on the other side of the globe, and view Martin Luther King Jr.’s immortal “I Have a Dream” speech on You Tube. Her ability to learn about the Italian Renaissance or the history of nursery rhymes is a mere click away. Not since the dawn of public education and the library card has learning and knowledge been this available. But this egalitarian accessibility of information comes at a cost. Now, more than ever, students need strong literacy skills to hone their deductive and intuitive reasoning in order to navigate the world. Their knowledge must encompass so- cial and visual media, not just text. The five online courses of the residency program will help students build their skills as communicators and story-tellers. They will learn how to shape their thoughts into words and narratives that reflect their opinions and become discerning readers and viewers of text.
The course purpose is three-fold:
- To expand students’ definition and exploration of story, and in doing so, get them excited about reading the works of others, as well as creating their own sto- ries.
- To increase their deductive and reasoning skills with fiction, non-fiction and creative non-fiction works and be given opportunities to shape their own.
- To grow their communication skills through the practice of writing and to take their abilities off the page and apply it to real world situations.
Student outcomes include but are not limited to:
- Find story ideas that connect to their intended audience.
- Think critically
- Organize their information
- Communicate effectively
- Work within a group as well as within an individual setting
Upon completing the course, depending on grade level, students will have a digital portfolio with a minimum of:
- one piece of short fiction
- one essay
- one work of creative non-fiction
Join author Natasha Deen in five on-line lessons via collaborative blackboard and live video:
That’s a Novel Idea! — Finding Ideas Ideas for essays and stories are all around us, the trick is honing in on the one you want! Lesson one is about finding ideas and finding the fun in the creation of your story or essay.
Who and the What, Now? — Audience and character A great story idea can go from bang to fizzle if it’s given to the wrong audience. Lesson two will help you figure out your audience and how to create characters that will leave your readers wanting more.
Easy as 1, 2, 3 — Organization and Plot It’s difficult to keep track of a story or essay that takes a switchback trail, and it’s easy to lose an audience when you do. Lesson three will give you simple techniques for orga- nizing your writing.
Abracazam! — Details, Details, Details Effective story telling, whether it’s fact or fiction, is all about the details. Lesson four will help you hone your world-building techniques and help strengthen your ability to create effective writing pieces.
It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye— Editing Your Work There’s a lot of blood, sweat, and tears in writing that first draft and it can be difficult to delete those favourite passages or lines. But writing is about effective communication and moving your audience. Lesson five will help you figure out what to toss and what to keep in your writing.