Course Overview

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The chance to be a teacher on-line in real time is so much fun. This video clip is taken from a class run by Sigmund Brouwer for a group of 25 students at computers scattered all across Canada. They were able to speak and chat as Sigmund discussed the importance of editing. Check out what happens at around the 2:19 part of the video, where students see all the edits on just a single page of the manuscript!


“What’s unsurprising today would have seemed preposterous just fifteen years ago: an English-speaking thirteen-year-old in Zaire who’s connected to the Internet can find the current temperature in Brussels or the closing price of IBM stock of the name of Winston Churchill’s second finance minister as quickly and as easily as the head librarian at Cambridge University. . . it has enormous consequences for how we work and live. When facts become so widely available and instantly accessible, each one becomes less valuable. What begins to matter more is the ability to place these facts in context and to deliver them with emotional impact.” Daniel H. Pink, A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule The Future

Reading and writing is an amazing invention; an assortment of shapes in combinations that form long strings are able to deliver one person’s thoughts into another person’s mind, regardless of the distance and time that separate the writer from the reader. Yet, in the end, it is still just a delivery system. The content must have context and emotional impact to matter.

Through six on-line sessions, students will have a small-group opportunity to interact with author Sigmund Brouwer to learn what matters in content, and how best to use writing to deliver that content with context and impact. Students will finish the course with a strong digital portfolio to reflect what they have learned.

Course Purpose

The course purpose is two-fold:

  1. Give students a strong motivation to read and write with the result that their reading and writing skills will improve through applied practice. This will happen through teaching the power of STORY. This includes how story’s power can be used in fiction, reports and persuasive essays. In short, the course will ensure that students focus first on the content of their writing.
  2. Take student literacy skills to higher levels through a shared perspective on the craft of WRITING as a way to deliver content. Students will receive practical advice for how to apply curriculum teachings to their writing.

What Students Gain:

Students will first learn to find confidence in how to form fiction and non-fiction content and how to deliver it through writing: this confidence will lead to gained competence in literacy skills.

Learning Outcomes:

Students will directly and indirectly have learning outcomes in these areas:

  • develop an appreciation of the power, beauty, and joy of language, exploring the ways that language can be manipulated and used for specific purposes and audiences, with a primary emphasis on the power of evoking emotional responses
  • use the writing process to express ideas, thoughts, and feelings; create a variety of communication forms; apply language in creative and playful ways; and use conventions and features of language
  • construct and express meaning through text
  • use language to effectively express ideas, opinions, beliefs, feelings, and values
  • use language to engage with text critically, creatively, and reflectively
  • engage with a wide variety of genres, including fiction and non-fiction

Digital Portfolio

Upon completing the course, depending on grade level, students will have a digital portfolio with a minimum of:

  • one piece of short fiction (fun short stories will be the focus for grade 4-6)
  • one essay (grade seven and up)
  • one non-fiction memoir chapter based on a family member’s experience (grade 10 and up)
  • one review of a piece of fiction with the goal to have the review published on-line as part of an ebook (please see for examples)
  • a hands-on edit of one chapter of manuscript in progress of the author Sigmund Brouwer for comparison to the eventual published book

Join author Sigmund Brouwer in six on-line lessons via collaborative blackboard and live video:

Pre-writing — Ideas and Content

The best way to make your writing easier is to have a purpose for it. Yes, writing itself is work. After all, if you don’t do the work as you write, then your reader has to work to read. However, all work is satisfying when you understand the payoff. Lesson number one ensures that from pre-writing to final draft, you have a single goal in mind.

Beginnings — Context For The Reader
Often, getting started is the most difficult part. Lesson number two makes clear the simple options for getting down those crucial first words of an essay, story or report that will not only hook your reader, but hook you as a writer.

Story Form — Including Essay/Persuasive Writing & Reports
To say that a story has a beginning and a middle and an end is not as helpful as it sounds. After all, so does a piece of rope. In lesson three, you’ll learn how to break down each of those components, and once you do, it will add a lot of fun to your writing and make it more effective.

Voice — Staying True To You And Your Reader
You are unique, and your writing style can reflect that. This is something that your readers will enjoy. The trick is in finding your own style, and lesson number four will take away an stress you have about this part of writing.

The Fabric of Writing — Word Choice and Sentence Fluency
Good grammar isn’t necessary good writing. Sound puzzling? Lesson number five will make that a lot clearer!

Editing — Much More Than Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar
Lesson number six will give you an inside look on what happens during the editing process for a book to become published. Once you apply it to your own writing, you’ll be dazzled at the results.