Wednesday, July 1, 2015

What's Your Story?

- a post by Jeanna Mason Stay

Today at MMW finds me trying to kill two birds with one stone. I am part of a homeschool co-op that meets for two eight-week sessions during the regular school year. This coming year, I’ll be teaching (theoretically) a writing class directed toward kids ages 8–12, and I’ve been working on the class description.

The last description I wrote for this class was crazy boring, which is a shame because I think the class itself is actually going to be tremendously fun. Card games, story dice, ad-libbed stories, art projects like dioramas of settings and portraits of characters. Plus watching movie clips, listening to music, a multimedia extravaganza! So I have tried to jazz it up.

The class is for our co-op, and most of the classes there are fun, not strictly academic. This class will certainly involve a fair amount of writing, but it isn’t supposed to be a heavy-hitting language arts class. It’s supposed to provide a fun exploration of what goes into a story and how to write one—along with a lot of practice.

Now I need your help! Does the class description below sound fun? Does it make sense? Should I add anything from my description above? If you were a kid, would you want to take this class? It’s critique time! (And thanks in advance for any critique you’d like to offer. Unless your critique is, “That’s a terrible idea, Jeanna. Start over and teach something else.” Then you can just keep your opinion to yourself. :) )

What’s Your Story?

Stories are everywhere! Books and movies, of course, but also music, video games, even commercials! Come learn what makes an awesome story, and practice different ways to tell tales of your own. We’ll play games, watch and listen to short movie and music clips, invent new and interesting people and places, and, of course, write stories. Create superheroes and supervillains, then imagine how they would fight to the death . . . for the last slice of pizza! Practice inventing unsolvable problems and force your characters to solve them! Imagine explanations for mysterious drawings and photos! Build on each week’s projects and tasks to create a final polished short story as well as a bunch of exciting ideas along the way. Mystery? Fantasy? Action adventure? What will be your story?

Materials: Half-inch, 3-ring binder with pockets; lined paper in binder; several pencils and pens; materials for drawing (markers, colored pencils, crayons—whatever your child prefers); if your child struggles with the physical writing, you may also consider a voice recorder so he/she can dictate and you can type any at-home assignments

Class fee: $7 (there may also be an additional optional fee of about $7 at the end of class for a bound collection of class projects)


  1. I like it, but visually having it all as a big chunk of text might be intimidating to some kids. I would consider using some bullet points instead.

    I might change the beginning a little bit to be more inviting- something like, "Did you know that stories aren't just in books and movies? In this course we'll take on the role of story detectives and uncover the stories in music, video games, and even commercials! But we won't stop there- we'll use our detective skills to find out what makes an awesome story and start crafting some thrilling tales of our own..." I'd keep the next sentence just how you have it and then use the bullet points.

    Just my two cents! Hope this helps!

    1. Thanks for your thoughts! I'll try them out.

  2. I think it sounds great! I would definitely encourage my kiddo to sign up if they were in the age range.

  3. Sounds bloody great.................just saying



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