From treasure maps to fantastical creatures, from playdough poems to larger-than-life characters, my Creative Journeys aim to stretch kids' imaginations and show them how fun writing can be!
I approach teaching in the same way I approach writing: from the fundamental belief that at the heart of creativity is the ability and freedom and courage to play. I write children’s books because when my imagination sits down to play, that’s what naturally comes out. I teach children because I love catching glimpses into the immense worlds of wonder and creativity within their minds.
Pablo Picasso said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” Whenever I plan my classes, at the back of my mind is the desire to whisper into a child’s imagination: Don’t ever let this part of you grow up completely. Keep this freedom. Keep this playful delight. Since I believe that delight is essential fuel for learning, I try to make sure that laughter finds its way into the class, as well as a healthy dose of silliness, especially in creative expression—in invented words, in unusual points of view, in madcap plots. My activities often incorporate visual art, music, sculpture, and movement in order to unlock creativity in as many ways as possible.
What I teach and what I don't teach
My focus is on nurturing creativity and introducing kids to the joy of writing stories and poetry. My focus is therefore not on teaching the mechanics of writing—spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc. I am not a traditional English teacher in that sense and assume that my students are already studying the more technical aspects of writing in their school or homeschool curriculum. I am clear up front with students that my classes are not school, I do not give grades, and I don't correct spelling and grammar in their writing assignments—I am concerned primarily with how well they are using their imaginations.
Online class format
Most of my classes are aimed at ages 8 through 13 and include video lessons as well as creative activities that should take approximately one to two hours each week to complete. I offer both self-paced Individual Study classes and scheduled Group Classes.
In an Individual Study class, students can start any time and take as long as they like to finish. Individual Study classes do not include interaction with other students or instructor feedback. Enrollment is unlimited.
In a Group Class, during the scheduled weeks of class time, students can work at their own pace to complete assignments and participate in class discussions. Since there is no set time during the week when they need to be online, time zone differences pose no problem for students outside the United States. These classes are meant to be a cooperative learning experience, so I recommend that the students log in several times a week to participate in discussions, read instructor feedback on their submitted assignments, and see what other students have posted in any collaborative activities. Enrollment is limited.
Online learning works best when students are self-motivated or have a parent monitoring their work. They will get out of the class what they put into it. Therefore, students who participate actively in discussions, respond to feedback, and put serious effort and time into writing activities will have a richer online learning experience than those who do not.
*Important: For all children under 13, a parent must register them using the parent's own email address. I make every effort to protect students' anonymity and to comply with the federal Children's Online Privacy Protection rule.