Sleeping Giant online writing classes are designed for children ages 8 through 14. Within a general six-week format, students can work at their own pace to complete assignments, participate in class discussions, and read recommended books. 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.
The classes are offered through an online platform called Schoology, which is used by schools around the world and is very popular with students and teachers alike. Its interface is a private, Facebook-like environment which allows for a lot of interaction between class members and the teacher, and it is secure because no one can enter into this space without the class access code. Creating an account and adjusting privacy settings and preferences require some initial set-up time by the parent, but after that the program is easy for kids to use on their own. At this time, the classes do not include a video component but are entirely text-based.
Each week, students are presented with a series of discussion questions and writing activities that will take approximately 1-2 hours to complete, depending on the child's pace of working. I will occasionally suggest optional activities and reading for those who want to do more. Since this is meant to be a cooperative learning experience, I recommend that the students log in several times a week to participate in class discussions and see what other students have posted in any collaborative activities. My hope is that they will feel free to chat about what they are doing, ask questions, offer their opinions about questions I post, and experience this class as if it were a community enjoying the activities together. I try to respond to student questions within 24 hours and give feedback on writing assignments within a week of submission.
This class format works best when students are highly 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 into writing activities and revisions will have a much richer online learning experience than those who do not.
Registration fee is $99 for one child, $80 for each additional sibling.
Playing with Words
A good writer loves WORDS--the way they look, the way they sound, and the way they come together to make meaning. The author Joseph Conrad said, "Give me the right word, and I will move the world!” Words are powerful, and they’re also just plain fun. In this exploration of poetry, descriptive writing, and wordplay, students will learn how words can whistle, whoosh, gallop, and bloom, painting pictures in our imaginations and making music in our ears
Dates: Coming Fall 2017
Spies in the Universe
"Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it." Those are the words of a famous American poet named Mary Oliver, and this class is about learning how to be a spy. Being a good writer doesn't start with your words. Being a good writer starts with your eyes and ears and nose and fingers. So in this class we learn how to be spies in the universe, paying close attention to the world around us, finding astonishment in ordinary things, and using some basic writing tools to "paint" pictures with words. This is a fun, interactive, hands-on introduction to a writer's way of looking at the world.
Dates: Coming Fall 2017
What If? (a whirlwind tour of stories)
Everyone has an imagination—it is the source of inventions, scientific discoveries, great art and music and stories, fear as well as hope—and one of the most important questions our imagination asks is “What if?" In this 6-week class, we will charge head-first into the great mystery of writing:Where do ideas come from? As we leap from tall tales to fables, dabble in the past and the future, and collect real-life anecdotes filled with drama and laughter, kids will learn that stories are everywhere around them—in the most fantastical reaches of their imagination, in the people they meet, and in the everyday experiences of their own lives.
Dates: Coming Winter 2018
Stories of Magic & Wonder
This six-week fiction-writing class is perfect for lovers of fantasy and fairy tales. We will build our own worlds, draw maps, create fantastical creatures, send heroes on perilous quests, and write stories that are as wild and wonder-full as the kids' imaginations can make them—all while learning the basic elements of story structure.
Because this class focuses on building a single story, from start to finish, students can retake the class in order to work on a different story.
Dates: March 27 - May 5, 2017