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Creative Writing for Upper School Students

“No story has power, nor will it last, unless we feel in ourselves that it is true and true of us.” John Steinbeck, East of Eden. This year, students will learn how to harness the beauty of the English language to tell powerful stories that point to the Truth about mankind.
Creative writing not only teaches valuable the skills of writing and communication, but it also helps students understand themselves, the world around them, and human nature. Exercises in creating believable characters help teach students empathy and how to relate to others. Writing stories can be used as a creative outlet, but they can be used as a powerful force for good.
God is the ultimate Creator and Storyteller. He brings His ultimate story to us through Scripture, and we experience His creative power on a daily basis when we take in the world around us. Stories – even fictional ones – are powerful. This is why millions of people go to the movies, read books, and watch television – they want to be transported and moved by stories. By honing their skills as writers, students will learn to create compelling stories that seek to move the audience and point them towards Christ.
Students will learn to harness their imagination, communicate powerful stories, evaluate message and form, and be inspired by the literary greats of the past few centuries.
The target audience for this class is upper school students in grades 10 through 12 who either enjoy creative writing or want to improve their creative writing skills. The course will be held over the course of the year.

Required Materials:
Books and supplies are not included in the purchase of the course.

  • Creative Writing Journal

Elena Henreckson earned her BA in English and Theater from Hillsdale College in Michigan. There she thrived in embracing her schedule of reading, writing, rehearsing, and photography. After college, she spent several years teaching high school English Literature at a public charter school outside of Boston. She has since moved to the midwest with her husband and is excited about being a part of classical Christian education. She was educated in the classical model herself at a small Christian school where she now serves as a board member. Passionate about the power of stories and our ability to communicate effectively, she is thrilled to guide students through the process of becoming strong and effective writers and thinkers.
Elena spends her spare time making her way through her lengthy reading list and running a local high school drama program. She adores used book stores, bright sunny mornings, afternoon tea, and spending time with friends and family. ehenreckson@gmail.com

Quarter 1

  1. Building Blocks

    1. In order to write, students must learn the building blocks of every story. This quarter we will study the 5 elements of any story: setting, plot, characters, conflict, and theme.  

Quarter 2

  1. Finding your voice

    1. Students will explore voice, dialog, perspective, description, tropes, and story structure, as well as how to conquer writer’s block.  

Quarter 3

  1. **Digging deeper: how to hone your craft as a writer **
    1. This quarter, students will delve into different styles and genres such as minimalism, realism, historical fiction, and drama.  

Quarter 4

  1. Novel Project

    1. Bringing together everything they have learned over the course of the year, students will complete a novella project, writing one chapter a week, and reading and responding to their peers. 

Red checkmarkComputer: You will need a stable, reliable computer, running with a processor with a speed of 1 GHz or better on one of the following operating systems: Mac OS X with Mac OS 10.7 or later; Windows 8, 7, Vista (with SP1 or later), or XP (with SP3 or later). We do not recommend using an iPad or other tablet for joining classes. An inexpensive laptop or netbook would be much better solutions, as they enable you to plug an Ethernet cable directly into your computer. Please note that Chromebooks are allowed but not preferred, as they do not support certain features of the Zoom video conference software such as breakout sessions and annotation, which may be used by our teachers for class activities.

Red checkmarkHigh-Speed Internet Connection: You will also need access to high-speed Internet, preferably accessible via Ethernet cable right into your computer. Using Wi-Fi may work, but will not guarantee you the optimal use of your bandwidth. The faster your Internet, the better. We recommend using a connection with a download/upload speed of 5/1 Mbps or better. You can test your Internet connection here.

Red checkmarkWebcam: You may use an external webcam or one that is built in to the computer. Webcam Recommendations: Good (PC only) | Best (Mac and PC)

Red checkmarkHeadset: We recommend using a headset rather than a built-in microphone and speakers. Using a headset reduces the level of background noise heard by the entire class. Headset Recommendations: USB | 3.5mm

Red checkmarkZoom: We use a web conferencing software called Zoom for our classes, which enables students and teachers to gather from around the globe face to face in real time. Zoom is free to download and easy to use. unnamed-e1455142229376 To download Zoom:

  1. Visit zoom.us/download.
  2. Click to download the first option listed, Zoom Client for Meetings.
  3. Open and run the installer on your computer.
  4. In August, students will be provided with instructions and a link for joining their particular class.

Red checkmarkScanner: In this class, students frequently submit homework assignments by scanning pages from their workbooks. Students and/or their parents should have easy access to a scanner and the ability to use it.

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