The twelve week program includes a full lesson every week. The first six weeks introduce creative writing. We set up a free writing ritual and work on encouraging students to find their stories. We teach students elements of a story and how to write descriptively; to paint a picture for the reader.
In the second half of the program the students plan and write their books. They learn to edit their work and peer edit their classmates' stories. The instructor conferences individually with each student.
Once each book is complete, it has a final edit and is sent in to be published. Finally an author celebration is held with the students, their families and the teachers.
Elements of the program include:
• Developing a habit of journal writing, encouraging students to express themselves through writing for themselves.
• Learning to write descriptively, using techniques such as writing from the senses, using metaphor, onomatopoeia, using exciting and or powerful words and specific details.
• Learning to make stories come alive with dialogue and learning to show not tell.
• Developing character, setting and plot.
• Planning out a full story and writing the five chapters.
• Learning to edit their work and to peer edit.
• Developing confidence as an author, encouraging children to read their work aloud to the group every week. Students become experts on each other’s stories as well as their own.
• Finalizing book, writing a blurb and dedication and designing their own cover.
• Learning computer skills, students are expected to type their final stories on a computer and learn to format their finished story into a publishing program.
• Developing a community of writers, frequent community circles to share successes and solve problems with their writing.
Write and professionally publish a Chapter Book
Write and professionally publish a class anthology of Short Stories.
This program is similar to the chapter book program but it is 6 weeks long. All students write a short story and these are all included in an anthology for all students to keep.
Write and professionally publish a class anthology of Poetry.
Students explore different types and elements of poetry (narrative and lyric, form, imagery, sound and voice) and practice writing poetry. Each student includes their best poem in a class anthology.
Author Celebrations are held with students' families to celebrate the proud and confident published authors!
Chapter book by grade 6 student, published May 2014.
The weekly visits gave them time to think and complete assignments in chunks but also provided deadlines to follow. The project fit well with the curriculum and was staged for all learners. Charlotte was very knowledgable, patient, organized, encouraging and friendly.
Grade 6 Teacher
I would recommend this program to other teachers for many reasons but mostly because all of the students were able to be successful.
Grade 6 Teacher
From writing my chapter book I learned to write a story with confidence. Before I was not confident when I was writing.
Grade 6 Student
I remember the time when you said we are going to write a book, I was thinking that I wouldn't do well but now I'm proud.
Grade 6 Student
I have been part of Charlotte Safieh’s story writing program for 3 years and it is amazing! It is a program which allows students to explore and discover the writers within themselves. Students feel an immense sense of pride and accomplishment when they have completed their chapter books. Many students felt like there was absolutely no way they could write 5 chapters, only to discover that not only could they write 5 chapters, but they actually enjoyed writing that much! Charlotte Safieh’s story writing program also fits in nicely with the Ontario Curriculum meeting the needs of students and teachers. I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to be part of this wonderful program!
Grade 6 Homeroom Teacher