Monday, February 4, 2013

Welcome to Online Writers' Craft Winter 2013

Winter 2013 Mr. Johnston- Orillia

In this first post I want to outline how I would like us to run this course. You can go back to this post by looking alphabetically on the right side of my blog for "Welcome...".

I want us TO CREATE A POSITIVE ONLINE COMMUNITY OF CREATIVE WRITERS. We can learn a lot from each other using the tools of technology and social media.

We can share, we can create and we can LIFT each other up this way. All of our writing and sharing will be the same as if we were meeting in a class together and reading our writing out loud.

This course emphasizes creativity and writing, and is recommended by the Ministry to be run like a workshop. So let's all participate and make something wonderful and creative here!!

For Course Outline see right side of Blog under COURSE OUTLINE (note- feel free to browse other posts but many of those activities will be changed and re-worked so don't jump ahead unless you consult me.

I'd like to begin the course with 4 things:

1. Making your own Creative Writing Blog
2. Writing Creative Journals
3. Writing a Short Story a) description b) dialogue c) Narration
4. Independent Writing Unit (I.W.U.) 30%
(Links below)

Check this blog each day for your Journal Prompts and Writing/Reading activities. If there is nothing posted by NOON then take the day off, or catch up, or work on your I.W.U.

In this MODULE you will be writing a SHORT STORY. Short stories are made up of 4 elements: DESCRIPTION, DIALOGUE, NARRATION, CHARACTER

But First...

3 Things TO DO:   

1. Create your own Creative Writing Blog. Your blog will be public so please DO NOT use any more personal information other than your first name and initial (Tom J). It will be read by students in this class and the teacher. Make sure teacher and students can comment on your blog (Blogger is user friendly but there are others - Wordpress, Tumblr etc.).

If you are uncomfortable with putting your writing on a blog for the public, email me and we'll work something out. By the way, Blogs can be made private for teacher eyes only, but it would be nice to share your writing and read each others' stories etc.

Please email me the link to your blog or tweet the link on #psciwriterscraft hashtag. Be sure to log out before you copy the link- if logged in it sometimes doesn't send the correct link.

I will put our classes' blog links on my post entitled: STUDENT BLOGS (see right column). Remember to put first name and initial on all correspondence.

Challenge: Create a blog with posts in alphabetical order in side bar like mine; see link below: (a bit tricky but you can do it- tweet me if you have difficulties and we can help each other out)

2. Writing Creative Journals- See post on right entitled Journal Prompts.  Do the first Prompt and post on your blog- Title- JOURNAL #1 (please title your blogs for easy finding)

3. Descriptive Writing ACTIVITY #1

Look at the first Google Presentation entitled: How to Write a Descriptive Paragraph (10 slides) and do ACTIVITY #1 in the presentation:

How to Write a Descriptive Paragraph (10 slides)      Due Friday Feb. 8

Short Story Plot Graph                                               Story due Fri Mar. 1

Independent Writing Unit (I.W.U.)                            Due Fri.May 24, 2013

Now take a look at the 3rd link above, the I.W.U. This activity will be due Friday May 24, 2013. We'll come back to this soon.

                                   Possible subject for a description
1. Make a creative blog
2. Write your first Journal Prompt due Tuesday
3. Write a practice description due Friday
4. I.W.U. to be introduced soon.


About Journals: There are many kinds of journals. Psychologists have patients write journals because they are so therapeutic. Creative journals help a writer record their experiences, note any ideas that may come to mind, and practice experimenting with their writing. Keep a blog post entitled Journals and be sure to identify them in your post by their numbers listed below. Don't go too far ahead because these will change depending on which units we do etc.

  1. Mon Feb 4- (A) Start by introducing yourself to the class. Include  a few details about your interests, goals etc. Also mention what you'd like to learn and write in this course (I may use some of your suggestions!). Finally, once I post a list of your blogs, read and then, enter a kind comment on, 3 other students' blogs. Please DO NOT post personal info.and of course use appropriate language. This is a class, it is public and anything you say should be able to be said to Parents, Teachers, Principals and fellow students- you are IN CLASS in these blogs.
  2. Write a half page story, but there's one catch: You can only use one syllable words! Good luck. (hint- story will be short and probably not make much sense:-)
  3. Wed. Feb 6 a) List words that make me feel good. B) Describe all the sounds you heard since you woke up this morning.
  4. Thurs. Feb 7 Describe an outdoor scene- practice description
  5. Fri Feb 8 Describe an old homeless man- practice description
  6. Story starter: "It was a dark and stormy night." 
  7. A STRANGE DAY IN JULY. "He threw with all his might, but the third stone came skipping back to him from the lake."
  8. Discuss the theme of Loneliness in Of Mice and Men
  9. Attic, Ice cream, pants. Write a story- half a page.
  10. Write a protest poem. Or brainstorm ideas for poems.
  11. 14. Write 3 MORNING HAIKUS. 5-7-5. Nature.
  12. Write a "WHAT IS" poem using an abstract noun such as 'hope', 'love', 'fear', 'justice', 'anger' etc. Here is a What is Hope poem: What is Hope
  13. Try a Villanelle. What is aVillanelle, you ask? Answer  In your journal describe a Villanelle. Suggestion: Try writing one for your scrapbook (optional)
  14. Try a Limerick. See my earlier post, and try to make a funny Limerick. Can you share it with the class?
  15. Read THE HOLLOW MEN and provide a one paragraph reader response. 

Course Outline EWC 4U Online

Writing activities, journals, tests(40%)    +    Independent Writing Unit(IWU) (30%) = 70%
 +  Culminating Activity/Final Examination= 30%  =====   100%

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


I've developed the Culminating Activities for the course. 20% will be attributed to Blogging. See ACTIVITY here:

The other 10% will be a 90 minute exam where you will be asked to write creatively and examine a piece of creative writing. Date to be determined.

Please comment on this POST if you have questions or want to invite me to check out your blog.

For a list of student blogs go here:

Student Blogs- March 2012

Brighton Beach Memoirs

Brighton Beach Memoirs Test

1. Coming of Age theme- use Eugene specifically.
2. The stage vs. the screen. Major differences from the perspective of actor, writer, audience.
3. Write a scene using the proper screenplay writing format. I will give you the scenario.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

How I Tricked Myself Into Being Awesome

Through social media, by following certain educators and leaders in educational reform, I found a guy, who found a guy, who found a guy, who wrote 3 books by deciding to learn about a topic and blogging about it every day. To me, this is what SELF DIRECTED LEARNING looks like:

How I tricked Myself Into Being Awesome

I hope you are inspired by this as much as I am. Hmmmm... what else will I learn today?