Co-curricular: Art, Science, and Creative Writing with Rainbows

It’s almost March! Ignore the cold weather. Begin to think of St. Patrick’s day, great winds for kite flying, rain showers, and rainbows.  Leprechauns are said to have a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Let’s see what we can find!


Screen Shot 2015-02-28 at 7.48.53 AM(Travelization)

The science lesson:

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The concept of the rainbow is useful in discussing plot and character arcs:

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(Ingrid Sundburg)

A rainbow streamer art project can add fun and color:

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(Kerry’s Paper Crafts)

Curling ribbon or crepe paper can also be used.


Fill in this template with information from one of your stories:

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Words of Wisdom from Author-Agent Laura Rennert: “Write Beyond the Ending”

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Laura Rennert gives this advice to fiction writers:

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This is all really great advice!

Writing “beyond the ending” will give your story greater depth and complexity. It will allow the author to anticipate the questions that the reader will ask at the end of the story.

Check out Laura’s great site here:

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See great teaching materials on Laura’s site, too!

Thanks Laura Rennert

A Whale of a Tale: Creative Nonfiction

1. First watch this presentation from BBC:

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2. Then read this report:

3. Now read the newspaper article actually published in 1892:

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In a certain sense this whale story is an example of creative non-fiction.

4. What “is” creative non-fiction?
  • Creative nonfiction merges the boundaries between literary art (fiction, poetry) and research nonfiction. . . . It is writing composed of the real, or of facts, that employs the same literary devices as fiction such as setting, voice/tone, character development, etc. This makes if different (more “creative”) than standard nonfiction writing.
  • Sometimes called literary journalism or the literature of fact, creative nonfiction merges the boundaries between literary art . . . and research nonfiction . . .
  • Creative nonfiction should (1) include accurate and well-researched information, (2) hold the interest of the reader, and (3) potentially blur the realms of fact and fiction in a pleasing, literary style (while remaining grounded in fact).
  • In the end, creative nonfiction can be as experimental as fiction—it just needs to be based in the real. (UVM Writing Center at

Short Story Inspiration from Photographer Joel Robison

Joel Robison’s whimsical, often fantastical photographs are perfect prompts for short story creation.

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See more of Joel’s work:

Read Joel’s story:

Thanks Joel!

Here is one version of a short story template:

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(Thanks Cynthia Griffin)

Today’s assignment: Write a short story.

Thou Shalt Not Kill Off Thy Characters . . . or Should You?

Tess Gerritson makes some interesting comments about this topic:

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Tess says:

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Even in stories for younger audiences where killing is not part of the plot–bad things can and do happen to the protagonist. If everything goes along smoothly–where’s the story? The character arc is developed through the telling of events (both good and bad) and by showing how the characters react.


Think of this story:

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The story would definitely not be the same if Alexander’s day went smoothly. Of course, Viorst shows the reader how important perception and attitude are, as well.

This Writing Textbook Makes Learning Fun

Screen Shot 2015-02-16 at 9.05.40 AM Watch this short video about how this text was created:

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See a sample chapter here:


There are complete support materials available, as well . . . including a syllabus and a powerpoint presentation.

Learning writing can be fun!

Poetry Friday:

Watch “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost, read by Susan Sarandon.

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“The poem consists of four (almost) identically constructed stanzas. Each line is iambic, with four stressed syllables:

Within the four lines of each stanza, the first, second, and fourth lines rhyme.”

read more at:


1. Read this poem aloud.

2. Write your own poem about the weather.

3. Smile.

Family Heritage in Personal Narratives

Screen Shot 2015-02-19 at 8.53.00 AMHiking in Ireland   (National Geographic)

Writing a personal narrative is a great starting point for an introductory writing course.

In March–everyone seems to find their Irish roots. Adding cultural detail can add a great deal to personal narratives.

Perhaps a good place to start would be to complete a simple genealogy chart:

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This could become a great history/composition co-curricular activity by having students from another state or country present their region.