"If I knew all the words, I would write myself out of here." MRAZ

Sunday, January 15, 2012

What's Up with you, Jenny?! (Part 3)

There's been a lot going on...
...and I am always surprised by how much people don't know about me.

I'm kind of a social network whore...but, be that as it may, it doesn't mean that anyone else is. So even though I post tons of updates, you may not be getting a whole picture.

This is Part 3 in explaining all the tiny bits that are making up my current big picture.


Jenny - The Professional (Part Three)

On Christmas Eve, I was spending time with friends who have become family, sharing a meal and catching up on the details of life. It was my turn to talk, so I dished about my little company's growth and how I wanted to move forward... some point, I'd really like to be in a position to give back to the community. I just don't know how yet, but I'm sure something will come to light.

My friend, the hostess, starting grinning and her eyes got sparkly.
(A bit of background information: she's a teacher at one of our local private schools.)

You know...we're in need of some professionals to come in and teach elective classes for the Spring Term. We don't have many options open for this kids this time around. Would you be willing to teach a writing class of sorts?

If life was like the movies, angels would have appeared and starting singing the Hallelujah chorus.

I knew immediately that I really wanted to do this, and started dusting off my teacher-skills (I was an 8th grade Language Arts teacher in 2002) so that I could put together a rough-draft syllabus. I've been spending time since that meeting trying to organize what I've learned in the last 3 months into a class outline appropriate for middle school aged students.

I received an initial approval from my friend and the teacher who heads up the Middle School. On January 13th, I presented the idea to the students and tried to make it sound as appealing as possible.  Being published as a 6th, 7th or 8th grader will make just about anyone's eyes grow wide and dreamy, so I threw in a little reality check as well: I mentioned that if they didn't like to write, there was really no reason to sign up.

I mean for goodness sake, I really like to write and there are some days when I want to throw my hands up move on to something else.

Here's a rough draft of the project. Enjoy!

Write My Life is a course where students will be taught the process of self publishing. The syllabus includes an intense outline of objectives, each one stair-stepping towards the end goal: a published book.

Here's a basic outline on what you can expect:

1. Writing: Students will be using the Love and Appreciation Movement framework provided by jab's Love Letters to write expressive letters in each of the six (6) categories: I love you, I thank you, I miss you, I want you, I'm sorry, and I hope for you. The overall focus will challenge each student to acknowledge the important people in their lives by offering sentiments of love and appreciation.

2. Editing: Students will learn the importance of editing over and over again in order to provide the best possible content for the book. Editing sessions will include: individual editing, peer editing, workshop editing and teacher-to-student editing. Instruction in the differences between Content and Copy editing will be outlined so that the students have a working knowledge of how to incorporate each one in their review of content.

3. Formatting: The class will review the basic parts of a book and make some basic decisions on how the book and content within the book should be formatted. (The publisher will have final discretion in order to provide a high quality end product.)

4. Designing: The class will review the aspects of a successful book cover and incorporate those elements in the objectives list provided to the Designer. (The publisher will have final discretion in collaboration with the contracted Designer, in this case August Knight [], in order to provide a high quality end product.)

5. Autobiographies: Each student will be required to submit an brief autobiography that will be included in the book. The syllabus outline will challenge the students to focus on different aspects of self with the objective of inspiring a new awareness of personality and character within each child.

6. Marketing: Basic marketing strategies, including very basic email campaigns and the use of social networks, will be covered in order to raise awareness within the students on the responsibilities of "getting the word out." School-based outlets (website, newsletter, etc...) will be utilized as much as possible in order to raise awareness within the entire school community. (The publisher will also make its marketing platforms available in order to increase the profitability of the project.)

7. Community Awareness: The class will discuss the importance of success for personal gain, but also for the opportunity to "give back" to the community. In this case, students will be urged to use their marketing skills in order to sell the book as much as possible so that a portion of the proceeds can be returned to the school. Students will be challenged to investigate real needs within the school so that the opportunity of giving back is effective to its fullest potential. Proceeds will be collected for a year after publication and presented to the school by as many of the original students who are available to attending the ceremony.

8. Reviews / the Power of Social Marketing: Students will learn first-hand how important positive product reviews are and how to write them. The class will discuss the importance and weight of comments made and posted to social networks and online product pages.


Jenny - The Professional (Part 4) is coming soon...
...I mean, I am not just going to write Love Letters until the end of time...