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This semester I am excited to offer a virtual Creative Writing class for homeschooled middle and high school students as a Westfield Annex Class. The goal of this class is to get students excited about writing. Along the way, the class will help students to improve their grammatical fluency and writing technique—skills that will easily translate to any writing project they wish to tackle in the future!
The structure of the class is simple. Each week students will write one creative assignment. These assignments range from short stories to personal essays and poetry and are often inspired by a prompt relevant to that week’s class discussion. If their imaginations take them in an unexpected direction though, our group will be happy to welcome surprises as well! These stories will then be shared and discussed within our supportive community. In past classes, this practice of sharing work with friends has engendered true enthusiasm and improvement in budding writers: hearing their peers’ efforts often inspires new story concepts and receiving constructive critiques improves their own writing technique. I will also personally and carefully edit each finished piece, returning students’ work with encouragement and suggestions for improvement. As a result of this detailed and direct feedback, students are able to quickly improve and gain confidence in their writing ability.
One of the most wonderful parts about this class structure is that I can meet each student individually where they are—no matter what level of writing ability or enthusiasm they possess. If a student is already an accomplished and passionate writer, this class provides a wonderful forum for them to practice the art of writing, helped along by my suggestions and commentary from their peers. Our class also gives them access to a community of writers their own age. If a student is less than enthralled by the idea of writing, this class is flexible enough to allow them to try writing stories about things that they love. I have found that this student-centric approach often convinces even the most reluctant to get excited about writing—an outlook that inevitably leads to improvement in their writing skill.
In an effort to help students improve the mechanics of their writing, this class also includes a variety of grammar games, editing exercises and even a vocabulary competition in which competitors will vie for vocab victory! These are always a lot of fun—the competition was especially intense for last year’s Wacky Word title—but these games also help students to improve their written diction and syntax. In my experience, this combination of discussion, story sharing and goofy games is a winning combination to get students excited about writing. I cannot wait to meet all of your young writers!
When: Mondays from 11:10 – 12:25.
Dates: September 12th, 19th, 26th, October 3rd, 10th, 24th, 31st, November 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th, December 5th
Where: I will be conducting the class via Google Hangouts; I have used this platform in the past and it tends to work very well. In order to participate, students need access to a computer with an internet connection and a Gmail address.
Who: I am hoping to teach a group of students who are roughly 6th through 10th grade.
Cost: The class costs $228 ($19 per session). Payment should be mailed to Caley at 11 Westfield Road West Hartford CT 06119. I am only accepting a limited number of students because I believe that students derive far greater benefits from the close community that results from small class sizes. In order to secure your child’s spot, please send in a non-refundable $78 registration fee by September 1st. The remainder of $160 should be paid prior to the first class. If it is more convenient for you, please feel free to send the entirety of your class fee by September 1st.
Caley Henderson is a Junior at Middlebury College, where she is majoring in Education: Privilege and Poverty (a self-designed major) and is minoring in Chinese. She has a 4.0 GPA. This fall, Caley will once again serve as the Middlebury Debate Society’s president. She has won several speaking awards in her time at college, including Novice Champion at Dartmouth, and has been selected to compete at the Pan-American British Parliamentary Championship and American Parliamentary Debate Nationals. Last year, she was chosen to judge the World Universities Debating Championships in Thessaloniki Greece. Caley also leads the Middlebury Student Quaker group on campus and sits on the board of directors of an established Addison county non-profit called HOPE (Helping Overcome Poverty’s Effects).
Caley is passionate about education and teaching. In the past few years, she has interned at the Connecticut State Department of Education, and has developed and taught a debate curriculum at the Legacy Foundation of Hartford’s summer program for underserved students living in the Hartford area. She has worked as a Program Assistant for the past five years at the Westfield Academy of Debate, Model United Nations and Leadership Summer Program. This summer, she designed and spearheaded a new advocacy program during camp that encouraged students to identify an issue they cared deeply about and to advocate for change through a variety of methods—including crafting pieces of creative and analytical writing, giving satirical speeches and creating their own TED talks.
Caley runs her own teaching and tutoring business. In the past five years, she has offered eleven courses for homeschool students including classes in debate, art, literature and writing. These class offerings include four creative writing classes, one week-long summer creative writing intensive and two well-received virtual creative writing classes. For the past seven years, she has also been tutoring students of all ages in a variety of subjects including writing, math, history and SAT prep. She was recently trained and certified as Middlebury College peer writing tutor.
Caley was the salutatorian of her high school class at Kingswood oxford, was selected as a National Merit Finalist and received a perfect score on the verbal section of her SATs. While at high school, she won numerous other academic accolades, including the Chinese Language and Culture Prize, the Stewart Prize for Best Debater, the Goodman Banks Prize for Excellence in English and more. She qualified for the US Team and competed in Australia at the World Schools Debating Competition. Caley’s twenty-seven page senior thesis received one of two commendations awarded.
Caley has always loved debating, Irish dancing, making art, hiking, reading and especially writing. Most importantly, Caley truly loves teaching writing and is very excited to read the wonderful works that you will all create!
If interested, please contact Caley at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at (860) 913 – 1446. You can find the official Westfield Annex listing here. We only have a limited number of spaces available, so please reply soon!