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Wayside School Teaches You How to Write Fiction: Flexible Schedule

Janelle Fila
Star Educator
Average rating:4.6Number of reviews:(900)
In this nine-week flexible course, students will read nine chapters from Wayside books to learn storytelling elements to put into practice in their own silly and humorous fiction writing. #creative

Class experience

US Grade 2 - 5
Week One: Place and time are incredibly important aspects of a story's opening pages because they tell us the physical location and year/era the story takes place. The Wayside series spans almost 40 years. How would the story be different if it took place 150 years ago? Or 150 years in the future? What weird things are "normal" at Wayside because the location of the school is so different from the world that we live in?

Week Two: Setting is such an important part of the Wayside series. Would the books be as funny if we couldn't "see" the huge staircase, crazy gong, and awesome school yard with the amazing recess teacher? I will discuss other favorite locations and descriptions, and determine how settings like the different classrooms, library, and lunch room impacted the overall story.                                         

Week Three: The protagonist is the main character. Stories generally only have one main character, but students might make a case for different favorite Wayside students to be included as protagonists in theses stories. 

Week Four: The antagonist  is the main villain. I will talk about evil teachers, lunch ladies, and principals, and the way the students combat them both in different books. Students are also encouraged to consider other features of the story that might be against the students, like the cloud of doom. 

Week Five:  Secondary characters are not less important than main characters! How boring would Wayside be without all of the amazing students and wild teachers? Students will be encourage to consider how important characters like Maurecia, Kathy and Joe are to the overall story. Some characters have minor roles in early chapters but become incredibly important as the books progress. 

Week Six: Showing vs. telling. Students will read examples of both showing and telling in the text. They will work to rewrite telling words and sentences to show the characters' action and emotions more clearly.   
Week Seven: Dialogue. Students will look at some examples of dialogue from the Wayside books to review proper construction of dialogue sentences. We will also examine how dialogue is used to move the plot forward through the story.             

Week Eight:Humor. Wayside is funny and full of laughter. This week, students will dive into Wayside's weird and wacky chapters to see how humor helps make a story come to life.                               

Week Nine: Foreshadowing is when an author drops hints early in books and has that information come true later in the story in a BIG way! Students will hear about situations where Louis Sachar foretold what was going to happen in his story without giving the surprise away. We will talk about how important those clues are and how disappointing  the story might be without them.         
I have a Master's Degree in Writing for Children and Young Adults, so I feel like I have been reading and writing my entire life. I don't remember how Wayside Story found its way into my hands as a child (most likely the school library), but I was hooked! I loved the humor and the quirkiness of these characters and this school. But mostly I remember being mesmerized by the humorous writing. I hope to use students' enthusiasm for this series to pass on the knowledge I learned about writing and grammar from my MFA and foster a love of writing and reading in your young student.   
Homework Offered
Each week, I assign a short writing assignment focused around that week's theme and encourage the students to share their paragraphs in the classroom (so other students may view, comment, and interact as well). I also encourage students to submit their own creative writing (either from a story the students are working on or Wayside School fan fiction, if they prefer). Students will also be encouraged to add as much humor as possible into their own personal writing. The weirder and wackier, the better! I will critique submitted work based on an overall view of that week's theme and give lots of support and encouragement along the way!
1 - 2 hours per week outside of class
Assessments Offered
The more assignments that students post and the more creative writing that they share helps me to understand their knowledge and comprehension of the topics we are discussing.
Grades Offered
It's alright if students do not already have a familiarity with the Wayside School series as we will read many of the stories in class. Students will not need any specific books or outside materials. I will provide picture copies of all of the reading assignments, but students are welcome to read directly from Wayside School Beneath the Cloud of Doom if they have their own copy (although that is not required). 
Learners will not need to use any apps or websites beyond the standard Outschool tools.
According to commonsense.org: most of the adults come across as pretty out of touch with reality, but it's just the kind of humor that grade-schoolers will love. Cartoon peril (tumbles down stairs, bumps to the head) and platonic boy/girl crushes are mild and intermittent.
I will provide picture copies of all of the reading assignments, but students are welcome to read directly from Wayside School Beneath the Cloud of Doom if they have their own copy (although that is not required). 
Star Educator
Average rating:4.6Number of reviews:(900)
I currently teach English Composition at the collegiate level. I have a Master's degree in Creative Writing for Children and Young Adults, so I teach reading and writing classes. I worked as a substitute teacher for 3 years, in all age ranges and... 
Flex Class


weekly or $45 for 9 weeks
9 weeks

Completed by 10 learners
No live video meetings
Ages: 7-12

This class is no longer offered
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