Session 1: for students entering 8th and 9th grade in 2021-22
June 14-18, 2021; 10:00-12:00pm
Session 2: for students entering 6th and 7th grade in 2021-22
June 21-25, 2021; 10:00-12:00pm
All classes are virtual.
Writer's Playground is designed for students with an interest in creative writing, although no experience is required. For reluctant writers, or for those who want support in academic writing, Creator School recommends Palo Alto Writing Academy.
In Writer's Playground, we will explore different genres of your choice: fiction, memoir, scriptwriting, or poetry. (Please indicate your preferences when you register, and we will make choices based on the group’s overall areas of interest.) We will also play with a variety of techniques, such as idea generation, dialogue, imagery, character development, and foreshadowing and/or suspense, depending on the class interests.
A typical class will include:
Improv-style warm-up activities
Reading of mentor texts
Writing exercises and drafting time
Workshopping with peers
A celebration of our work at the end of the week!
The instructors will provide personal feedback. We will also participate in structured writing workshops, with guidelines and protocols for evaluating our peers' writing and giving each other constructive feedback in a supportive environment.
Each class is capped at 16 students - enough that we will have a wealth of ideas and perspectives - but small enough to create a strong sense of community and ensure personalized attention from the instructors every day.
Meet Your Instructors
Renee Johnson has a passion for helping others express themselves through writing. She moved to California from Massachusetts and graduated from California State University, Hayward with a BA in English and a focus in creative writing. She has been a full-time seventh and eighth grade English teacher in the Palo Alto Unified School District since 1998. She has experience teaching a variety of summer writing courses, including Future Author Camp, a writing camp for gifted creative writers. She also enjoys coaching adults and teens in a variety of writing projects, from personal statements to essays and speeches.
Kari Nygaard has taught middle school English for over fourteen years and has been a teacher mentor for more than ten years. She currently works at JLS Middle School. She has also taught numerous summer programs for youth in civic leadership, design thinking, creative writing, Italian, music, and HIV/AIDS education. Kari received a BA in International Studies from Middlebury College and an MA in Educational Administration from Santa Clara University. In 2015, she co-wrote a staff-student musical for her middle school.