Planning Your Novel during National Novel Writing Month

Planning Your Novel for National Novel Writing Month
by Lucas Humphrey

Okay, so you’ve chosen a genre for your novel. Now what? How do you plan to effectively use your time? (We’re two weeks in so hopefully you have some ideas by now!) Here are some suggestions:

1. Commit yourself. Dedicate to spend a specific amount of hours working on your novel each day no matter what! Determine when you’ll have free time in your schedule, and what is realistic. Also, decide how long your novel will be—or at least have a general idea.

2. Develop your characters and backstory. What makes them interesting? How will you introduce their past and make them complex? Which characters will be static, and which ones will be dynamic? What major changes will these dynamic characters undergo in the story?

3. Establish your setting, and build your world around it. Will your story take place in a real setting? If so, what do you know about it, and how can you be sure you portray it accurately? How can you provide vivid imagery around your setting as well, and how can you make it believable and unique?

4. Have a solid idea of your plot and conflict. Write an outline or develop a detailed plot triangle. What will the rising action be? The climax? The falling action? Will there be a clear resolution to the story? Will there be a twist? How will it all fit together? How does the conflict build and resolve? These are all questions to consider at this stage of novel writing.

Best of luck with your novel.

We will check in on progress next week. Here’s to happy writing!

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Preparing For National Novel Writing Month

National Novel Writing Month: Week 1 – Choosing a Genre

By Lucas Humphrey

Welcome to NaNoWriMo! By the end of this month, your goal is to have a complete novel written and ready to share out to the world after a few finishing touches. Let’s get started!

The first step you’ll want to take is to choose a genre, or category in which you’d like to write. Will it be nonfiction, such as a memoir or personal narrative? Or will you choose fiction—and write a fantasy novel, mystery novel, children’s book, a scary story, etc.? It’s completely up to you.

You’ll want to write what you love. What genres do you enjoy reading? What ideas have been floating around in your head that you finally want to get out on paper? Given the fact that you only have a month to write this novel, you’ll want to choose a genre that hooks you and doesn’t let go.

You’ll also want to understand the style and characteristics of the genre you choose. Examine some common examples of other books within this genre. What do they all seem to have in common in terms of their archetypes, motifs, mood, tone and style? Take note of these—you can, of course, be nontraditional and break from these conventions, but you should be aware of them so that you have a template in which to work.

Lastly, make a commitment! This week, go ahead and set some time aside each day to write—whether it’s brainstorming, planning, or drafting. Get your ideas out on paper! Stick to it, and come back every day to add something to your novel.

Good luck! Now that you’ve chosen a genre, we’ll talk more about planning your novel next week.


GWUOHS Referral Reward Program

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GWUOHS Referral Reward Program

As a current school family you have experienced firsthand the quality education GWUOHS has to offer, the benefits of our high-touch learning community, and the outstanding outcomes for GWUOHS graduates. Now it’s time to share your enthusiasm with others. Word of mouth is by far the most powerful way to promote our school and share our message with families like yours.

Attracting new students and families to GWUOHS is integral to the success and long-term viability of our school and to the development of the school community. As a part of our ongoing marketing efforts, it is important for us to attract new students at all grade levels. To assist with these efforts, GWUOHS, has developed a Referral Reward Program. This tuition reduction program is provided for GWUOHS families who refer new students and families to our school.

When you refer a new family who enrolls a student at GWUOHS, you’ll receive a tuition credit in the amount of $1000.

You will find Referral Reward Program Policy and Guidelines, as well as the New Family Referral Online Submission Form on our website under ‘Parent Resources’. Any additional questions can be directed to our Director of Admissions, (gwuohsadmissions@k12.com) or our Head of School, Dr. Staci Kimmons (skimmons@k12.com).

GWUOHS encourages you to talk to your friends, family members, and neighbors to let them know why you have chosen our school. The referral program rewards existing families, encourages new family involvement in our extraordinary school, and of course, increases enrollment. Help us grow together – refer a friend!

GWUOHS Referral Reward Program Policy Guidelines & Conditions

What is the award?

  • You will receive a $1000 tuition credit for each new, full-time student who enrolls at GWUOHS for the 2015-2016 School Year. The reduction applies to tuition only. The credit will only be applied once per new, full-time student. In the event that two current families list the same new student, the credit will be awarded to the first family that submitted the referral form.

Who can refer/ receive the referral?

  • All current families have the opportunity to earn this award. However, employees (and their family) of K12 Inc. and its subsidiaries are not eligible.
  • The source of the referral will be confirmed with the new family during the admissions process. Referral sources identified by enrolling families after the admissions process will not result in a credit.

Who can be referred?

  • The offer applies only to applicants of families new to GWUOHS. Siblings of current GWUOHS students do not qualify for a reward or as a referral.
  • Referral award consideration is limited to the referral of new students enrolling at GWUOHS.

Is there a limit?

  • There is no limit to the number of students that a GWUOHS family may refer, but tuition reduction will be limited to full tuition of the referring family for the 2015-2016 academic year. Rollovers to a subsequent academic year are not allowed; however, if a referring family has paid tuition in full, a check for the referral discount will be issued by the K12 Inc. Business Office. No other payouts will be made.

When/ how will the award be credited?

  • GWUOHS families will receive a tuition credit for each enrolled student who is enrolled and continues enrollment in good standing for at least 60 calendar days., the “Good Standing” period. The Admissions Office will be responsible for verifying credits to be awarded.
  • You will receive your credit within 60 days of the end of the good standing period described above.

How do I refer a family?

  • A New Family Referral Online Submission must be submitted online before a new student begins at GWUOHS.

Admissions criteria

  • The regular admissions criteria must be met by the new student (s). The final decision for student acceptance rests with the Director of Admissions and school administration.

Term

  • K12 reserves the right to revise or discontinue the referral reward program at any time. All decisions regarding the program will be made by K12 and are final.

 

Please sign: GWUOHS Referral Reward Program application by clicking HERE and submit


GWUOHS Teacher Shares his Traveling Experiences through Journaling

My Travel Journal #1
by Lucas Humphrey

Hello GWUOHS! In the last blog, I shared a travel tip for the upcoming Europe trip, and it got me thinking about my own experience studying abroad. In the summer of 2006, I made a very similar trek around the UK for a study abroad trip, and I recorded my experience in a journal. In this blog, I wanted to share a few parts of this journal to give you an idea of what the experience is like if you’ve never had the opportunity to visit the UK. Read on…

Studying abroad is an educational, cultural, and personal experience that cannot be replicated anywhere in one’s home country. It is an opportunity that no one should forego. In the summer of 2006, I chose to study abroad in London. As English major, a majority of what I read and learn about has some connection to this city. However, most of what I know about the English language is based not on what I learn in classes, but what I have been exposed to on a daily basis. Because I have resided in the southeastern United States for my entire life, that knowledge is relatively miniscule in the context of everything there is to know about English. Experiencing five weeks in England allowed me to immerse myself in the culture and history that surrounds the origins of the language, as well as the origins of American culture. My goal was to understand how English and American cultures have influenced each other, and to gain an appreciation for the subtle and not-so-subtle differences between life in the United States and in England.

Upon first setting foot onto English territory in Gatwick Airport at 9 AM on June 22, 2006, I noticed mostly little things that seemed quirky to me then—the smaller vehicles, phrases such as “mind your head,” and, of course, the accents—all of which would lose their novelty and seem normal to me by the end of the trip. Twenty-five program participants were on this flight, out of about a hundred and fifteen total. As we loaded onto our bus, we all had similar first impressions. Gatwick, however, is not London (it took almost two hours to get to our final destination from there), and our introduction to England was Gatwick’s rural landscape. Since I had stepped off of the plane and onto English land, every little thing excited me. I remember looking out of the bus window at some grazing sheep, a simple sight that thrilled someone whose only venture outside of the eastern U.S. was on a cruise ship.

As the bus driver approached the city, the scenery became progressively less rural and my anticipation grew. However, after an eight-hour flight and a five-hour time change, jet lag was beginning to get the best of me. I tried my best to stay awake. Upon arrival at our accommodation at University of Westminster, we were finally able to step off our bus and onto London pavement. Little did I know at the time that it would be until 8 PM before I would have a room, because of over-booking and problems with locks. When my room situation was finally sorted out, I ended up on what was supposed to be a girls’ floor. Thankfully, none of the girls minded, and it turned out to be for the best. Through living on the fifteenth floor, I met almost all of my London friends. In between hours of waiting on the locksmith that first evening, I went on a walk around the city with a few other students I had met.

Our campus was right across from Madame Tussauds on Marylebone Road. (Many students chose to visit the popular wax museum, but I never did, as it seemed too pricey.) We were fortunate to have a tube stop right across the street as well. Our Oyster cards, which the program provided us, gave us unlimited rides on the Underground (zones one and two) for the five weeks. London’s transportation system is something the city should really be proud of, as it’s probably the best in the world. The tube usually allowed us to get from place to place very quickly and easily. Tesco—which is essentially the British version of Wal-Mart—was nearby, and it became a constant destination for food and other necessities. We were given a weekly £20 Tesco gift card, as the university dining hall closed a week after our arrival. The gift cards worked well. A group of us decided to put our gift cards together and use them at one of the bigger Tesco stores, which was a few stops from our Baker Street stop, at King’s Cross. The girls agreed to cook (each floor in our dorm had a kitchen and eating area), which resulted in us eating a lot of Southern meals. Our Fourth of July meal was the most memorable, complete with hot dogs, hamburgers, macaroni and cheese, and an American flag cake. Meals were rarely a problem in the dorm, as there were always leftovers. The dorm, which was treated more like a hostel in the summer months, employed maids to clean the kitchen and make the beds. For laundry, there were several washing machines and dryers in the basement. The dorm was far from luxurious, however, as it was an old building in dire need of renovation. The elevators were constantly broken, and on a couple of occasions, some in the group had to walk nearly twenty flights of stairs to reach their room. However, the location of the campus made the cold showers in tiny stalls completely worth it. We could be nearly anywhere in London worthy of note in a matter of twenty minutes.

To be continued…


GWUOHS Travel Tips for Students

Travel Tip #1: Don’t Travel by Car Unless You Must!
by Lucas Humphrey

Hello GWUOHS! Welcome to our first installment of Travel Tips. In this series, I will provide tips and suggestions for traveling in Europe—specifically, our spring break destinations for 2015, which primarily include London, Edinburgh, and Dublin. One of the highlights of my college experience was studying abroad in the UK, and I can’t wait to go back again as a teacher at GWUOHS and share the experience with you all.

One of my favorite things about European travel is the fact that there are so many distinct cultures within a relatively small continent—small, at least, compared to North America. These are all cultures that developed and flourished before it was possible to take a train or ferry to and from virtually anywhere within the continent. Today, there are so many options for traveling in and around the UK. We’ll focus on two of those here: the National Rail and the London Underground, commonly known as the “Tube.”

The National Rail (http://www.nationalrail.co.uk) offers rail travel in and out of London to a plethora of locations throughout the United Kingdom. It is not one single train service, but it consists of a variety of passenger train services that travel all around the UK. When in London, you’ll use the London Underground system to arrive at a National Rail station and travel to destinations outside of London. In the US, the most comparable system we have is Amtrak; however, traveling by train around Europe is far more efficient because the destinations are less spread out, and it is also less expensive than traveling by plane.

The London Underground (https://www.tfl.gov.uk/) offers travel to and from virtually anywhere in London. It is widely recognized as one of the best public transportation systems in the world. You will certainly want to become familiar with the London Underground routes you may want to take when you are traveling in London; however, even if you get lost, it is relatively easy to find your way back (as confusing as the map may appear at first). See below for a map that shows both the London Underground and the National Rail system.

You’re probably overwhelmed by this map, right? Between the National Rail and the London Underground system, you can see how easy it is to travel around the UK without a car. Personally, if I lived in London, I would see no reason to own a vehicle. Not only would traffic not be a concern, but I’d probably get my daily exercise in as well. In short, take advantage of public transportation when abroad! You’ll likely be surprised by the options and come back to the US wishing we had something similar. Until next time: stay hyped for spring break!


George Washington University Online High School Welcomes Students

GWOHS

George Washington University Online High School Welcomes Students for 2014-15 School Year Online private school continues to grow in popularity as families recognize advantages offered by individualized online learning

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ASHBURN, Va., Aug. 25, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — George Washington University Online High School (GWUOHS), an independent online private school for students in grades 6-12, will begin the 2014-2015 academic year on September 3, 2014. The program marks its 4th year of operation and continues to expand rapidly.

GWUOHS is a partnership between the nationally renowned George Washington University and K12 Inc., the leading provider of online education for grades K-12 in the U.S. and around the world. The school offers a rigorous yet flexible college preparatory curriculum combined with extensive teacher support and personalized step-by-step college counseling to ensure that students reach their true potential.

Students who enroll at GWUOHS follow an academic program that includes engaging web-based lessons along with instructional materials – books, videos, CDs and other hands-on tools and resources – which are shipped directly to each student’s home. GWUOHS aims to prepare students beyond what they can achieve in traditional schools by providing a customized education attuned to their own needs and goals through regular support of nurturing teachers and college counselors.

GWUOHS educators provide the individualized learning tools students need including instruction, guidance, and support, and they regularly interact with students and parents via e-mail, web-based classrooms, online discussions, and phone. There are also opportunities throughout the school year where students have the chance to blend academics and socialization.

“The individual student is the most important person in any school — traditional, charter, virtual, or private,” said Staci Kimmons, Head of School at George Washington University Online High School. “Students learn at different speeds and excel in different environments, so education can no longer be viewed as a “one-size-fits-all” solution. The individualized K¹² program gives students worldwide the benefit of an educational experience tailored to his or her learning style.”

The GWUOHS curriculum is wrapped in rich, engaging content. GWUOHS provides a complete portfolio of college preparatory courses, including challenging Honors and Advanced Placement® (AP®) courses. It also offers a broad foundation of courses in English, Math, Science, History and World Languages. Students have the opportunity to pursue a special interest or passion via over 50 elective courses as well.

Enrollment is still open for the GWUOHS 2014-2015 academic school year, and all interested families are encouraged to visit http://www.gwuohs.com/ for more information, as well as details on upcoming community events and online information sessions.

About The George Washington University Online High School
Founded by the renowned George Washington University and K12 Inc. (NYSE: LRN), the nation’s largest provider of proprietary curriculum and online education programs, GWUOHS is an accredited premier online private school where motivated students in grades 6 – 12 receive an extraordinary college preparatory education. At GWUOHS, we inspire learning and develop leaders with a rigorous yet flexible college preparatory program designed for motivated middle and high school students. With award-winning curriculum, small class sizes, advanced levels of K12 curriculum, intensive and personalized college counseling, and unique leadership and learning opportunities, we provide students a well-rounded educational experience that will challenge and inspire them. More information can be found at http://www.gwuohs.com.

SOURCE George Washington University Online High School

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GWUOHS Offers A High-Tech Take On High School

GWUOHS Offers A High-Tech Take On High School

Michael Tornatta, a student at the George Washington University’s Online High School, delivers a presentation last month. The school is one of three full-time online high schools in the nation.

Posted: Tuesday, July 8, 2014 2:19 pm

By Danielle Nadler Leesburg Today

High school education comes in many forms in Loudoun County. There are a handful of private schools, the 13, going on 14, public high schools, and of course the homeschool option–But there is a lesser-known option that is venturing into an uncharted educational concept—a high school that is 100 percent online.

The George Washington University Online Highschool teamed with K12 Inc., a for-profit online education company based in Herndon, to launch an independent private school that allows students to log in from anywhere.

The partnership clicked, Head of School Staci Kimmons said. The result is one of only three online high schools in the country.

The school started as a high school three years ago, and just this year added a middle school program. In that time enrollment has grown to 160 students. About 50 of those live in the Washington, DC, metro area and, Kimmons said, “The rest are literally around the world.”

Every one of the classes is online, but the school’s eight teachers work to make the virtual experience feel like a classroom setting. They have what’s called Class Connect sessions through the virtual learning website Blackboard.com where the teacher presents a lesson and students can ask questions and have discussions.

“The same way you would in a brick and mortar English class, they do that with Blackboard,” Kimmons said. “They are expected to attend class, and an advantage is if you miss a class or want to go back to a lesson you can always watch the recording.”

“It’s not what you would expect,” according to Becca Levy, who was one of 32 graduates from the school’s class of 2014 last month. “It feels like you’re in a community.”

Like any high school, GWU’s online high school has student clubs, including a school newspaper and yearbook, a service learning club and math club, among others.

Students can also take in-person enrichment programs, and join their classmates for the school’s annual international school trip—destinations have included Greece, Italy and Eastern Europe. Students are also invited to study under a university professor for a two-week Summer Immersion program, which Kimmons said, “lets them actually experience what it’s like to be a college student.”

GWU Online High School’s courses are rigorous and the school is selective in who they accept. Students are required to submit their transcript from their previous school, as well as an essay that illustrates why they can be successful at the online high school. Parents are also required to complete a questionnaire to indicate how involved they will be in their child’s education.

Parent involvement is key with online learning, Kimmons said. “A lot of people have a misconception that they’ll sign their student up for online high school, set them in front of a computer and they’ll take it from there. But students need help with time management, so we want parents to be involved and have conversations about their student’s progress.”

The George Washington University Online High School tuition is $12,000 for full-time high school students and $10,500 for full-time middle school students. They will host a 45-minute online open house at noon Thursday, July 10, and Tuesday, July 29. Go to www.gwuohs.com for more information.

For more information about GWUOHS click below to watch