Improving Writing Skills through Writing Family Histories

3 Semester hours :: Explore a variety of creative nonfiction writing strategies to craft the writing of family histories and connect the value of personal story to history. Get students hooked on writing personal and family narratives. This is a professional development course for teachers with a personal touch!
Course Description:

Explore writing your family stories using a variety of writing strategies that you can use in your teaching of nonfiction writing. Use photographs, interviews and / or anecdotal records. Practice the art and science of the historian as you apply a variety of research strategies, to gather relevant information from multiple print and digital resources. Examine sources for authenticity, subjectivity and point-of-view to gain insight to how history is written and interpreted. Practice a variety of writing strategies and genres to exercise effective writing techniques. Learn how to write short, stand-alone,“slice-of-life” vignette stories that make completing a family history an on-going project that is complete each time a story is added. Create a collection of family stories to share with others and use as mentor texts for teaching writing in the K-12 classroom.  Use what you learn in this professional development course for teachers to personalize history and your teaching of writing in the classroom, K-12. Meets Common Core State Standards.

Graduate Credit / Professional Development
All courses from College Courses Online are eligible for professional development hours to renew your educator license. At the end of your course you may request a Certificate of Completion from College Courses Online.

Some courses are available for graduate credit. Please follow the registration requirements for the nationally accredited university.
Colorado State University
Certificate of Completion for Professional Development
Key Documents:
Syllabus     •Sample Pages
Course Testimonials:
I have really enjoyed the opportunity to take Improving Writing Skills through Writing Family Histories. Not only did it give me the opportunity to learn about my past but I am using these same strategies with my students to learn about their past. Not only are they learning about their ancestry but they are writing as well.
Larry Hansen
My favorite class is Improving Writing Skills through Writing Family Histories. Using my mom as the guideline to find my ancestry, lead me to write a small novel containing the history of our family. I gathered pictures from my mom and created a scrapbook/biography. Upon completion of the scrapbook, I gave it to my mom as a Mother’s Day present. The really big surprise was to connect with relatives in England on our common ancestry from 10 generations back. We actually had the same 10th grandfather but came from different brothers. I still communicate with my cousins in Sheffield England. So thank-you Dr. Bevelhimer in helping with this project.
Sue B. Rinker
Improving Writing Skills through Writing Family History made the past come alive for me. My interviews and research not only resulted in fascinating details about my ancestors but also reunited members of my extended family. Anne Goiran-Bevelhimer has designed a course that’s the perfect blend of authentic experiences and academic skills. Her feedback is prompt as well as thoughtful. The course was a wonderful addition to my professional development.
Victoria Brame
Looking back at the writing I've done in Improving Writing Skills through Writing Family Histories, I am thrilled and amazed. In my writing I tried to paint a portrait of my father and his experiences against a backdrop of the era when the events of WWII took place. I was hoping to create meaning and bring his experiences alive in some way for future generations with the artifacts, letters, photos, research etc. that I wrote about. This is more writing than I have done in a long time. More importantly, it is writing that really matters to me. Thank you for giving me this opportunity!
Anna Suchy
Course Evaluations:
Based on a composite of date collected from independent source of student rating of instruction