the sally sisson blog


October 5, 2019

Back-To-School: Creative Content Writing & Curriculum Development

Writing, editing and wrangling content

Although I’ve been writing content and curriculum for TogetherCounts.com over the past seven years, this is the first time I’ve been responsible for the entire Schools section of the website. During the spring and summer of 2018, I developed the content and curriculum for all four levels — Pre-K, Grades K–2, Grades 3–5, and Grades 6–8 — plus training modules for the Educator Support Center, at-home activity guides and lesson plans to be used in conjunction with FDA (Federal Food and Drug Administration) charts and guidelines.

Like many website writing and wrangling projects, this involved hundreds of manuscript pages of text, along with nearly as many images, illustrations and video clips. When the final web pages, PDFs and slides were all laid out and uploaded by the web developer, I decided to tally them up. The total: 676 pages of content!

  • Curriculum Units: 12
  • Lesson Plans: 48
  • Pages of PDFs: 440
  • PowerPoint Slides: 236
  • Total pages of content: 676

The new web content went live in September 2018 and is being used again this year in U.S. schools nationwide and by TogetherCounts.com partners including the Girl Scouts and 4-H, America’s largest youth development and youth mentoring organization. The free content is accessible to teachers, parents and after-school volunteers as well.

Check it out here at https://togethercounts.com/educator-support-center/

Part 1: The Creative Process

The Challenge: Develop a new conceptual framework and lesson plans to reflect the newly expanded approach to Health & Wellness recommended by the CDC and ASCD (Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development). Customize content for different grade bands (Pre-K through grade 8) for use by teachers in U.S. public and private schools nationwide.

The Solution: I worked side-by-side (virtually, that is) with design colleague Doug Eymer of EYMER Brand Laboratories to toss ideas back and forth. (Conceptual work doesn’t happen in a vacuum!) I knew he was the right guy to add personality to the visuals for maximum kid-appeal — while driving home the key teaching points in effective ways that would stick.

The New Graphic Toolset: Here’s the final result, below. Called the “Wellness Wheel,” this graphic laid the foundation for the curriculum units and all of the content for the Pre-K through Grade 5 lesson plans and teaching guides. Printable worksheets, also designed by EYMER (see samples below), incorporated this and complementary graphics to help tie all of the separate units into a cohesive whole.


Part Two: Collaborating with teacher reviewers, a curriculum writer, website developer and more…. [to follow]

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March 8, 2016

Road Map for Content Writing

 

Content_Writing

A Writing GPS: The Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Your Next Piece of Content [Infographic]

A step-by-step process? Really? Why not just wing it? Why not just… write?

Because in writing, argues Ann Handley, process is necessary. Because, as she says, you need a road map to get you to where you need to be.

Handley’s handy GPS gets you from one place to another: “from discombobulated thoughts to a coherent, cogent piece of writing.” Numbered steps prompt you to pause and think:

1. What’s your business goal?

2. How does your idea relate to your readers?

3. What credible sources and data support your idea?

4. What format would best communicate your point? (Blog post, infographic, case study?)

5. Who is your audience? (Write to one person. Period.)

Now start writing.

Write, walk away, rewrite, walk away. Write, edit, edit again.

Pass it by a co-worker or read it to your cat. Proofread. Polish. Is it ready to publish?

Call to action.

Check the 12 steps. Have you left readers hanging? What should readers do next?

Subtly prompt, nudge, guide, steer or drive in the right direction to reach the desired outcome or destination.

Now push the button and pat yourself on the back. Stretch, breathe, crack your knuckles, relax.

Before you write your next post, read Ann Handley’s Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Writing Ridiculously Good Content.

Because, as Ann says, “in today’s content-driven world, writing matters more… not less.”

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March 31, 2015

Storytelling Guide for Content Marketing

 

5 Steps Guide to Storytelling for Content Marketers

A nifty infographic from the folks at imagination.

In their words:

“The people you work with are sitting on a mountain of stories that could help create new business opportunities.

We’ve outlined the basic elements needed to turn that untapped potential into a successful content marketing program.”


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