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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September 7, 2012

New Content for a New School Year: Copywriting and back-to-school angst

copywriting and content For anyone working in educational marketing, communications or publishing, back-to-school begins long before August. But no matter how much content has been printed, published or posted in advance, the first week of school still brings its share of back-to-school angst.

For me, the first week of school presented a hodgepodge of projects for K-12 and edu:

Web content:

Writing and posting two new web pages for Inly School, an independent preK-8 Montessori school in Massachusetts.

Marketing copywriting:

Writing email blasts for K-5 teachers to promote this year’s new Subway Random Acts of Fitness for Kids, a national campaign for SubwayKids.com (for ad agency Jack Morton Worldwide).

Video scriptwriting:

Conceptualizing, writing and editing script for a new admissions video for a Catholic high school in Connecticut (for Keating Associates).

Copywriting:

Coining slogans and signage copy for a new sustainability campaign for a large university (for Hall Pass Group).

A crazy week, and crazy deadlines, but all fun stuff. I’ve got my #2 pencils sharpened and my colored folders and Mac files in order (well, almost).

Happy September!

* pencil illustration (created by Mark A. Hicks) from Discovery Education‘s Clip Art Gallery.
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June 19, 2012

Content marketing + cause marketing: Public relations with a purpose

content marketing for SUBWAY

Copywriting + corporate clients

Around this time last summer, I was busily dealing with my own child’s end-of-school activities while developing a year’s worth of content for SUBWAY Kids™ (via the Boston office of ad agency Jack Morton Worldwide).

For the Random Acts of Fitness for Kids™ project, developed to promote physical fitness and healthy habits in elementary schools throughout the U.S., I devised 365 “random” content snippets, 52 weekly activities, 12 mini field day activities and a culminating field day program. I also wrote copy for a teacher’s guide, teacher calendar and planner, classroom poster, and collateral for teachers and parents. All in about two weeks while trying to leave on my own summer vacation. Phew.

Cause marketing + bonus branding

content marketing for Subway KidsSUBWAY® Restaurants has had a successful string of win-win partnerships with select organizations and government institutions, and is now widely known for its commitment to the fight against childhood obesity.

For the Random Acts of Fitness and related campaigns, SUBWAY Kids™ partnered with We Can!™ (a National Institutes of Health (NIH) program), the American Heart Association and Little League® Baseball and Softball.

For another campaign on conservation, it partnered with The Nature Conservancy to provide reusable lunch bags and educate kids about the importance of recycling, reusing and reducing waste. [See my blog post: Earth Day interactives: Copywriting with a conscience for corporate clients.]

The SUBWAY restaurant chain is now the largest in the world. According to the Wall Street Journal it surpassed McDonald’s last year as the world’s largest chain, in units sold. Not that it can be attributed to savvy cause marketing, but heck, they must be doing something right in the brand department.

Useful content for a range of constituents

June is field day season in American elementary schools, and also a time when restless kids get summer fever. The “Random Acts” guide also features quick exercises and activities that kids can do in the classroom to get their bodies moving and minds re-focused.

It also extends into the summer months, with ideas for at-home activities and seasonal recipes right through the last days of August, when kids are bored and restless once again, waiting for school to begin…

Happy summer!

(This year, I’m outa here!)

 

 

 

 

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