Teaching a love of writing
I teach writing, speaking, and presentation through emotionally compelling story games.
Hi, I'm Michael
Educator, game designer, writing coach.
I’m a live-scan certified CA high school English teacher, parent, story-teller, and game designer. I teach kids non-violent conflict resolution, collaboration, confidence, critical thinking, and creative writing using games, inspired by a love of learning, not fear of failure.
If you'd like to read more about my approach, check out this interview or read my blog. You can read some class reviews below and more on the Join a Class page, or on my Activity Hero page. You can hear me discussing educational game design on London radio, the Hacked In The Dark pod, and Scheduled for Launch. You can read a review of Stories RPG on the TTRPG Kids site, and see me speak about non-violent game design at the Metatopia design conference.
"My son LOVED this camp so much! Michael is so great with kids...he helped the group build vivid characters and developed a fun storyline. It was hard not to sit and just listen to him and the kids bring characters to life, create their backstories, describe the world in which they lived and the adventure they had. My son would immediately work on his "homework" (can you call it that if it was fun?) at the end of each camp and would tell me how much he enjoyed each session. I thought it was great that the kids not only were creative, but there was problem solving involved as well. Thank you Michael!"
"My 12 years old son absolutely LOVED this camp. He is usually very shy and reserved, and don't like to interact at all in class. During this first week, I could hear him laughing, participating and leading discussions. He would go to bed early, to wake up early to be on time. I've never seen this behavior before. Thank you, Michael!"
"This is just the best. It really came at the perfect time: no camps, no school, limited kid to kid interactions. Michael has done a great job creating engaging curricula, building an environment that pulls out the best in students, and using technology in smart and effective ways. I wish my local (or perhaps national?) schools would take note of what he is doing and implement it on a larger scale—it is immeasurably more effective than traditional e-learning and has really turned around the summer for our kiddo."
"Highly recommend!! My son has had the most wonderful time with this camp. Michael, the guide, is a teacher who really knows how to engage. Together they built an entire world that opened up their imaginations so much. It is very creative. Even when it was over, my son loved the "homework" activities set, so much so, he was completely motivated and excited to get them done without any prodding! It has been a pleasure to see him so happy, gaining confidence in writing, and also learning life skills too, along the way, with this role playing game."
To read more 5 Star reviews, click here to go to the Join a Class page!
How it works
What Kids Will Need
Each student needs a computer or iPad, reliable internet, access to Google docs, and a quiet place to laugh, act, and be ridiculous. A headset with a microphone helps, but isn't necessary!
The First Class
Each 5 or 6 day session begins with a vote for the game the group will play - anything from magical researchers protecting mythical creatures to monster teens dealing with freshman year at a new school for magical kids. Student then create characters, imagining who they'll become and how they're connected, learning about how we'll play the game. During the second hour, we jump into the world of the game, starting an epic adventure! In the last 10 minutes, we discuss writing prompts for next class, deciding what each student would like to write before the next class to help build the world. If kids struggle with typing, writing - and drawing! - stories by hand in order to upload works great, too!
Each class begins with a read-aloud and celebration of everyone's stories, followed by discussion of how the tales can come together. Each student gets to build their character based on their writing, and then we jump back into the game - saving the last 10 to discuss what to write for next class and for shout-outs.
The Epic Finale
Each story arc comes to an epic close - and often a cliff-hanger ending! Parents receive feedback on their student's growth for 5 Common Core writing and speaking standards, along with a game summary. The work kids do counts towards homeschool ELA credit, as it's guided by a certified California teacher
Extend the Adventure
Students are welcome to keep exploring new worlds and writing amazing tales together by signing up for another course. We can continue with the stories they've written, explore a different world, or create a new one, together! All the resources for students to play and run the game remain available to them online, so the adventure never needs to end!
Story games of wonder and adventure
I am proud to announce the release of Stories RPG along with Daniel Hinds of Stories Podcast, one of the largest and longest-running story-telling podcasts for kids!
We designed Stories RPG to help kids and parents learn how to tell stories together. Each month, we're releasing a new Chapter to print, read aloud, color, and play at home, alongside a Stories Podcast game set in the same world!
You can find the first, free Chapter of Starsworn at StoriesRPG.com, alongside the podcast episodes and each new Chapter release. There's a wonderful review of play here. If you're interested in some of my other games, including those for adults, check them out here.