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Ely Folk School

For Kids

Writing With Your Child, For Your Child


with John Kopp

Calendar Oct 14, 2021 at 6:30 pm, runs for 6 weeks

Thursdays, October 14, 21, 28 & November 4, 11, & 18, 2021
6:30 PM - 8:00 PM

Tuition: $60  Materials: $20

This class takes place over the course of 6 Thursdays. By the end of class, you and your elementary schooler will have written and illustrated your own book! 

This 6-week class (one session per week) was designed for parent & child pairs. The intention is for each pair to write their own personalized children’s book. There are no prerequisites or level of skill necessary. In recognition that attending all 6 consecutive sessions can be challenging, the class is designed to accommodate the occasional missing of a session.  

The story line for your book will reflect values you identify as those your family hold dear. This allows your child to learn more about what is important in your family. The main characters will be identified/selected by your child because they are looked up to, superheroes or other popular characters. The writing and illustrating will occur during class sessions and at home between classes.

A tangible outcome is intended to be a 16 to 32 page illustrated children’s book. The instructor will use one he has written, “Asking Willow”, as a model for teaching, but individual creativity will be encouraged. The original version of you and your child’s book (manuscript) will make a great family keep sake. A photocopy of the manuscript can be easily bound and made into a wonderfully personalized gift for someone important in your child’s life, such as a grandparent.  

The class was developed for children 8 years of age, but it is applicable for a couple years either younger or older. It was also developed from the idea that by working in a group setting, learning can occur that is well beyond what any of us can anticipate. It leads us on a journey in the experience and development of community, a sense we are there for each other.

A small group allows from participation and support from the instructor. The ideal class size is eight parent-child pairs. So, while still a small group, it is large enough to generate a wealth of creative energy.

The class presentations and activities are designed to be individualized for each parent child pair. While specific techniques are demonstrated, and specific activities are set up, you are the expert on your child’s preferred modes of learning.  

During the first session, parents receive a handout that serves as a reference to important points covered during the class and why various activities are selected. Materials for writing and illustrating will also be handed out. They are presented as a gift addressed to your child and you. It is a way to help your child understand just how much their involvement in the class is appreciated.  

The class philosophy comes from an understanding that if it is made enjoyable, your creativity will flourish. The criteria for determining if the class was worthwhile are intangible. Did you and your child enjoy the class? Does your child know more about values your family hold dear? Do you feel you and your child learned to create at a higher level? Do your feel your child has had some seeds planted that will help in making good choices? Did you and your child feel inspired and supported by the group?  

Contact information is listed below. Please feel free to reach out if you have questions you would like to discuss before deciding whether or not to sign up.  

Questions on the class can be directed to:
John Kopp, class instructor

Only one registration per parent-child pair is necessary. 

About the Instructor: John Kopp has had a career of experiences working withparents and children of all abilities. After graduating from NDSU with a master’s degree in psychology, he spent the next 37 years working with families and caregivers in the development and implementation of positive ways to work with challenging behavior. He knows firsthand the importance of families connecting around important values and having fun in the process.

While living in Eastern North Dakota he and his wife regularly brought their children to Minnesota to camp, hike, and canoe. Some of his favorite memories with his family were visits to Ely, and now he has moved here to enjoy it every day. He likes to boast that his kids are jealous that he gets to live up here in the Northwoods. John is a member of the local Writers Group and you can see his and other group members writings in a collection entitled Just Breathe in the Ely Summer Times 2021.

Needle Felt a Pumpkin: Live Online


with Laura Berlage

Calendar Oct 15, 2021 at 2 pm

Friday, October 15, 2021
2:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Tuition: $36   Materials: $25   Shipping: $15

Register before October 8th in order to receive supplies prior to the class. 

Needle felting is fun! Learn to transform hand-dyed wool from the instructor’s flock of sheep into your very own adorable little pumpkin, just in time for Halloween! We will mail you the materials ahead of time, then Laura will take you step-by-step through the process via Zoom. No previous experience is necessary - this is a perfect class for the family to take together! 

The materials kit comes with enough wool to make two pumpkins, so you can perfect your technique on the second one after class. All you need to complete the project is a work surface like a sturdy table, good light, and a pair of scissors. Everything else is included! Experience the magic of needle felting or learn some new tips to add to your growing skillset.

Needle felting can feel especially therapeutic, as we repeatedly stab the wool with our barbed needles while creating cute, wooly decorative piece in the process. Join us for this welcoming online class!

A full kit will be mailed to each student, complete with the wool, foam work surface, needle, eye beads, and other necessary pieces. Students will also receive in the kit a welcome letter with notes on using Zoom as well as a link and password to a pre-recorded version of the class if they find this resource additionally helpful.

About the Instructor: Laura Berlage is a contemporary Renaissance woman living and working on her family’s century-old homestead farm outside Hayward, WI. From fiber arts to creative writing, music to storytelling, she never tires of the magic of transforming ideas into form and overlapping narrative and visual.

Laura also loves working with the many and beautiful natural materials from her farm—especially the wool from her sheep. Completing her MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts at Goddard College in 2011, Laura continues her lifelong passion for learning with engaged, hands-on teaching for small groups to encourage creativity, imagination, and expression.

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