Discipline: Interdisciplinary, Storytelling, Writing
An award-winning spoken word artist and author of the children's fantasy adventure series Faerie Tales from the White Forest, Danika Dinsmore brings a unique combination of skills to the stage and classroom. Her background in performing arts and education informs her writing workshops and interactive assemblies to create unique, lively events. With over 20 years experience working with children in poetry, spoken word, storytelling and world-building, Danika has visited dozens of schools, libraries and festivals across North America. She has also delivered programming for Learning Through the Arts, the Creative Writing for Children Society, Capilano University, ABCDE Sears Drama Festival and Vancouver Public Library.
Danika is energetic, spunky and upbeat, all the while staying very relaxed in front of an audience of over 100 students sitting on the library floor. She maintained their rapt attention for an hour by interacting with them and engaging them in world and rhythm play and her famous Thunderbug Symphony. Katy Ackerson, Librarian, Parkview Elementary
Danika devised creative, interactive and informative workshops with our Grade 8 and 9 classes and was open to adapting her lessons to the needs of our students. Danika's delight in writing speculative fiction was evident in her workshops, and she inspired our students to write as well. Margaret Yee, Teacher-Librarian, Southridge School
Danika's workshop was really, really fun... It was a bazillion really funs! Olivia, Student, Loyal Heights Elementary
Danika's speculative fiction workshop (or residency) is a great addition to any English or writing class. It begins with a short survey of the subgenres of speculative fiction (steampunk, epic fantasy, time travel, etc), then the students use the subgenres in a collaborative mash-up exercise to generate new genres as a jumping off point for a creative story. Depending upon the length of the workshop, students either develop these story scenarios further, or Danika continues with an individual exercise using previously published material in a fantastic way. (Her well-received Dystopian Fiction Workshop focuses specifically on this popular subgenre.)
Danika's Imaginary World Building workshops (or residencies) are a hit with students due to the quick manner in which she engages them in the world-building process. She first introduces the students to her own fantasy worlds and then delivers guidelines about the craft of world-building. The students work in small groups to design imaginary world maps, populate their new worlds, and imagine storytelling scenarios. These exercises can be self-contained or be used later by a teacher as a jumping off point for a creative writing unit.
Danika's popular Imaginary Worlds tours and assemblies are experiential and generative, meaning students walk away with something new that they have created. A combination of interactive songs, innovative exercises and a storytelling performance, her assemblies are energetic, pure edu-tainment, and meant for large audiences. Whether students are familiar with her books or not, she brings the characters to life and engages the students in populating their own imaginary worlds with fantastic beings and fresh language. In addition, Danika offers teachers information about how to expand the students' experience in the classroom.