Discipline: Interdisciplinary, Visual Arts, Writing
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Lee Edward Fodi is a children's author, illustrator and educator who specializes in creativity workshops for young people. He has worked as an artist/writer-in-residence at numerous schools in Canada, the United States, Korea, and Thailand. He routinely works as an art therapy teacher for at-risk teens and is a co-founder of The Creative Writing for Children Society (CWC), a not-for-profit program that was started to help immigrant and first-generation Canadians write their own books. Lee is extremely proud of the work he does with students, helping kids from a range of cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds to tap into their creativity. As an illustrator, he brings a very visual approach to the craft of writing while, as a writer, he brings the power of stories to illustration and prop-building. He graduated from the University of British Columbia and has a degree in English Literature and a diploma in Fine Arts. He is the author and illustrator of several books for children, including The Chronicles of Kendra Kandlestar (Simply Read Books) and The Secret of Zoone (HarperCollins).
The residency with Lee Edward Fodi exceeded my expectations. I had never seen my students so engaged in writing and creating their own character's profile. They really enjoyed having a real author come and share with them his tips and techniques and several students discovered an interest and/or a talent for art and/or writing. Lee brought to my class a perspective I could never have and it was a pleasure to collaborate with him. I was also impressed at how he tried to work individually with each child. He built a strong relationship with them and made them feel like 'real authors', to the point that students asked to create 'novels' featuring their heroes. The workshops with him were rich, intense and a lot of fun. Now that the residency is over, I can see the impact of Lee's teaching on my students' productions: their writing is more confident, more captivating and they really got a sense of what 'point of view' means in writing. Emilie Prunier, Early French Immersion Teacher, Ecole Lord Tweedsmuir Elementary, New Westminster
We were so very fortunate to have such a talented, gifted artist come into our alternate education high school program in the Coquitlam School District. Lee Edward Fodi came in for eight sessions to work with our vulnerable youth, creating hands-on individualized projects. The students were able to use these projects to really express their own unique interests and creative flare. Our students, who suffer from severe anxiety, really came alive during Lee's art workshops and really came to love Mr Fodi as a warm, energetic adult who gave them to opportunity to really be themselves in a safe and accepting environment. Often our students ask when Lee will return and any chance we get to have Lee back, we will take it and hope he comes soon to work his magic with our kids once again. Margarita Asher, Coquitlam School District
Lee Edward Fodi has presented at both the schools I have worked at the last two years. Most recently, he came in for 2 days and did 6 sessions with different grade groups, ranging from kindergarten to grade 7, on brainstorming and the writing process. In these sessions, he modelled idea generation and development using sketching and brainstorming in which students collaborated on a group idea, as well as produced their own idea. Students all walked away with either a story starter, an idea, or a mapped out story plan, which they were so excited about and could bring back to the classroom to use for a writing activity. Both teachers and students left the library telling me how much they enjoyed the sessions. Lee is a very engaging speaker, and was able to keep everyone from K-7 totally engaged all the way through. He was happy to speak to large groups in the gym, or to small groups in the library, and students of all ages were equally involved in both styles. Even with the large groups, he did a writing/drawing/brainstorming activity with all grades which everyone was engaged in and many students collaborated on. He is a very capable instructor, and is able to manage behaviour and participation with many sizes, ages and types of groups. He talked about his books as well, which students were very interested in, but his focus was very much on the creative process, on the patience and practice it takes to get good at writing and illustrating, and on where his ideas come from. In particular, he talked about many different ways of accessing writing and brainstorming, which made all students feel capable and excited. I left the sessions inspired to write stories, and I wasn't the only one! Kyla Macdonald, Teacher Librarian General Gordon Elementary Vancouver, BC, Canada
In this project, Lee Edward Födi draws on his experience as a successful fantasy author to help students discover the "art" of building strong fantasy worlds. He demonstrates how he employs visual techniques such as doodling, mapping, diagramming and illustration to help construct intricate worlds replete with cultures, customs, languages, and symbols. He then leads students in a number of sessions to "build" their own worlds (and the characters who populate those worlds) through words, pictures, and prop-building projects. The scope of this project varies, depending on the number of sessions with students, but can involve any number of artistic enquiries, such as designing and creating magical objects that are connected to the students' worlds. Several handouts and worksheets, personally designed by Lee Edward Födi, are provided for the students throughout the sessions. This project has many deliverables, including writing a short story, drawing a detailed map of a world, or creating a world-building "journal."
In this workshop series, Lee Edward Födi helps students build characters through drawing, writing and model-making. Students are led through several modules that discuss some of the best-known and beloved heroes and villains in film and literature, discussing the common elements that make us want to root for their success or cheer for their failure. He explains how he draws on these archetypes to create his own heroes and helps students brainstorm their own creations. As the project continues, students bring their characters to life through illustration, prop building, and even costume design, which involves choosing hair samples, fabric swatches and other clothing elements. Several handouts and worksheets, personally designed by Lee Edward Födi, are provided for the students.This type of project has many deliverables, including creating cover art for a graphic novel, writing a short story, or building a display that chronicles the creative process.
In this workshop series, Lee Edward Födi helps students explore perspectives by creating two key characters: a thief who is trying to steal from a dragon, and the creature who is having something stolen. As part of the project, students participate in a discussion of these types of characters in literature, folklore, and film. Students then go on to write "mirror poems", taking the individual-and opposite-perspectives of both characters. Depending on the sessions available, these two poems can be used as fuel for writing a longer story. Students may also design and/or custom-build items such as dragon eggs, dragon scales, magical gems, and enchanted tools. Several handouts and worksheets, personally designed by Lee Edward Födi, are provided for the students throughout the sessions.This type of project has many possible deliverables, including poetry, stories, illustration, and fantasy props.