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Don Aker

Aker
Photo: Deborah Aker 2007

A high school teacher living in Middleton, Nova Scotia, Don Aker began writing in 1988 after taking a course for language arts teachers at the Martha's Vineyard Summer Writing Workshops in Massachusetts, where educators were encouraged to write along with their students. His first short story, "The Invitation," was anthologized three times, won the 1989 Atlantic Writing Competition, and received a $10,000 grant from Telefilm Canada to assist him in adapting it to a feature-length screenplay. Since then, he has published 14 books and numerous short stories and articles, consulted on several projects for publishers of educational materials, conducted a variety of workshops on teaching and writing, and given readings across Canada.

Phone number:

Publications

The First Stone. Toronto: HarperCollins, 2003
Winging It. New York: Pearson Education, 2003
Language & Writing 8, 9, 10, & 11. Toronto: ITP Nelson, 1998-2001
Hitting the Mark: Assessment Tools for Teachers. Markham, Ontario: Pembroke Publishers, 1995
The Space Between. Toronto: HarperCollins, 2007
One on One. Toronto: HarperCollins, 2005
Of Things Not Seen. Toronto: Stoddart (now Fitzhenry & Whiteside), 1995
Stranger at Bay. Toronto: Stoddart (now Fitzhenry & Whiteside), 1997
The Right Whale. Toronto: Scholastic, 2007
In the Lighthouse. Toronto: Scholastic, 2008
New Language, New Friends. New York: Pearson Education, 2003

Awards

The Toronto Star's Short Story Contest Runner-Up Prize for "Everything Gets Dead", 2002
Atlantic Film Festival Script Development Competition (screenplay) for The Invitation, 1998
Ann Connor Brimer Award for Of Things Not Seen, 1996
Canadian Authors Association Lilla Stirling Award for Of Things Not Seen, 1996
Canadian Living Magazine's National Literary Competition (short story) for "The Test", 1990
Canadian Authors Association Lilla Stirling Award for Of Things Not Seen, 1996
Ann Connor Brimer Award for The First Stone, 2004
Ontario Library Association White Pine Award for The First Stone, 2004
Canadian Authors Association Lilla Stirling Award for One on One, 2007
Canadian Library Association Honour Book Award for The Space Between, 2008
Atlantic Writing Competition Non-Fiction First Prize for "V-Day: Anatomy of a Surgery", 1990
Atlantic Writing Competion Short Fiction First Prize for "The Invitation", 1989
Eligible for National Public Readings Program :
Yes

WITS

Presentation Description

A teacher with more than 25 years of classroom experience, Don has taught both middle level and high school students and has published books for young people in grades 5 to 12, so he is comfortable presenting to all of these groups. However, his ideal audience is grades 8-12. Accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation, he begins by telling students how, as a high school student, he wanted to be a writer but never felt he could actually become one, and then he describes the series of serendipitous events that led him down that writing path toward publication 20 years later. Then he gives a brief overview of the books he has written and follows this with a discussion of his writing process (where he gets his ideas, the three questions he needs to answer before he can begin writing any story, and his most important writing tool: his writer’s notebook). He describes the genesis of each of his novels and, if time and interest permit, may give a brief reading from one of them. He always provides time for students to ask questions, and he is completely comfortable tailoring his presentation to the needs of a specific audience (e.g., focusing on a particular novel that the students have read or are reading).

Workshop Description:

The following is a sampling of professional development workshops that Don has conducted for educators. For a description of each, go to http://authorsbooking.com/2043/authors/Don_Aker.html
 

TITLE:  Inside Story: Writing Fictional Narratives

AUDIENCE:  Grades 5-12 English language arts teachers

TITLE:  Strategic Reading: Making Meaning of Text

AUDIENCE:  Grades 5-10 English language arts and content teachers

TITLE:  The Poetry Roundtable: Talking Toward Meaning

AUDIENCE:  Grades 6-12 English language arts teachers

TITLE:  Team-ing With Success: Cooperative Learning in the Classroom

AUDIENCE:  Grades 5-9 teachers in all subject areas

TITLE:  We Are Our Stories: Writing Personal Memoir

AUDIENCE:  Grades 5-12 English language arts teachers

TITLE:  The Sixth Trait: Supporting Students in Mastering Conventions

AUDIENCE:  Grades 5-12 English language arts teachers

TITLE:  Making Metaphor: The Craft of Writing Poetry

AUDIENCE:  Grades 5-12 English language arts teachers

TITLE:  Screenwriting: From Story to Script

AUDIENCE:  Grades 9-12 English language arts teachers

TITLE:  The Writer’s Notebook

AUDIENCE:  Grades 5-12 English language arts teachers

TITLE:  Managing the Bundle: Responding to Student Writing

AUDIENCE:  Grades 6-12 English language arts teachers

TITLE:  Polishing the Lens: The Power of Point of View

AUDIENCE:  Grades 5-12 English language arts teachers

Northern OAC WITS:
No
One session:
$300
Two sessions:
$575
Three sessions:
$850
Four sessions:
$1100
One session:
$200
Two sessions:
$475
Three sessions:
$700
Four sessions:
$950
GST:
GST applicable