We welcome all parents to our site. As you may have read in About Us, our goal is to create highly imaginative stories that educate as they entertain. Although our characters may find themselves in difficult situations, they’re guided by mentors and friends who enable them to find ethical ways to resolve their issues.
In addition to the lessons within the stories, this website provides many educational opportunities. For example, the “rules” of our contests are actually lessons in fiction writing or songwriting. Winners will have their work published on our site. Ideally, we’ll eventually be able to release a collection of stories and/or a CD containing songs created by our readers. Any royalties will be distributed proportionally among the contributors, with the hope that these funds will be placed in a college savings account.
Our Help Our Manatees newsletter will focus on manatees in particular but also on wider environmental issues, such as pollution. Along with professional content, it’ll also feature experiments and articles written by our readers.
Our goal is to create stories that educate as they entertain. We feel significant lessons can be woven into the stories in a manner which doesn’t detract from the reading experience. Our website is highly interactive, enabling students to share their work with their peers. Science students can have their work recognized in our Help Our Manatees newsletter. Art students can make their work available on our coloring pages. Music students can contribute to our songs. We’d appreciate any feedback teachers might like to send along.
In our stories, our lessons present themselves on three levels.
On one level, there are situational lessons, where the plot places the characters in situations where lessons are learned. For example, Mia and Clark might encounter a small oil spill which is killing the water hyacinths that manatees feed on. While how they discover the source of the oil and remedy the spill is a plot device, the lessons they learn as they resolve the issue will be observed and hopefully absorbed by our readers.
On a second level, there are overheard lessons. Mia’s father, Eduardo, is a marine biologist, who can’t seem to answer a simple question without turning it into a lecture. Mia and Clark, as well as our readers, will overhear information as, for example, they wait outside his classroom. Additional information will be overheard as Eduardo discusses his manatee research with his colleagues.
On a third level, the techniques used in writing our stories can be used to teach writing skills. These writing lessons will tie in directly with our “Contests.” In each contest, the rules will teach certain aspects of fiction writing. The first contest will require each story have a beginning, middle and end. In addition, it’ll require that the beginning show Mia and Clark in a “normal” situation, which is suddenly changed by an “inciting incident.” To expand the example used above, the normal situation is when Mia and Clark are out fishing in his boat. Their discovery of the oil spill is the inciting incident which sets the story in motion.
As noted above, our Help Our Manatees newsletter will provide opportunities for students to do research and write articles which will be read by their peers. Ideally, the articles would somehow relate to the Muzzles universe, but pollution in a river is as serious as pollution in the ocean. On the most basic level, students might add pollutants to an aquarium and see how long it takes before the water turns cloudy. Once again, we encourage suggestions.