Cozy English Courses
 
 
 
 
 

Homeschooling Horizons Magazine
Supplier Spotlight Interview
October 2003 Issue


  
Where are you located?
Splashes From The River Multimedia Entertainment Inc. is located on the Discovery Passage side of Vancouver Island, BC, in a town called Campbell River.  We utilize the tremendous scenic resources this area is famous for as locations for our  COZY collection of educational video/dvd's.  Our production studio/office is located in a converted house near downtown Campbell River, and the A-Frame beach house that is prominently featured in our productions is located about  9 km away in an area called Ocean Grove.

What style or product do you deal with most? 
We are committed to producing courses covering the various techniques of English language usage.  Our current releases include THE BASIC COZY GRAMMAR COURSE and  THE BASIC COZY PUNCTUATION COURSE.  They were developed and are  taught on camera by a retired English teacher named Marie Rackham, and are like having a one-on-one tutorial with a grandmotherly, master  teacher.  All the lessons are set in and around a beach cottage, or other scenic spots of interest around her home town of Campbell River, B.C., and use simple, cozy, every day examples.   Our productions are designed to be effective for audio, visual, or tactile learners.  We think of our courses as being like "living textbooks", in that the student watches the lesson, the main points of which are supported by extensive on-screen writing, and then they refer to the workbook to do exercises based on what they've just seen.  The audio tracks feature the sounds of west coast wildlife and classical piano selections that have been specially arranged and recorded to facilitate learning.

What are your best buys?
If customers purchase the grammar and punctuation courses as a set, they will receive a 10% discount.  We also frequently offer our previous customers special pre-release discounts on new products as they become available. Naturally, we believe that each of our products are a "best buy", because they are produced with very high production values and careful attention to detail. The curriculum, the locations, the sets, the props, the music, the companion workbooks - each of these aspects are carefully nurtured to bring forth creations that will be enriching and "edutaining" for the viewer.  We are proud of the feature film quality of our courses, and the 16 national and international awards for excellence in educational media bestowed upon them thus far. 


What's flying off the shelves?
Our best seller currently is THE BASIC COZY GRAMMAR/BASIC COZY PUNCTUATION SET.  Followed closely by THE COZY CLASSROOM COLLECTION CD - Classical Piano Pieces Arranged And Recorded To Facilitate Learning.   This is a CD that was recorded, mixed and engineered to be played softly in the background while active learning or studying is taking place.  In recent years many studies have been conducted on the effects of classical music on learning. The results of these studies are interesting and varied: increased I.Q.'s, accelerated learning, greater retention of material learned, lowered blood pressure and heart beat, to name a few. Deep in the brain there is a band of white fibers connecting the right and left halves of the cerebrum called the corpus callosum. Very recently researchers have discovered that the corpus callosum increases in size when humans are exposed to quiet, classical music. This increase in size increases the communication between the two hemispheres of the brain which, in turn, increases learning efficiency. The optimum ages for the increase of the corpus callosum are from birth to ages 5 or 6, and during puberty.


What's up-and-coming for the 2003-2004 school year?
In the fall of 2003 we will be releasing THE BASIC COZY ESSAY COURSE, which will teach a simple formula for writing an essay that can be applied to the many different styles of essays commonly required at the highschool and university levels.  The video/dvd will include an explanation/definition of what an essay is; and, a basic, easy-to-follow formula for writing an essay.  While watering her neighbour's plants,  Marie  will walk the viewer step-by-step through the composition of a research essay titled THE LIFE CYCLES OF PLANTS, demonstrating the use of footnotes and a bibliography; and, while walking on the beach, she will compose an expository essay titled THE BEACH - A MICROCOSM OF THE EARTH.  The companion study guide will have samples of how the basic formula presented by Marie on camera can also be applied to persuasive essays, informal essays, review essays, research essays, literary essays, character analysis essays, cause/effect essays, compare/contrast essays, narrative personal essays, and definition essays. 

 In the latter part of 2004 we hope to release THE INTERMEDIATE COZY GRAMMAR COURSE.  It will pick up from where THE BASIC COZY GRAMMAR COURSE left off and will delve deeper into the whole daunting subject - in a cozy way of course!  It's scheduled to start shooting in October 2003.

We also hope to release more classical piano CD's in early 2004.  Marie and our recording engineers have already recorded tribute collections featuring the works of Mozart, Beethoven, Debussy, Chopin, Joplin, and Bach.  These would be of interest primarily to classical piano students, or anyone who appreciates classical piano music.
   
Tell us a bit about yourself, the company.
Splashes From The River Multimedia Entertainment Inc. was founded in 1999 by David Mielke and Marie Rackham. Back in the late '70's, Marie was David's teacher, and he had always considered her an inspiration and mentor. Many years later, after he had spent time in Hollywood learning about  various aspects of production, he returned to Canada to form his own production company.  He wanted it to be based in Campbell River in order to live closely to nature, and to use all the spectacular locations available.  The digital revolution, computer editing, and online marketing made it possible to set up a full production/distribution studio in the small town, something that would have been very difficult to do twenty years ago.

When Marie Rackham retired from teaching, David asked her if she'd like to be a part of the new venture, as he had always remembered what a special teacher she was, full of enthusiasm and very creative at being able to simplify confusing, ponderous subjects.  Marie always said to her students, "No one fails, if they have the tools",  and then proceeded to provide them.   She agreed to his proposal, intrigued by the opportunity to take grammar and punctuation out of the classroom and into everyday life - something that she had longed to do as a public school teacher, but had not been able to implement.  She was also excited by the opportunity to utilize her extensive training as a classical pianist,  recording her favorite classical piano pieces - and some of her original compositions -  for the soundtracks of the videos/dvd's.  The addition of Tyson Mielke (camera dept.), Debra Herkes (production manager), Hugh Schmid (sound dept.),  John William (digital tech support),  John Bailey (lighting dept)  and various other production assistants and office staff rounded out the production team.

What prompted you to start your company/the starting of the company?
David's founding of the company has been part of a process of growth and exploration that has been unfolding for over twenty years.   It is a reflection of his desire to create products that are worthwhile and allow individuals to empower themselves through self-education.  The name of the company, Splashes From The River, comes from a line in a play he wrote about growing up in Campbell River.  It was called REDISCOVERING THE RIVER , and in it the river was a metaphor for whatever sustains the truest parts of ourselves.  Rediscovering the river for this character meant tapping into his own flowing sense of something greater than himself. The character is talking about how being surrounded by nature as a child has a replenishing influence that you miss  when you find yourself in an urban area for any length of time, and how you seek it out  - noticing things like a wildflower sprouting through a crack in a busy sidewalk, or potted flowers in the middle of a harried airport terminal - you're always drawn to the signs of nature.  The character says, "I'm always looking for those little splashes from the river, from which to drink and refresh myself."
David and Marie want the educational offerings they produce to be like hiking through the woods, feeling fatigued and thirsty, and then discovering a river of cool, pure water, and splashing some into your mouth and onto your face, gently rejuvenating and bolstering you to continue on your journey.  

In 2-3 sentences, describe why readers should look at your company/what is your company's motto.
Readers should look to Splashes From The River if they are interested in video/dvd/workbook courses that take language arts instruction out of the classroom and put it into everyday life; taught by an enthusiastic teacher who shares her enthusiasm for learning while finding joy in life's cozy pleasures.  The motto of Splashes From The River, Inc., is:

"To create original, rehydrating material for questers who get thirsty while wandering and wondering through the backwoods and byways of their imaginations ."

We are committed to customer service.  We strive to be honest and friendly, because we truly believe that you reap what you sow.


 Also, I'd like to make your readers aware of  MARIE'S FREE ONLINE SPELLING COURSE  that we have on our website - it's 30 units, over 65 fully printable pages, and contains daily/weekly work plans, dictation, exercises, dictionary work, pretests,  tests, and answer  keys.  It also has a very concise breakdown of the fundamental rules of English spelling.  This resource is completely free to anyone who has access to the internet. If you'd like to check it out just go to:   http://www.splashesfromtheriver.com/spelling/courseoutline.htm

 

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