A Writer's Playground

Monthly Activities for Kids by Linda Martin Andersen

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Archive for September, 2012

R-E-S-P-E-C-T–Character Trait of September

Posted by lindamartinandersen on September 19, 2012


“R-E-S-P-E-C-T–Character Trait of September” by Linda Martin Andersen

 “A Writer’s Playground”

A place to find wordplay, writing, and monthly   calendar activities for kids and those young at heart.

When I was an elementary School Counselor in Cumberland County, NC, students studied character traits each month. Presently, I am a part-time tutor.  I am also a writer who loves picture books.  Mix it all together, and you’ll understand why I introduced classroom rules and procedures to tutoring groups by reading a picture book about “respect.” 

Now, I have found another way to spread the word about good character.  I volunteer once a month for story time at a home school bookstore in my area. Check it out at www.thepilgrimsjourney.com.  I plan to present character traits in the same sequence as the Cumberland County Schools in Fayetteville, NC.  See below:

 Character Traits–

September—Respect    

October—Responsibility

November—Integrity

December—Caring

January—Self-Discipline

February—Trustworthiness

March—Fairness

April—Citizenship

May—Celebrate (successes)

Pilgrim’s Journey Home School Bookstore graciously welcomed me as a volunteer story time presenter. Look for a home school bookstore in your area. Attend programs or buy good books.  Home school bookstores are great additions to the neighborhood.

September’s character trait is “Respect.”  This month, I read Do Unto Otters–A Book About Manners by Laurie Keller.  She is the author and illustrator.  If you’d like to know more about Laurie, please check out her publisher’s site at http://us.macmillan.com/dountootters/LaurieKeller and look for a link to Laurie’s website.  It offers other books, games and DVDs.  There are printable activities too such as coloring pages, word searches, and comprehension questions.  Check here: http://www.lauriekeller.com/schoolstuff_otters.html

I hope you’ll locate a copy of Do Unto Otters and read it .  Ask your parents if you may write Laurie Keller an email on her site and let her know your favorite part of the book.  Authors love to hear from their readers.  Maybe you’ll find other book titles listed that interest you. 

Enjoy the rest of the month and show respect to persons, places and things.   Yes, that’s the definition of a noun.  Brainstorm persons you respect, places you respect, and things you respect.  What ways to do show respect?  Looks like we’ve been combining more than counseling, teaching, and writing.  We even got in a little grammar.  Isn’t learning great?

I’d love to hear ways you show respect.  Please leave a comment below.  Thank you for joining us at “A Writer’s Playground.”  Come again soon and bring a friend.

Coming in October:  Activities for Kids, two guests, a signed book giveaway, and story time about Red Ribbon Week and Responsibility.  Hope to see you then.

Copyright © 2012 Linda Martin Andersen

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Posted in Careers, Character Traits, Games, Interviews, Math, Monthly Activities, Reading, Science, Social Studies, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

A Writer’s Game of Tag

Posted by lindamartinandersen on September 13, 2012


“A Writer’s Game of Tag'” by Linda Martin Andersen

 “A Writer’s Playground”

A place to find wordplay, writing, and monthly   calendar activities for kids and those young at heart.

Earlier this week, I got another surprise.  I was tagged by a friend.  The last time I was tagged was when I was playing on a school playground.  Thanks for asking me to play, Donna Earnhardt http://wordwranglernc.wordpress.com/.  The way the game is played, I tag a few bloggers and ask that they share comments about what they’re writing.  My picks are:  

1. Jean Matthew Hall–Encouraging Words for Writers at http://www.jeanmatthewhallwords.blogspot.com/

2.  Joan Edwards–Never Give Up at www.joanyedwards.wordpress.com 

3. Joyce Hostetter–The 3 R’s–Reading, ‘Riting, & Research at www.joycemoyerhostetter.blogspot.com

4.Joy Acey–Poetry for Kids Joy at www.joyacey.blogspot.com 

I noticed that all my picks have first names beginning with “J.”  How about that?  Writers, please tag others and invite them to play too. I look forward to reading the upcoming posts.
 
Here are my responses to the questions: 
 
1. What is the working title of your book? Amazing Grace
 
2. Where did the idea come from the book? I got the idea in church.  Imagine that! (note the title)
 
3. What genre is your book? It’s a Christian picture book and I don’t have an agent.  That makes it trickier to find a publisher.
 
4. Which actors would you choose to play the characters in a movie?  I’d like the roles to be played by actors who could make this book come to life like in “One Fine Day” with George Clooney (Dad), Michelle Pfeiffer (Mom) and Mae Whitman/Maggie (Grace).  Other roles to be determined by Hollywood.
 
5. What is a one sentence synopsis of your book? Grace can’t go fishing on Sundays with Dad while he is away with the Army, and now he’s asked Grace and her Mom to try out churches until they find one they’d like to attend as a family.
 
6. Will your book be self-published or repped by an agency? My goal is that it will be picked up by a publishing house. 
 
7. How long did it take you to finish your first draft? Probably about a week.  Many rewrites have been done since then.
 
8. What other books would you compare yours to in this genre? Come Sunday by Nikii Grimes. 
 
9. Who or what inspired you to write this book? A lady at church stepped forward to give a prayer.  Her name is Grace.
 
10. What else about your book might pique a reader’s interest? The playfulness of the child in church.  It could also be used as a springboard for teaching about “grace.”
   
Thanks again for asking me to play Tag, Donna.  Please visit Donna at  http://wordwranglernc.wordpress.com/

Thank you, readers,  for joining us at “A Writer’s Playground.”  Come again soon and bring a friend.

Copyright © 2012 Linda Martin Andersen

Next up:   A Book Reading at a Home School Bookstore to Promote Character Traits (Respect)

Posted in Careers, Character Traits, Games, Interviews, Math, Monthly Activities, Reading, Science, Social Studies, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

A Teacher Who Encourages Creativity

Posted by lindamartinandersen on September 10, 2012


 

 

“A Writer’s Playground”–A place to find wordplay, writing, and monthly calendar activities for kids and those young at heart.

Today’s Theme:

Encourage Creativity–

Think outside the Box 

As a new school year kicks off, questions are in the air:  Who’s your teacher?  What’s your schedule? Which is your favorite class?

Many students would answer that art is their favorite class because it’s fun.  Art provides a chance to create and outstanding teachers encourage that creativity. 

Here to share more about art and creativity is Laura Reeves, an art teacher at an elementary school.  She is also the illustrator of a picture book series written by her former high school English teacher, Martha Goetz.  Talk about thinking outside the box!

Laura paints kitchen mural

Welcome Laura Reeves.

*Applause. 

Tell us about yourself, your art, and teaching art.

Laura’s Artist StatementArt is so much a part of me that I can’t imagine my life without it; I love the creative process.  The longer I am alive, the more I appreciate the gift of art.  I am inspired by simple things I see every day, as well as my own experiences, people I know, animals, and books and stories.  My Japanese heritage subtly but distinctly influences my art.  The children I teach influence my art as well: their artwork, humor, and fresh perspective on the world.
        Flowers and trees are favorite subject matter for me to paint and draw; God’s designs in nature are amazing and breathtaking and a lot of fun to paint.   A few of my favorite artists are Marc Chagall, Frida Kahlo, and Vincent Van Gogh, among countless others.  I feel very blessed to live a creative life, surrounded by family and friends.  I have been making art since I can remember, but it really feels as if I’ve only just begun…
I specialize in individually commissioned paintings, murals, and illustration, but my experience includes several forms of art and design, including logo design, set painting for children’s theater, website design, and product design.  My paintings can be found in homes, businesses, and schools throughout North Carolina and in a few other states and countries, including Japan and France.

And now for the interview…

1.  Laura, today’s theme is “Encourage Creativity: Think outside the Box.” What does this mean to you?

Thinking outside the box is what art is all about.  However it is important to teach students the basic skills and elements of art so they have the tools with which to express their creativity.

2.  Describe yourself as an artist, remembering to keep today’s theme in mind.

I would describe my style as whimsical.  I don’t take my art too seriously; it would take the fun out of it.  I think art is a fascinating challenge.

3.  Name at least three ways students can “think outside the box” with art projects?

 First, don’t always stick with your first idea when brainstorming.  Sometimes the best ideas come later on in a brainstorming session.  Second, look past the obvious solutions/ideas.  Third, have fun.  Art is supposed to be fun.

4.  Name at least three ways students can “think outside the box” with other classroom assignments?

I would say the same as number 3.

5.  Describe a student art project that demonstrated “thinking outside the box.”

 Making up a monster is a very creative project in which students have to think outside the box.  The monster does not have to be realistic; it can be funny, silly, scary, whatever.  It can have as many arms, legs, eyeballs, etc. as you want. 

6.  Many students carry an art supply box.  What supplies would you suggest for an elementary child’s box?

Crayons, pencils, a pencil sharpener, color pencils, markers, and paper. 

7.  What art supplies would you suggest for middle school and high school students?

 the same as #6, except a wider variety of color pencils and higher quality art supplies

8.  Laura, please tell of a time that art made a positive difference for a student.

Any time a child is having kind of a bad day, and they leave art class feeling a little more cheerful, I am happy.  I think that happens all the time.

9.  September 10, 2012 is Swap Ideas Day.  Tell of a time students swapped ideas in art class.  Do you encourage students to swap ideas or to work independently?  Why?

My third and fourth graders like to make collaborative, elaborate drawings of towns, castles, etc.  They get ideas from books from the book shelf, their imagination, etc. It is interesting to see what they come up with.

10.  This is Apple Month.  Often students bring an apple for a favorite teacher.  How have you used apples as part of an art assignment? 

Not really, but I would like to do cut fruit and vegetable printing this year! 

11.  What words spoken by a student would mean far more to you than receiving a polished red apple?

“I love art class!”

12.  If you were leading students on a walk outdoors, what art activity might you suggest?

Doing crayon or pencil rubbings of leaves or sitting in a quiet spot and drawing from nature in a sketchbook. 

Thank you, Laura Reeves, for all you do for children and for art education.  And thank you for taking time to join us at “A Writer’s Playground.”

Have a great school year everyone!

To learn more about Laura Reeves and the Tristan Trapp book series, visit Laura’s websites:

http://www.reevesartworks.com/

http://www.tristantrapp.com/

Copyright © 2012 Linda Martin Andersen

Posted in Careers, Character Traits, Interviews, Monthly Activities, Reading, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

A Blogger Award for A Writer’s Playground?

Posted by lindamartinandersen on September 5, 2012


“A Blogger Award For ‘A Writer’s Playground?'” by Linda Martin Andersen

YES!  A blogger award and here it is…

          

 “A Writer’s Playground”

A place to find wordplay, writing, and monthly   calendar activities for kids and those young at heart.

 *Applause!  How could this be?

Last night I got a surprise as unexpected as seeing a life-sized cow dressed in an Airborne uniform with a parachute over its head.  (See post on Sunday, Sept. 2, 2012)  I  got a blogger award.  It’s called the Liebster Award.  Thank you very much, Jean Matthew Hall, for recognizing me with this award.  Check out her blog called “Encouraging Words for Writers” at http://www.jeanmatthewhallwords.blogspot.com/

Now, it’s my turn to recognize some fellow blogger friends.  As some of you may have noticed, I listed a few blogs on my home page that I think kids, parents, and teachers would enjoy.  Here are five of the ones from my blogroll that I’d like present with the Liebster Award.

CONGRATULATIONS…

1. Carol Baldwin at www.carolbaldwinblog.blogspot.com (reviews middle grade novels and posts writing tips from classes she teaches.  She has a published writing guide available.  Check her site)

2. Joyce Hostetter at www.joycemoyerhostetter.blogspot.com (reviews middle grade novels, tells about her writing journey and author visits where she discusses her published historical novels.  Check her site for details.)

3.Gretchen Griffith at www.gretchengriffith.blogspot.com (debut author of Lessons Learned who posts stories from school days from 1940s-1960s at Pilot Mountain School in rural North Carolina.  Gretchen has a picture book under contact for publication.  Check her site for details)

4.Joy Acey at www.joyacey.blogspot.com (posts a poem daily and encourages kids to write poems too.  Two of Joy’s poems were recently published in an anthology.  Check her site for details.)

5. Joan Edwards at www.joanyedwards.wordpress.com  (encourages her readers to never give up.  She’s a published author/illustrator of a picture book about a duck who never gives up.  She has an elder care guide under contract for publication.  Check her site for details.)

*Applause!  Now, I’d like to ask these bloggers to please pass the LIEBSTER AWARD to other bloggers. Please note that more than one version of the rules is posted on the internet.  This version contains less rules:

1.  Thank your Liebster Award presenter and link back to his/her blog.

2. Copy and paste the Liebster Award onto your blog.

3.  Present the award to 5 more bloggers with fewer than 200 (300-some sources).

4.  Notify bloggers of their award.  Have fun!

What an honor to be included in this recognition.  I hope those who receive this award as just as delighted as I was.

Thank you for joining us at “A Writer’s Playground.”  Come again soon and bring a friend.

Copyright © 2012 Linda Martin Andersen

Next up:  Meet Laura Reeves, an art teacher who encourages creativity–

September 10, 2012

 

Posted in Careers, Character Traits, Games, Interviews, Math, Monthly Activities, Reading, Science, Social Studies, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Ask a Stupid Question Day is Coming–September 28

Posted by lindamartinandersen on September 2, 2012


“Ask a Stupid Question Day is Coming–September 28” by Linda Martin Andersen

 “A Writer’s Playground”

A place to find wordplay, writing, and monthly   calendar activities for kids and those young at heart.

Today, I was riding through downtown Fayetteville, North Carolina when something unusual caught my eye.  I began asking questions…

In honor of Ask a Stupid Question Day:  28 (Last School Day of the Month), I have some rather stupid questions for you…

 1.  Have you ever seen a life-sized cow dressed in an Army Airborne uniform with a parachute over its head?  I have.

2.  Why was this cow outside the Wells Fargo Bank in Fayetteville, NC?  (To be researched)

3.  Who decorated this cow?  (To be researched)

4.  Is this cow part of a fund-raiser? (To be researched)

5.  Is this cow to be auctioned?  (To be researched)

After I Googled the key words about a cow outside Wells Fargo in Fayetteville, NC, I learned that there is a Cow Parade going on.  Local artists entered 81 painted and costumed cows for the parade in the triangle area of North Carolina.  To learn more, research this site.

http://cowparadenc.com/

 See A. Cow below:

Cow Parade Entry Fayetteville, NC. Copyright 2012. Linda Andersen

I went back to the site and took some photographs of A. Cow, the Airborne entry.  Look for something you can photograph in your area for Stupid Question Day (September 28).  Please share a comment about your experience.  Have fun.

Copyright © 2012 Linda Martin Andersen

Next up:  Meet Laura Reeves, an art teacher who encourages creativity–

September 10, 2012

 

Posted in Careers, Character Traits, Games, Interviews, Math, Monthly Activities, Reading, Science, Social Studies, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

 
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