A Writer's Playground

Monthly Activities for Kids by Linda Martin Andersen

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Archive for April, 2015

Librarians and Teachers, Read This–A Giveaway Resource About Anne Frank

Posted by lindamartinandersen on April 21, 2015


A Writer's Playground Fotosearch_u17996074“Librarians and Teachers, Read This–A Giveaway Resource About Anne Frank” by Linda Martin Andersen

This is a post you must see.  A giveaway for a teaching resource based on The Diary of Anne Frank.  Learn about Susan Moger’s book, Teaching the Diary of Anne Frank: An In-Depth Resource for Learning About the Holocaust Through the Writings of Anne Frank.  I’m sharing Carol Baldwin’s blog here so you won’t miss it.

http://carolbaldwinblog.blogspot.com/2015/04/teaching-diary-of-anne-frank-review-and.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+blogspot%2FDtis+%28Carol+Baldwin%27s+blog%29

It is my pleasure to share great resources with you.  Thanks for visiting.  Come again soon and bring a friend.

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Posted in History, Homeschool Activities, Social Studies, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

Frogs, Poems, and a Princess

Posted by lindamartinandersen on April 18, 2015


 

Copyright 2015 Linda Martin Andersen

Copyright 2015 Linda Martin Andersen

A Writer's Playground Fotosearch_u17996074

“Frogs, Poems, and a Princess” by Linda Martin Andersen

April is Frog Month.  It’s also National Poetry Month.  And since Joy Acey is “The Princess of Poetry,” she seemed a natural for an interview that combines frogs, poems and a princess.  Thank you for accepting this invitation, Joy Acey.

Please give Joy a big Writer’s Playground welcome!

Q:  When did you begin writing poetry, Joy? 

A:I think I’ve always written poems and little rhymes.

I probably was pushed out of the womb on an iambic pentameter beat. In Junior High my English teacher encouraged me to enter a Scholastic writing contest and one sponsored by the American Red Cross. I didn’t win, but the rhyming was just a fun thing to do. I invented little songs and had fun experimenting. But I didn’t study poetry until I met Bernice Cullinan, editor of Wordsong, the poetry imprint of Boyds Mill Press. I was standing next to her waiting for a bus at Chautauqua while two other women chatted with her. Bernice turned to me and asked about the poetry I wrote. I hadn’t said anything about writing poetry to her, she somehow intuited we should talk about my writing. She took my poetry seriously and that made it OK for me to take it seriously too.

Q:  What a great way to come into the world.  I know you’re called “The Princess of Poetry.”  When were you dubbed with this title?

A:The “Princess of Poetry” title came when I was working with children in the Durham County Schools. We lived for a year in Great Britain and it was interesting to me how the locals were fascinated with the Royals. The citizens took responsibility for helping to raise the princes and princesses. So, I wanted the Durham students to know they could be princes and princesses too. All they had to do was try everyday to do their very best (so striving to be better becomes a habit.) As the Princess of Poetry, it was their job to help me try to do my very best. If I wasn’t doing something right, I needed their help to do better. Actually, once I accepted the title, I needed a tiara and I had a good time shopping for just the right one. I wore my tiara when I wrote. This turned out to be a really fun thing. I got several published articles out of the process.

Q:  Joy, I love that you invited your audience to be princes and princesses too.  I enjoy reading and following your blog post.  I am amazed that you write and post a poem daily at http://poetryforkidsjoy.blogspot.com/  How and when did “Poetry for Kids Joy” begin?

A:I really have to give credit to Bridget Magee for my blog. I had been thinking for a couple of years about starting a blog, but I just couldn’t get a handle on what I knew that would be of interest to someone else. Bridget was doing daily poems at that time at www.weewordsforweeones.blogspot.com

When I saw what she was doing, I realized I could do a blog for children’s poetry. I started on April 20, 2011. I named the blog Poetry for Kids Joy because I wanted poetry to make kids happy. The title still fits. In fact, you’ll find a little poem I wrote in third grade at that first post. I can’t believe I didn’t include an introduction or a welcome. There isn’t even an announcement for a new blog. I started the blog because I wanted to force myself to write a poem daily. I journaled daily, and now my journaling includes a poem and my poetry has gotten better with the practice.

I just checked the statistics on my blog and I’ve posted over to 1450 poems and have had over 180,000 page views. There are folks in Canada, England, Australia, Italy, France, Africa, Russia, China, South America and lots of places I’ve never been, who follow my blog. This is so much fun. I have met so many interesting people on my blog.

Q:  Impressive stats, Joy.  You’re so dedicated.  What poetry groups or workshops have inspired your writing journey and in what ways?

A:I’m a firm believer in professional growth. I’ve attended poetry workshops at The Frost Place, The Vermont Studio, Breadloaf, Wildacres, Georgia State College, NC State College, Pima Community College, Chautauqua, Highlight’s Educational Foundation. I made the decision early on that I wanted to focus on Poetry—Poetry for Children. In general, I skip the workshops that cover all genre because I don’t want the work watered down with fiction and nonfiction. Poetry is my thing.

Q:  Please name three favorite poems by current poets.

A:Poems, 1, 2, 3 are all in this year’s Newbery winner THE CROSSOVER written by Kwame Alexander. This is a brilliant book that includes wonderful poems and great life lessons for kids. If you haven’t read this book yet, you must.

Here’s a piece of trivia for you. What children’s poet collects frogs? The answer is Jack Prelutsky. Everything he’s written is worth reading.

Q:  I’ve got to read The Crossover.  Where have your poems been published?

A: I have poems in all of the POETRY FRIDAY ANTHOLOGIES. The most recent is the PFA for CELEBRATIONS. My poem “Camping”is for June’s National Camping Month. The Poetry Friday Anthologies are compiled by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong for Pomelo Books. There are 115 poets and 156 poems presented in English and Spanish in the CELEBRATIONS Anthology. Just reading the Poetry Friday Anthologies is a great way to find out the current state of poetry for children. I’ve learned a lot from these books.

Q:  An anthology is a great addition to a home library.  Just for fun…Have you ever kissed a frog?  Have you considered it?  Have you been asked this before?

A:Actually I have kissed a frog (a lot of two legged toads too.) My daddy used to go frog gigging in the summer and I’d go with him occasionally. I’d play and joke with the frogs. If you pull the leg tendons you can make a dead frog kick. I tortured my sister with the dead frogs. I’d help my dad dress the frogs by pulling the leg skin off. No one has ever asked me this before.

Q:  Loved your sense of adventure.  Would you share a frog poem or two that you have written?

A: I can’t believe that I’ve written at least 10 frog poems posted on my blog. (Maybe I need to work on a collection of frog poems.) Poems aboutpoisonous dart frogs, about dancing frogs, or little boys with frogs in their pockets.But the post your readers might enjoy most (sorry, I can’t help myself) is one with lots of frog jokes posted on August 23, 2011. Or they might enjoy

Ribbet, Ribbet by Joy Acey copyright 2015

RIBBET, RIBBET

Ribbet, Ribbet,
    Sings a frog,
While he sits
     Upon a log.

He watches, listens

     and he sighs–
Out darts his tongue,
     Zapping flies.
         Ahhh!

Art and poem:  Copyright–Joy Acey

 Thank you for all you shared, Joy.  You’re one special lady and it’s always a pleasure to spend time with you.  A real JOY!  And as the frogs would say:  Ribbet-ribbet.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8Gkn9hvejY

Thanks for having me Linda.  This has been fun.

Please leave a comment of your own.  Thanks for visiting.  Come again soon and bring a friend.  Children 13 years old or older are invited to  comment.  See: http://www.coppa.org/coppa.htm

 

 

Posted in Activities for teachers and parents, Calendar Events, Homeschool Activities, Interviews, Monthly Activities, Reading, Uncategorized, Writing, Writing Prompts | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 30 Comments »

Drop Everything and Read. (D.E.A.R.) and Other April Celebrations

Posted by lindamartinandersen on April 1, 2015


  • A Writer's Playground Fotosearch_u17996074 “Drop Everything and Read.” (D.E.A.R.) and Other April Celebrations” by Linda Martin Andersen

April 12, 2015 is Drop Everything and Read. (D.E.A.R.)  If you’re a kid, make time to read this day, just for fun.  If you’re an adult, do the same!  If you still have items on your “To Do List” by late afternoon that day, can you put it aside and read something for pleasure?  Will you?  Warning:  don’t get so engrossed in reading that you forget to pick up your child, forget to do your homework, or walk out in traffic, but do make time to read.

Other Special Days in April:

  • April Fools  or All Fools Day: 1  Do you have little brothers or sisters?  Teach them to tell an April Fool’s joke, if they don’t know how.  Demonstrate for them and then  let them practice on you before trying it out on someone else.  Have fun!
  • International Pillow Fight Day: 4  Would you rather have a pillow fight with a foam pillow, a feather pillow, or a bean bag pillow?  Why?
  • Passover: 4  Who celebrates this religious holiday?  Why is it remembered?
  • Easter: 5  Why is this religious holiday important to Christians?  Name three of your family’s Easter traditions?  Which one is most special to you and why?
  • International Whistler’s Day: 5  Name a time that someone tried to whistle and couldn’t.  Name a time someone whistled so loudly that people turned to see what was happening.  Can you whistle?  Who taught you?  If you’d like to hear a champion whistler visit Phyllis Heil, The Whistling Woman, on YouTube here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wbrbCcNxRf4
  • International Beaver Day: 7 Have you ever seen a beaver?  What was he doing?  Have you ever seen a beaver dam?  How can beaver dams be harmful to property?  Research to learn about beavers, their dams, trappers, and more.
  • National Farm Animals Day: 10 Have you ever been to a Barnyard birthday party? I haven’t, but I know someone who organized one for her triplets’ birthday party.  What fun those kids must have had.  If you attended a barnyard party, what animals would you expect to see?  Name one or two you would be willing to pet. 
  • Safety Pin Day: 10  Have you ever seen a safety pin?  Have you ever used one on your clothing?  What is its purpose?  Have you ever seen jewelry made with safety pins?  You might want to try making some of your own.  Here is a step-by-step process for a safety pin bracelet:  http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Bracelet-out-of-Safety-Pins
  • Bicycle Day: 15 What did your first bicycle look like?  What tricks can you do on your bike?  Ask a friend to take a brainstorming contest with you.  Name as many types of bikes as you can in one minute.  What are some jobs that are done on a bicycle? 
  • Ellis Island Family History Day: 17  If you are an American, can you trace the way your family came to the USA?  How would you have liked to come? 
  • National Haiku Poetry Day: 17 Choose a nature topic for April.  Write a three-lined haiku poem of 5 syllables, 7 syllables, and 5 syllables.  I’ll share one of mine if you will. 
  • Movie Theatre Day: 23  Do you love to go to the movies?  Who takes you?  How often do you go?  Name a movie you have seen several times.  Why did you agree to watch it so often?
  • World Penguin Day: 25  Have you ever seen a penguin?  Where were you? Was he taller or shorter than you
  • International Dance Day: 29  Is there an international folk festival in the area where you live?  What country’s dance would you like to learn? What dance costume would you like to wear?  What country could your family represent?  How can you find out? Describe that country’s flag.
  • International Guide Dogs Day: 29  Name a time and place you saw a guide dog or  a service dog.  What should you remember when you approach a service dog?  Do you know anyone who trains these animals?  Research to learn more. 
  • World Wish Day: 29  Name three wishes you would make for the world.  Why these?
  • Zipper Day: 29  When did clothing first use zippers?  Name something you own with multiple zippers.  A backpack, a purse, a suitcase, etc.  Do you know how to fix a zipper that gets stuck?  Can you sew zippers in clothing?  If so, you’d probably be called a seamstress.  What name can you make up that seems more appropriate for those who sew zippers? 
  • National Honesty Day: 30  “Honesty is the best policy.” Read Being Frank for a funny look on honesty.  It’s written by Donna W. Earnhardt and illustrated by Andrea Castellani.  http://www.flashlightpress.com/Being_Frank.html

  • Poem In Your Pocket Day: 30  Do you have a favorite poem you could carry in your pocket on this day?  Who is the poet?  How did you find out about him/her?  Share one of your own poems with others. Special Weeks in April: 
  • National Robotics Week: 4-12  Where have you seen robotics at work?  Where did you learn about this?  If you could create your own personal robot, what chores would you program it to do?
  • Explore Your Career Options: 5-11  What grade do you select a career path in your school? What career do you plan to follow?  Have you ever observed someone in this line of work?  What skills are needed?  How many years of education? 
  • National Blue Ribbon Week:  5-11  In Fair Cow by Leslie  Helakoski, Petunia the pig, a blue ribbon winner at the fair, tries to coach Effie the cow so she can be a winner too.  A fun read. 

  • National Library Week: 12-18   The library has a calendar full of free fun events for people of all ages.  What programs will you attend this month? 
  • National Park Week: 18-26  This fall, all 4th graders in the US will receive a one-year free pass for families to the US National Parks.  The program is called “Every Kid in a Park.”  Now that’s a great gift! See here:  http://www.nationalparks.org/ook/every-kid-in-a-park
  • National Playground Safety Week: 20-24  Have you ever found a loose bolt on a piece of playground equipment?  Have you ever torn your clothes on a piece of equipment?  Who services the playground equipment in your area?  Do volunteers help keep the grounds clean?  What can you do?

April is…

  • Celebrate Diversity Month  Let’s celebrate how we are alike and how we’re different.  How can we do that? 
  • Child Abuse Prevention Month  Every child should have a safe home environment.  Some do not.  Why? 
  • Frog Month  My husband loves frogs and he has an April birthday.  Good reason to spotlight him.  He has frogs that are stuffed animals, ceramic, and metal.  Frogs can be found throughout our house.  Who has a special collection at your house?  Do you?  What is it?
  • Jazz Appreciation Month–I’m taking a workshop this month called “Picture Books and All that Jazz.”  Does the word “jazz” in the  workshop title mean the same as “Jazz” here?  What is the difference, if any?  What is Jazz appreciation?  What does that mean? 
  • Keep America Beautiful  Lately, I’ve noticed more and more paid workers picking up litter along the roadsides.  What can be done to build up community pride to keep America beautiful? 
  • Month of the Military Child  Do you know a child with a parent in the military?  How many times has this child moved in his/her life?  Why do you think there is a month to celebrate the Military Child?
  • National Kite Month  Which would you rather ride:  a kite, a hot air balloon or a magic carpet?  Have you ever flown a kite with a group of people?  On the beach?  in an open field?  On a school yard?  What experiences can you recall  about flying a kite?
  • National Pet Month  Name the type pets you’ve had.  Which was your favorite?  Which one got in the most trouble?  What did he do?
  • National Poetry Month  What is your favorite type of poem?  Do you like poems that rhyme better than ones that don’t.  What could you write a poem about today?  Any special reason?  Write another poem tomorrow, and the next day, and perhaps  the next.  I have a friend who posts a poem every day on her blog.  Please visit Joy Acey who writes “Poetry for Kids Joy.”  See here:  http://poetryforkidsjoy.blogspot.com/2015/03/having-fun.html

For more ways to celebrate this month, see here:  http://www.brownielocks.com/april.html Thanks for visiting.  Come again soon and bring a friend.  Children 13 years old or older may leave a comment. Read more about the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. (COPPA) See: http://www.coppa.org/coppa.htm

Posted in Calendar Events, Homeschool Activities, Monthly Activities, Reading, Writing, Writing Prompts | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments »

 
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