A Writer's Playground

Monthly Activities for Kids by Linda Martin Andersen

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Try This! Look for a Springboard

Posted by lindamartinandersen on May 27, 2015

A Writer's Playground Fotosearch_u17996074 “Try This!  Look for a Springboard” by Linda Martin Andersen.

I wrote this activity for a Summer Notebook Project for kids.  Maybe you’d like to write one too.  Learn more about it here:  http://www.poemfarm.amylv.com/2015/05/writing-brains-and-notebooks.html

Try This! – Look for a Springboard

Springboard—a perfect summer word for time by the pool.

A springboard can also be a jumping off place for your writing—an ah-ha moment.

How do you find springboards for writing?  Keep alert.  Focus on what’s around you.  Record what you see:  Picture it in your mind. Keep notes. Take photos, if you can.

How do I create a summer notebook moment?  One way is to follow these three steps.

1.  Find a springboard (ah-ha moment) in the world.
2.  List the senses it evokes.
3.  Write a notebook entry.

Let’s say your parents make a stop at the local garden center. While you’re there, look for a springboard.  Anything that catches your attention could become a summer notebook moment.

Here’s one of my springboard moments.  You can see the steps I went through in my mind, from springboard to notebook entry.

Take a Photo with a Camera or with Your Mind

1. Springboard:
The seed counter at Bell’s Seed Store, where seeds are scooped from bins and sold by the ounce.

2. Sense(s) Involved:
Sight and Touch.  I dipped a metal scoop into a butterbean display and placed a few beans in my hand.  I recalled these things:

• Planting hills of beans in my family’s garden
• Winning a blue ribbon on a 4-H Club garden project
• Helping my family pick and shell five bushels of butterbeans on the 4th of July.
• My mother encouraging my siblings and me.  She’d say, “Look back at how far you’ve come.  Don’t look ahead at how much you have left to do.”

My Notebook Entry:

Five Bushels of Butterbeans

Near sunrise one summer morning, my family and I picked butterbeans from our garden.  When we finished, we each pulled up a chair under a shade tree.  Newspaper was placed on the ground and butterbeans were spread in thin layers to keep them cool.  We scooped beans into our pans, wiping our hands before shelling. Hulls were pitched into buckets placed between us.

As my friends rode by on their way to the beach or lake, they honked their car horns. That was a 4th of July I’ll never forget.

Even though I didn’t get to have fun with friends that day, it led to another special day.  A blue ribbon day, earned in 4-H Club for my garden project.

See other summer notebook entries here:  http://www.sharingournotebooks.amylv.com/p/summer-notebooking-try-it.html

Amy Ludwig VanDerwater is calling for more summer notebook entries.  At last count, there were 38.  Write one of your own and add to the total.  Do it for the kids.  See here:


Thanks for visiting.  Come again soon and bring a friend.  Comments are appreciated.  If you’re under 13 years old, please ask a trusted adult to post for you.

12 Responses to “Try This! Look for a Springboard”

  1. Enjoyed your memories, Linda, and the whole concept of springboard. I actually use something similar when I teach writing. Many people want to write about a special event in their own lives (like your butter beans) and publish it. I encourage them to take that event/memory/emotion and springboard it into fiction. Giving their character that feeling of pride and accomplishment at the 4-H fair, the sensory smell and feel of the beans, etc. Thanks for this post!

  2. Carol,
    Thanks for letting me know you enjoyed my post and activity for the Summer Notebook Project.

    You are right–my notebook entry could be a springboard for a fiction story. That could help the story come alive. If that is the case, it appears I would have two springboards. Love it! Thanks for sharing your comments.

    I know you do an outstanding job in teaching writing. I hope you find a place to do that where you’re living now. Thanks for sharing your wonderful insights. Happy writing!

  3. Joan Y. Edwards said

    Dear Linda,
    This is a cool idea. Thanks for sharing it with us. Thanks for Amy for posting about it, too.

  4. godselfie said

    Hi Linda! I like how your mum encouraged you and your siblings, “Look back at how far you’ve come. Don’t look ahead at how much you have left to do.” That sounds like a good ‘springboard’ for a blog post too! Renee

    • Renee,
      I like your springboard suggestion of turning my mom’s encouraging comments into a blog post. I think I’ll do just that. Maybe in June. Thanks for “planting the seed.” I really appreciate your visit and comments here. I look forward to seeing you again.

  5. Kathleen said

    Linda, what a great idea for a summer notebook! Thank you for sharing that. Perhaps I will find a springboard where I least expect it and during “low tide”. 🙂

    • Kathy,
      I’m glad you enjoyed my springboard activity. Thanks for letting me know. I would love to hear that low tide produces some springboards for you. Wishing you well during highs and lows. Thanks so much for taking time to comment!

  6. Hi Linda, you created easy-to-follow steps in “springboarding” awesome ideas. My senses tingled. You always coming up with inspiring ideas. Keep at it and never quit. 🙂

  7. Thanks, Tracy!

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