A Writer's Playground

Monthly Activities for Kids by Linda Martin Andersen

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Posts Tagged ‘Tara Lazar’

Back to School and What?

Posted by lindamartinandersen on August 18, 2015


A Writer's Playground Fotosearch_u17996074

“Back to School and What?” by Linda Martin Andersen

While reading the newspaper, I couldn’t help but notice all the Back to School ads.  Then as I brushed the ads to the side, I noticed an article about the Halloween store soon to reopen.  What? I had never thought of a connection between back to school and Halloween before.

Combining things that aren’t usually associated together can create an interesting story.  Tara Lazar’s recent blog post speaks of this tactic:  http://taralazar.com/2015/07/23/two-winners-plus-a-hot-video/

I Thought This Was a Bear Book by Tara Lazar  is a result of connecting things not usually associated together.  The story is about an alien who falls into the wrong book, a book about The Three Bears and Goldilocks.  Learn more at this video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PdviyeWbzWI

For more about Tara’s books check here:  http://taralazar.com/taras-books/

Back to the Halloween reference–I saw a post of creative door decorations on Facebook that reminded someone of Tara Lazar’s book Monstore.  I thought I’d include it here as well.    http://www.goodtoknow.co.uk/family/galleries/35015/monster-doors

I hope you’ll be on the lookout for things that don’t normally go together that can be joined in a fun way.  I have a couple of Back to School and Halloween connections brewing.  Hopefully, one day they’ll be published books and I can say, “Tara Lazar inspired me.”  I certainly hope so.

I’d like to give a shout out for Tara Lazar and all she shares with writers.  Thank you very much, Tara!

I look forward to hearing about fun combinations you have formed in writing stories or other comments you’d like to share.  Thanks for visiting.  Come again soon and bring a friend.  Please remember that children 13 and under need an adult to comment for them. Thank you! 

Posted in Activities for teachers and parents, Calendar Events, Homeschool Activities, Interviews, Reading, Writing, Writing Prompts | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Happy New Year! Will You Be a Mover and a Shaker in 2015?

Posted by lindamartinandersen on January 1, 2015


A Writer's Playground Fotosearch_u17996074“Happy New Year!  Will You Be a Mover and a Shaker in 2015?”

I’ve been helping my sister and niece move to a new home and the expression “movers and shakers” came to mind.  I was definitely a “mover.”  I hope I won’t be remembered as a “shaker,” as in rattle-rattle, was that glass?

If you’d like to check out the real meaning of “movers and shakers,” check here:  http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/movers-and-shakers.html

What about you, will you be a mover and a shaker in 2015?  Will you accomplish things that make you proud?

And your response:  Certainly!  Of course!

Here are some fun celebrations for January.  Perhaps you can start with traditional New Year’s Day foods and choose a few other celebrations to enjoy this month.  The complete list of January events can be found at http://www.brownielocks.com/january.html

 January is…

Book Blitz Month  How many books can you read in a month?  Reminds me of  “How low can you go” when doing The Limbo.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limbo_(dance)  In this case, it’s how high a stack can you read?  What’s tops on your list?
Get Organized Month  Straighten, shuffle, do things more efficiently, and better.  How will accomplish this?
International Brain Teaser Month  What type brain teasers do you like to do?  In my mind, writing and illustrating for publication counts.  Do you agree?
Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month  Our older son took skiing classes while in college.  It was the best money we ever spent on physical education courses.  Do you ski? 
National Hot Tea Month Someone gave me a special hot tea mug once.  Now, that’s a serious hot tea drinker.  Are you?
National Skating Month  Spotlighting Tara Lazar and her upcoming publication, as announced here: http://taralazar.com/2012/06/21/ryan-gosling-makes-a-book-announcement/

LITTLE RED GLIDING HOOD
illustrated by Troy Cummings
Random House
October 2015

National Soup Month Link  What’s your favorite soup?  Have you tried something new lately?  We’d love to hear about it. 
National Volunteer Blood Donor Month  Always needed and appreciated. 
Oatmeal Month  Do you eat oatmeal?  I like mine with raisins.  
Teen Driving Awareness Month 
My niece just got her driver’s permit.  Makes this one personal to me.  Do you know a teen driver?  How can you show him or her support and courtesy?

Special Weeks in January:

World Leprosy Week: 25-31 Joyce Hostetter wrote a book called Healing Water.  Learn more about it here:

http://joycemoyerhostetter.com/my-books/

Joyce Moyer Hostetter - Healing Water Book Cover
Healing Water
This is the story of Pia, a thirteen year old Hawaiian boy who is banished to the Kalaupapa leprosy settlement. Like so many others in the settlement he is in a fight for survival.  He finds he must choose between anger and forgiveness, goodwill and hatred.

National Cowboy Poetry Gathering Week: 26-31 Gather your favorite poetry books.  Invite friends to bring their favorites.  Sit around a fireplace and take turns sharing.  That’s a deviation on a cowboy poetry gathering.

US National Snow Sculpting Week: 28-2/1  Snow sculptures are amazing sights.  What would you like to sculpt with snow?  Why?

Special Days in January:
Argyle Day: 8  What is argyle?  Research to learn more about it?  Have you ever owned an argyle sweater?
Bubble Bath Day: 8 Do you shower or bathe?  Bubble bath or plain?  Favorite brand?  
Rubber Duckie Day: 13 Do rubber duckies join you in your bath?  Other tub or shower favorites?
Dress Up Your Pet Day: 14 Do you dress up your pet?  Only at Halloween?  On a regular basis?  Share about it.
Appreciate A Dragon Day: 16  Would you rather have a real or pretend dragon?  Why?  What is your favorite dragon story?
Cable Car Day: 17  Name three words that come to mind when you hear this.  If you can’t name three, research this topic, just for fun.  
Kid Inventors’ Day:  17  What would you like to invent?  Why?
Thesaurus Day: 18  Online or hardcopy?  Which do you prefer?  When do you use a thesaurus?
Martin Luther King Day: 19  How will you honor Martin Luther King’s influence on civil rights?
Popcorn Day: 19 I love popcorn.  Do you eat it at the movies, as a snack at home, or some other time?  Have you ever popped it in a big commercial popcorn popper?  Tell a popcorn story of your own.
Tin Can Day: 19  Why do you think this day is significant?  What is used today instead of tin?
Inauguration Day: 20  Have you ever watched a presidential inauguration?  What was special about it to you?
National Hugging Day: 21  Who or what would you like to hug?  What is a tree hugger?

Squirrel Appreciation Day: 21  Dogs like to chase squirrels.  People like to watch them.  Some even hunt them to cook squirrel stew.  What’s a squirrel story you could share?  Any favorite books with squirrel characters? 
National Pie Day: 23 
 Have you ever participated in a pie throw?  What is your favorite experience with a pie throw?  Do you bake pies?  What is your favorite.  Bake one today!
Belly Laugh Day: 24 When did you belly laugh last?  What made you laugh?  Did you cry tears too?
National Compliment Day: 24  What was one of your most treasured compliments?  Why?
National Peanut Butter Day: 24 What is your favorite way to eat peanut butter?  Try a different way today.  I recently tried it with pretzels.  Good!
Opposite Day: 25  Play a modified version of April Fool’s jokes today.  Say the opposite of what you mean.  Then call out, “It’s Opposite Day.” 

National Peanut Brittle Day: 26  Have you ever made peanut brittle?  I love eating it.  To me, it’s like potato chips, in that “it’s hard to eat just one.”
Holocaust Memorial Day: 27 Have you ever visited a Holocaust memorial?  What books have you read on this topic?
National Puzzle Day: 29 What type puzzles do you like?  Crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, life’s puzzles (real and in fiction stories)?  Tell about your favorite.
Seeing Eye Dog Day: 29  Like to read dog books?  Look for one on this topic. 
Inspire Your Heart with Art Day: 31  Do something artsy today.  How about every 

 

Here’s wishing everyone a super start to a brand spanking new year!  I’d love to hear your comments.  Thanks for visiting. Come again 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 Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments »

No, to Underwear as a Gift. Yes, to Books About Underwear. Giveaway.

Posted by lindamartinandersen on December 7, 2014


A Writer's Playground Fotosearch_u17996074“No, to Underwear as a Gift.  Yes, to Books About Underwear.  Giveaway.” by Linda Martin Andersen.

National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day: 7

You may ask, “What does National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day have to do with underwear?”  Nothing, usually.  Unless you were a student at East Carolina University like I was and Dr. Farmer was your U.S. History professor.  On Pearl Harbor Day, Dr. Farmer told his personal story of the battle.  He concluded by saying that he should write a book about his adventures and call it A Day at Pearl Harbor or The Day I Was Caught Unaware in My Underwear.  I have never forgotten that–lots of history dates, but not that.  Thank you, Dr. Farmer for allowing your sense of humor to shine through even on the toughest of days.

Children’s writers know that kids gravitate toward books that mention gross stuff, underwear, and potty humor.  What kid, who can read, doesn’t know Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey?

http://www.pilkey.com/

In November of this year, I participated in PiBoIdMo on Tara Lazar’s blog.  I collected over 30 picture book ideas and I’m proudly displaying my badge.

vinvogel_piboldmo_winner[1]

Guest bloggers continued to share tips for picture book writers into December.  I’d like to spotlight Laura Gehl, the author of One Big Pair of Underwear, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld.  Read Laura’s blog post here:    http://taralazar.com/2014/12/05/post-piboidmo-day-5-laura-gehl/  For more about Laura Gehl, check out her website and FB Author page:

www.lauragehl.com and http://www.facebook.com/AuthorLauraGehl.

onebigpairlauragehl

 

In the spirit of memories about underwear, I am giving away a copy of  One Big Pair of Underwear.  This picture book has received  great reviews.  To be entered in the drawing, leave a comment below and your email address, for contest contact purposes.  Contest ends on December 12, 2014 and the winning name will be announced shortly afterwards.

Please leave a comment and your email address, for contest contact purposes.  I can’t wait to hear your memories about underwear.  Thanks for visiting. Come again 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, Character Traits, Monthly Activities, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments »

Jump on the November Writing Bandwagon! Get Ideas from Calendar Events.

Posted by lindamartinandersen on October 31, 2013


Jump on the November Writing Bandwagon!  Get Ideas from Calendar Events.” by Linda Martin Andersen

A Writer's Playground Fotosearch_u17996074“A Writer’s Playground” –A place to find wordplay, writing, and monthly calendar activities for kids and those young at heart.

Jump on the November Writing Bandwagon. 

What is a bandwagon?  http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bandwagon 

Why would I say that there is a November writing bandwagon?  Because it’s true.  Read this article from 2012 for ideas shared about this writing movement.  http://thepaperwait.blogspot.com/2012/09/time-to-jump-on-nanowrimo-bandwagon.html  When I did a Google search, this article was first on the list.  I follow this particular group’s blog; so I chose it for a link.   Go Paper Wait group!

Those of you in the USA, what do you think of when you hear “November?”  My guess is that Thanksgiving would be the number one response.  If you’re a writer and you’d like to write a novel in a month (50,000 words),  you probably think of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) when someone says “November.”  Join others here:  http://nanowrimo.org/

If you prefer to write shorter works, but would still like to be part of a group, consider joining Tara Lazar’s program for Picture book writers called Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo).  The goal:  to record one picture book idea per day for the month of November.  http://taralazar.com/2013/10/01/piboidmo-logo-badge-and-guest-bloggers/

Here’s the badge I proudly display to show I am registered for PiBoIdMo.  Learn more below.

piboidmo2013-slogan-490x301[1]

Julie Hedlund has posted a video as a promo for PiBoIdMo. http://taralazar.com/2013/10/27/pre-pibo-day-3-julie-hedlund/ She describes this as “the most wonderful time of the year.” 

Julie designed her own program to encourage writers to turn 12 picture book ideas into 12 manuscripts.  She suggests beginning with PiBoIdMo.  See here:  http://www.juliehedlund.com/12-x-12/

I have decided to comb the following November activities for picture book manuscript ideas.  Maybe you’d like to join me.  If not, consider celebrating one or more of the events mentioned here to add “spice to your life.” For the meaning of this expression, check here:  http://www.idiomquest.com/learn/idiom/spice-up-your-life/  By the way, many people add spices to holiday cooking, and it’s fast becoming that time of year!

Special Days in November:

  • National Authors’ Day:  1  Who is your favorite author(s)?  Have you read a biography or website/blog notes about the person?  Are there facts you’d like to share with a friend?
  • Cookie Monster Day:  2  How do you think this character got his name?  Research to see if you’re correct.
  • Cliche Day:  3  What is a cliche?  http://examples.yourdictionary.com/examples-of-cliches.html   Share one with someone and see if he/she knows what it means.  Listen for cliches this month.  Where did you hear them?  Who do you know who loves to use them?  Who do you know who says claims to hate them?  Why?
  • Jellyfish Day:  3  http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/kids/animals-pets-kids/invertebrates-kids/jellyfish-kids/
  • Sandwich Day:  3  Check out the history of the sandwich:  http://www.kidzworld.com/article/26495-history-of-the-sandwich
  • Fill Our Staplers Day:  4  Have you ever been asked to get the stapler for your teacher?  Did she run out of staples before finishing her project?  Should this job be added to the Helpers Chart in classrooms?  Why or why not?
  • International Tongue Twister Day:  10  What is your favorite tongue twister?  Listen for tongue twisters this month–ones that are well know and words or phrases that people have trouble saying and have to slow down to get right.  Can you write one of your own?
  • Origami Day:  11  I received an origami gift from a friend.  It was an origami wreath.  Children at a local school made origami cranes and sold them to help a charity event.  A friend decorated her Christmas tree with origami ornaments.  Tell other ways origami brings joy. 
  • Veterans Day:  11  Who is a veteran in your family?  In your neighborhood?  What organizations in your area serve veterans?   Does your church do anything special for the military?  Have you ever participated?
  • World Kindness Day:  13  List ways to show kindness.  Choose one or more to do on this day.  Who will you show kindness?  Can you show kindness to someone who is not a friend?  How?
  • Loosen Up, Lighten Up Day: 14  What does this message mean?  Who might need to hear this message?  Why? 
  • National American Teddy Bear Day:  14  Have you owned more than one teddy bear?  Make a drawing that includes some details from each one.  For example:  A wind-up key from one, a large red bow from another, and a favorite shirt from another.  Part of the bear might be brown, another part dark brown, and another part white.  Tell your parents what you remember about your favorite teddy bears.  Learn the jump rope chant about a teddy bear.  Recite it to your bears.
  • I Love to Write Day:  15  I love to write and I love learning to be a better writer.  What do you enjoy writing?  Do you like to text, pass notes, write in a diary, do research reports, etc.  Ask a friend what he/she likes to write. 
  • International Day for Tolerance:  16  What does tolerance mean?  http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tolerance  List things that come to mind when you hear this word.  Pick a cause from your list.  How can you show more tolerance?
  • National Button Day:  16  Have you ever sorted buttons, played with the buttons on a push button phone?  What other memories do you have with buttons?
  • National Day of Play:  16  What was the last time you did really silly, playful things?  What were they?  Who do you know who would never try something silly.  Challenge them to play today.  After all, it’s the perfect day for it. 
  • Name Your PC Day:  20  You give a pet a name, maybe even a stuffed animal.  How about your PC or Mac computer?  Ask your friends for suggested names.  Pick one.  Is it a nickname?  Do you know what a nickname is?  Would you want to choose one for your computer? 
  • Universal Children’s Day:  20  If you could meet a child from somewhere else in the world, where would you want the person to be from?  Why?  What three things would you choose to share with the person?  What would you ask the person?  What do you think you might be asked?
  • Great American Smokeout:  21  Research and learn more about this day.  Who do you know that is a smoker?  What new fact could you share after reading here?  http://www.cancer.org/healthy/stayawayfromtobacco/greatamericansmokeout/
  • World Television Day:  21  Check your TV guide and see how many programs about other countries are scheduled for today.  Which ones interest you?  Why?  What things in our country might interest viewers from elsewhere?  Why?
  • Family Volunteer Day:  23  What volunteer programs has your family participated in?  What programs would you like to add?  Many families get involved at Christmas.  Would that interest you?  Discuss volunteer project ideas with your family.
  • Celebrate Your Unique Talent Day:  24  What would you say is your unique talent?  How are you developing your talent so it improves?  How do you feel when you are actively using your talent?  Give an example.  How can you use your talent to help others? 
  • Mother Goose Day:  24  Name as many Mother Goose rhymes as you can.  How many can be sung?  Find a copy of the book and share a few rhymes with a younger sibling or read them to your parents.  See if they will act them out with you. 
  • National Day of Listening:  27  What do you enjoy listening to?  What is it difficult to listen to?  Why?  What can you do to be a better listener when it is difficult to do so?  Why is this important to learn?
  • Stay Home Because You’re Well Day:  30  When I read this one, it made me chuckle.  Why? It’s an example of irony.  What is irony?  See here.  http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/irony  Write an example of something ironic. 

Special Weeks: 

  • World Communication Week:  1-7  Are you able to communicate with people in other parts of the world?  How?
  • Health Information and Technology Week:  3-9  What are ways to gain health information and technology skills?  Which of these have you done?  Did you find it helpful?  Why or why not?
  • Give Wildlife a Brake! Week:  4-8  Why do you think “brake” is spelled this way?   Check here for ideas to make this a special time.  http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/give_wildlife_brake.html
  • Dear Santa Letter Week:  7-23  Why is it fun to write Santa?  Who else do you like to write letters?  Have you ever written thank you notes and sent them in the mail?  Have you ever made a special thank you card?  Do you have relatives in other states who you could write?  Maybe you could find a pen pal cousin.
  • Pursuit of Happiness Week:  7-13  What is the pursuit of something?  What do you pursue?  If you decide to pursue happiness this week, how will you go about it?
  • Geography Awareness Week:  10-16  What would be a meaningful way to study world geography?  Find places on a map where family members and friends live and places they visit. Keep the map posted for a year and see how the flagged spots grow.  What other things could you do for geography awareness?
  • National Farm-City Week:  22-18  Are you from the country, farm, city, suburbs?  What do you see when you make short trips to buy groceries, go to school, etc.?  A pen pal told me about her home in Sweden and I told her about my home in North Carolina.  It was fun.  What could you do?
  • National Game & Puzzle Week:  24-30  What games do you play with your family, with friends, with classmates?  How many pieces are in the puzzles you complete?  Do you like to put puzzles together alone or with others?  My mom sets up a card table and leaves the puzzle out until it is finished.  What do you do?

November is…

    • American and National Diabetes Month
    • Aviation History Month
    • Historic Bridge Awareness Month
    • Lung Cancer Awareness Month
    • National Adoption Month
    • National Novel Writing Month
    • National Family Literacy Month
    • National Peanut Butter Lovers Month
  • Choose one or more of these events and decide how to make it a special part of your month.  For example, several bridges are being repaired or replaced in my hometown.  I could read articles about these local projects.  I could also read nonfiction picture books about bridges or read a back issue of Cobblestone magazine about The Brooklyn Bridge.  Here is the teacher guide I wrote to accompany this particular magazine.  https://cobblestonepub.com/pdfs/COB/COB1003.pdf  I could  watch a documentary about The Brooklyn Burns by Ken Burns.. 

What will you celebrate this month?  What will you research?  What will you read about?  I look forward to reading your comments.

*Thank you Brownie Locks.com for November celebration information.  For more November observances check out: http://www.brownielocks.com/NOVEMBER2013.html

Please note:   Children 14 and under are not allowed to leave comments. It’s against the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. (COPPA)  See:  http://www.coppa.org/coppa.htm

Thank you for visiting “A Writer’s Playground.” Please come again soon and bring a friend. 

Copyright © 2013 Linda Martin Andersen

Posted in Calendar Events, Careers, Character Traits, Games, Interviews, Math, Monthly Activities, Reading, Science, Social Studies, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments »

 
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