A Writer's Playground

Monthly Activities for Kids by Linda Martin Andersen

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Posts Tagged ‘teachers’

It’s Not Fair

Posted by lindamartinandersen on March 8, 2013


“It’s Not Fair” by Linda Martin Andersen

 

Welcome to “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. Through blog posts at “A Writer’s Playground,” I continue to spread the word about good character. 

This month, like the Cumberland County Schools in Fayetteville, NC, I present the character trait of FAIRNESS, defined as “playing by the rules, taking turns, sharing and listening.”  To promote this trait, I selected a delightful picture book written by Darcy Pattison and illustrated by Steven Salerno.  It’s entitled 19 Girls and Me.

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When you think of fairness, a nagging saying probably echoes in your mind:  “It’s not fair.”  Children say it.  Adults probably think it, but most won’t admit they do.  Here are some children’s books titles that include this expression:  It’s Not Fair by Charlotte Zolotow, It’s Not Fair!  by Anita Harper and It’s Not Fair! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal & Tom Lichtenheld.  Check these books out for more on this saying.

This month I chose to spotlight a book about fairness that does not include the words “it’s not fair.”  In 19 Girls and Me, Darcy’s Pattison’s main character, John Hercules Po, is assigned to a kindergarten classroom full of girls.   John Hercules Po’s older brother tells him that the girls will turn him into a sissy, but John has a different plan.

19 Girls and Me is delightful.  It isn’t predictable.  The children’s imaginations are at play.  The end result is a win, win, situation.

Adults, the next time you hear someone say, “That’s not fair,” I hope you’ll remember to pull a copy of this book from a shelf and read how John Hercules Po and the 19 girls in his classroom chose to  handle their “unfair” situation in a positive way.   19 Girls and Me becomes an interactive reading by encouraging listeners to act out the scenes as they are read.  The audience can also call “Lunch” when it’s time.

Ask students to identify their favorite day of the week from the story.  Ask what happened that day on the playground?  Name something that surprised you in the story.  How did you expect the story to end?  How did John describe his classmates at the end of the book?  How do you feel about that?

Girls, have you ever been called a tomboy?  Boys, have you ever been called a sissy?  What do those words mean?  I’ve heard these called “fighting words.”  What do you think that means?  

If you’re a children’s author, I recommend checking out Darcy Pattison’s blog and upcoming novel revision retreats.  http://www.darcypattison.com/

March 24-30 is Tsunami Awareness Week–

and in observance of this, I’d like to suggest checking out another title by Darcy Pattison: Wisdom, the Midway Albatross, the oldest known bird in the world and one that has survived tsunamis and other natural disasters. 

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http://www.darcypattison.com/dpbooks/wisdom-the-midway-albatross/

Check for other books by Darcy Pattison at her website.

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

Copyright © 2013 Linda Martin Andersen

Posted in Careers, Character Traits, Games, Interviews, Math, Monthly Activities, Reading, Science, Social Studies, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments »

What Does an Old Cricket Have to Do With Trustworthiness?

Posted by lindamartinandersen on February 22, 2013


“What Does an Old Cricket Have to Do With Trustworthiness?” by Linda Martin Andersen

 

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

Think of February and Washington’s birthday and you may recall the story of a cherry tree, an axe, and George’s honesty.  Hopefully, after reading this post, when you think of February, you’ll also think of Old Cricket, Lisa Wheeler, and trustworthiness.

When I was an elementary School Counselor in Cumberland County, NC, students studied character traits each month. Through blog posts at “A Writer’s Playground,” I continue to spread the word about good character. 

This month, like the Cumberland County Schools in Fayetteville, NC, I present the character trait of TRUSTWORTHINESS, which is defined as “telling the truth and keeping promises.”  To promote this trait, I selected one of my favorite read-aloud picture books by Lisa Wheeler.  

Adults, you’ll enjoy reading this as much as readers love hearing it.  Whether reading for one or a whole classroom, encourage interactive participation.  Point out body parts and repeat the sound effects made by Old Cricket’s physical ailments. 

Before reading, predict what Old Cricket says or does that gets him in trouble.  Remember, one of the book’s themes is trustworthiness.  Does Old Cricket tell a lie?  Does he break a promise?  What do you think he might have promised or said that was a lie?  Read the book to see if you’re correct.

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Look closely at the book jacket.  Is Old Cricket putting on his hat?  Is this a scene from the book?  I’d like to send a response to Old Cricket and to Lisa Wheeler:  I’m tipping my hat to both of you. Readers, do you know what that means?  Why would I make this gesture?  After reading the book, see if you agree with my actions.  Why or why not?

Learn about Old Cricket and many other picture book titles by Lisa Wheeler here:

http://www.lisawheelerbooks.com/LW/cricket.html

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For activities created for Old Cricket by two different guide authors, please check the links below:

http://www.lisawheelerbooks.com/LW/activities_files/old_cricket_activities_2.pdf

http://www.lisawheelerbooks.com/LW/activities_files/OldCricket.pdf

If you’re a children’s author, I recommend checking out Lisa Wheeler’s upcoming boot camps.

http://www.lisawheelerbooks.com/LW/boot_camp.html

I’d love to hear about a time you told the truth or kept a promise.  Or perhaps you’d like to tell about a time when you didn’t tell the truth or you didn’t keep a promise.  What happened?  Did anyone discover what you’d done?  Did you admit you had done wrong?  Did you apologize? Please leave a comment below.

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

Copyright © 2013 Linda Martin Andersen

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

Summer Vacation Souvenir Survey–Your Favorites and Theirs

Posted by lindamartinandersen on August 9, 2012


 

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

Question:  What do these words have in common?  Souvenirs, tourists, gifts, mementos, collections, and budget. 

Answer:  Vacation.

Every fall when school starts back, teachers ask students to write about “What did you do over summer vacation?”  Why not approach this assignment in a unique way this year? Survey friends and family members about vacation souvenirs to discover what was received or purchased and which were favorites.  Then when you return to school you can answer, “I conducted a survey about vacation souvenirs.  Here are my results.” 

Brainstorm about summer vacation souvenirs and then you’ll be ready to conduct a survey.  I have created a sample.  I hope you find it helpful.

Name some summer vacation souvenirs you have received or collected.  Make a list.  Divide the items into Purchased Souvenirs and Free Souvenirs.

Name some summer vacation souvenirs you’ve purchased for others.  Make a list.  Divide the items into Purchased Souvenirs  and Free Souvenirs.

Survey your friends about souvenirs received and purchased.  Tally the results.  What was the most popular souvenir?  What was the least popular?  Group surveys by age.  Consider these groupings:  Under 6, 6-12, 13-18, and Over 18.

 Survey of Vacation Souvenirs 

Age Group:  ____(under 6), ____(6-12), ____(13-18), and ____(Over 18)

Souvenirs

For Self

For Others

Favorite

One For Self

Favorite

One For Others

T-shirt or other clothing

 

 

 

 

Mug, refrigerator magnet, etc.

 

 

 

 

Photographs or postcards

 

 

 

 

Toy or stuffed animal

 

 

 

 

Ticket stub

 

 

 

 

Shells, rocks, etc.

 

 

 

 

Snowglobe, Replica of Place,etc. 

 

 

 

 

Others 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Number 1 most frequently received–is it a T-shirt? 

As for me, I’d rather get photographs or postcards, if I can’t go along on the trip.  Some people call that taking an “armchair vacation” because you can enjoy the beauty without leaving your oversized comfy armchair.  Here are a few photographs from friends who traveled far and wide. Can you find these locations on a world map or globe?  To visit the photographers’ blogs/websites, click the links below:

http://maureenwartski.wordpress.com/2012/07/04/ole-barcelona/

http://poetryforkidsjoy.blogspot.com/2012/07/rain-in-rainforest.html

www.joanyedwards.com (Joan’s photographs are not available here, but activities for children are)

Columns built for Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain. Copyright © 2012 Maureen Wartski

Fountain in Versailles, France.  Copyright © 2012 Maureen Martski

Clear Creek River Georgetown, Colorado, taken from Georgetown Loop Narrow Gauge Train Ride. Copyright © 2012 Joan Edwards

Tambopata Research Center in Rainforest of Peru. Copyright © 2012 Joy Acey

Howler Monkey in Rainforest of Peru. Copyright © 2012 Joy Acey

Mt. Rainier near Washington Route 7, about 25 miles south of Puyallup, Washington. Copyright © 2012 Joan Edwards

All photographs were used with permission by the owner.  Thank you to my friends who shared these interesting scenes.  Thanks to all the readers who stopped by to visit “A Writer’s Playground.”  Please leave a comment and come back soon.  Bring a friend.

Copyright © 2012 Linda Martin Andersen

Posted in Games, Interviews, Monthly Activities, Reading, Social Studies, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

 
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