Thursday, March 29, 2018

Announcing a Giveaway for Educators and Librarians!

Starting April 1st, I will be hosting a month-long contest giveaway for a free copy of my new book 36 Workshops to Get Kids Writing: From Aliens to Zebras, full of a school year's worth of weekly lesson plans for engaging primary-grade students with great picture books, using writing exercises and activities to spark their own creativity. I want to give a free copy of my book to one hardworking teacher, librarian, homeschooling parent or educator who works with kids under 10 years old. I'm thinking I will include a few other freebies, like a few copies of some of the picture books that the activities are based on!

Despite the plethora of writing workshops aimed at young teens and tweens, research has shown that children can write much sooner than that, and that kids as young as kindergarten feel the desire to tell stories or make up characters on paper. Kids learn to read and write by doing it, and by being exposed to it and surrounded by it from a very early age. So when I am working with kids between the ages of 5 and 8 years old, I start with a good book and use that to inspire kids to think further than the book--"What happens now?" or "How could you write a story like this?" Kids start with a concrete example or mentor text and then create their own. They start out listening to a story, and end as storytellers.

So if you are a teacher, librarian, or educator and you'd like to try some new ways to excite your students or patrons about reading and writing, enter my rafflecopter giveaway or visit 36 Workshops to Get Kids Writing for more information and a free sample of the book!

Giveaway for 36 Workshops to Get Kids Writing

Sunday, March 4, 2018

How to Make 3D Seussian animals

One of the workshops in my book involves creating a Dr. Seuss-inspired animal with a name that is a combination of different names from Dr. Seuss books. The handout gives kids a prompt to draw their animal, but if you want to get more crafty, you could also try making them in 3D!

You will need:
Pipe cleaners
Pom poms
Googly eyes

Show the kids how to wrap a pipe cleaner around a pen or pencil to create a "body" that has more substance (and spring!) to it than a straight pipe cleaner would. It also allows for lots of ways to tuck in feathers and other features you might want to use to decorate your animal.

In my example of a birdlike Seussian animal, I also used a short segment cut from a straw, for bringing all the different colored pipe cleaners together, for giving my animal a clear separation like a "hip" for her legs and back, and for giving me an easy way to insert a tail.

I used liquid glue to glue the pom pom balls and googly eyes on.

I think it's important to infuse these writing programs with craft activities, as time allows. For the outreach I was doing where families were coming and going, it was a fun way to get everyone involved and engaged.