VIVIAN KIRKFIELD PRESENTS:#50 Precious Words For Kids Contest

A Children’s Book Week Activity:  #50PreciousWordsforKids

Celebrating Diversity in Imagination

A writing contest for kids from all over the world.  Writing a story in 50 words or fewer.  Contest runs from April 30 through May 6, 2018.

 GUIDELINES:

  • Each child, grade K-6, writes a story of 50 words or less.
  • Title not included in word count.
  • Story must have a beginning, middle, and end.
  • Happy or sad, silly or serious, true or make-believe.
  • Teachers/students choose one story to submit per class.
  • Homeschooling parents submit one story per child.
  • Please email story to: viviankirkfield@gmail.com by May 7 at 11:59pm EST. This challenge is INTERNATIONAL.
  • Stories post on my blog: viviankirkfield.com on May 11.
  • Teacher receives a certificate to copy and present to each child who wrote a story
  • Giveaway of seven mini-Skype author classroom visits.

Picture 158 B 2

Picture 158 B 2

Here’s the link from last year’s contest: https://viviankirkfield.com/2017/05/11/50preciouswordsforkids-international-writing-challenge-stories-are-here/

Questions? Contact Vivian Kirkfield at:  Viviankirkfield@gmail.com

Advertisements

David Harrison and Mary Jo Fresch Present: 7 KEYS TO RESEARCH FOR SUCCESSFUL WRITING! + Win a Free Copy

As teachers, how do we get reluctant students to embrace writing projects?  Many of them struggle to produce good content for writing projects in all subject areas.  That’s why YOU NEED THIS BOOK by Authors David Harrison and Mary Jo Fresch: 7 Keys to Research For Successful Writing.  Here’s David to tell you more about it:

Thank you for inviting me to your blog today, Darlene. I’m delighted to tell you about 7 KEYS TO RESEARCH FOR SUCCESSFUL WRITING! published October, 2017.

    What motivated you to write the book (a break away from your usual poetry)?

Kids ask authors, “How long does it take to write a book?” A variation is, “How many books can you write in a day?” When I explain that I must first learn about my subject before I can write about it, many look surprised. When I tell them I often spend as much time getting ready to write as I do writing, they look amazed. Kids in school aren’t accustomed to spending much time investigating what they are going to write about.

My writing partner for 7 KEYS TO RESEARCH FOR SUCCESSFUL WRITING is Mary Jo Fresch, Professor Emerita and Academy Professor of The Ohio State University. Prior to becoming an educator of pre-service and in-service teachers of Kindergarten to Grade 8 teachers, Mary Jo was a classroom teacher.

Together we have seen far too many writing-before-ready results. They are usually dismal at best and at worst convince students that writing is too hard and mysterious and not for them. The goal of our collaboration is to provide classroom teachers with a practical resource to help them demonstrate that writers don’t just pick up and a pen or sit down at the keyboard and start writing.

  • What was the collaboration like?

This is our sixth book together. Prior to 7 KEYS, we wrote a series of five titles called LEARNING THROUGH POETRY, each dealing with different aspect of sounds: consonants, vowels, blends, digraphs, and rimes. We come from different backgrounds but share much in common, including work ethic and goals, so we make a compatible team. Before and during a new project we discuss ideas by email and conference via SKYPE. Once we establish a direction and general outline we agree on our respective responsibilities and jump in.

In this case we decided to use my 50-year experience to demonstrate how writers prepare to write and Mary Jo’s deep knowledge of classroom and scholarly research to provide meaningful follow up activities. We adopted a word not used much — presearch – to show how writers get ready to get ready before they write that first word. That gave us shape and direction. The result falls into seven categories, or keys, which are important elements that lead to good writing.

  • Things you learned doing your own research for the book.

The first thing we learned was that nearly all books we could find that are meant to help young writers focus on the process of writing and how to improve it. We decided early on that teachers might not need yet another book about the act of writing. What they do need is a book about the act of getting ready to write, the kind of thoughtful, organized preparation that leads to good writing. Except for a page here, a chapter there, we didn’t see a lot of help out there.

The challenge was to find ways to make “doing your homework” seem necessary, fun, and un-daunting. My solution was to show by example what I do, and Mary Jo created imaginative and practical activities that children can relate to. This also gave me a chance to introduce two segments, one directed to teachers and one to kids. The ones to teachers are a cross between mini-PD sessions and personal asides meant to provide insight into the KEY in that chapter. Those meant for students are like a quick author’s visit that can be read as often as wished. They, too, set the stage for Mary Jo’s creative activities. 

  • Anything else you’d like to add?

Please let your readers know how one of them can win a free copy of 7 KEYS TO RESEARCH FOR SUCCESSFUL WRITING. We say the grade range is 3 and up but a university president recently told me he thinks more than a few freshmen could benefit from it. We hope readers will enjoy our book and feel free to leave their comments on Amazon.com. Mary Jo and I will present a 2-hour workshop on the subject in July at ILA in Austin. Maybe we’ll see some new friends there.

David is the prolific children’s poet and author of 100 titles. His books have received more than 50 honors, including Best Children’s Nonfiction Book of 2016 by Society of Midland Authors. He has been translated into twelve languages, anthologized in nearly 200 books, and appeared in dozens of magazines and interviews in print and online. Among other professional books are Easy Poetry Lessons that Dazzle and Delight with Bernice Cullinan and Rhymes for the Times, Literacy Strategies through Social Studies with Tim Rasinski.  Professional articles have appeared in Dragon Lode, Reading and Writing Quarterly, The Reading Teacher, New England Reading Association Journal, and others. David is trained in research, holds two degrees in science and two honorary doctorates in letters. He has performed 300 times across the country and abroad in conferences, schools, and workshops. He is Drury University’s Poet Laureate.  

Mary Jo is Professor Emerita and an Academy Professor of The Ohio State University. After years as a classroom teacher, She became an educator of pre-service and in-service teachers of Kindergarten to Grade 8 teachers. She speaks nationally and internationally about literacy-related topics and researches the developmental aspect of literacy learning. Her articles have appeared in peer reviewed journals, such as the Language Arts; Journal of Literacy Research; Reading and Writing Quarterly; Reading Psychology; The Reading Teacher; Journal of Just and Caring Education; and Journal of Children’s Literature.  She has authored/co-authored 19 books for teachers, including The Power of Picture Books (NCTE), Strategies for Effective Balanced Literacy (Shell Education); Engaging Minds in the English Language Arts Classrooms: The Surprising Power of Joy (ASCD) and Learning Through Poetry (Shell Education).

To have your name entered in the random drawing for a signed copy of 7 Keys to Research For Successful Writing, leave a comment below stating you will happily write a review of the book on Amazon/Goodreads.  Darlene will add your name to the list and ONE winner will be chosen and announced her on Wednesday, March 7, 2018.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three Cheers for SPRING!!!

The Inspiration Called Spring.

After painting my thoughts from a grey pallet with a cold winter brush, I pick up the same brush and find it changes color like a chameleon. The words coming from its tip are filled with sensory images that wake up the dormant muse. There is no doubt that spring has entered into the picture to spread its influence on my thoughts. How can I stay grey when yellow and purple crocuses wave their tongues as I pass by? How can I be cold when the earth feels warm in my hands? How can I take a breath of air without bringing the scent of grass and hyacinth to my nostrils? Spring is the season of poetry; it is the feast promised after the famine passed. It is the reason birds sing, and the sun shines. It is the reason I pick up a fresh piece of paper and a newly sharpened pencil and bare my soul in words.                    crocus

Get your children outside on a SPRING SCAVENGER HUNT. Make a list of things to look for as you take a walk through the neighborhood or park. Some possible things to include on your list are: flowers of various colors, different kinds of birds, different kinds of trees/leaves, insects, things popping out of the ground, nests, etc. Or, make it a sensory hunt and try to identify various bird songs, nature sounds, smells from blossoming trees and flowers, taste of newly sprouted asparagus, rhubarb and strawberries.


Celebrate all things spring!

Interview With YA Author Mimi Cross + Book Give-away.

My friend and fellow author MIMI CROSS, just launched her debut book, BEFORE GOODBYE,  a YA contemporary that’s has all the elements of a page turner – teen angst, love lost and found, dealing with loss, friendship and who to trust, and more.  One lucky reader of this blog will have a chance to win a signed copy of the book.  See the end of the post to learn how.  For now, here’s Mimi:

Hey Darlene, thanks for having me on your blog.          mimi photo

You’ve asked me to answer a few questions, including how I came to write children’s books. This is probably the only thing about writing prose that’s crystal clear for me: the inspiration came from my son.

Up until my son was born, for nearly twenty years, I’d been a singer songwriter. I taught music in the schools for fifteen of those years, after receiving my Bachelor of Music from Ithaca College. I wrote stories as a kid and then again during grad school at NYU, but nothing really came of those efforts, probably because I was so focused on creating a career as a musician—although even as I write this I’m thinking: that’s not totally true. Writing is cumulative, and all creative efforts contribute The Work in some mysterious way.

Performing became impossible after my son was born, mostly because I wanted to spend every second with him. Plus, performing has a lot of moving parts. Some people can tote a couple of guitars and diaper bag at the same time, but not me.

Thankfully, the desire to create didn’t disappear, and when my son was a few years old, I wrote a bunch of stories for him. Two of those stories evolved into projects that were a lot of fun for both of us: The Crankamacallit an iPad app published by Polymash, and The Alligator Waiter, which was published by Abe’s Peanut.

But the thing is? WRITING PICTURE BOOK STORIES IS REALLY HARD. Also, picture books have an extremely important audience, the most important audience, so they have to be great. Or—they should be great. Their simplicity and beauty, among other traits, places them (at least in my mind) among the highest forms of—

Whoa. That’s a lot of pressure.   And under that pressure, I did what any writer would do: I read. A lot.

I’d always been a big reader, but at that point I became a voracious reader. A chain reader. An armchair traveler in every way. I read for escape and for—

Inspiration.

This inspiration, plus Chris Baty’s brilliant and irreverent book No Plot? No Problem got me going—I started writing novels. A few friends had already suggested I might enjoy NaNoWriMo, the wildly popular 50,000 words-in-thirty days writing marathon that Chris Baty founded, and they were right. I loved it. The words started gushing out like blood from a wound.

Another thing that helped the blood flow? Yoga.

I’ve been doing yoga on and off since I was twelve and in 2001, and after living at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health for a month while taking their rigorous teacher training program, I became a certified Kripalu yoga instructor. Yoga is a transformative practice for the body, mind, and spirit—but don’t take my word for it. There are a ton of books out there, and a million yoga studios. If you do start taking yoga classes, one thing I can guarantee is that you will begin inhabiting your body in a different way. And if you’re a writer, this way will help you inhabit the bodies of your characters.

A couple of years ago I created a workshop called Body of Writing that combines yoga postures, yogic breathing techniques, visualization, and meditation with writing exercises. Our bodies hold our stories, and Body of Writing safely supports the release of those stories onto the page. I’ve taught Body of Writing as a series, in private standalone sessions to boost creativity, and as a four-hour intensive at writing conferences. It’s such a pleasure to share the very things that have helped me be more creative. I love watching the magic happen.

This same magic is what helped me write Before Goodbye, a process that took several years to complete. I wrote Before Goodbye in between working on two other novels, one of which will be coming out in May 2016, called Shining Sea.

A dark fantasy, Shining Sea is a very different novel than Before Goodbye, which is a realistic, contemporary romance. And while both books are character driven, I think of Before Goodbye as a series of vignettes, while Shining Sea is an epic tome. Out of the two, Before Goodbye surprised me the most. It started out as a completely different story!

But that’s the joy of writing.             Cross-Before Goodbye cover

Cate Reese, one of the main characters in Before Goodbye, is a musician, and tries to control her music. But close to the end of the book, Cate concludes, “Singing with a band is trampolining with your breath. A sound you make that makes you too.”

I hesitate to say that Before Goodbye has a message—that’s not how I think when I write. But I can tell you that one of the main themes of the book is this: If you let it, Art will shape you.
Website: http://www.mimicross.com
To pre-order book: http://www.amazon.com/Before-Goodbye-Mimi-Cross/dp/1503951286/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=
Twitter: @mimicross
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mimicrosswrites             

Here’s the press release:

BEFORE GOODBYE
A Novel  By Mimi Cross

Can Cate recover after losing her friend and muse?

Mimi Cross, an award-winning and celebrated musician/songwriter, delivers a brave and heart-wrenching YA novel with her debut BEFORE GOODBYE (Skyscape, January 1, 2016). During her musical career, Cross has shared the bill with Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Bonnie Raitt, and Jon Bon Jovi, and Grammy award-winning artist Rosanne Cash has praised her saying, “Mimi fuses delicacy and power, heart and gut. Her writing and singing are inspiring, evocative and refreshing.” As a novelist, Cross channels the same raw passion and intensity to tell the story of Cate, a young guitarist coping with hurt, confusion, and heartbreak.

Music means more than anything to high school student Cate Reese; it’s also what unites her with Cal Woods. Devoted classical guitar players, Cate and Cal are childhood friends newly smitten by love—until a devastating car accident rips Cal out of Cate’s life forever. Blaming herself for the horrific tragedy and struggling to surface from her despair, Cate spirals downhill in a desperate attempt to ease her pain.

Fellow student David Bennet might look like the school’s golden boy, but underneath the surface the popular athlete battles demons of his own. Racked with survivor’s guilt after his brother’s suicide, things get worse when tragedy darkens his world again—but connecting with Cate, his sister’s longtime babysitter, starts bringing the light back in. As Cate and David grow closer, the two shattered teenagers learn to examine the pieces of their lives . . . and, together, find a way to be whole again.

Beautifully written and emotionally resonant, BEFORE GOODBYE is a mesmerizing debut that reminds readers that you can find hope in times of tragedy—and harmony in times of discord.

 BEFORE GOODBYE by Mimi Cross * On-Sale Date: January 1, 2016
Price: $24.95 hardcover, $9.99 paperback, $5.99 eBook * Skyscape

Now, if you’d like to win a signed copy of BEFORE GOODBYE just leave a comment on this post.  Your name will be entered once.  Tweet about it or share the post on FB and your name will be entered again.  Let me know what you are doing so I can give you the correct number of entries.  You have until Wednesday, 1-27, 2016, when the winner will be announced.  Good luck!

Mrs. P’s “Be A Famous Writer Contest” for Kids.

Pets is the theme of the 7th annual   MrsP.com    Be-a-Famous Writer Contest. The contest is for K-4 classrooms and the winning classroom is filled with books in every format from the generous sponsors of the contest.

• ENTRY DATES: SEPTEMBER 1, 2015.
• Contest Closes: November 15, 2015
• Winners Announced January 15, 2016
• For classrooms K – 4th grade
Mrs. P invites classrooms to write a story on the topic of PETS no less than 250 words and not to exceed 1,000 words. It may be fiction or non-fiction. Any classroom from Kindergarten through 4th grade may enter. Just one story per classroom! It can be a collaborative story, or teachers can have their class vote on which child’s story to enter. While the contest is for classrooms only, parents can participate by telling their child’s teacher about it.  Find all the details at my contest website. http://contest.mrsp.com/

Loner in the Garret: A Guest Post by Jennifer R. Hubbard

The upside to freelance writing is that it’s self-directed. You decide what to wear, where to sit, what music to play, when to start and when to stop, how much to do in a day. All those things that a day-job employer controls are in your own hands when you freelance. (Once you start signing contracts, you have deadlines to meet. But you still choose how you’re going to meet those deadlines, and how much to do each day.)

And the downside to freelance writing is that it’s self-directed. If the choices are yours, the responsibilities are yours also. You can get feedback, but it won’t be consistent: The ending that seems abrupt to one reader will strike another as dragging and drawn out. One reader will call your plot fresh and original, while another considers it predictable. And you will have to decide whom to listen to, what to change. You have the responsibility of sitting down and starting, of revising once more when you’d rather be done, of motivating yourself and coping with the rejections that come.

It can get lonely in the writer’s loft. Without a circle of writer friends to share the experience, I might not have the fortitude or the attitude to sit down and face the blank computer screen again and again. And so I decided to produce a “writer’s companion” in book form, addressing these very ups and downs.      LonerintheGarret_Ebook

Loner in the Garret is a series of short discussions on all aspects of writing and publishing. Ideally, it’s meant to be read a page or two at a time, perhaps before a writing session, focusing on whichever topic you most need to read at that moment. But of course, you can read as much or as little as you want, in any order. You’re the boss … which is your challenge and your reward.

Synopsis: Sometimes the most difficult part of writing is not coming up with a plot or the perfect turn of phrase. It’s getting motivated to sit down and start, or having the confidence to go forward, or finding the courage to move past the sting of rejection. Loner in the Garret: A Writer’s Companion provides inspiration and encouragement for that mental and emotional journey. Covering topics as varied as procrastination, the inner critic, fear, distractions, envy, rejection, joy, and playfulness, it charts the ups and downs of the writing life with honesty, gentle suggestions, and a dash of humor.

For more: http://jenniferrhubbard.blogspot.com/p/publications.html       biopic2

Bio: Jennifer R. Hubbard http://www.jenniferhubbard.com is the author of three novels for young adults, several short stories, and a nonfiction book about writing. She lives near Philadelphia with an understanding husband, a pile of books and chocolate, and a   melodramatic cat.

Creating a Journal: by Suzy Leopold

Can you guess what Andrew Carnegie, Winston Churchill, Thomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin, and Theodore Roosevelt all have in common? They all kept journals. All of these famous individuals wrote in a personal notebook on a daily basis.

Did you know that Leonardo da Vinci kept over forty notebooks? He wrote about his activities, and recorded plans for his engineering projects. If Meriwether Lewis had not kept a journal, while exploring across North America, we would not have a glimpse of his travels, during the time he lived, nor the geographical information that he recorded in his journal. The beloved, world class diary, The Diary of Anne Frank, was written while Anne and her family hid in an attic, from the Nazis during World War II. Reading her remarkable child diary connects the reader to the horrors of the war. President Abraham Lincoln, our sixteenth president, kept a kind of diary. On little scraps of paper, he jotted down thoughts and sometimes referred to these notes in his speeches. Our beloved president was a powerful orator. His love for the written word was evident in his love for books. As a young man, Abraham always had a book stashed away. He read whenever he found a chance to do so, sometimes finding a moment in between chores on the farm. On a page from Abraham’s schoolbook he wrote the following poem:

Abraham Lincoln
his hand and pen
he will be good but
god knows when

Do you keep a journal? I hope you do and if you don’t, consider the fact that journaling promotes good health and wellness. Journaling expands our minds. Journaling increases vocabulary, while improving on one’s creative writing ability.

A journal can be kept for a variety of writing topics and a variety of reasons. Perhaps you want to capture a new experience or record something special, exciting and memorable. Perhaps after a crummy day, you may need to vent, solve a problem or unload your thoughts. Do so, in a journal. Jotting down favorite Bible verses, quotes, poems and sayings are all wonderful ideas for a personal journal. A journal can be used to generate a shopping list, make a wish list, or even produce a To Do List.

As a writer, brainstorm thoughts and make lists in a journal. Use a journal for pre writing that is spontaneous and written in a first draft form. Try a strategy referred to as quickwriting. It is an informal ramble of words on paper to develop and generate ideas. Jump start your writing with some writing prompts that may spark creativity. Make a list. Doodle. Sketch. Create a graphic organizer. Think of bold beginnings, mighty middles, and exciting endings. Add mementos and ephemera. Jot down words and more words. Keep on writing. Just focus on your thinking and ideas, not grammar and spelling. The revisions and editing can follow later. Use a variety of writing implements. You can use more than a pencil. Try writing with colored pencils, markers, or even a collection of rainbow colored pens.

Consider sharing personal thoughts, dreams and hopes, as you write. A journal can record whatever is on your mind. Just like reading, writing should take place every day. So grab a writing instrument and a notebook and begin to record your thoughts.

 Materials Needed:

One composition notebook or student journal
Three pieces of 12 X 12 inch scrapbook paper
Glue stick
Hot glue gun                                        September 2010 040
Scissors
Paper cutter (optional)
Ruler
Embellishments
Di cut letters or letter stickers
Ribbon or Rick Rack

Directions:

1. Using three sheets of scrapbook paper, cut two pieces of scrapbook paper 8 X 12 inches.           journal pic

2. Apply a generous amount of glue to the journal, position the scrapbook paper and smooth out any bubbles.

3. Wrap and fold the extended edges of the scrapbook paper, creating mitered corners and secure with a generous amount of glue.

journal 5journal 74. Cut two pieces of scrapbook paper 9 X 6 inches. Using a glue stick adhere to the inside covers of the journal.      journal 8

 
5. Open the journal to the middle section of the notebook that reveals the stitching. Hot glue two or three 14 inch pieces of ribbon on the top edge. Drape the pieces of ribbon across sections of the notebook to become a bookmark. Tie a knot at the bottom of each piece of ribbon.       journal 9
6. Time to embellish your journal with scrapbook stickers and cutouts, etc. Use additional scraps of scrapbook paper. Recycle greeting cards. Use buttons and babbles. Be creative.

journals

 

 

Suzy Leopold is delighted to offer the opportunity for one reader to win a personalized journal. She will create and mail the journal to the winner. Just leave a comment on this post and I will enter your name in the give-away. If you tweet about it or share it on FB, I will put your name in again. If you reblog, you get another chance. Just let me know what you’ve done so I can put the correct number of names in the drawing. Give-away ends on Friday April 3, 2015.

Follow Suzy and her writer friends on their group blog: http://groggorg.blogspot.com/p/meet-grog-authors.html
Word Press: http://sleopoldblog.wordpress.com    suzy pic
Twitter: SuzyK5 Facebook: suzy.leopold