Showing posts with label kids. Show all posts
Showing posts with label kids. Show all posts

Saturday, June 10, 2017

5 Creative Writing Prompts for Summer

Summer time is the perfect opportunity to experiment some creative writing. Want to make it even more fun? Involve your family.

I wrote Purple Pencil Adventures: Writing Prompts for Kids of All Ages  as a way to get kids excited about writing. My recommended way to use this book is to get families writing together. 

Have a family writing night every week, have everyone spend a half hour or so writing a fun short story, and then go around the room, reading them out loud. Some of the activities require actual adventures, which you can also do as a family before writing time comes around.

No kids? No problem. You can also play with these on your own. I am actually working on the last one for a new writing project.

Below are five fun and creative prompts from my book.

* Share a Hobby. What are your hobbies? Do you enjoy crafts, play a sport, dance, read, cook? Make a list of all the fun activities you do. Then pick one to write about. Describe how you discovered this particular hobby. Did someone introduce you to it? Or teach you how to do it?

Then, go into detail about what is involved in doing this hobby. If you knit, how do you decide on your next project? If you dance, do you take a class? What kind? Where? Who are the friends who dance with you? If you read, how do you discover good books?

Write about what you enjoy about the hobby, and explain why someone unfamiliar with it should give it a try.

For extra credit take up a new hobby and write about it.

* Read and Write About a Book. What books are you reading this summer? Here’s a fun twist on a book review: write a report or summary of a book you have not yet read. Use the title and back cover copy as a starting point. And then write what you think the book is about and why you did or did not like it. Be as detailed as you want – you can even include character descriptions.

When you have finished reading the book, write another report. Then, read them both, one after the other to see how accurate you were.

* Create a Game. You have probably made up games in the past, whether they are outdoor games, swimming pool games, board games, or make believe. If not, here’s your chance.

Make up a game. Write out at least five rules. How many players? How is it played? How does someone win? If it’s a board game, describe what the box looks like, what the game itself looks like, and what pieces are included. You can even add why your game is the best game ever!

Feel free to combine rules from other games, toys, and activities.

* Give a Speech. Write a short speech - just three to five minutes long - about something or someone you really love. It can be about a game or toy, a family trip or adventure, a class at school, or a person you admire.

Write your speech, and, after you practice it a few times, present it to a friend or a parent.

The ability to communicate well, whether it is on paper or by talking, is a skill you will be able to use throughout your life.

* Write a Sidekick. Superheroes are not the only ones who have sidekicks. Create a fictional best friend. Make sure to include all of the basic details: name, age, family background. What does he or she look like, wear, eat, and do for fun? Is you sidekick smart, funny, quiet, or all of the above? How did you meet? Why did you become friends?

Take an imaginary adventure with your sidekick and then write about it.

Whenever you are writing, whether it’s for work or for fun, remember to enjoy it. You never know when or where you will encounter your next bit of inspiration.

So, did you try out any of these writing prompts? How’d it go? Let me know in the comments.

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Debra Eckerling is a writer, editor and project catalyst, as well as founder of Write On Online, a live and online writers’ support group. Like the Write On Online Facebook Page and join the Facebook Group

She is author of Write On Blogging: 51 Tips to Create, Write & Promote Your Blog and Purple Pencil Adventures: Writing Prompts for Kids of All Ages and host of the Guided Goals Podcast.

Debra is an editor at Social Media Examiner and a speaker/moderator on the subjects of writing, networking, goal-setting, and social media.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Back to School Countdown

Back to School Countdown

By Karen Cioffi

Five, four, three, two…yup, it’s that time of year again, rising early, getting to school on time, homework, tests…yuck!

But you know, it’s not really that bad. If you’re prepared and get into the right mindset, that’s half the battle. Everything we have to do in life and come up against in life gives us two options: (1) put a positive or good spin on it, (2) dread it.

Since you have to do it anyway, you might as well opt for Option #1.

To get you started in the right direction, here is a list to help you get in gear for, “school time, school time, good ole golden rule time.”

The Do List:

1. Many teachers have lists of what you will need for your upcoming school year. Try to find out if your new teacher has one and how you can get a hold of it.

2. To avoid needed school items being sold out; have Mom or Dad let you do your shopping early.

3. Make sure to get the items that are actually listed. If the list says “one red pen” don’t come to class with a green or purple one.

4. At least a week before school starts, go to bed at the time you normally would on school nights. This will give your body a chance to get accustomed to waking and eating breakfast early. If you do this, your body and mind won’t scream at you that first school day morning, “Hey, are you crazy? Only roosters are up at this time!”

5. A week before that inevitable morning, start a new mantra (saying): “I will listen to my teacher. I will listen to my teacher. I will listen to my teacher.” You can say this 100 to 1000 times a day. Another useful mantra is: “I will be respectful to my teacher and classmates. I will be respectful to my teacher and classmates. I will be respectful to my teacher and classmates.” Either of these two mantras is fine.

6. Make sure to get to school on time and obey your school and classroom rules. Practice Rule #5 so this won’t be a problem.

7. If you are required to have your classroom items in class the first week of school – have them there the first week…having them at home doesn’t cut it. You have to actually bring them to class.

8. What about the reading you were to do over the summer? Did you do it? Well, if you didn’t, start today. It’s better to read a least one book than none. Did you know that anything you want to be, an astronaut, a doctor, a firefighter, a superhero, all require reading. Okay, not the superhero, that jut takes a good imagination.

These 8 Dos should give you a jump start on a smooth new school year.

Now for the Don’t List:

1. Don’t ignore the ‘Do list’ above!

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Karen Cioffi
Multi-award Winning Author, Freelance/Ghostwriter, Editor, Marketer
Writer’s Digest Website of the Week, June 25, 2012

Monday, April 9, 2012

Make Your Mondays Marvelous!

Who likes Mondays? Nobody. Poor Monday, always getting blamed for grumpy moods and work boredom. Poor Monday is the ultimate scapegoat for everything {blah} in our lives.

I am not saying I look forward to Mondays. Like everyone, I sometimes get the where-did-the-weekend-disappear-to? Sunday-evening blues. But the other day I realized something: if I spend every week dreading Monday and slugging through Monday just trying to get through the day, that means I'll be spending 1/7th of my life in a state of yucky, grumpy, get-me-out-of-here dread. And that's just not how I want to spend my time.

So I was thinking back to when I was in elementary school, and we had adjectives associated with all the days of the week, cute alliterative names like: Super Sunday, Stupendous Saturday, Fantastic Friday, Thrilling Thursday, Wonderful Wednesday, Terrific Tuesday, Marvelous Monday.

How does that sound? Marvelous Monday.

I kinda like it.

The thing is, back in elementary school, Mondays *were* marvelous. I don't remember dreading Mondays then. Weekends were great, of course, but school was fun, too. I think a large part of it was that even school had a sense of excitement and discovery about it. Every day, even Mondays, were filled with the possibility of surprises. Magic was around every corner. Back then, even the most everyday incidents would be cause for celebration: ice cream for someone's birthday, a trip to a new restaurant, a note from your best friend passed secretively during class, a new game on the playground, a gopher discovered behind the kickball backstop...

I think it's about time to bring some of that everyday magic back. Especially to poor Monday.

From now on, instead of moaning about Monday, I am going to try to make each Monday particularly marvelous. Maybe I'll try something new, do a random act of kindness or gratitude, act spontaneously, bring out my inner 12-year-old. Then, I'll go home and write about it, bringing that renewed energy and zest for life to all of my writing projects.

Will you join me? What is marvelous about your Monday?

Dallas Woodburn is the author of two award-winning collections of short stories and editor of Dancing With The Pen: a collection of today's best youth writing. Her short fiction has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize three years in a row and her nonfiction has appeared in a variety of national publications including Family Circle, Writer's Digest, The Writer, and The Los Angeles Times. She is the founder of Write On! For Literacy and Write On! Books Youth Publishing Company and is currently pursuing her Master's degree in Fiction Writing at Purdue University, where she teaches undergraduate writing courses and serves as Assistant Fiction Editor of Sycamore Review.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Helping Your Child Find the Main Idea

By Kathy Stemke

It is important that children learn how to discern the main idea of a paragraph or a story as early as possible. State-mandated tests often include reading comprehension sections where the child is expected to be able to pick out the main idea. More importantly, when they master this skill their reading comprehension will improve markedly, and they will enjoy reading much more.

Many children think that the first line of a story or essay is always the main idea. To help them understand that the main idea is what the whole story is about tell them to “think of a story as a meal.” It starts with an appetizer whose job it is to entice the reader to continue. We often call this first paragraph the introduction. It’s followed by the side dishes which add a variety of flavors to the story, or additional information to make it fuller. The main dish is the meat of the meal or the main focus, the main idea. Dessert is the final part of the meal where the story winds down to a conclusion.

What we are looking for in the main idea of a story is simply the main course of the dinner, the “meat.” A good way for children to start this process is by putting things in categories such as things you wear, fruits, or vegetables. When they come up with a list of clothing items, discuss that the broad term or main idea is that they are all things you wear.

Next, go into finding the actual main idea of stories. Start with non-fiction books, because they are much easier for a young child to understand. Then, go into fiction stories. Here are a couple of games that will help children practice finding the topic sentence or main idea.

Guess the Topic!

Write a paragraph that doesn't have a topic sentence and have the child guess the topic. Just write supporting sentences.

For example, you could say, "You color with them. They come in many different colors. You can make beautiful pictures with them." When they guess crayons, ask them if it would have been easier to start the paragraph with, "I love crayons?"

Topic Sentence Match Up!

Understanding the main idea of a paragraph can be tough for beginning readers. Here's an exercise you can do to help them see the difference between the main idea and the supporting facts.

Write each topic sentence on a separate index card.

Topic: Dogs are friendly animals.
Topic: I love the winter.
Topic: Candy isn't good for you.

Write each detail on a separate index card.

Detail: They are always waiting for their owners to come home.
Detail: They want to sit with you.
Detail: There are a lot of fun things to do, like sledding and snowball fights.
Detail: We go skiing.
Detail: Every time I eat it, I get a stomachache.
Detail: It's not good for my teeth.

Mix them all up, turn them face up, and match up a topic with two details.

Main Idea Flower Diagram

Another great teaching tool is to diagram the main idea of a paragraph by using a picture of a flower with a thick stem, a large round center and four long petals. The main idea goes on the stem. The topic sentence is written in the center. The four details are written on the petals.

Soon your child will be picking the main idea out of every paragraph or story. This skill will help them understand what they are reading. Better reading comprehension skills will build a firm foundation for your child's education. This is necessary for understanding textbooks in science and social studies. When they understand what they are reading, they will retain more information, and enjoy learning.


Check out Kathy's websites:
Moving Through all Seven Days link:
http://www.lulu.com/content/e-book/moving-through-all-seven-days/7386965#
http://kathystemke.weebly.com


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