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Archive for the ‘Children’s Activities’ Category

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Write a Spring Haiku & Get the Kids Writing Too!


Celebrating International Haiku Poetry Day!

JONQUILS Awaken HAIKU 2017 bas

As I wandered out into the garden with my trusty camera early this morning, much to my surprise, an icy blanket at the edge of the rock garden had melted and a family of opening jonquils greeted me with their smiles. Being the first blooms of the season, they simply made my day and inspired me to write “A Spring Concerto,” a haiku (Japanese-inspired, non-rhyming three-line: 5-7-5 syllable poem).

A Spring Concerto

Haiku by Bette A. Stevens

Jonquils awaken

Shaking their heads in wonder

A spring concerto 

I love designing posters to go with my poems and often use photos I have taken. As a former teacher (now retired) in grades four through eight, I know that kids of all ages love writing poetry and they enjoy illustrating their poems too. It’s simple and it’s so much fun to tell a story in the three short lines of Haiku. Of course, you can write as many stanzas as you wish. Today’s a perfect day for you to give it a try.

Get out your pen, get outdoors in nature, get inspired…and get the kids writing haiku too!

 

New poetry book to be released in paperback soon—My Maine: Haiku through the Seasons (A collection of 150 haiku poems and 49 photos)—celebrating Maine, “The Way Life Should Be.”

~Bette A. Stevens, Maine author/illustrator

(Haiku: m)

haiku

noun hai·ku ˈhī-(ˌ)kü

plural

haiku

  1. :  an unrhymed verse form of Japanese origin having three lines containing usually five, seven, and five syllables respectively; also :  a poem in this form usually having a seasonal reference — compare tanka

 

Discover more about how to write haiku and other poetry:

Find out more about International Haiku Poetry Day

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Celebrate National Puzzle Day Any Day with “The Tangram Zoo & Word Puzzles Too!” by Bette A. Stevens


Get Puzzling with the kid! Although this official celebration is held every year on January 29th, puzzling is educational and fun anytime. It’s an opportunity to reflect on those puzzles, games and even challenges in life that we embrace every day but sometimes take for granted. Puzzles also offer us a great way to spend quality time interacting with family. Puzzles are an awesome way to make challenges and learning fun any day! ~Bette A. Stevens

REVIEW

The Tangram Zoo and Word Puzzles Too! by Bette A. Stevens
Very Clever! 
“I bought this book to give as a gift to my grandchildren. Reading through the book before giving it to them, I found it taught me a few things, too. First, I had no idea a tangram is a seven-piece puzzle with specific shapes. A pattern is provided to cut out and get started along with the history of it. There are many ways to put the pieces together, but the book supplies shapes to make—with clues or riddles as to what they are. Although, this is a very clever and educational book for children, I appreciated the added bonus that an adult can sit down and enjoy it with the kids!” ~D.L. Finn, author

Ready to give Tangrams and Word Puzzles a try?

Here’s the handout the author uses with students.
Click the TZ HANDOUT link below.
Download, print and you’re ready to go…

TZ Handout 

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Looking for the Perfect Picture Book for the Kids this Spring?


AMAZING MATILDA’s

got you covered!

matilda-expertly-as-a-cirus-acrobat-2016

One concern parents have is how to inspire their children to meet challenges with patience and persistence. This is the plot of the award-winning picture book, AMAZING MATILDA, A Monarchs Tale, written and illustrated by Bette A. Stevens. In this story a caterpillar wants to learn how to fly. She asks all of her friends in the meadow, but doesn’t find an easy answer. Yet, she continues the quest until, at last, she becomes what she wants to be—a butterfly. AMAZING MATILDA offers adults the opportunity to inspire the children in their lives to meet their own challenges with patience and persistence.

  • Be sure to check out the #FREE PDFs.  Amazing Matilda Finger Puppets and Fun & Learning with Monarch Butterflies— two excellent reading and life/environmental science resources to go along with the book. Find the download links below.
  • Award-winning AMAZING MATILDA is available in paperback and eBook versions and it’s an AMAZON KINDLE MATCHBOOK—that means, when you purchase the paperback for $9.49, you can download the eBook version for FREE! Click the link to Order your copies today.

#FREE Reading & Monarch Butterfly Resources from Bette

Stevens has put together two (2) FREE #PDF companion pieces to make talking to the kids about AMAZING MATILDA and learning about Monarch butterflies exciting and fun.

CLICK THE TWO LINKS ABOVE TO DOWNLOAD. These resources will not only keep the kids talking about the book with their finger puppets, they’ll learn even more about Monarch Butterflies, their endangered habitat, monarch and milkweed conservation and preservation.  Fun & Learning offers activity sites and resources for butterfly gardeners and teachers as well.  Don’t miss these two great resources for families, clubs, classrooms and homeschoolers.

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A Bunch of Resources for Read Across America Day


Happy “Read Across America Day!” ~Bette A. Stevens https://www.4writersandreaders.com

WordDreams...

As writers, we know the importance reading has made in our lives. That is why holidays that support reading for kids are a big deal with me–well, that and the fact I’m also a teacher! In the United States, we celebrate Read Across America Day annually on March 2. This coincides with the birthday of Dr. Seuss, one of the most beloved and iconic children’s writers and perfect for any read-aloud.

Here are some great reading websites for students K-5:

  1. Aesop Fables—no ads
  2. Aesop’s Fables
  3. Audio stories
  4. Childhood Stories
  5. Classic Fairy Tales
  6. Fairy Tales and Fables
  7. Scholastic: Listen/read–Free non-fic audio books
  8. Starfall
  9. Storyline: Stories read by actors
  10. Stories to read for youngsters
  11. Eduplace: Stories to read

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Have an Amazing New Year! (Poem + Monarch Butterfly Resources from author Bette A. Stevens)


Have an Amazing New Year!

 

May your days be blessed and beautiful

May your nights, sweet dreams supply

May your New Year be amazing

As a monarch butterfly

© Bette A. Stevens

Learn about Monarch Butterflies

Bette in her garden with one of the monarch butterflies that emerged from its chrysalis at the farmstead in central Maine.

Monarch butterflies offer an amazing view into the intricate nature of the wild. Their scientific name—Danaus Plexippus— Greek for “Sleepy Transformation,” gets part of the story right, but not the epic whole. Monarch butterflies embark on an amazing migratory phenomenon as they have the ability to hibernate and metamorphose.  International conservation efforts to protect and restore monarch habitat are ongoing. These efforts may help improve the near-endangered/endangered status of the species; but we, as ordinary citizens, can easily help the monarch butterfly recovery right in our own backyards and gardens.

Wishing all of you and our amazing monarch butterflies…
“An Amazing New Year!”

~Bette A. Stevens, Maine author

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The “Halloween Fun – Get Your Spook On” Weekend Blog Tour – @WendyJayneScott #RRBC #RWISA


Welcome to the “HALLOWEEN FUN – GET YOUR SPOOK ON” Weekend Blog Tour!

13 Spooky Writing Prompts to ignite your imagination.
Bats and cats, owls and howls, trick-or-treat, hosts and ghosts.
Kids, have fun this Halloween by creating spooky stories to scare your family and friends.

***

Giveaways
(3) Amazon eBook copies of any of the Aspiring Author Series (Winner’s choice)

Leave a comment below and/or along any stop along the tour for your chance to win!

Halloween—Witch’s Familiar

In European folklore and folk-belief of the Medieval and Early Modern periods, familiar spirits (sometimes referred to simply as “familiars” or “animal guides”) were believed to be supernatural entities that would assist witches and cunning folk in their practice of magic. According to the records of the time, they would appear in numerous guises, often as an animal.

The main purpose of familiars is to serve the witch or young witch, providing protection for them as they come into their new powers.

(Reference: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia).

 

Meet Wendy’s two writing familiars—Zippy & Zappy

13 Spooky Writing Prompts to ignite your imagination

Bats and cats, owls and howls, trick-or-treat, hosts and ghosts.

Have fun this Halloween by creating spooky stories to scare your family and friends.

Available eBook & Print on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B075FD222K/

Visit author WJ Scott

https://www.amazon.com/WJ-Scott/e/B00MGDXQ8C/

Twitter@WendyJayneScott

https://www.facebook.com/ChildrenAuthorWJScott/

http://www.authorchildrens.com/

HAPPY HALLOWEEN, EVERYONE!  Thanks for stopping by to support Wendy.  To follow along with the other two tour stops this weekend, or to find out more about her, please visit her 4WillsPub Blog Tour page and be sure to leave her a comment below, letting her know you’re running out to get her book this weekend! It’s only $.99!!! Grab a copy of Halloween Writing Prompts today. WJ Scott’s writing prompt series ranks among my favorites. ~Bette A. Stevens, Maine author https://www.4writersandreaders.com 

 

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Write a 🎃 Halloween Haiku 🎃 & Get the Kids Writing Too!


Write a Halloween Haiku & Get the Kids Writing Too!

BLACK CAT, A Halloween Haiku (inspired by Midnight, our fabulous furry feline). ~Bette A. Stevens, Maine author

Meet Midnight—The fabulous furry feline who inspired me to write BLACK CAT, a 🎃Halloween haiku🎃 (Haiku: a Japanese-inspired three-line: 5-7-5 syllable poetry form).

Midnight’s grooming table is decked out for each season or holiday and she loves it. I designed this year’s poster using a photo I took of Midnight resting on her grooming table here at the farmstead in central Maine. She’s a kitty who loves to hunt for spiders (one of her favorite treats). After taking the photo and writing the haiku, I added text plus spider and web graphics, then added a frame to make a poster. Kids of all ages enjoy writing and  illustrating their own poetry. It makes a great family activity too. 

What’s inspiring you this Halloween?
Brainstorm your list and get writing.
🎃Have fun—don’t forget to get the kids writing too!

Here are some writer’s tricks (literary devices found in every writer’s toolbox) I used to create BLACK CAT. These tools can set a mood— they make writing and reading memorable and fun.  Check them out and see if you can discover where I used them in my poem.

Read on to find out more about these literary devices.

BLACK CAT (haiku) by Bette A. Stevens

Black cat waits, watches…
Stalking tricksters in their web.
Spiders are her treats!

Three Writer’s Tricks (Literary devices used in writing poetry and prose)

Assonance
Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in nearby words.

Consonance
Another literary device used by writers and poets is consonance. It is the repetition of the final consonant sounds, usually in the more important words or in the accented syllables.

Alliteration
You put your alliteration tool to work when words that start with the same sound are used close together in a phrase or sentence. The sound is usually a consonant and the words don’t have to always be right next to one another.

Finding “just the right words”
Abundant resources are available in print as well as through online searches. Listed below are the two resources I had readily available in the classroom for my students (Grades 4-8). Paperbacks are inexpensive enough to have multiple copies available, and in my opinion, they are indispensable.

  • The Scholastic Rhyming Dictionary by Sue Young
  • Webster’s Thesaurus for Students by Merriam-Webster

                        🎃 Happy Writing and Reading Haiku

                                    & Happy Halloween 🎃

                     ~ Bette A. Stevens, Maine author/illustrator

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