A writer inspired by nature and human nature

Archive for the ‘Children’s Activities’ Category

Aside

Write a Spring Haiku & Get the Kids Writing Too!

Celebrating International Haiku Poetry Day!

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

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Aside

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 

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

Aside

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

AMAZING MATILDA’s

got you covered!

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.

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

 

A Bunch of Resources for Read Across America Day

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

Aside

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

[EXPLORE BETTE’S BLOG]

Aside

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 

 

Aside

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

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Aside

Write a Haiku & Get the Kids Writing Too!

Let nature inspire you

Our rock garden at the Farmstead is singing. The Columbine were so glorious this season they inspired me to write “The Choral Debut,”  a haiku (Japanese-inspired, non-rhyming three-line: 5-7-5 syllable poem). I hope The Choral Debut inspires you to get outdoors and let nature sing its songs to you. 

The Choral Debut

HAIKU by Bette A. Stevens

Rising with the sun

Pristine perennials join

The choral début

I enjoy 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’ve learned that kids of all ages love writing poetry and like me, 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. I invite you to give it a try. In fact, I’m working on a Maine haiku collection that sings of the seasons. 

Don’t be shy. Grab a pen and paper, get outdoors, get inspired…and get the kids writing haiku too!

~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:

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Aside

Inspiring Kids of All Ages—One Book at a Time—#GetCaughtReading

“The love of reading is a lynchpin for successful learning—for success in life. Kids learn to read best when adults take time to share their passion for books with them.” ~Bette A. Stevens, Maine author.

One of the best ways to inspire kids to love to read is by reading aloud to them and talking with them about the books you share. We can all make a difference in the lives of the children around us when we #GetCaughtReading with the kids!

Benefits of Reading Aloud to Children of all ages

  • Expands vocabulary as they hear new words in context
  • Provides contextual examples for grammar and sentence structure that everyday conversation does not offer
  • Strengthens reading comprehension
  • Increases a child’s attention span
  • Teaches life skills associated with story themes and characters
  • Fosters family/generational/community communication.

Research has shown that children who come to school with a large vocabulary achieve more in school than those that have little familiarity with a wide range of words. Children are great listeners and imitators—they pay attention to what they hear. Reading aloud and discussing books with children is crucial to successful learning. Before children are reading on their own, a crucial part of their learning is based on imitating what they hear and observe.

Children are able to listen and comprehend content read to them two years above their actual reading level. Reading comprehension doesn’t catch up to a child’s listening comprehension level until eighth grade. When listening to adults read stories above their current reading level, a child’s vocabulary increases. This also provides an opportunity for listeners hear complete and complex sentence structure that is not offered in everyday conversation.

Children of all ages love to be read to by adults who are excited about books and reading. In fact, avid adult readers are walking, talking advertisements for books as they share their love of the written word with listeners. And, children enjoy talking about books with adults as much as the adults enjoy talking with them. When readers and listeners discuss characters and themes, their lives are enriched and family/generational communication skills are strengthened. A child’s story comprehension skills increase significantly as well. Reading aloud to children creates a win-win experience for everyone.

Where are the children?

In the U.S. alone there are about 15 million children living in families with incomes below the federal poverty threshold—many of these children do not have books in their homes or adults who are available to read to them.

Where are these children? We’ll find them in homes, schools and libraries in villages, towns and cities in our own communities and across the globe. Local libraries and elementary schools are pleased to hear from those of us who are looking for the opportunity to share our love of reading with those who need it most—children of all ages, from all walks of life. Together we can change the world—one reader, one book, one book talk—one child or group of children at a time.

“So it is with children who learn to read fluently and well: They begin to take flight into whole new worlds as effortlessly as young birds take to the sky.” ~William James

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Inspired by nature and human nature, author Bette A. Stevens is a retired elementary and middle school teacher, a wife, mother of two and grandmother of five. Stevens lives in Central Maine with her husband on their 37-acre farmstead where she enjoys reading, writing, gardening, walking and reveling in the beauty of nature. She advocates for children and families, for childhood literacy and for the conservation of monarch butterflies—an endangered species (and for milkweed, the only plant that monarch caterpillars will eat).

Stevens is the author of AMAZING MATILDA, an award-winning picture book (Ages 5-11); The Tangram Zoo and Word Puzzles Too!, a home/school resource incorporating hands-on math, science and writing (Ages 6-12); and PURE TRASH (Ages 10-Adult), the short story prequel to her début novel, DOG BONE SOUP (Ages 12-Adult)—coming-of-age story and family drama set in 1950s and 60s New England.

 

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

Aside

#NationalPoetryMonth: Write a Spring Haiku & Get the Kids Writing Too!

Celebrate National Poetry Month with a Haiku or Two!

Countdown Commences

Haiku by Bette A. Stevens

Enchanting blossoms
Springtide emerging from earth
Countdown commences

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. Give it a try! 

Grab the kids, take out your pens, head into the great outdoors and get inspired!

~Bette A. Stevens, Maine author/illustrator

(Haiku: m)

haiku

noun hai·ku \ˈhī-(ˌ)kü\

  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

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: