A writer inspired by nature and human nature

Archive for the ‘Homeschooling’ Category

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Happy Birthday, Maine! + #WritingChallenge


Celebrating #Maine’s Bicentennial through Poetry

Maine officially celebrates its 200th Birthday on March 15, 2020! Find out more about “The Pine Tree State” and help us celebrate all year long with a haiku of your own. #WritingChallenge

Did you know?

Maine (nicknamed The Pine Tree State) remained a province of the Massachusetts Bay Colony when America declared its independence from Britain on July 4, 1776. At that time Maine was not one of America’s original thirteen colonies because it had never been granted a royal charter from Great Britain. It would be decades after the American Revolution and the signing of The Declaration of Independence (summarizing the colonists’ motivation for seeking independence) before Maine gained official statehood.

The Eastern white pine tree helped fuel the region’s economy in an era when shipbuilding and lumbering reigned supreme. The value of those pines actually provided a spark for the American Revolution. Massachusetts didn’t want to lose any of those pine profits it gained after the war, while Mainers struggled for political and economic independence. Maine officially celebrates its Bicentennial on March 15, 2020.

“A nature-filled land that enlivens the senses and soothes the soul—to me, Maine is poetry.”
–Bette A. Stevens

The Power of Poetry

How Readers & Writers of All Ages Benefit from Poetry

  • Improves Verbal Skills & Memory
  • Enhances Cognitive Function
  • Develops Empathy & Insight
  • Encourages Creativity

Why Haiku…

Inspired by the beauty and bounty of my home state, I write poetry in many forms; but I chose haiku for My Maine to offer readers a collection of story poems and photo snapshots of the unique land I know and love.

I invite you to join me as I celebrate #Maine2020 by submitting one of your favorite photos taken in “The Pine Tree State” and writing a haiku too! I’ll be publishing submissions here on my blog throughout 2020. Simply email me at bettestevens@tds.net SUBJECT: “Maine Bicentennial Haiku.”

How to Write Haiku…

 

 

A Peek Inside the Collection

~Excerpts from “Spring Awakenings”~

 

March shakes the remnants
Of sleep from wintery boughs
White confetti swirls

Granite boulders rise
Above the winter mantle
Midway the meltdown

Dark mask shrouds the land
Soaking downpour foreshadows
Season’s renewal

Rivers spill over
While ice jams—slowly melting
Weep upon their beds

Pot holes irk drivers
As roadways turn to washboards
Kids giggle in back

Hills and vales exult
Rivers and streams sing arias
Mud season arrives

Verdant shimmering
Emerald fields bursting forth
Souls rise from slumber

Sunbeams composing
Springtime melodies, humming
Tapping to the tunes

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 eight. 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 (milkweed is the only plant that monarch caterpillars will eat). Stevens has written articles for ECHOES, The Northern Maine Journal of Rural Culture. As of July 2019,  Stevens has self-published five books and has a second poetry collection on the drawing board. Find out more about the author and her books at https://www.amazon.com/author/betteastevens

 

Contact the author at DBS Publishing to order author-signed copies of her books or to schedule a Poetry Event tailored to meet the needs and interests of your school, community group, company or organization, or simply to find out more.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. I look forward to hearing from you. (Comment Section Below)

“Happy reading & writing poetry!” 

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

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Celebrate #Maine2020 through Poetry


Happy Birthday Maine!

Did you know?

Maine (nicknamed The Pine Tree State) was initially a province of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In fact, it was decades after the American Revolution before Maine gained official statehood. The Eastern white pine tree helped fuel the region’s economy in an era when shipbuilding and lumbering reigned supreme. The value of those pines actually provided a spark for the American Revolution. Massachusetts didn’t want to lose any of those pine profits it gained after the war, while Mainers struggled for political and economic independence. Maine officially celebrates its Bicentennial on March 15, 2020.

“A nature-filled land that enlivens the senses and soothes the soul—to me, Maine is poetry.”
–Bette A. Stevens

The Power of Poetry

How Readers & Writers of All Ages Benefit from Poetry

  • Improves Verbal Skills & Memory
  • Enhances Cognitive Function
  • Develops Empathy & Insight
  • Encourages Creativity

Why Haiku…

Inspired by the beauty and bounty of my home state, I write poetry in many forms; but I chose haiku for My Maine to offer readers a collection of story poems and photo snapshots of the unique land I know and love.

I invite you to join me as I celebrate #Maine2020 by submitting one of your favorite photos taken in “The Pine Tree State” and writing a haiku too! I’ll be publishing submissions here on my blog throughout 2020. Simply email me at bettestevens@tds.net SUBJECT: “Maine Bicentennial Haiku.”

How to Write Haiku…

 

 

A Peek Inside the Collection

~Excerpts from Winter Tales~

Frozen polar winds
Wave the ice crystal scepter
Dawn’s magic appears

Silvery branches
Unveil the old, old folktale
A spellbound story

Pine cones and tassels
Mirrored in moonlight upon
White weighted branches

Chickadees dozing
Nestling, captive to pine boughs
Till dawn sets them free

Shovels and snow plows
Storm’s rook ravings unraveled
Till the next arrives

Soups, stews and chowders
Stories told round the table
Favored winter fare

Silently—Snowfalls
Reign over field and forest
Supremely sovereign

Winter white gemstones
Glistening across meadows
Perfect snowshoe day

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 eight. 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 (milkweed is the only plant that monarch caterpillars will eat). Stevens has written articles for ECHOES, The Northern Maine Journal of Rural Culture. As of July 2019,  Stevens has self-published five books and has a second poetry collection on the drawing board. Find out more about the author and her books at https://www.amazon.com/author/betteastevens

 

Contact the author at DBS Publishing to order author-signed copies of her books or to schedule a Poetry Event tailored to meet the needs and interests of your school, community group, company or organization, or simply to find out more.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. I look forward to hearing from you. (Comment Section Below)

“Happy Reading & Writing Poetry!” 

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

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12 Ways to Develop your Child’s Writing Skills


GREAT TIPS from Nicholas Rossis for teachers, parents and adults everywhere! WE CAN ALL CONTRIBUTE to childhood literacy: Developing a child’s writing skills… ~ Bette A. Stevens, https://www.4writersandreaders.com

Nicholas C. Rossis

Getting people — and kids, in particular — to read and write has long been a passion of mine. You may remember my post, Reading Tricks for Kids of Any Age, originally written for Mom’s Favorite Reads.

Well, I recently came across an article by Abigail Elijah of Knowledge Isle with 20 tips for developing your kid’s writing skills which inspired me to write up a new post, this one on the subject of getting your child to write. I hope you find these tips useful!

12 Ways to Develop your Kid’s Writing Skills

helping your child write better - girl writing | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books

Seven out of ten children find writing particularly challenging. What can we do to support them and help develop their writing skills?

1. Read

One of the most important things you can do for your kids’ writing skills, is to encourage and develop their passion for reading.

Writing is different than speaking. Abigail…

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Beautiful Borestone—A Maine Haiku & a View from the Mountain too!


“A nature-filled land that enlivens the senses and soothes the soul—to me, Maine is poetry.”
Bette A. Stevens

Seven-year-old Sophie loves to read and listen to poetry! I discovered that about her when I met Sophie and her mom Janet the evening of my book signing, “Celebrating  Maine through Poetry” presentation in October.  Now Sophie loves to write poetry too! 

In fact, Sophie enjoys poetry so much that Janet told me how grateful she was that they had come that night to learn about  the benefits that poetry provides for readers and writers of all ages. The audience even had a chance to practice finding some of the poetic devices I used when writing My Maine, Haiku through the Seasons that evening.

When we talked about the beauty and bounty that Maine has to offer, Janet shared that she had recently taken her children on a day trip to Borestone Mountain. Borestone is a popular hiking spot near the center of the state, with a trailhead located on Mountain Road near Willimantic. Sophie and Janet have captured Borestone beautifully in their haiku! 

Beautiful Borestone

Climbing made it fun
Brilliant trees and pretty lakes
Beautiful Borestone

Haiku by Sophie & Janet

Janet and I have kept in touch by email since the event and I was delighted when she sent me photos she’d taken at Borestone and a haiku that she and Sophie had written together.  Sophie wants to write more poetry! That makes my author/teacher heart sing…

 

Educators, librarians, community groups and organizations:

Maine author and retired teacher Bette A. Stevens shares her love of Maine, of poetry, of nature and of reading and writing with children and adults of all ages. Stevens is currently booking presentations for Spring 2020 in the central Maine area as “The Pine Tree State” launches its Bicentennial celebrations. Stevens’s presentations are tailored to your classroom/group needs. Poetry is powerful and its benefits are invaluable. For more information contact the author at bettestevens@tds.net SUBJECT: POETRY—Group Presentation.

Find out more about Maine author Bette A. Stevens

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

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From Kids to Corporate Executives—Everyone Benefits from Poetry!


An evening of poetry

I spent a lovely evening in October at The Newport Cultural Center in Newport, Maine reading from My Maine: Haiku through the Seasons (Poetry & Photography Collection by Bette A. Stevens), chatting with the audience about Maine and about poetry before signing books. Whether writing a paragraph, a poem or a book, preparing marketing materials, deciding how to format a page or publication, selecting images or designing book covers—even when preparing a presentation for a group, organization or classroom—writers/authors are researchers at heart. Welcome to a brief recap of “Celebrate Maine through Poetry” night.

A wonderful evening chatting about “MAINE” & “POETRY” with old friends and new friends. We talked about the benefits of reading and writing poetry for people in all age groups and professions, discovered some tricks for picking the perfect word whether writing poetry or prose. The audience was amazing at it! 

The Pine Tree State

Did you know?

Maine (nicknamed The Pine Tree State) was initially a province of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In fact, it was decades after the American Revolution before Maine gained official statehood. The Eastern white pine tree helped fuel the region’s economy in an era when shipbuilding and lumbering reigned supreme. The value of those pines actually provided a spark for the American Revolution. Massachusetts didn’t want to lose any of those pine profits it gained after the war while Mainers struggled for political and economic independence. Maine will officially celebrate its Bicentennial on March 15, 2020.

A Peek Inside the Collection

The Pine Tree State

Maine pines and people
Survivors, resilient souls
Standing tall and proud

Pragmatic figures
Independence their calling
Rugged yet limber

Growing where they choose
While rising ever higher
Strong arms branching out

Tempering spirits
Amidst the boundless medley
Solid, steady, proud

The Power of Poetry

How Readers & Writers of All Ages Benefit 

  • Improves Verbal Skills & Memory
  • Enhances Cognitive Function
  • Develops Empathy & Insight
  • Encourages Creativity

I’ll be elaborating on all four of these benefits in future posts. Plus you’ll get to meet some of my old and new friends who are benefiting from the power of reading and  writing  poetry. 

Why Pick Poetry?

Inspired by the beauty and bounty of my home state, I write poetry in many forms; but I chose haiku for My Maine to offer readers a collection of story poem snapshots into the unique place I know and love.

“A nature-filled land that enlivens the senses and soothes the soul—to me, Maine is poetry.” –Bette A. Stevens

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 eight. 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 (milkweed is the only plant that monarch caterpillars will eat). Stevens has written articles for ECHOES, The Northern Maine Journal of Rural Culture. As of July 2019,  Stevens has self-published five books and has a second poetry collection on the drawing board. Find out more about the author and her books at https://www.amazon.com/author/betteastevens

Contact the author at DBS Publishing to order author-signed copies of her books or to schedule a Poetry Event tailored to meet the needs and interests of your school, community group, company or organization or simply to find out more about it.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. I look forward to hearing from you. (Comment Section Below)

“Happy Reading & Writing Poetry!” 

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

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AMAZING MATILDA, A Monarch Butterfly Tale by Bette A. Stevens (Children’s Picture Book)



“If you loved P.D. Eastman’s incomparable book, Are You My Mother, about a baby bird’s search for its mother, you must read this book. If Charlotte’s Web is one of your childhood favorites, I say, Move over Charlotte. Matilda is now here!” ~Jacqui Murray

 

AMAZING MATILDA—Read the Reviews

  • Bette Stevens’s Amazing Matilda: The Tale of a Monarch Butterfly is the story of tiny Matilda, a round white creature born from an egg in Nature’s garden with a burning desire to fly.  Without wings, though, she knows that can’t happen. Matilda has no idea that in her life, she will morph from the crawly leaf-bound creature to a gorgeous monarch butterfly. She tells her animal friends about her passion to fly and they offer their stories of growing up as well as sage advice any parent would be envious of. For example, her friend Sparrow suggests:“Just have patience and follow your instincts, my dear…”Another friend suggests:”I could do anything that I wanted to if I only tried long enough and hard enough.”She is frustrated by this good-natured advice because she has no idea how to do what they suggest:“Sparrow said that I must have patience and that I must follow my instincts. Now, you say I must have wings. Where can I find all of those things?”As Matilda grows, she changes from a larva to pupa to a gorgeous winged adult. Each stage in Matilda’s amazing journey is accompanied with wonderful drawings that show her progress, who she meets, and how she changes.As a result, readers are not just entertained by the story but happily learn about the development of a butterfly. There are lots of cute lines, such as:”Matilda crunched and munched and lunched, leaf after leaf, day after day.”If you loved P.D. Eastman’s incomparable book, Are You My Mother, about a baby bird’s search for its mother, you must read this book. If Charlotte’s Web is one of your childhood favorites, I say, Move over Charlotte. Matilda is now here!This is a short book. In fact. This review is almost longer than the story!
  • The story is really exciting, appealing, adventurous, lovable, and yet, sufficiently wise and deep for both kids and adults.In case you do not trust my word, I urge you to find out for yourselves. Otherwise, I might be reviewing this wonderful book for hours. It is my pleasure indeed!
  • A beautiful message of love, patience, perseverance, and belief. The story is told with a frog, bird, rabbit, and the butterfly as the main characters. A perfect book for children mainly to teach them about the cycles of life and the importance of patience, perseverance, and keeping faith in a dream.

Read all 87 reviews on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AU9ZISA/

 

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

Order your copies of AMAZING MATILDA today:

FREE from Bette

AMAZING MATILDA (Review & Author Interview) 

 

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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!

 

Check out Bette’s latest releaseMy 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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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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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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