Thursday, July 23, 2009


The day has finally come. My first ebook is for sale on Lulu for $3.00! Just click on the following link to find the book. If my book doesn't appear at the top of the page, return to the blog and try again.

This book inspires movement as children learn about the days of the week. The lyrical rhymes also teach them how to spell each day! The activities at the end of the book are designed to reinforce the concepts as well as give impetus to movement exploration. The picture above is an example of one of the activities.

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Friday, July 17, 2009

S is for Scuba Diving: Movement Exploration

Movement is indicated by bold type. Play a CD of crashing waves as you act out this story. Remember to give the children enough time to explore each movement.

We slip into our swimsuits, slide our sunglasses on, and spray sun block all over our skin. We sail out to sea in our sailboat.

See the seagulls soaring high in the sky. We sling some shrimp for the birds to swallow.

Now we squeeze into our scuba stuff and spring off the ship. We splish and splash on the surface.

We submerge. We search for some shells. Scoop the shells up, and stack them in the sack.

We scout out a deep dark cave. We switch on our lights. We see the seahorses. They’re hungry. We shovel the seaweed to feed them.

Outside the cave we serve the fish some seaweed too. We stroke the fish as they scoot by. We snap lots of pictures.

Oh, no! We spot a shark. We swim and scatter as fast as we can. But the shark keeps steering himself towards us. Everyone stops. We shake and swerve out of his way. We spin around and see a friendly sand shark. He won’t hurt us.

We signal that we are safe and swim back to the ship. We scramble aboard and sit in the hot sun. We shut our eyes and sleep for awhile.

Seat Work

Preparation: Write each S word from the story on index cards. Add some non S words for sorting purposes.

Depending on the age group, you can sort action verbs, s words, or consonant blends.
For more movement activities like this one, don't forget to sign up for my free monthly Movement and Rhythm Newsletter in the right sidebar.

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Thursday, July 9, 2009

July's Mystery Site Winner!

Each month our Virtual Book Tour has a mystery site. One lucky person who leaves a comment gets a free book. Lori Boyd won a PDF of my new book, Moving Through All Seven Days.

Lori Boyd says....God has given me the courage, strength and direction to take something that I have a passion for......painting, drawing, decorating, design, color....and turn it into a business that gives me the opportunity to offer you products that I believe in! Products that are affordable, personal, unique and very special! I have my products in several Gift Shops in Kentucky and now with the help of a great web designer I have been able to reach further!

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Friday, July 3, 2009

Carolyn Howard-Johnson's Teacher Activities for "Learning About Coots"

Use these wonderful activities with the short story, Learning About Coots, which was posted on July 1st. Teachers are invited to use excerpts if they include purchase information. Just contact the author for the proper accreditation. at The book is available new or used at

Comprehension questions:

"What is an adventure?" "Why do you think Sky took her little brother?" "Why do you think she went in search of the old coot even though she knew she shouldn't go on the other side of the creek?" "How do you think she felt when, a strange woman took her to a strange house?" "Is it a good idea to go with a stranger?" "Do you have a secret word with your parents? Don't tell us what it is." "Do you think Sky's mother will be angry? Why?" "did you like the story? Why?" "What was your favorite part?"

Stepping Stone Hop:

Create a winding river on the floor with masking tape. Make stepping stones out of construction paper and put either numbers (1-10, even numbers, odd numbers, count by 3's, 4's, 5's, 10's) or the letters of the alphabet on each one. Just like Sky and Bobby in the story have the children hop from rock to rock to get to the other side.

State Symbols, Flags, Flowers, Songs, Birds Activity:

Make referrence to the story when Sky was describing the police officer. "The sheriff was dressed all neat with a patch of the State of Utah with a beehive in the middle on his sleeve...." Tell the children that each state has its own flags and symbols. Use this opportunity to introduce your own state symbols. You can find coloring pages at

Make a family tree:

Family Tree Kids is a site where you learn how to become a "family detective" and dig up clues about your ancestry. You can download a free family tree to use in the classroom.

For more information about this exciting author check out these following weebsites:
Award-winning author of the HowToDoItFrugally Series of Books for writers, including USA Book News' award winners
The Frugal Editor
The Frugal Book Promoter
The Great First Impression Book Proposal

Blogs for Writers:

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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Meet Author Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s first novel, This is the Place, has won eight awards. Her second book, Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered, is creative nonfiction; it has won three. Her fiction, nonfiction and poems have also won awards and appeared in national magazines, anthologies and review journals. She speaks on Utah’s culture, tolerance and other subjects and has appeared on TV and hundreds of radio stations nationwide, both as an actor in commercials. Teachers are invited to use excerpts if they include purchase information. Just contact the author for the proper accreditation. at The book is available new or used at

Here is one of her short stories that you can read and enjoy or read to your class as a listening comprehension activity. My July 3rd post will include some questions and activities you can use with this story.

Learning About Coots
1948-Holladay, Utah
By Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Lee, my older cousin used to taunt me. “Don’t go down in the hollow past the property line. There’s an old coot from the other side of the family who lives over there. If he catches you, he will drag you off.”

“Lee, one of these days I’m going,” I said, knowing I wouldn’t.

But one day I took my brother by his pudgy little hand, “Bobby, we’re going to find an old coot.” I had pictured an old geezer of rooster like dimensions, put together like a satyr, with cocks-comb hair and a nose like a beak. “I think a coot is related to us, a kind of Johnssen we’ve never seen before.”

We slid down the hollow to the creek on our bottoms, embedding clay into the weave of what covered our behinds. The proof of Bobby’s indiscretion brushed off of his Sunday trousers leaving a foxtail or two protruding from the seams. My panties were black and wet so I took them off and put them under a rock to retrieve on the way back. We found stones to step across the boiling creek and plopped an additional river rock where Bobby’s short legs needed an extra one.

The shadows of the trout beneath the water were slow and green. Perhaps wild things shouldn’t be disturbed. Perhaps it was the same with the old coot. But I had a need to do my cousin one better. Being twelve shouldn’t give him all the advantages. Bobby and I pulled ourselves up the other side of the hollow using roots and brush for leverage.

“I’m hungry. Maybe we could eat the trout for lunch.” Bobby’s voice sounded like the ice of high notes flowing through a sieve. We had walked a long way and it was getting hot. We sat down on some weeds that were still soft and green reminding me of my delicate condition of undress.

I felt helpless. “Bobby, if you need to tinkle you can. No one can see you and I won’t look.” I thought the diversion would be helpful for hunger pangs. We could now see houses but they were a long way off.

We scooted under barbed wire fences and over weathered stiles, picked our way around dried cow dung. The houses grew bigger because they were closer. An old truck came along the road and stopped in clouds of tawny dust. The driver stared at our Sunday clothes. “What on earth are you kids doin’ here? Where did you come from?”

The woman jumped out of the truck. She looked at the man behind the wheel. “Look at this dress. Expensive.” She picked the fabric of my skirt between her fingers. “And short. I’ve never seen these kids before.”

They put us in the back of the truck and drove into the next driveway, rutted like the road but narrower. Their house smelled like babies lived there, wet and sour. A linoleum mat lay askew on the floor in front of the sink, its corners curling.
“What’s your name, honey?” The voice was soft but there was a sound of perturbance about it that made me feel shy.

“I’m Bobby Johnssen and I’m hungry.”

The phone got a good working out. “These kids say they’re Johnssens but I’ve never seen ‘em at church. I don’t think they’re Johnssens.” Silence. Then she rang off and called someone else.

"Feed the kids, will you?” She sounded cross at the man, like she didn’t have too many words to use. He put two bowls of oatmeal, gray and lumpy, leftovers from the Fridge, on the table. He poured the top, creamy part of the milk from a pitcher onto it.

“We don’t have sugar,” the man said. The spoons were big ovals and didn’t match.
The lady was saying, “Why on earth would I call the sheriff? She put her finger in the cradle of the phone and turned to her husband. “Why would we want to call the sheriff?”

“Well, because they say they’re Johnssen kids but it’s obvious they aren’t. So how’re we going to figure out even who to call first. Maybe they are from the Johnssen family on the other side of the crick.”

“We are, we are!” Bobby squealed with his mouth full and milk coming out of the corners of his mouth. “We’re looking for the old coot!” A baby wailed from the other room and other voices shushed it.

The man took the phone, said two numbers into the spout at the front of it. “We’ve got two kids here who say they’re Johnssens, maybe from the…maybe from the other side of the fam…. You know. Wanna come get ‘em and see where they belong?” He listened a minute. “I’m not calling them m’self!” He turned to his wife. “They got a call four hours ago about these kids. If you could quit meddling we’d’ve had ‘em home a long time before.”

I finished the porridge, like Goldilocks. It was good to feel the heaviness in my stomach, warm, even though it hadn’t been when I ate it. I attempted to slide off the chair seat covered with slick, diamond patterned vinyl. My bottom stuck. The lady’s eyes widened. “Mel, this child hasn’t a stitch of underwear on under her clothes!”

My humiliation was complete. I wasn’t a Johnssen, from either side of the creek. I was exposed. “Can I, can I use your bathroom?”

“You most certainly can.” The lady hustled me down a dark hall.
I perched on the toilet, my spirit of adventure crushed, worried about what my mother would say about her daughter being out in public without her panties. The lady reached her hand inside the bathroom door. In it was a pair of big underpants, thin and gray and shabby in places like shredded twine drooping from an animated hook. Hanging from the pulled elastic waist was a safety pin, which came in handy.
“Thank you. And thank you for the mush.” At least maybe I could get a good report for manners if not for my attire.

The sheriff was dressed all neat with a patch of the State of Utah with a beehive in the middle on his sleeve and nice, ironed creases in his shirt. “So you two are my lost Johnssens, huh?” The sheriff grinned.
“Do you think Mom will be mad?”

“We only wanted to find the old coot,” Bobby said.

The sheriff shook his head. He got down on one knee. “When are you kids ever going to stop the bogey man stories about the other side of the family? Polygamy’s over, kids. One side of the creek’s no different from the other side. We’re all cousins--once, twice, three times removed maybe, but cousins. We’d all better be forgetting which is the first wife’s family, which are the basta...which are the other wife’s kids, you know?”

The sheriff looked up at the lady, who didn’t say anything about my underpants and the man who didn’t like it but fed us anyway. “Thanks Mr. and Mrs. Johnssen. I’ll see they get home.”

I followed the sheriff hitching my new, panties so they wouldn’t droop below my good dress. Bobby reached for the sheriff’s hand. “They didn’t look at all like Coots,” he said.

Author's blogs:
Sharing with Writers is a blog on all things publishing with an emphasis on book promotion. It was named to Writer's Digest 101 Best Website list.
The New Book Review is a great way for readers, authors, reviewers and publicists to get more mileage out of a great review. Guidelines for submitting (and recycling) good reviews are in the left column. Scroll down a bit. It's free.
This is a blog where participants in in my HowToDoItFrugally cooperative fair booths exchange ideas that make a ho-hum booth into a sizzling success. We keep it open so all authors can learn from our successes and mmmm...challenges.
This is the Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor blog. It covers everything that has anything to do with editing from grammar to formatting. The question and answer format encourages you to get the answers you need.

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