Sunday, March 28, 2010


Music Club Ideas

1) Hand bell Club- You can purchase a set of hand bells for kids that are color coded for the different notes they play. I found a set at Lakeshore Learning. The set came with color coded cards to play different songs such as “Mary Had a Little Lamb” and “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” You can start be teaching children about notes, note values, and scales and move on teaching how to play songs with the hand bells. As a special event at the end of the club event parents and friends to a Hand bell recital.

2) Karaoke Club- If you have a karaoke machine, or even just a boom box and microphone you can host a karaoke club. The children can practice, and you can hold a concert for them at the end of the club session.

3) Music Appreciation Club-Teach children to appreciate music. This can be accomplished in many ways. You can teach the kids to identify some classical music and then play a game of “Name that Tune.” They can listen to various styles of music and paint or draw about how it makes them feel. You can teach them about rhythm and have them clap or dance to different beats. Also, if you have access to a musical instrument set you can teach them to identify various instruments by sight and sound, and have children take turns playing the instruments.

Art Club Ideas

Teach children about various artists biographies and allow them to create art based on their styles. Make sure to allow for some time for children to create artwork base on their own artistic styles. At the end of the club hold an art gallery to showcase the children’s artwork.

Examples of artists you can showcase:
· Charles Schulz- kids can create their own comic strips inspired by “Peanuts”
· Georgia O’Keefe- flower paintings
· George Seurat-Kids can create pictures using pointillism or images that look completely whole but looking more closely are created with series of dots instead of connected lines.

Sports Club Ideas

Some Sports Club would benefit from having a great Coach. Talk with your parents/staff to see if anyone may be interested in coaching a sports club once a week or even once a month. If they are not available for a long term commitment perhaps you can have them come for the last (special event) session to perform a Demo or be a Guest Speaker.

1) Jogging Club
2) Basketball Club
3) Football Club
4) “Yoga for Kids” Club
5) Dance Club

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Saturday, March 27, 2010


A "Lively" Set Up

What materials do you need in order to add investigations of living things in your center? First you will need tools for observation and comparison such as: a pan-balance scale and other standard and nonstandard measuring devices; magnifiers (hand-held and free-standing) ; and small dental mirrors (found in drug stores) for examining under and around small plants and animals. You will also need containers such as clear plastic cups and containers with lids for collecting insects, seeds, and plants; cheesecloth and rubber bands for covering some containers; clear plastic boxes or terrariums; ziplock plastic bags for collecting on walks; and muffin tins or egg cartons for sorting and classifying seeds and plants. You may even consider purchasing (or borrowing) a commercial ant farm or butterfly house, or an incubator for hatching eggs. Don't forget to include art materials and notebooks for children to create field recordings of their observations.

Insect Investigations

Questions of where bugs come from, where they live, and what they eat are great starting points for experimentation. A group interested in insects may like to study the life cycle of the fruit fly. Fruit flies are among the easiest to collect and observe. Children can place cut pieces of ripe fruit in two open glass jars. They can place one jar outside, and the other in the science center. Ask children to predict and observe which jar will attract the most flies. Soon, tiny flies will be attracted to the fruit inside the jars. Once they have appeared, you can cover the jars with cheesecloth. Watch closely. The eggs left by the flies will mature and hatch into new young flies and then grow into mature flies, thus completing their life cycle.

Plant Investigations

Children's seed and plant discoveries outside can lead to great activities inside. Have you ever noticed how a seed can push away a small rock, sprout in a place without soil, or even grow up through pavement? Why not try some of these amazing "Feats of Nature" as science experiments? Invite children to collect and discuss their observations from many plant and seed walks. What were some of the amazing things they saw? How would they like to experiment with these things? Children may want to experiment with the strength and power of plants by planting bean (or other large) seeds in small containers with different soil, gravel, rock, and other materials in them. After predicting what materials the seeds will grow best in, the children can water the seeds, place them in the sun, watch them grow, and record their predictions and observations.

There are many other forms of life to explore. Examining and comparing pond water (and other natural sources) and tap water is fascinating, as is growing mold, hatching eggs, and catching tadpoles. The natural world is the source of a "lifetime" of exploration and play.

Around Your Room

You can extend your project on ants and plants throughout your classroom as well as the science center.

Art Center: Can you paint with a plant? Replace the brushes at the easel with dried and fresh plant parts: stems, flowers, pine boughs, twigs, even roots!

Library/Writing Center: Collect books about insects and plants to create a "nature library" in the classroom. Include both fiction and nonfiction picture books. Invite children to organize and display the books in their own ways. Children can create library cards and take turns being the nature librarian.


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Thursday, March 25, 2010


As “The Literacy Ambassador®,” author and children’s literacy consultant Cathy Puett Miller promotes early childhood literacy development and family literacy involvement.
Cathy presents at conferences and has written articles for Education World,, The Reading Tub, PTA websites, and parenting publications. She is also the author of Anytime Reading Readiness: Fun and Easy Family Activities That Prepare Your Child to Read.

Anytime Reading Readiness respects the reading readiness level of your child. Now you can integrate prereading activities throughout your day – without stress, fuss, or pushing your child. Prepare your child to read—any time.

“Cathy Miller is a genius,” says award-winning children’s author and storyteller Carmen Agra Deedy. “What, in the end, she is telling us with this wonderful book is that spending time with your child, and allowing learning to evolve through play, is the surest way to create intellectually curious learners. Hooray!”

Kathy: Welcome to my blog, Cathy.

Cathy P: Thank you, Kathy. I already feel as though we are connected because you live in north Georgia and I was in Cherokee County, GA (45 minutes north of Atlanta) for 7 years when our son was in elementary and middle school.

Kathy: Let’s begin by talking a bit about your role in the world of reading. You are known as the Literacy Ambassador®. What is a Literacy Ambassador®?

Cathy P: It is a trademarked tag line I use to identify what I do – I make friends for reading with educators, families and community organizations across the country. I am one of the few educational consultants who cross those lines. I also work in both the preschool and K-8 environment. I reach across between these often distinct groups because I believe the best results always come when partnerships develop: between families and educators, between preschool and kindergarten teachers. Some of your blog readers may know me from my monthly columns at and

Kathy: So what has the Literacy Ambassador® been up to lately?

Cathy P: I always have lots of projects going on but I have been traveling a lot lately, speaking at conferences in Washington, DC, St. Louis, MO, Minneapolis, MN, Atlanta, GA, Birmingham, AL, New Orleans, LA. Everywhere I go, I meet people from various walks of life hungry to know how to best help children become strong readers.

Kathy: Speaking of children and reading, do you have some books you’d recommend for those visiting my blog (either teachers or parents)?

Cathy P: Sure. I’ll give you a few titles for different age levels here and then people can visit my website for more extended lists. They’ll also find lots of recommendations of great books especially for the young ones in my two new titles from Maupin House but we’ll talk more about those later.

Preschool and Kindergarten:
Baa-Choo by Sarah Weeks
Big Words for Little People by Jamie Lee Curtis
Indestructibles, a wordless book series by Amy Pixton
Let’s Get Ready for Kindergarten by Stacey Kannenberg
Love the Baby by Steven Layne

First and Second Grade: From Head to Toe by Eric Carle
Let’s Make Rabbits by Leo Lionni
Paris in the Spring with Picasso by Joan Yolleck
The Easter Egg by Jan Brett
The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney

Third through Fifth Grade:
A Nest for Celeste by Henry Cole
Evolution: Who We and All Living Things Came to Be by Daniel Loxton
Lawn Boy Returns by Gary Paulsen
Roberto and Me by Dan Gutman
Three Cups of Tea by Gary Mortenson

Kathy: Why did you pick these books?

Cathy P: My criteria for great books to read or share with students is “will they be interested?” “Will it give them an authentic reason to want to read; a positive experience with a book?” They have plenty of “must reads” in their lives but if we do not show children and families the power of books for them, we will not hook them. There are just too many distractions.

Kathy: That brings up an important point. There really are a lot of distractions from reading these days. What advice do you have for parents and teachers?

Cathy: I’m starting a revolution! And I want to invite you and all your bloggers to join in. Just a few minutes ago we were talking about those partnerships that are so meaningful to the success of young children. My two new books, Before They Read (for preschool and kindergarten teachers) and Anytime Reading Readiness (for parents and guardians of 3-6 year olds) are easy guidebooks to get involved. Each focuses on the same three big ideas, but with a slant specific to the needs of those who are reading them (families or educators).

The three big ideas are:

The importance of talking with young children to aid in their growth of their oral language

The delicious, delightful experience of reading a story with a child and exploring a book using a technique I called Engaged Interactive Read Aloud.

Playing with sounds and patterns in the language.

Kathy: And where are these books available?

Cathy P: You can get them through my publisher, Maupin House, by visiting my website If your visitors have a favorite online book store like Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, Books A Million, etc., they can also purchase them there. And the Before They Read title is a great Teacher Appreciation Week gift. Mother’s and Father’s Day will be here before we know it and the Anytime Reading Readiness book is a perfect choice for those special days.

Kathy: What about kids beyond this getting ready and beginning to read stage?

Cathy P: The same foundations are important; we simply build upon them. My technique, Engaged Interactive Read Aloud, for instance works all the way up through high school. Anyone can visit my website and look for my 1/27 interview with Stacey Kannenberg on her Born to Learn Mom show to hear just how to do it. Just visit and scroll down to the second item on the audio player.

Certainly it is important to continue to support readers even after they are reading on their own. But, once the snuggle and cuddle stage is gone, that may take a different approach.

Kathy: We’re at the end of our time together but are there some additional resources you can share?

Cathy P: I invite everyone to visit and follow my blogs

for parents
for educators K-12
for preschool teachers:

Kathy: Thank you for youe time, information and the wonderful work you do.

Cathy: Your welcome. I enjoyed my visit.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Colored Ice Cubes
Ahead of time you will need to freeze blocks of ice in several colors by adding food coloring. Place all colors in sensory table. The children love to see what happens as the ice begins to melt the colors together! Freeze colored water in containers with different shapes and sizes. Use rock salt to "glue" the shapes together. As the structure melts, the colors mix to form new ones which is very pretty.
~Submitted by Cheryl's Sweethearts ChildCare

Rainbow Activities
Mix one box (Knox) gelatin (32pkgs) and 18 cups of water. Pour it into large container(s). It can be put in a large cooking pot, large plastic bowl or a bundt pan. It does not need to be refrigerated for the gelatin to solidify. It will do it at room temperature over night. When it is firm, set the container in a little warm water to get the gelatin out. Give the kids food coloring mixed with water and eye droppers or pipettes. Push the pipettes down into the gelatin to release the color. The gelatin is nice and clear and they can see the color injected into it. The kids REALLY love this activity. This is a good activity to do in the sensory table or in a large basin.
~Submitted by Cheryl's Sweethearts ChildCare

Rainbow Game
Cut a half circle out of each of the following colors of construction paper: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet. Make each half circle slightly smaller than the one before it. Set out the colorful half-circles and let your children take turns arranging them from large to small, one on top of the other, to make a rainbow!
~Submitted by Cheryl's Sweethearts ChildCare

Cooperation Game
Let your children work together to create this rainbow on the floor. Ask your children to look around the room, collect all the red objects in a pile. Repeat with the remaining 5 rainbow colors. Then let your children arrange the objects on the floor in a rainbow shape. First have them put all the red objects in a big arch, then the yellow objects under them and so on, until the rainbow is completed.
~Submitted by Cheryl's Sweethearts ChildCare

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010


I have kids in my class sort fruit loops by color and count them. Then we place the froot lopps in a baggie. Each child gets one. And they smash the froot loops up. Then they take a peice of paper and put glue all over and sprinkle the froot loops over the paper. They love the sorting and the smashing even more.

last year, during the first weeks of school, i had my students help make a color book. i offered the children a variety of colored paint/tissue paper/crayons and different mediums to use to color with/on. (for crayons they could color on sandpaper or the table, paint we gave them string to paint with, brushes, cars to drive through and make car tracks, feathers to use to paint...).
each child made one color page. i then typed up something similar to brown bear with the colors, attached it to the pages and laminated/bound it.

the children enjoyed looking at the book! i also found (though google images) various pictures and print/laminated them. the children would be shown the yellow page and then be given a choice of a black tire or yellow banana to match to the page. you could obviously give more choices to pick from.

Another great idea involving colors during Whole Group Time is "Color Investigation". Have the children be detective and give them a small magnifying piece or whatever you would like. Choose the color you are working on and have the children go around the room finding the color. They love this!!! This can be done with shapes, letters, numbers- whatever you want.

Blue - blue is another word for sad, brainstorm things that make you sad.
Orange - use magazines to cut out pictures of foods that are orange.
Yellow - use gardening magazines to cut out pictures of flowers that are yellow and label each one.
Red - brainstorm a list of words that rhyme with red.
Green - brainstorm a list of words that begin with the letter blend gr.

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010


A Positive Outlook- Look for the best in each student and every situation. Encourage others to be positive as well. If you are passionate about your subject, the children will be, too. Enthusiasm rubs off.

Friendly Personality- Establish and maintain good working relationships with students, teachers, administrators and parents. For instance, a good teacher needs to have innovative ways to open up conversations with shy students or disgruntled parents. It’s important to share with other teachers as well.

Confidence- Teachers will experience problem students, or lessons that don’t quite work in the classroom. Develop a thick skin and be able to laugh at yourself when you make a mistake.

A Sense of Humor- Humor is a great way to break the ice and get kids talking. It also helps kids to stay attentive in class. A good teacher knows how to take the tension out of tight situations, uses humor, spontaneously, in a tasteful manner and builds togetherness in the classroom, through the use of humor.

Dependability- It’s important to be on time, and consistently live up to your commitments.

Patience- Sometimes students just don’t get a concept. A good teacher must continue to think of new ways to teach the concept until they understand.

Communication Skills- To connect with students you not only need to be passionate about what you’re teaching, but you need to be interesting too.

Organizational Skills- There’s lots of paperwork in teaching. You need to put a system in place that will make efficient use of your time.

Flexibility- If you’re not getting through to a student, you have to be flexible enough to change your approach. It’s important to be available for extra help or extra-curricular activities. Even little things can affect kids ability to learn like the weather, the temperature in the classroom, or the time of day. A good teacher needs to change her approach to suit the current conditions.

Creative Curriculum Techniques- Because there are many different learning styles, you need to think out of the box.

Some children need to experience learning with their bodies. For instance, integrate movement activities into phonics, math, or science.

Some children learn better with visuals. Design a room using magazine pictures, fabric, paint, tile and wallpaper swatches. Use math skills to calculate how much material is needed to complete the project.

Kathy Stemke, a former classroom teacher, has recently retired to become a full time children’s author and freelance writer. She has a B.S. degree from Southern Connecticut State University and Covenant Life Seminary, as well as graduate coursework from New York Institute of Technology and Columbia University. As an author she has published several articles, and her first children’s books, Moving Through All Seven Days. Two more picture books, Trouble on Earth Day, and Sh, Sh, Sh Will the Baby Sleep? are scheduled for release in 2010!

This post is part of the Teaching Jobs Portal: “How to land a Teacher Job”. What was your journey like to become a teacher? If you’d like to share your experience with other aspiring teachers please see this post for more information.

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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Monday, March 8, 2010


Today, I have the pleasure of hosting an upcoming star author, Katie Hines. She has a wonderful writing style and stories that kids will get excited over. Her urban fantasy novel, Guardian, has hit the shelves! It's a MUST READ!

I asked Katie to write a BIO POEM for us. Take a look at her honest reponses to the serious life questions below.


Who is organized, creative and fun
Who is sister of three siblings
Who loves my husband, and two daughters
Who feels overwhelmed, blessed and joyful
Who needs more self-discipline, lots of money, a job for my husband
Who gives of self to others, thought to my purpose in life, and to my family first
Who fears not making it as a writer, the golden years, and eating too much
Who would like to see my kids married and happy
Who shares life with the man of my dreams
Who is fat with contentment
Who is a resident of South Carolina

When Katie sent me an advanced copy of her book to read for this interview, I couldn't put it down. Here's part of the email I sent her when I finished the book. "Oh my God, Katie, I love your book! Your descriptions, intricate plot, and fresh verb usage remind me of my favorite author, Cornelia Funke. You intertwine fantasy and history seamlessly to create an intriguing mystery full of exciting twists and turns. Way to go! I know you will have incredible success with this book."

Kathy: Do you create a complete profile for each of your characters? How did you come up with Grandma’s character? She was so much fun!

Katie: I did create a profile for Drew, Mattie and Javon. Then, as I got further in the book, I didn’t continue to do that, and still think I did good with them. Grandma was fun to create, and a hoot to see in action. She got dreamed up along the way.

Kathy: Your descriptions are ingenious and full of energy, Katie. Example: An early cold snap arrived with a vengeance, stealing into homes and rattling old bones. Senior citizens cornered anyone who would listen, telling that a cold Maine winter would soon follow. Snaking its long fingers through the truck window Mr. Newman kept cracked, the cold touched and chilled the three young people who rode to the ferry, Bar Harbor’s “The Pirate’s Run.” How much of this kind of writing flows out of you naturally and how much is a result of hard work and rewrites?

Katie: That kind of thing is easy to write. But keeping the story real, and the characters honest, that I work on and rewrite a lot.

Kathy: I was laughing out loud when reading the chicken escapade in chapter 5. How important is humor in a young adult novel?

Katie: I’m glad you loved that! It is one of my favorite chapters. I think if we can’t laugh, then we take ourselves much too seriously, and life is too short not to have laughter along the way, for anyone.

Kathy: I loved the many twists and turns in your plot. Usually I can guess the ending of a book or movie before it’s over. You had me guessing until the end. Did you use an outline to plan the twists, did your characters dictate the story, or did the story take on a life of its own?

Katie: I kept a story board to keep track of all the revelations and antics. Basically, I have a physical board that holds about 70 5x7 cards. I do one for each chapter, keeping track of the page numbers, the POV character, the other characters and revelations or key points for that chapter.

As far as the ending is concerned, I had something else planned, but I wanted to make it exciting and unpredictable, so I brainstormed with my husband about some ideas, and came up with the ending as it is now.

Kathy:I see that your story is birthed from the actual history of the Holy Grail and the knight’s templar. How much time went into research? How many real facts are weaved into the story?

Katie: I spent about three months researching for the book. The Templars are real, as is King Philip of France, references to pirates, the story of Perceval and the Fisher King and of course, the Grail. And, I have to point to where it all began: the Oak Island treasure mystery.

Kathy: What’s your favorite chapter of the book and why do you like it?

Katie: My favorite chapter (next to the chickens) is the story of Perceval and the Fisher King. I like it because it is in storytelling mode, the subject is interesting, and it was something that enriched the story that I wouldn’t have put in there if I hadn’t done all the research that I did do. I think it added a lot to the story.

Kathy: What was your experience in looking for a publisher? Was there much editing required when the ms went to the publisher?

Katie: While I was writing “Guardian” I kept an eye out for publishers who might be interested in the type of story that “Guardian” is. When I finally quit editing “Guardian,” I chose the top three companies, and sent them query letters. It was rejected by the first one. The second said they didn’t feel comfortable editing kid’s stuff, but passed it along to another editor, 4RV Publishing, who did pick the book up.

You can edit forever. I finally had to make a decision to stop, and submit! Then was the real work of editing for the publisher.

Kathy: What are your favorite young adult novels and authors? What have you learned from these authors that you see appearing in your own books?

Katie: Because I am a lover of fantasy, my very favorite author is Terry Brooks. He has a fantastic imagination, and creates wonderful stories. He wrote an autobiography entitled, “Sometimes the Magic Works.” I love that phrase, and have tried to make sure that that is true of my book.

Kathy: Thank you for stopping by today on your book tour and sharing with us some insights to the writing of your YA Urban Fantasy, Guardian. Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of her book

Katie Hines Links:
Publisher -
Website -
Blog -

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Friday, March 5, 2010


Click on the image to enlarge, copy and print.

Spider Facts

Spiders are not insects. Insects have three body parts and six legs.
Spiders have eight eyes, eight legs, two body parts, outside skeletons, and fangs. They do not have antennas or wings. Males are smaller than the females.
Spiderlings are baby spiders that hatch from silk covered egg sacs. Each kind of spider knows how to spin a certain pattern of a web when it hatches.
Spiders eat millions of insects a year. They create beautiful webs and are useful.
Not all spiders spin webs.

Spiders are oviparous, which means their babies come from eggs.The Spider Poem

Spiders are not insects,
Spiders have eight legs,
Spiders have four pair of eyes,
Spiders hatch from eggs.
Spider webs are sticky,
Spiders weave them tight,
Spiders spin that silky string,
Spiders weave webs right!

I'm a Little Spider
(sung to I'm a Little Teapot) by Sue Brown

I'm a little spider, watch me spin.
If you'll be my dinner, I'll let you come in.
Then I'll spin my web to hold you tight,
And Gobble you up in one big bite!

"Crawl Like a Spider" (sung to the tune of "Ten Little Indians")

Crawl, crawl, crawl like a spider.
Crawl, crawl, crawl like a spider.
Crawl, crawl, crawl like a spider.
Crawl around your web.
Replace the action word with: jump, run, creep, sneak, pounce


Spider Marble Painting

Place an 8x8 inch square of black construction paper in a box lid. Dip a marble in white paint and drop it onto the paper. Roll the marble around by tilting the lid. Continue until you have a spider web.


If you have the children trace their hands with white crayons on black paper and you cut off the thumbs you will have eight legs by gluing the two palms together. They can create the faces on their own or you could take their photo and cut their face out for the spider face.

Spider Mask

What You Need: Paint Paper Plate Yarn Garbage Bag

Paint a large paper plate black, next hole punch 4 holes 2 on each side of the mask near the edge of the plate. Then from a clean black garbage bag cut four 16 inch strips. Help the child thread a strip through each small hole in his plate and tie the strip in the center, it will make the spiders eight legs, glue a large craft stick on the back of the mask.


Marshmallow Spiders For each spider, use one large marshmallow for the body and one small marshmallow for the head (attach with 1/2 a toothpick). Make eyes from mini M&Ms, legs from pretzel sticks. Cover with chocolate sauce, if desired.

Math Project

Give students a blank spider web with a number on the side of the sheet - 1-10.
Kids make the same number of spiders on the web. They use use their thumbs with an ink pad and then add eight little legs.

A to Z Teacher Stuff:

Kids Zone (spider activities):

Miss Spider

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Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Debra Eckerling has expertise in feature articles, corporate communications (newsletters, corporate profiles, and web content), and public speaking. She does business and individual consulting; has written for local, national, trade, and online publications; and is the eZine editor for Debra has led workshops and writers support groups for more than 10 years.

Freelance writer, Debra Eckerling recently expanded her focus, so she can help young adults learn to love the written word. Her new website – has interviews with young published authors, as well as weekly writing “adventures:” fun writing prompts to get the creative-brain going. Check out this sample post.

Jolie Vanier, Puwaii Adventures with Joliea and Friends, is an author and film actress with a lot of energy and a ton of personality. What better way to put her talents to use than to create a series about “the world’s youngest fashion designer” who goes on adventures? Book #1 - Puwaii Adventures with Joliea & Friends - comes with an audiobook CD. Book #2 - Puwaii Adventures with Joliea & Friends ... the Adventures Continues - comes with an audiobook CD and a DVD for a read-along, where she offers art lessons. Jolie loves watching her character come to life. She talks about being a writer, offers advice and encouragement, and more!

Debra: How did you come up with the idea for Puwaii Adventures? And the concept for including a DVD?

Jolie: I had to figure what the book would be about. That was the easy part, because I love fashion. My fascination with fashion started when my mother took me to a Pucci exhibit; I loved his designs and those wonderful, brilliant colors! (Color is fascinating to me - do you know that by combining red and yellow, you get orange?) I was trying to figure out how to start the story at the same time my family and I went on a vacation to Hawaii. That’s when I had the bright idea of “smooshing” Pucci and Hawaii together, and I came up with the Puwaii look!

Next, I decided my main character would be “Joliea”, the “youngest fashion designer in the world” who travels in a magical submarine. (Notice the similarity between Jolie and Joliea? Hahahaha!) I’ve read enough to know any exciting story needs a villain - so I came up with “Jack the Rat.” My other characters are taken from real life, like “Princess Issa,” is actually taken from my Maltese dog, Izzy.

I thought how nice it would be if I offered my books on CD, so my readers can hear me read my books! Then with my second book I included a DVD with a pictorial read-along. I also give children art lessons! Then I have a section where I tell you how to create your own book. I like the idea of “giving back, so that’s why I included both the CD’s and the DVD.

“I’ve always found a kinship with writing,” Debra explains. “I enjoy encouraging people, whether they are 8 or 80, to express themselves. Strong communication skills – the ability to compose your thoughts, whether you are writing or speaking them – are essential for any kind of success.” Here’s a writing prompt found on the website.

We have two "holidays" this long weekend: Valentine's Day on Sunday and then Presidents' Day - and no school - on Monday!

Here is this weekend's fun, writing adventure: Create a new holiday! When is it? What is it? And how do you celebrate? Be creative!

Debra’s workshops are designed as a safe environment for tweens and teens. They can play with words, share them with their peers, and get constructive nudges in the right · Communication Skills direction, while developing their voice in the process.

Workshops: Writers Group Leader Debra Eckerling has created a program to help kids learn to love the written word.
· Writing Skills
· Creativity
· Self-Esteem
· Communication Skills

“It was my creative writing class in high school, where we had to journal a certain number of pages a week, that helped me the most. In doing all this writing I found my voice, but more importantly it gave me a safe place to express my emotions. It also built my confidence.

“I love helping writers go from dreamer to doer. And it is so simple. All you need is a pen, paper, and the confidence to realize you can achieve any goal you set out to accomplish.”

Debra Eckerling’s – gives writers in all areas a virtual home to get motivated, set goals, and move forward on their projects. The site has Author Q&As, Expert Columns, monthly writing contests, and more.

Check out this article on Traditional vs Self-Publishing.
Moving Write Along: Advice from the Experts – Traditional vs Self-Publishing

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VBT - Writers On The Move: March Author and Book Tour Schedule

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Theodore Seuss Geisel, more commonly known as Dr. Seuss, was born on March 2, 1904.



I Can Read with My Eyes Shut!

“The more that you read,

the more things you will know.

The more that you learn,

the more places you’ll go.”

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

”Maybe Christmas,’ he thought, ‘doesn’t come from a store.

‘Maybe Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!’”

The Cat in the Hat

“Should we tell her about it?

Now, what should we do?

Well…What would you do

If your mother asked you?”

Green Eggs and Ham

“I do not eat green eggs and ham.

I do not like them, Sam-I-am.”


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Monday, March 1, 2010

Ten Ways to Sell Books On Amazon By Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Award-winning author of the HowToDoItFrugally Series of books says,
"You can use Amazon to improve your ratings and your ratings don’t get better until you sell books."

So, telling you how to get better ratings on Amazon is tantamount to telling you how to sell books. Many of you know that I rarely talk sales when I can talk more important things like cross promotion and branding. You may know that I believe if you network well, you won’t have to sell anything, ever. Not in the traditional sense. That is my disclaimer. I’m going to tell you how to let Amazon help you sell more books anyway!

A promotional drop in the bucket can move Amazon ratings drastically! Especially if you keep dripping promotion into the pail. Use the perks that Amazon provides for you (see the list below), and you’ll find your book selling. Especially if you don’t give up. Just keep dribbling little bits of information into these Amazon tools. It’s about frequency and longevity. Here they are. Pick one(or more) and keep at it:

1. Use Listmanias on Amazon and, along with your own book, sprinkle in the titles of your authorfriends. Let these authors know you did it. That’s a way to make a new promotion friend. There is a chapter in The Frugal Book Promoter: How to Do What Your Publisher Won't that tells you how to use this free promotional perk along with a lot of other free tools on Amazon.

2. When you read a book by an author you know (or even one you don’t) do yourself and them a favor by adding a review to Amazon. It takes but a minute and YOU and your book get exposed too, if you use a promotion-savvy signature. Simply type in a couple of dashes and then add "Reviewed by xxxxx and your book title." You can even make your title a link to the sales page of your book on Amazon.

3. Tell other people about what you’re doing, how your book relates to current events and more by posting on your Amazon plog. Another name for it is AuthorConnect ™, and it’s really a blog provided by Amazon. You do have one don’t you? Spread the word about your fellow authors’ books, too, and then ask them to pass on the word about your plog, complete with URL. This is known as viral marketing and it works.

4.. Check out my co-produced audio classes including the free one: A Do-It-Yourself Guide To Promoting Easy And Cheap! by Carolyn Howard-Johnson which includes other Amazon tips. They are at

5. Flesh out your book’s page on Amazon. Use the Wiki (or Amapedia) to add information on your awards or other publishing you’ve done.

6. Ask your friends and professional associates to review your book on Amazon. See that word "ask?" They will be happy to do it. They just need a nudge!

7. If you have a book suited to it, you can add pictures to your book’s page. Check out my "Promote or Perish" picture on The Frugal Book Promoter page. Here’s the URL:

8. Don’t get caught up in the idea of trying to sell your book yourself to increase your profits per book. If you do, you’ll find your overall promotion suffers. Read that word "promotion" as "readership." Read it as "exposure." Read it as "credibility." You and your book need to be seen more than you need a couple of extra dollars profit on any given book. Yes, you may make less per Amazon-sold book, but the Amazon publicity is invaluable.

9. Look into the So You’d Like Tos . . . on Amazon. They will allow you to rant or write essays to your hearts content and gather readers as you do it. They work similarly to Listmanias.

10. Make friends. When someone adds a review to your page, invite them to be an Amazon Friend. Include a thank you in the message. Nose around a bit. You’ll find all kinds of ways to let Amazon Friends know about your next book . . . and your next.

And keep in mind that The author is Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author THE FRUGAL BOOK PROMOTER: HOW TO DO WHAT YOUR PUBLISHER WON'T, winner of USA Book News' "Best Professional Book 2004", #1 Bestselling E-book at: and Book Publicists of Southern California’s Irwin Award winner. its sister book, THE FRUGAL EDITOR: PUT YOUR BEST BOOK FORWARD TO AVOID HUMILIATION AND ENSURE SUCCESS. when someone is your friend, your book or picture may show up on their profile page. Their friends buy books, too!

Learn more at:

Her complimentary newsletter Sharing with Writers is always full of promotion tips, craft and publishing news. Send an e-mail with "subscribe" in the subject line to

Kathy Stemke websites:
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