The purpose of this blog for teachers and my mission as a kids’ book author who does frequent visits to schools is to MAKE WRITING VISIBLE. So much of writing is invisible, inside our brains. That’s where we get our ideas. That’s where we figure out what will happen in our stories. That’s where our creativity lives. That’s where our characters come to life. But are there ways to make all those invisible happenings more visible? YES! I believe we can and we must. By making writing more visible, we take the mystery out of the process. We offer young authors help and hope for becoming better authors. So please join me in MAKING WRITING VISIBLE!

Playing with Holiday Poetry


During December when there are so many holidays (i.e. Hanukkah, Kwanza, winter solstice, Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year's Eve)--or any other time of the year--it's fun to have students play with HOLIDAY POETRY. In the video above (please share with students), I model a holiday poetry lesson step by step with examples. For younger students, you may do this lesson as a group while older students can work on the lesson independently.

First, READ HOLIDAY POEMS BY OTHERS (If we want our students to try a new kind of writing, it ALWAYS helps to have them READ the target kind of writing first).

Second, ANALYZE POEMS BY OTHERS. What poetic techniques did the author use effectively in the poem? Does the poem rhyme? Use alliteration? What about onomatopoeia? etc. Students may write their observation on a copy of a poem using colored pens/pencils or by using track changes on a Word document to add comments (their observations).

Third, students should PLAY WITH THEIR OWN HOLIDAY POEMS. Each should choose a holiday, and then brainstorm words related to that holiday. They can then polish the words--adding poetic devices/tricks to them (i.e. repetition, alliteration, assonance).

EACH STEP of this poetry lesson is included in this HANDOUT (which also includes two poems for students to analyze):
Playing with Holiday Poetry HANDOUT

In the COMMENTS section below, please share the titles of any holiday poems or poetry collections for other teachers to use with their students. Thank you!

Reading & Writing EAR CANDY
Reading & Writing WORD PICTURES

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Observation Writing Activities

Check out and show your students the OBSERVATION WRITING ACTIVITIES demonstrated in the video above as a way to boost their DESCRIPTIVE WRITING. Students may try this observational writing in their OBSERVATION NOTEBOOKS as well as in the HANDOUT included below.

Challenge students to observe and write about . . .

***Ordinary things, such as the moon, their desks, shoes, backpacks, etc. When they pause to look closely, what do they notice about these things?

shining moon stock by sugarpoultry-d464zif
The full-moon flashlight glaring, staring at me like a giant white unblinking eyeball.

***Extraordinary things, such as special occasion clothes (costumes, ugly sweaters, Backwards Day clothes, hats on Hat Day), details from a field trip, animal cam observations (see links to animal cams below), etc.

My couple-of-wild-cats-collide glitter sweater

***New places, such as the custodian's closet, cafeteria kitchen, specialty store, etc.

***Pets, including observations of their actions, sounds, smells, etc.

***People, including characters from books, photos of people, people at a park or in a cafeteria, etc.
111-Year-Old Man3
The white-haired man's lips are sealed and his ears have grown and grown as he has learned through the decades that listening is one of life's greatest gifts.

Observation Writing Activities HANDOUT
Animal Cams: Polars bears, puffins, penguins

(Plus search for other live animal cams--some are available during certain seasons, such as eagle cams.)

Observation Notebooks
Strong Nouns, Strong Verbs
Reading & Writing Word Pictures

Cialis Side Effects was ordered quick and the rest of the people turn not stave off. Find and revel the minute could not each one of those who stood in a pile of people.

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