Entries Tagged 'Publishing Project Ideas' ↓
July 28th, 2014 — Publishing Project Ideas, Writing Across the Curriculum
Do your children tell you they hate writing?
Because kids learn differently, traditional writing assignments may not turn the crank of an artistic, kinesthetic, or logical learner. If this describes your child, maybe it’s time to take a break from book reports and essays and try a few project-oriented writing activities instead.
Projects that spring from a child’s interests—or that tie writing to other topics—add extra meaning to subjects like science or geography. To a reluctant learner, writing becomes less intimidating when it takes a back seat to an art activity or walk in the woods!
Nature studies should be an integral part of every homeschool. This week, let your kids explore the natural world through activities that are long on fun and short on writing. These nature inspired writing projects, which appeal to struggling and enthusiastic writers alike, make a great place to start!
1. Make a Nature Notebook
Charlotte Mason enthusiasts are especially fond of nature notebooks, but any student who is attracted to wildlife—or who loves to explore sand dunes, gardens, or woods—will enjoy creating a nature notebook.
Take the kids on a nature walk, or visit a botanical garden or zoo. Encourage them to observe and sketch plant or animal life and jot down rough notes or interesting facts they learn from posted signs or docent talks.
Later, beneath their sketches, your young naturalists can write captions or journal entries listing observed details, facts gathered from trusted sources, and their own impressions.
If you spend a weekend at the beach or mountains, the nature journal might be a thematic, one-time activity for your kids. But it can also be an ongoing, evolving project they add to regularly.
2. Make a Nature Craft: Explaining a Process
Invite your children to make a craft from items found in nature. Using their imaginations, they can create whimsical or practical items such as:
Painted rock animals
Diorama of a jungle, forest, or beach scene
Pressed-flower greeting card
Take a photo of the kids as they complete each step of the process. Then, using the photos as a guide, let them write the steps they took to make the craft.
Younger children can write simple, basic instructions. Older students’ directions should be clear enough that someone could follow the steps and make a similar project.
Kids who are totally into this activity may have fun printing out the photos to make an illustrated instruction manual or turning their how-to instructions into a mini book.
Check out these links if you need craft ideas:
Nature Crafts for Kids – Martha Stewart
10 Nature Crafts for Kids – Spoonful
Crafts Made from Nature – Kids Activities Blog
3. Make a Life-Cycle Book
If you’re currently studying about the life cycle of a plant, butterfly, frog, or other growing thing, your children can make a life-cycle mini book.
You will need a sheet of computer paper or cardstock, drawing pencil, colored pencils, and a book with pictures the kids can use as a reference when drawing.
STEP 1: CREATE THE BOOK
Make a simple 8-page mini book according to either the video or diagram below:
Video Tutorial: Make an Instant Book
PDF Diagram: Make a Folded Mini Book
STEP 2: DESIGN THE COVER
On the front cover, draw and color a picture that tells something about the subject of the mini book. Alternatively, cut and paste a photo to the booklet’s cover. Add a title, such as “Life Cycle of the Frog.”
STEP 3: ILLUSTRATE THE BOOK
On the inside pages, adding one illustration per page, draw and color up to 6 pictures to show each stage of the life cycle.
Leave room at the bottom of each page to write information. For example:
Apple: 1) seed, 2) seedling, 3) tree, 4) bud, 5) flower, 6) fruit
Moth: 1) egg, 2) caterpillar, 3) chrysalis, 4) moth
STEP 4: WRITE DETAILS
Younger children can write a word or two below each drawing. Older students should write 1-2 sentences that explain the life stage shown.
Enjoy getting out in nature this week and dabbling in one of these fun projects. Your children will be writing, but they’ll be smiling all the way!
January 13th, 2014 — Holiday & Seasonal Ideas, Publishing Project Ideas
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ON frosty days, have you ever referred to winter as “harsh,” “kind,” or even “fickle”? This week, enjoy a winter writing activity with your kids and teach them to personify a season.
Personification ascribes human qualities such as thought, will, and emotion to non-human creatures and inanimate objects. Personification creates great fun for little ones (who hasn’t enjoyed reading about The Little House or The Little Engine That Could?). For teens, personification can be a handy literary device in their poetry or descriptive writing.
Get ready to gather your kids around the table and explore the possibilities of winter personification.
Step 1: Brainstorming
Ask your kids to imagine Winter as a person knocking at the front door.
- What does she say? (She calls me outside to play. / She warns me to stay inside.)
- What does she do? (Winter shows me a world of white, cold trees. / Winter builds sharp, dangerous icicles.)
- What does she want? (She asks me to feed the birds who didn’t fly south. / She wants me to forget sunshine and summer.)
Step 2: Writing
Now that your kids are armed with ideas, it’s time to add details. Help your children write complete sentences with interesting sentence starters, strong nouns and verbs, and vivid adjectives and adverbs. Prompt them with more questions about Winter.
- How does she talk? (With gentle whispers, she calls me outside to dance in the snow. / Howling from the rooftop eaves, she sends sharp warnings to stay inside.)
- How does she act? (Winter pushes me playfully down the sparkling street. / Winter rules from a fortress of icicles and frost.)
- How does she reveal her character or personality? (Together, we spread banquets for rosy cardinal birds. / I see her stern face, and she sends chills down my spine.)
- How does she “look” human? (Her snowy gown trails behind her as she waltzes through the woods. / Winter wears a white fur coat and a crown of ice crystals.)
Step 3: Publishing Project
Crafty placemats are a fun way to publish your children’s writing at home. To make winter placemats, you’ll need:
- Large sheets of paper or cardstock (11” x 17” pieces would work well)
- Stickers, photos, pictures of winter, plus glue sticks for collages
- Scissors and white, blue, or silver paper for hand-cut snowflakes
With a pencil and ruler, lightly draw lines on the paper. Now your children can write their final sentences in marker or pen. Allow them to decorate the blank area with paper snowflakes, photo collages, magazine pictures, or sparkly stickers. Be sure to add the date and child’s initials in a front or back corner.
To preserve their finished work, have the placemats laminated at your local office supply store. Now the family can admire these winter personification masterpieces for the rest of the season—and after-meal clean-up will always be a breeze!
Daniella Dautrich is a WriteShop alumna and a graduate of Hillsdale College. She and her husband fill their home with books on writing, literature, and computer science. Daniella also blogs at www.waterlilywriter.com.
March 25th, 2013 — Publishing Project Ideas, Resources & Links
DO YOU have a child who loves to write? Encourage your creative son or daughter to learn more about the real-world publishing process. Submitting original work to an editor just might be the perfect spring project!
The magazines below—most listed in the Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market guide—make a great place to get started.
- Website: StoneSoup.com
- Who they publish: Children ages 8-13
- What they’re looking for: “Writing and art based on real-life experiences. We have a strong preference for writing on subjects that mean a lot to the author. Stories should have good descriptions, realistic dialogue, and a point to make.” Free verse poetry accepted.
- Submission Guidelines
Bi-monthly magazine for girls ages 8-14, edited by girls aged 8-14
- Website: NewMoon.com
- Who they publish: Girls and women
- What they’re looking for: Girl-centered fiction, and non-fiction stories about “real girls doing real things written by girls. These can be about anything the girl has done personally, or she can write about something she’s studied.”
- Submission Guidelines
Amazing Kids! Magazine
Kid-created, award-winning monthly online magazine
- Website: Mag.Amazing-Kids.org
- Who they publish: Children ages 5-18
- What they’re looking for: Kid-friendly, age-appropriate original creative works done by kids and teens, including recipes, travel stories, science and technology, poetry, art, photography, and videos.
- Submission Guidelines
Bi-monthly award-winning, nonprofit magazine designed to promote cooperation, creativity and celebration of cultural and ecological richness
- Website: SkippingStones.org
- Who they publish: “We encourage submissions by children of color, minorities, and under-represented populations.” Poetry accepted from youth under age 18 only.
- What they’re looking for: Contemporary, meaningful, or humorous fiction for middle readers or young adults. Non-fiction with multicultural, nature, or cross-cultural themes. Wants “material that gives insight to cultural celebrations, lifestyle, customs and traditions, glimpse of daily life in other countries and cultures.”
- Submission Guidelines
Copyright 2013 © by Kim Kautzer
March 29th, 2012 — Publishing Project Ideas, Reluctant Writers
Manila file folders are the darling of both teachers and homeschool moms, who love to turn these ordinary, commonplace office staples into all sorts of fun projects.
Let’s look at two ways you can use manila folders to help your children publish their writing!
1. Reveal Parts of a Story
Try showcasing your children’s writing projects in a lapbook-style flap book. Flap books work especially well when a child wants to reveal one part of the story at a time or hide a surprise ending. They’re simple and fun, and even the least crafty among your kids will enjoy producing a final draft like one of these!
A younger child’s short story can be displayed in a flap book that contains one numbered flap or mini book for every sentence in the story.
Depending on the child’s level of interest, you could cut the flaps from brightly colored scrapbooking or construction paper, and then affix the sentence strips to the colored paper.
Lift-the-Flaps: Beginning, Middle, and End
This flap book is perfect for revealing the beginning, middle, and end of a story.
Cut the front cover of a file folder horizontally to form two or three flaps.
Then cut the story into strips and glue the strips into the file folder under the corresponding flaps. If the story is longer than one page, simply staple additional (uncut) pages onto the back cover of the file folder.
Your child may also enjoy gluing special clip art, magazine pictures, or a small map on the inside of each flap.
2. Showcase a Report or Narrative
Open up a manila folder and fold the edges into the center to make a different type of flap book. Your student can publish a nonfiction report by stapling it in the center and adding photos, illustrations, charts, maps, tables, or graphs to the two outside flaps.
Your child could also use this idea to publish a narrative, using photos or drawings that illustrate parts of the story.
How do you use manila file folders to display your children’s writing assignments?
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Each of these flap book activities comes straight from the pages of WriteShop Primary and WriteShop Junior, two elementary writing programs that incorporate clever publishing ideas into every lesson.
January 30th, 2012 — Publishing Project Ideas
IN MOST HOMES, it seems, the refrigerator door is the showcase for children’s artwork. From the tiniest toddler’s wobbly scribbles to a teen’s pencil sketch, the fridge gallery beckons everyone to enjoy the offerings.
The question is: Why don’t we do this as often with their writing?
A Purpose for Publishing
To make it more meaningful, children need an audience for their writing. If rough drafts are their only writing efforts—and they rarely (or never) rewrite, publish, and SHARE—it’s easy for them to lose heart. After all, they’re missing the point of writing: to share a published project with someone.
Granted, not all writing is meant for others’ eyes, such as diaries or personal journals. But for some reluctant writers, encouraging them to produce polished final drafts of their stories and reports can make the whole writing ordeal worthwhile.
Non-Crafty Publishing Projects
Publishing a project can be as simple as neatly rewriting the final draft and sharing it with Dad or Grandma. But there are loads of other ways to showcase a piece of writing, from plain and simple to craftily creative.
Since not every child will enjoy the creative element of publishing, an older student, or one who is not keen on crafty projects, may prefer displaying his final draft in one of the following simple but effective ways:
1. Computer Publishing
Type the story on the computer—or let an older child type his own. Add clip art, if desired.
2. Mat Mount
The quickest, easiest way to display your child’s story is to affix it to a slightly larger sheet of colored construction paper. The construction paper forms a simple mat that gives the final draft a polished, published look.
This is another simple publishing idea. Your child can place his Writing Project inside a piece of 12- x 18-inch construction paper folded to resemble a book. Glue or staple the story or report inside. Have him draw a picture and write the story title on the cover of the “book.”
4. Presentation Folder
Don’t underestimate the value of using a purchased report cover or presentation folder. There are many kinds from which to choose, such as ones with page protectors or pockets, but any report cover will lend a more professional or “official” look to children’s stories and reports.
“My daughter … liked how clean and nice the published project looked in the report folder.” ~Heidi D.
5. Manila File Folder
You will need one manila file folder for each story your child publishes this way.
- Decorate the inside left of the file folder with illustrations, photos, or clipart.
- Staple the story along the top, positioning it on the inside right of the folder.
- Write the story title on the tab and front of the folder. Let your child decorate the cover to match the story or report.
Each time your children produce a polished final draft, encourage them to share it with a grandparent or other special person. They’ll feel like real authors!
Copyright 2012 © Kim Kautzer. All rights reserved.
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WriteShop encourages students to write, edit, and revise in order to create a published final draft. These ideas, and many more, can be found in both WriteShop Primary and WriteShop Junior books.
April 14th, 2011 — Publishing Project Ideas, Reluctant Writers
Some time ago, in preparation for my first webinar, I discovered the joy of making PowerPoint presentations. Call me weird, but I found that I love combining writing with techno-creativity—choosing a template, organizing my ideas into neat bullet points, and adding just the right clipart or photo to each page.
PowerPoint for Kids Who Hate to Write
It may not sound like your idea of fun, but if you have a reluctant writer, I can fairly guarantee that he’d rather make a PowerPoint presentation than write a report by hand. As a matter of fact, allowing your child to display his understanding of a subject in a fresh new way can spark tremendous enthusiasm and eagerness. Creating a PowerPoint presentation appeals to children on so many levels:
- Perfect for both visual and kinesthetic learners.
- Appeals to children who are artistic and creative.
- Appeals to children who love technology.
- Offers a break from more traditional schoolwork.
- Teaches important computer and keyboarding skills.
- Encourages research.
Making It Practical
Children can use a Microsoft® PowerPoint slide show to explain a scientific concept such as photosynthesis, volcanoes, or the water cycle. They can create reports about penguins, submarines, ancient Greece, ballet, or Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Adding photos, clipart, and tidbits of information in bullet-point form, they’re absorbing and applying knowledge. It’s fun, creative, novel, and interesting, making the PowerPoint a great way to mix up traditional report writing with technology. With a few months of the school year still remaining, perhaps the time is right to try something new. Why not introduce your children to PowerPoint?
For some basic tutorials on PowerPoint for kids, start here:
January 13th, 2011 — Publishing Project Ideas, Writing Games & Activities
This is a tale of two moms.
Cheryl’s son has motivational issues, so she likes to help him approach a concept in many different ways. “If one activity doesn’t cement the idea, another will,” she says. She loves when a curriculum appeals to different learning styles by offering activities that appeal to her hands-on, kinesthetic child.
Jennifer looks for books and materials that just teach writing. She doesn’t want pre-writing activities, games, craft projects, or other “bells and whistles.” To Jennifer, these things are busy work. “I just want to teach my kids how to write,” she says. “I’ll play games another time.”
What Is Busy Work?
bu · sy work n. useless tasks or assignments that appear productive, but merely occupy students.
I remember busy work—inane worksheets my teachers passed out as a dubious reward for those of us who followed directions and finished our in-class assignments on time.
We didn’t get to read a book or play a quiet game in the back of the room. No, our promptness and diligence were punished, in essence, with silly coloring pages and fill-in-the-blank worksheets that kept us quiet while everyone else slogged along.
Sadly, Jennifer lumps word games and craft-based publishing ideas with busy work. She thinks they’re unnecessary and time-consuming.
But my own experience with real busy work reminds me that pushing a pencil around a worksheet is worlds apart from using educational games and other creative activities to enhance learning.
Are you, like Jennifer, tempted to think of such activities as busy work? If so, consider their importance in light of the way most young children learn.
Manipulatives and pre-writing activities are vital, engaging learning aids, unlike those tedious workbooks meant to keep children out of your hair for an hour.
Educational methods such as spelling or vocabulary games help a child’s brain remember new concepts. They teach him about important story elements and help him discover fresh new ways to practice writing skills. Such activities especially benefit young—and usually kinesthetic—learners.
Learning games can teach a child skills such as:
- Adding description
- Developing voice
- Planning a mystery
- Adding details to a story
- Expanding writing vocabulary
- Thinking about story elements such as setting and character
- Summarizing a book
Crafty Publishing Projects
One of the most encouraging and rewarding experiences for any author is to see his work published. Most children love publishing their stories through a fun, imaginative activity.
Not only does this enhance the writing experience, but they end up with a really creative final draft they’re eager to share with others.
Your child can publish his writing project in many ways. For example, he can:
- Create a Top Secret File for his mystery story.
- Make a travel poster or paper “suitcase” for his adventure story.
- Present his report on a three-panel display board.
- Make a decorative invitation or thank-you letter.
- Design a lift-the-flap book or trivia game for an informative report.
The Craft Caveat
Like most young children, Cheryl’s son loves to combine writing and art to create his own “published work.” Your child, however, may not like craft projects as much. Or perhaps you’re not a crafty person and would rather bypass the hands-on activities because they’re not your style.
Either way, it’s still important to encourage your child to produce a final draft because it reinforces the concept of editing and revising. So whether your child creates a crafty masterpiece or simply rewrites his final draft on fresh paper in his best penmanship, remember that the final draft is as much a part of the writing process as brainstorming and writing.
The quickest, easiest way to display your child’s story is to affix it to a slightly larger sheet of colored construction paper. The construction paper forms a simple mat that gives the final draft a polished, published look and reminds your student that he did his best.
Writing = Fun!
You want your child to associate writing with fun, and you want his brain to be stimulated in as many ways as possible through tactile and sensory experiences. So if your writing program offers crafty or game-focused writing activities, take the time to make the suggested props, even if it feels like busy work to you. Most children love using them—and they don’t even realize they’re learning!
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WriteShop Primary and WriteShop Junior use creative, hands-on activities to teach and review elementary-age writing skills.
WriteShop Primary is currently available in three levels: Book A, Book B, and Book C. WriteShop Junior Book D will be published in Spring 2011. To be among the first to get the scoop about the book’s release, join our mailing list by visiting www.writeshop.com and looking for the newsletter sign-up box
November 2nd, 2010 — Holiday & Seasonal Ideas, Publishing Project Ideas
Do your older children have a hard time thinking of what to give a younger sibling for a birthday or Christmas gift? Why not encourage them to create a scrapbook-style (or digital) alphabet book for a fun writing project with a real purpose?
Make an ABC Book
1. Gather stickers, die cuts, and pictures. Keep in mind that young children love bright colors. Collect pictures from old magazines, catalogs, greeting cards, and calendars as well as photos of familiar faces and objects.
For a digital ABC book, go through your own digital photos, encourage your older child to take some new ones, and look for free images online at sites such as StockXchng.
Make the book as personalized as possible by including pictures of things the child knows and loves. Use these categories as starting points:
- Family members and pets
- Foods, snacks, meals, and drinks
- Familiar household objects and furniture
- Familiar places (park, zoo, yard, store, fair)
- Facial expressions (happy, sad, mad)
- Articles of clothing
- Seasonal words, holidays, and activities
- Action words (jump, sleep, dig)
2. Using alphabet stickers or neat printing, label solid-color sheets of 8.5- x 11-inch scrapbooking paper with each letter of the alphabet, one letter per page. If possible, include both upper- and lower-case letters.
3. Glue pictures and photos to the appropriate page.
4. Neatly label each picture. Encourage older children to also write a sentence or poem using several of the words on that page.
5. When dry, insert pages into page-protector sleeves and place into a slim 3-ring binder.
Don’t you just love this creative, personal gift idea? So will the young recipient! Get your older child on board, warm up those crafting muscles, and let the fun begin! And if you prefer to go the digital route, check out some of the resources below.
Resources, Ideas, and Tips
ABC word lists
ABC scrapbooking ideas
Digital scrapbooking/digital book resources
August 9th, 2010 — Publishing Project Ideas, Reluctant Writers
Intrinsic motivation means children write without any additional outside incentive. No bribes. No treats. No money. But the truth is that few children are motivated by the sheer love of writing. So—short of paying them off with cash or candy—what can you do to inspire them?
Writers Need an Audience
Writing for an audience adds purpose and meaning to the assignment. Having an audience takes your child past the point of writing for a “requirement” or a grade—and it certainly takes him beyond writing just for his normal, everyday audience of one: you.
Importance of an Audience
You can spark renewed interest in writing by guiding your child to think of ways to broaden his understanding of what an audience can be. Help him experience how others can find pleasure in reading his work. He’ll be rewarded with increased joy and confidence, and I think you’ll begin to see his writing blossom as he takes more pride in his efforts.
Seeing Their Works in Print
When I taught writing classes years ago, we always ended the year with a Writers’ Tea. Our students invited friends and family, dressed up for the occasion,and recited poetry. At the end, we passed out class anthologies featuring samples of each student’s best writing. As they pored over the stories and poems in the spiral-bound booklets, it was clear how much the children enjoyed seeing their works in print and sharing the anthologies with their parents and grandparents.
Thinking Outside the Box
An anthology is just one of many ways to publish. Below are some other suggestions for expanding your kids’ writing audience or showcasing their writing through their published projects. When they polish a story or poem so that it’s the best it can be—and when they go beyond the traditional “final draft” to create an interesting published project—they’ll be much more likely to write for the joy of it. Here are some ideas:
Publishing Factual Reports and Book Reports
- Lapbooks and Flap Books: These make great avenues for displaying facts, photos, drawings, and short reports. They work well for factual reports as well as for explaining the steps of a process. Here’s just one of many lapbooking websites to help get you started.
- Mobiles: Mobiles are a fun way to publish a report or book report! You can attach index cards or paper shapes to a length of string or yarn and hang them from a coat hanger or the rim of a paper plate. On one side of each card, have the child write facts about his topic or details about a book’s characters, setting, or action. On the back, he can illustrate.
- Trivia Game: This is a great way to publish a younger child’s short factual report. On the cover of a manila file folder, have the child write five questions about her topic and then staple the report inside. Let family members or friends try to guess the answers. Then they can open the folder and read the report to see if they were right!
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Most of these fun and creative activities come straight from the pages of WriteShop Primary and WriteShop Junior, elementary writing programs that incorporate clever publishing ideas into every lesson.
September 25th, 2008 — Publishing Project Ideas, WriteShop Primary, Writing Games & Activities
Publish Your Child’s Stories
ONE OF the most encouraging and rewarding experiences for a young author is to see her work published. As a second and third grader, I remember how much I loved to find my own little stories and poems published in our school’s newsletter.
WriteShop Primary gives your student the opportunity to publish her writing project as a book or other art form that she can share with others.
She might make a story kite to fly around the house as she “reads” it to Daddy; create a paper-plate face book; or turn her story into an accordian-folded train. (Visit our website for more info about WriteShop Primary, our delightful parent-guided writing program for K-3rd graders. It’s filled with fun, engaging activities to promote a love for writing!)
Make a Story Pocket
Featured in Book A, story pockets make wonderful publishing tools, and they’re perfect for storing and displaying a child’s early stories and drawings. Here’s how to make one.
Short Pocket: Use one paper plate. Cut it in half. Place both pieces face to face and staple together around the curved edges. The top straight edges remain open to form a pocket.
Tall Pocket: Use two paper plates. Leave one plate whole. Cut the second plate in two, discarding one of the halves. Staple the half plate to the full-size plate to create a tall pocket with a high back.
- Allow time for the child to use crayons, markers, paint, or stickers to decorate the paper plate so it matches the theme of the story.
- Fold the story and store it inside the pocket.
- (Optional) Have your child draw a picture of each object in the story on cardboard, poster board, or tagboard. Cut out the tagboard pieces and store them in the pocket along with the story.
- Encourage your child to read her story to family members or a friend, pulling out the corresponding pieces from the pocket and placing them on the table as she shares.
- These pockets also make great holders for holiday greeting cards!
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Copyright © 2008 Kim Kautzer. All rights reserved.