Label: Writing Wednesday

May 2, 2013

We had a lot of fun yesterday as Mrs. Alaniz’s Class from Texas and Mrs. Ellefson’s class from Wisconsin tried to figure out a "Mystery Poem." We asked students to read a poem and guess what kind of animal the poet was writing about. By clicking on "Comments" down at the bottom of the blog, both classes told us that they liked the poem, and Mrs. Alaniz’s class figured it out! The poet’s "alarm clock that’s covered with furr" is a cat!
 
Thanks for your contributions to Writing Wednesday, everybody. That was fun! 
 
 
CAT KISSES By Bobbi Katz

Sandpaper kisses

On a cheek or a chin -

That is the way

For a day to begin!

 

Sandpaper kisses -

A cuddle, a purr

I have an alarm clock

That’s covered with fur.


Posted by: Seymour Simon

(2) Comments  •   Labels: Writing Wednesday, Animals, Cats, Kids Write, Poetry   •  Permalink (link to this article)

May 1, 2013

Today we’d like you to read this poem by Bobbi Katz and tell us what she is writing about. What are sandpaper kisses? How does the person in the poem wake up every morning? Is it a pleasant wake up, or an annoying one?

Click on the yellow "Comments" button below and tell us what you think Ms. Katz had in mind when she wrote this poem, and how you figured it out.

 

Sandpaper kisses

On a cheek or a chin -

That is the way

For a day to begin!

 

Sandpaper kisses -

A cuddle, a purr

I have an alarm clock

That’s covered with fur.



Posted by: Liz Nealon

(7) Comments  •   Labels: Writing Wednesday, Animals, Poetry   •  Permalink (link to this article)

April 24, 2013

         

For our final April Writing Wednesday in April of 2013, we’re going to ask you to write six words that describe this magnificent photograph of Earth.

The electric lights outlining the continents show you that we’re seeing our own Western Hemisphere. What do you think about when you see this photograph? What words come to mind when you think about the millions of tiny lights visible from space when darkness falls? What does seeing our Earth at night inspire you to write?

Click the yellow “Comments” button below and give us your six best, most descriptive words to describe our home planet as April, the Earth Day month, comes to a close.

 

 

Photo: NASA Earth Observatory Image by Robert Simmon

 

 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: Writing Wednesday, space, Earth, Earth Day 2013   •  Permalink (link to this article)

April 17, 2013

Today, for the Writing Wednesday before Earth Day, we are thinking about biodiversity (bye-oh-dye-VERSE-it-tee). This means that we are thinking about Earth and how many different, or diverse, kinds of living things are present on our planet. We can help to preserve biodiversity by making sure that our human presence does not destroy crucial habitats that support all the different life forms living here.

Background: 

Experts think that Madidi National Park, in northwest Bolivia, may be the most biologically diverse place on Earth. More than 200 species of mammals, 300 types of fish and more than 12,000 plant species live in this single park. They range from the huge, 660-pound (300 kilograms) lowland tapir down to the tiny Spix’s disk-winged bat (right), which weighs just 0.14 ounces (4 grams) - about the same weight as a kidney bean that you would find in a bowl of chili. Record numbers of leopards live in this park, and so do more than 60 species of hummingbird!

How do human activities threaten the survival of all these fascinating species? Logging and stripping away forests has a huge impact by taking away habitats and reducing air quality, as trees remove harmful CO2 from the air and turn it into oxygen. Building highways, planting farmland and other human development also takes away critical animal habitats. In other locations, warming ocean temperatures are causing the death of whole reefs of coral, which are invertebrate animals living under the sea. Water pollution can also make animals and plants sick, or cause them to be trapped in nets, plastic and other debris. And unfortunately, many animals and plants are hunted by humans for food, trophies, fur, and other "collectibles."

Your Assignment: Write a letter to your fellow humans, helping them to understand why it is important to think about our impact on the environment around us. Make your letter as persuasive as possible by giving concrete reasons why people should change their behavior. And write a powerful conclusion that will help your readers understand the importance of your point of view.

When you are finished writing, you can post your letter for other to read by clicking on the yellow "Comments" link at the end of this article.

Photo: Kelley Miller / National Geographic


Note to Educators: Today’s Writing Wednesday exercise supports Common Core Writing Standard W1: Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons.

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: Writing Wednesday, Animals, Conservation, Common Core, Earth Day 2013   •  Permalink (link to this article)

April 3, 2013

Good morning, and welcome to Writing Wednesday. Today we are going to write a review of a wonderful nature poem by Joyce Sidman called Welcome to the Night. It is from her book DARK EMPEROR AND OTHER POEMS OF THE NIGHT (Houghton Mifflin, 2010). First read the poem below. Read it more than once, try some of the most delicious phrases aloud, use your imagination to see, hear and feel the words that call out to your senses.

 

Now that we have read this poem, let’s write a poem review. You can use the form below to get you started. Click here to download your own copy of the form, print it out, and write on it. Tomorrow, I will post my own review of Welcome to the Night. We’d love to read yours, too!

 

 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: Writing Wednesday, Poetry, Earth Day 2013   •  Permalink (link to this article)

March 20, 2013

Can you feel it? Smell it? See it? Spring officially arrives tomorrow, March 21st, at 7:02 a.m. ET. Here’s an excerpt from a book that I wrote about the arrival of spring:

 

Spring in America means heavy rains and late snows. It means birds flying north, trees and grasses pushing out new green leaves, wildflowers bursting into bloom and the sound of spring peepers. Spring is a season of beginnings, a signal of a renewal of life across America.

        Spring is the season to look for skunk cabbage shoots poking through the snow, to hear the early morning songs of robins and the late afternoon cackle of red-winged blackbirds, to feel the soft catkins of a pussy willow, to taste the first berries that ripen, and to smell the wet earth after a rain. Springtime is the sounds and sights of nature reawakening across America after the white sleep of winter snows.     

-   from SPRING ACROSS AMERICA, Hyperion Books, 1996, by Seymour Simon    

 

Today, for Writing Wednesday, we would like you to write about the signs of Spring where you live. Even if there is snow on the ground in New England, hail falling from the skies in the southeast, heavy rains on the west coast, or a frigid wind blowing across the northern plains, you can still find signs of spring when you step outside your door.

Take a few minutes and tell us what you see, what you smell, what you hear, what you feel. Use all your senses, and write about how you know that Spring is finally coming to your neighborhood. I am driving up to my lake house on the edge of the Berkshire mountains this afternoon, and I will write and tell you what I find.

You can click on the yellow "Comments" link at the bottom of this email to post your writing for your friends and family to read.

Happy Spring, everyone! 

 

Photo: Liz Nealon 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: Writing Wednesday, Seasons   •  Permalink (link to this article)

March 13, 2013

Seymour Simon has been writing this week about his battle to keep the squirrels from breaking into his "squirrel proof" bird feeder and eating all the seed that is meant for the birds. It is especially annoying because it is winter, and he knows that his feathered friends appreciate the food he puts out for them. Despite the special "cage" that is around his bird feeder, the squirrels still find a way to break in and eat the food.

  Now, we all know that squirrels can’t read, but if they could, maybe a stern, strong warning would keep them from touching the birds’ winter food.

Your assignment: Imagine that it is your job to create a sign that warns squirrels about the consequences if they steal from the bird feeder. Your writing needs to be short and punchy - 50 words or less - so that it will fit on the sign with nice, big letters and be easy to read.

When you have finished your "Squirrel Warning" sign, click on the yellow "Comments" link at the bottom of this blog post to show us your writing.

Use strong, action verbs and powerful adjectives to tell squirrels why stealing the birds’ food is simply NOT OK.

Have fun!


Bird Identification: Red-Breasted Nuthatch

Posted by: Liz Nealon

(1) Comments  •   Labels: Writing Wednesday, Animals, birds, Great Squirrel Robbery   •  Permalink (link to this article)

February 20, 2013

This is Banana Joe. He is the top dog in America this week - the first affenpinscher to ever win ‘Best in Show’ at the historic Westminster Dog Show.

  Some people think that the affenpinscher’s face looks more like a monkey than a dog. What do you think? 

 

 

 

For today’s Writing Wednesday, we want you to write about whether you think Banana Joe’s face looks like a dog or like a monkey. Give reasons that support your opinion, and if you can, use linking words like because, since, or for example to help explain your opinion.

Have fun!

 


Note to Educators: Today’s Writing Wednesday exercise is designed to use in support of CCSS Writing Standard #1: Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons.

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(4) Comments  •   Labels: Writing Wednesday, Animals, Dogs, Common Core   •  Permalink (link to this article)

February 13, 2013

Good morning, and welcome to Writing Wednesday. Look at these cute baby owls! Today, we would like you to take a few minutes and write six words that describe the animals in this photograph. That’s all there is to it.

You don’t need to write whole sentences. Just give us six adjectives (adjectives are words that describe a thing) that come to mind when you look at this photograph. When you are done, click on the yellow "Comments" button at the bottom of this blog to post your writing. Have fun with it!

 

 

Posted by: Liz Nealon

(17) Comments  •   Labels: Writing Wednesday, Animals, birds   •  Permalink (link to this article)

February 6, 2013

Good morning, and welcome to Writing Wednesday!

Today, we’re going to compare and contrast two pieces of writing by Seymour Simon. In each of these excerpts he is writing about Earth’s atmosphere, but the way he writes each of them is quite different.

Your Assignment: Read both of the pieces of Seymour Simon writing below, and then write a paragraph or two about how these pieces of writing are alike and how they are different. Some questions you might ask yourself as you read:

  • Who is the audience for each piece of writing?
  • What facts does he include in each piece to describe the atmosphere?
  • What kind of descriptive words does he use in each piece? How are they the same, or different?
  • Is the tone of voice the same or different in each of them? (Try reading each of them aloud to think about this)
  • What photographs did he choose to illustrate each piece of writing? Is one more effective than the other?
  • How about the design of the pages? Do they look similar? Different? In what ways?

If you would like to post your writing for others to see, you can click on the yellow "Comments" link at the bottom of the article. Happy writing!

 


 

 

From EARTH: OUR PLANET IN SPACE. Simon & Schuster, 1984/2003. 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From EARTH: A SHIPMATES GUIDE TO OUR SOLAR SYSTEM. Seymour Science, 2012.

 
 
 
 
 
 

Posted by: Liz Nealon

(1) Comments  •   Labels: Writing Wednesday, Earth Science Books, Earth, CompareContrast   •  Permalink (link to this article)

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