Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Critique Group

Yesterday my critique group met. Anyone who is serious about writing should consider being in a critique group. It helps to have the insight of other writers who understand and respect your genre. By meeting regularly, you stay on track, edit your work in a timely fashion, and see your writing from different perspectives.

I'm blessed to be in a small group that really 'clicks.' I came home and couldn't wait to 'tweak' what we'd reviewed in the group. The suggestions and changes may have been small, but they were like the Little Bear's bowl of porridge--they were "just right."

The work I'm having critiqued is a chapter book (approximately for grades 4-6). This is the first one I've written for this age level. While I've finished an edited first draft, it's not really complete. Having several sets of eyes review and critique it has proven to be invaluable. It's coming along nicely. I hope to be able to send it out to a publisher in the next six months.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Busy Weekend

Gulf Fritillary
The weekend was busy--mostly helping to make a Halloween costume.

I visited with two of our grandkids also. That always makes me smile--they're such a blessing. Besides giving my grandson an art lesson, I worked on some paintings and sketches for paintings I hope to complete soon.

It seemed like I was in the kitchen a lot this weekend. I'd found a wonderful recipe for a breakfast bread and I just had to try it. Yummy!

Time in the garden is a weekend must, of course. Summer will soon be over; I want to enjoy the butterflies a while longer. Sometimes I simply walk around in the yard and soak up the beauty of Florida. My favorite "outside place" is my butterfly garden and a meditation bench I have under a nest of trees. Taking pictures of the many kinds of butterflies in our yard has gotten to be a little side hobby.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Clean-Up Day

The fun part of doing conferences is the presentation; the work part is the clean-up. I find myself getting distracted with new ideas and adding to the file for a particular craft/activity. This makes putting things away in a timely manner even more challenging. But, as with all of us "multi-task"folks, it all manages to get done. (It just doesn't always look organized to the outside observer.) A real plus is that each time I put things away, I do discover better ways of storage and while I'm tidying up, it gives me time to reflect on the presentation itself.

Since my craft workshops require so many "throw-away" items, there's a lot of "good junk" to be stored so I'll have enough items on hand for the next large group instruction. (My neighbors know where to get their hands on 100 empty paper towel rolls in a hurry if they need them.)

Today, I've managed to clean up the files, store an additional 200 texture squares, put most of the stuff away and rescue the guest room bed that had been buried under boxes. All in all, a good day. Now I'm ready for the next time I need to put on the hat of the "Trash to Treasure Teacher." (I do love 'before' and 'after' pictures.  Don't you?)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Two of My Books

I'm learning more and more each day about this "blogging stuff." (My friend lent me a book that's helping.) So now, it's time for me to add a picture. You know the saying, a picture's "worth a thousand words" and there's no time or interest in writing (or reading) a thousand words. Still, if I'm going to mention my books, I should include some pictures of the books I used at the workshop. Obviously, Snipper Critters is on the left and Little Hands--Create! is on the right.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Weekend at FL Reading Assoc. Conference

Reading Lights the Way: That was the name of the FRA conference and it was an enlightening time. So many wonderful and dedicated professionals attend these conferences. It's great to see such enthusiastic teachers (and future teachers), coordinators and reading specialists combing through all the sessions and workshops to find new ideas to incorporate into their instruction. While some of the sessions focus on new rules and regulations, my sessions are a real break, a chance to have fun and remember the joy of teaching. This year I was asked to do two session. Both were great. A presenter always appreciates hearing, "I love it." "I'll use this idea all the time." and "Why didn't I think of that?" comments, and I'm no exception. All the prep time for this yearly conference is well worth it when I see the participants stuffing all the "make and take"simple craft ideas into their bags as they turn "trash" into "treasure"and see how to integrate the craft with core disciplines they need to teach. Their laughter and smiles are like an elixir. The second session on Sunday was smaller, but just as much fun. It followed a terrific "Breakfast with the Authors." THIS author had the opportunity to sit with some super teachers and reading specialists. I even got to put on my chicken hat--but, that's another story. I used ideas from two of my books, "Snipper Critters--Easy Art Activities to Stimulate Language Across the Curriculum" from the wonderful folks at Maupin House and "Little Hands--Create! Art & Activities for Kids Ages 3 to 6. (Williamson-A division of Ideals). The latter won a Parents' Choice Approved Award. As with all of my workshops, I also threw in a lot of additional crafts and hints that aren't in book form yet and expanded on how to use the ideas to combine disciplines across the curriculum.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

First day on blog

Hi World,

This is the first day of my blogging. Wow, I have a lot to learn. That's okay, we all have to start somewhere. My good friend is talking--and walking--me through this. That's good too.

I think I'm going to like this--as soon as I know enough to feel 'smart.' That may take a while.

Blogging is a good way to share some of my expertise and gain even more from other bloggers. I've authored eight craft and activity books. Right now I'm preparing for a workshop where I'll feature Snipper Critters and Little Hands--Create! two of my books.

Feel free to comment on any of my posts. Interaction is a good thing!