Family Literacy and Fun: Paint Chip Poetry

Family Literacy and Fun: Paint Chip Poetry

Need to make a run to the hardware or paint store this summer? Be sure to take your children along, or at least go with them in mind. Why? Because then you can have fun writing together creating paint chip poetry.

What’s paint chip poetry? Basically, its poetry written using words from a paint chip. There are several variations on the process.

 

Step 1: Gather Paint Chips

As I said, take the kids along and let them select their own paint chip cards, or, if that’s not possible, select a few paint chip cards for each child, keeping in mind their favorite colors and interests–the colors of their favorite stuffed animal, school, or team. Don’t forget to grab a few cards for yourself. Modeling your interest in writing and literacy is one of the best ways to encourage your kids to engage in literacy activities.

Step 2: Choose a Process

Since I lost the link for the article I read on this, I researched a few paint chip writing activities, and there were several variations on the process available. Here’s three to choose from:

  • You and your kids can make up similes (statements using the words “like” or “as”) for each color name on their selected card. You can even write the similes directly over the swatch of color.
  • You and your kids can write a patterned poem using a paint chip color.
  • You and your kids can select from grade/age appropriate options and write your poems accordingly.

Be sure to have plenty of paper and writing utensils on hand.

Step 3: Explain and Write

  • Give you children their paint chip cards.
  • Explain what you are going to do. Maybe even do a sample together from one of your cards.
  • Turn your kids loose to write for a set period of time. (For children not yet old enough to write, let them dictate their thoughts, and you write them down. Then read the “poem” back to your child, pointing to each word as you read it to reinforce the one-to-one correspondence between the written and spoken word.)

Step 4: Gather and Read

Call your kids back to a central area and have fun reading your poems to each other.

Step 5: Celebrate!

Maybe afterwards you can have a colorful snack, like rainbow sherbert, cupcakes with multi-colored sprinkles, or 9 layer bean dip and multi-colored tortilla chips.

Try using your color words in conversation over the next few days. Have fun with these words.

For Teachers

The links above were written with the classroom in mind. Also, if you search “Paint Chip Poetry” you will find still more options to take with you back to school in September.

Your Turn

How did your paint chip poetry session go? Please use the comments section to share some of the poems you or your children created. Now’s your chance to brag on those little ones!

Did you find some interesting color words on your paint chips? Share the color names that caught your fancy. It would be so cool to end up with a list of delightful names.

 

Send a Card to a Friend

radient-flower-cardToday is National Send a Card to a Friend Day. What a great way to promote the enjoyment of literacy (not to mention an opportunity for creativity)! Wouldn’t we all love getting a card from a friend? So, what might you do?

Send a Card To a Friend–Where to get the Card

Obvious resources are just using any stationary or blank notecards you already own.

Other options include making cards. Click on the link to my “Card Gallery” board on Pinterest. There are lots of ideas there. However, you do not need to do anything particularly complicated. You don’t even have to have special card stock, scrapbook paper, or those many delightfully tempting tools you can find at any craft store.

sun-greeting-cardHere is a simple, but striking idea using materials everyone probably has on hand:

  • Fold a piece of printer paper. This is your card.
  • Find a contrasting paper–it could be scrapbook paper, wrapping paper, a brown paper bag, or even a scrap of fabric.
  • Trace an interesting shape, no bigger than your “card” onto the paper/fabric. Cookie cutters work great for this.
  • Cut it out.
  • Glue the shape onto your card.
  • Embellish as you wish with colored pen or pencil, glitter, bows–whatever you fancy. Caution: because this is supposed to be a simple card I would do no more than one of these options.

Now you have a card.

Write a Note

  • What should you say? Here are some ideas:
  • share a memory
  • share a hope or dream for the two of you together–could be as simple as meeting for a walk next Tuesday
  • express appreciation for this relationship
  • encourage a friend who may be going through a rough time
  • just say, “Hi! I miss you.”

Easy Peasy, as a friend of mine might say.

Get the Kids Writing and Creating

Are you a parent or a teacher? What a great way to encourage literacy!

In the classroom, if you want to do this but don’t have a lot of time, pass out index cards, instruct the students to decorate the blank side with crayon, markers, or colored pencil, and write the note to a friend on the lined side.

At home? Have a blast making cards with your kids. Pull out all your crafting stuff. Make more than one. Make some to have on hand for next time you need a card.

When done crafting, each of you select a card–parents and kids; it is important we model our enjoyment of literacy for our children. Then write to a friend. (For pre-reader/writers, ask your child to dictate a letter and you write what they say down. After, read it back to your child pointing to each word as you say it, thus reinforcing their understanding of spoken to written word correspondence.) Use this as a learning activity to teach your kids how to address an envelope. Put a stamp on it, and send it off.

Your Turn

Please use the comment space below to share more ideas for topics that would make a good note to a friend or some other fun card making activities.

And…Dear friends, I am so grateful to have you as readers.

Literate Lives 2017

Litlives PurposeWelcome to Literate Lives 2017!

In the week between Christmas and New Year, I have been doing some much-needed housecleaning here on the blog, and ended up reading a lot of old posts. The process charged me with excitement for this next year together, and instead of making you new promises, I want to touch back to my original intentions here at Literate Lives. So here is a blast to the past: excerpts from (and a few additions to) my very first post, June 6, 2010.

Literate Lives: The Vision

The concept of a blog is interesting. It is a challenge to be both personal and useful-to others. This is my second version (now my third actually) of my first blog post here in “Literate Lives.”

In the first version of this post, I eagerly shared who I am and the things I love, believing if readers and I share some common passions, you might come back to read more. And I do want you to come back for more. I love reading, writing, and teaching, and I want to contribute to the reading, writing, teaching community in a positive way.

However, having completed that first post, I was aghast to discover it was all about me! Me, me, me—as if I were some kind of navel-gazing egomaniac who has nothing to offer save my own glorious vision of myself. (Definitely NOT my intention.)

While a revised “version one” will likely soon appear as a post (because I do feel, if you and I are to become friends and colleagues in pursuit of a literate lifestyle, I must be willing to share who I am). What I want to say here, however, is that I hope “Literate Lives” will be a “place” to which you can come, a quiet corner where you can think about reading and books, writing, and creativity. I hope it will be a “place” where you can share your love for these things with a like-minded community and glean from the blog posts, comments, “Play with Your Words” writing prompts, and reading response exercises treasures to enrich your own literate lifestyle and that of your students or family.

Summer Reading: Let’s Make a List!

A Gazillion Places to Read

An Alarming Statistic

Did you know kids can lose up to two months of reading skill if they do not read during the summer? And take it from me, a GED Writing and Language Arts coach, those losses add up by the time a student is trying to complete high school, let alone excel in college.

Summer is half over (more than half in some communities), and so I thought it might be time to support each other in supporting young people reading. Therefore, let’s make a list.

What are some of your favorite places for summer reading? I’ll start out with a few, then it’s your job to help us reach the “Gazillion” mark. (And it’s okay if you want to list some of you recent favorites. No need to limit the list to places you liked to read as a kid.)

Awesome Places for Summer Reading

  1. During the lifeguard breaks at the pool or beach
  2. While you wait for a sibling (or child) at his or her sport’s practice/gym/art/_____ class
  3. In a treehouse (I know a writer who writes in a treehouse!)
  4. In a cool, air-conditioned library on a sweltering day
  5. In the backseat while running errands or on a trip (Oh, you lucky kids who don’t have to drive!)
  6. On a picnic (What if the whole family goes on a reading picnic–bring a blanket, yummy snacks, comfy chairs, and–of course–lots of books? Mmm, fun!)
  7. At the bus stop, bus/rapid transit/train station, airport or wherever waiting for a ride
  8. Under a shady tree beside a river or stream (My personal favorite)
  9. In at tent–at a campground or in your own back yard
  10. Before going to sleep (Want to know the true sign of an awesome parent? His or her children do not need flashlights to read in bed. However, if you want to read under the covers with a flashlight–enjoy the fun.)

Okay your turn. I’ve listed my first 10. Now, please, help me bring the list closer to a gazillion!

Where are some of your favorite places to read in the summer?

Photo: Depositphotos_6644031_original

A Fourth of July Blast From the Past

4941bfa021c7c1594a9eae51ac64b200I am visiting my mom this Independence Day, so I thought I would share a “blast from the past.” To read the full post click here.

My husband, son, and I went to a bar-b-que at my daughter’s house. In addition to our family, which includes my absolutely adorable granddaughters, were my daughter’s sister-in-law and husband who came with their five little girls.

As always when I visit her house, my granddaughter, Gracie, wanted me to come play in her room. We played house. I was the mommy and she the little girl, when two of her cousins caught up with us and joined in. We “ate” breakfast (plastic waffles and eggs), “went to the park” (the living room), “went home” and “ate” lunch (more plastic food), “went swimming”(the living room area rug),  “ate” invisible goldfish crackers followed by dinner (plastic cake with fruit on it–Grace was running out of healthy food that came in quantities of four), and went to bed.

Now Grace, nearly four years old, likes to go to bed with a flashlight, and she has several, so me and the girls curled up in her bed, each of them with her own flashlight. One brought a book and asked me to read it.

There we snuggled in the dark, me pointing to the part of the page where the words were printed and three little girls training their flashlights on them. We read Ten Naughty Little Monkeys by Suzanne Williams, then Up All Night Counting by Robin Koontz.

My delightful audience giggled as I did the voice of the doctor in Ten Little Monkeys, and marveled as they lifted the flaps and jiggled the pages of Up All Night Counting.

Who cares if I missed the poker game in the backyard or the firing up of the fire pit for s’mores! The time I passed reading with those three little girls was magic, and I hope the memory will be one they savor as well as I.

My Gracie has now completed third grade and this week is borrowing Edward Eager’s Half Magic. She has two delightful sisters and a new baby brother, and they are the joy of my life.

I hope this 4th finds you enjoying the holiday with loved ones and provides a little literacy magic.

Please share your happy happenings, and have a safe and blessed holiday!

The Support and Nurture of Lovers of Reading and Writing

J Tower LogoToday, as I moved, tortoise-pace, through my day, I felt a deep sense of sweetness in this slowing and reorienting of my life as a result of last week’s visit to the ER. I savor it. I want to hang onto it, and fear I will forget it as my health improves. And so I memorialize it, in hope I will not completely forget.

I don’t want to hurry anymore. My spirit has been so at peace while unburdened by deadlines. I feel so much more open to and able to embrace the people in my life. And I am convinced the world cannot experience peace if we are all running and grabbing.

One of the cares that has driven me these last few years is a burning desire to be published. I have been writing fantasy novels for a long, long time. While my hopes for publication have not changed, I pray, as I re-embark on my routine pursuits, I can cease to rush after it with such urgency. I want to write and reach readers, but I want to write, revise, and submit my novels in a sustainable manner. Let God’s timing rule. Patience is sweet.

And, I want to return to blogging regularly. When I started Literate Lives, and again when I interviewed for my job, I said, “I love to encourage readers and writers.” But tonight, it feels like so much more. I long to nurture and encourage readers and writers. I want to be an instrument of blessing in your lives. I want to provide ideas and encouragement to help you embrace stillness, reflection, gratitude, and peace; facilitate your engagement in a literate lifestyle as a way to experiencing these things; and support the teaching and spread of literacy as a means toward a life well lived.

I want to love and nurture lovers of reading and writing. I want to support you in developing your own literate lifestyles and fostering literacy in your homes and classrooms.

So tell me, what would you like to see here? How can I support and nurture you?

Love that Setting! Play With Your Words Writing Prompt #83

Pre-write

Think about a place you love. Be there. See the details.

Get out a piece of paper. List:

  • The objects you see there
  • The colors you see there
  • The sounds you hear there
  • The scents you smell there
  • The textures you see and feel there
  • How it feels there
  • What things there taste like (even the air)

Write

Write a description of this place. Write it in such loving detail that a reader would know you love this place without you saying the words.

After you’ve written your rough draft, polish for specific and sensory word choices and details.

Share

When done, read your description to your writing partners or share it as a comment here.

Compliment one another on the richness and depth of the details and on the vividness of the sensory language.

Preschool Literacy:

Pre-write

Gather pencils, paper, and art materials.

Sit down with your preschooler and ask him what his favorite place is. Write the name of the place in big letters at the top of the page.

Write

Now ask your preschooler to describe this place. Ask her what it:

  • looks like
  • sounds like
  • smells like
  • feels like
  • even tastes like.

As she answers your questions, list her responses beneath the title on the paper.

Share

When done, read back to your preschooler what he or she has said, pointing to the words as you say them to reinforce the one to one correspondence between each written and spoke word.

Together illustrate the paper and display it somewhere other family members can appreciate it.