Standard Deviants Accelerate: Homeschool Language Arts Projects

10 Must Read Books for Teens

10 Must Read Books for Teens from Standard Deviants Accelerate

Celebrate Teen Literature Day is April 16, during National Library Week. For me this opens up a great opportunity to talk with our teens about what they are reading and have read, and what they are interested in reading. It also gives us a chance to suggest some books for them to read.

I have compiled a list of 10 Must Read Books for Teens. While I know there are many choices out there and that each family and their values vary, this is a list of some of my favorites as well as classics that you might want your teen to tackle.

10 Must Read Books for Teens

1. 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher - Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker – his classmate and crush – who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah’s voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out why. Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a firsthand witness to Hannah’s pain, and learns the truth about himself-a truth he never wanted to face.
2. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell – Widely considered The Great American Novel, and often remembered for its epic film version, Gone With the Wind explores the depth of human passions with an intensity as bold as its setting in the red hills of Georgia. A superb piece of storytelling, it vividly depicts the drama of the Civil War and Reconstruction.
3. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne – he Scarlet Letter is Nathaniel Hawthorne’s masterpiece and one of the greatest American novels. Its themes of sin, guilt, and redemption, woven through a story of adultery in the early days of the Massachusetts Colony, are revealed with remarkable psychological penetration and understanding of the human heart.
4. We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver – That neither nature nor nurture bears exclusive responsibility for a child’s character is self-evident. But generalizations about genes are likely to provide cold comfort if it’s your own child who just opened fire on his fellow algebra students and whose class photograph—with its unseemly grin—is shown on the evening news coast-to-coast.If the question of who’s to blame for teenage atrocity intrigues news-watching voyeurs, it tortures our narrator, Eva Khatchadourian. Two years before the opening of the novel, her son, Kevin, murdered seven of his fellow high school students, a cafeteria worker, and the much-beloved teacher who had tried to befriend him. In relating the story of Kevin’s upbringing, Eva addresses her estranged husband, Frank, through a series of startlingly direct letters. Fearing that her own shortcomings may have shaped what her son became, she confesses to a deep, long-standing ambivalence about both motherhood in general—and Kevin in particular. How much is her fault?
5. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green – Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.
6. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare – In Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare creates a violent world, in which two young people fall in love. It is not simply that their families disapprove; the Montagues and the Capulets are engaged in a blood feud. In this death-filled setting, the movement from love at first sight to the lovers’ final union in death seems almost inevitable. And yet, this play set in an extraordinary world has become the quintessential story of young love. In part because of its exquisite language, it is easy to respond as if it were about all young lovers.
7. Harry Potter Series – by J.K. Rowling – One day just before his eleventh birthday, an owl tries to deliver a mysterious letter the first of a sequence of events that end in Harry meeting a giant man named Hagrid. Hagrid explains Harry’s history to him: When he was a baby, the Dark wizard, Lord Voldemort, attacked and killed his parents in an attempt to kill Harry; but the only mark on Harry was a mysterious lightning-bolt scar on his forehead.Now he has been invited to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where the headmaster is the great wizard Albus Dumbledore. This series chronicles Harry’s adventures.
8. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – In a remote Hertfordshire village, far off the good coach roads of George III’s England, a country squire of no great means must marry off his five vivacious daughters. At the heart of this all-consuming enterprise are his headstrong second daughter Elizabeth Bennet and her aristocratic suitor Fitzwilliam Darcy — two lovers whose pride must be humbled and prejudices dissolved before the novel can come to its splendid conclusion.
9. Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer – Bella Swan’s move to Forks, a small, perpetually rainy town in Washington, could have been the most boring move she ever made. But once she meets the mysterious and alluring Edward Cullen, Bella’s life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn. Up until now, Edward has managed to keep his vampire identity a secret in the small community he lives in, but now nobody is safe, especially Bella, the person Edward holds most dear.Deeply romantic and extraordinarily suspenseful, Twilight captures the struggle between defying our instincts and satisfying our desires.
10. A Separate Peace by John Knowles – Set at a boys’ boarding school in New England during the early years of World War II, A Separate Peace is a harrowing and luminous parable of the dark side of adolescence. Gene is a lonely, introverted intellectual. Phineas is a handsome, taunting, daredevil athlete. What happens between the two friends one summer, like the war itself, banishes the innocence of these boys and their world.

Many of the books I chose because they are so often referenced in movies, pop culture, and compared to in great literary works. To not know such works as Gone with the Wind or Harry Potter would mean missing many inuenduos and references.

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National Poetry Month Ideas

National Poetry Month Ideas from Standard Deviants Accelerate

April is National Poetry Month! Each year the month of April is set aside as National Poetry Month, a time to celebrate poets and their craft. Various events are held throughout the month by the Academy of American Poets and other poetry organizations. In honor of National Poetry Month, introduce your kids to variety of poets, poems, and poetic forms.

National Poetry Month Ideas

1. Poet of the Day

Head to the library and take out some poetry books. Either read to, or have your children read aloud, poetry from a given author. Below is a list of suggestions to get you started. Each day you can choose a different poet to sample.

  • Shel Silverstein
  • Jack Prelutsky
  • Walt Whitman
  • Alfred Lord Tennyson
  • Edgar Allen Poe
  • William Wadsworth
  • Robert Frost
  • Sylvia Plath
  • Maya Angelou
  • John Keats
  • William Shakespeare
  • Emily Dickinson
  • Elizabeth Barrett Browning
  • E.E. Cummings
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Henry David Thoreau

2. Getting To Know You

After you have created a list of poets for each day, let your children pick a poet or two they would like to know more about. Have them do some research about the poets they chose. You can have them answer questions like:

  • What is their full name?
  • Birth/Death Dates
  • Where were they born? Where did they spend most of their life?
  • What was going on in the world during their lifetime? (wars, specific movements, etc.)
  • Type(s) of poetry they were famous for
  • Names of famous poems

3. Try Creating Different Forms of Poetry

Poetic “form” is a set of rules for writing a certain type of poem. These rules can include the number of lines or syllables the poem should have, the placement of rhymes, and so on. Here are some examples of different forms of poetry to try out with your children.

  • Rhyming
  • Theme/Shape
  • Tongue Twisters
  • Limerick
  • Haiku
  • Free Verse
  • Acrostic
  • Diamante
  • Cinquain

4. Poem Starters

Try using some of these poem starters to get the creative juices flowing.

  • Nighttime
  • a color
  • spring, summer, winter, fall
  • the ocean
  • birthdays
  • tree swing or fort
  • family (brother, sister, cousin, mother, father)
  • vacation
  • car travel (space, train, bicycle)
  • animals

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Create a Word Wall for Early Readers

Create A Word Wall For Early Readers from Standard Deviants Accelerate

When my children were younger I surrounded them with toys, games, and books to encourage them to read and to learn to have a love of reading. One of the favorite things we had was what I called the Word Wall. This was a place for them to explore and play with words.

Create a Word Wall for Early Readers

Our word wall was nothing more than a magnetic white board with magnetic letters and words that I created for it.

Supplies:

  • Magnetic white board
  • Magnetic letters (we had sets of Leap Frog letters that I used)
  • Paper
  • Markers
  • Stencils
  • Laminator
  • magnets
  • Plastic bin

Directions:

  1. Using a list of common site words I created word cards for our Word Wall. I color coded the letters in the words to match the color scheme of the Leap Frog letters.
  2. With a stencil and markers I made a whole list of words and then laminated them and glued magnets to the back.
  3. I filled a shoe boxed sized plastic bin with the letter and words that I created.
  4. We then used the letters and words to play games and create sentences.

Games To Play:

  1. Have your child pull out words and say them aloud. If they don’t know them have them repeat after you.
  2. You can place words on the board and have your child create them with the letters from the box.
  3. Use simple words to create sentences on the white board. We started with things like The cat, The cat and the dog, The cat and the dog ran.

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15 Chapter Books for Middle School Readers

15 Chapter Books for Middle School Readers from Standard Deviants Accelerate

Middle school is a period of transition. As our children leave elementary school and enter middle school their interests begin to change, their ability level changes, and with that comes a time when then are beginning to mature and prepare for high school.

You will often find your children reading above grade level, but it can be difficult to find appropriate stories for our kids to read at this slightly elevated reading level. For this reason I have compiled a list of some middle school appropriate books that have less pictures, more mature content than picture books, but still kid friendly. {As with everything we present to our kids be sure to screen each book to be sure you are comfortable with the content for the child you are giving it to.}

15 Chapter Books for Middle School Readers

  1. The Family Under the Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson
  2. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Patterson
  3. Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
  4. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
  5. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
  6. The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
  7. Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
  8. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
  9. Hoot by Carl Hiaasen
  10. Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes
  11. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’brien
  12. The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall
  13. Holes by Louis Sachar
  14. Every Soul a Star by Wendy Mass
  15. Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment by James Patterson

Other Articles of Interest:

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3 Ways to Increase Your Home Library on a Budget

3 Ways to Increase Your Home Library on a Budget from Standard Deviants Accelerate

Being a homeschool family typically means that you will have more books in your home, and if you are a book lover like myself that number is even larger! But being a homeschool family also typically means a smaller budget. While that may limit your book buying, it in no way means you cannot build a large collection of books!

3 Ways to Increase Your Home Library on a Budget

Buying on a budget means you have to be a little more strategic about how you spend your money. Here are a few ways to help you have a stupendous home library without breaking the bank!

1. Try Before You Buy

There are many books available to us at our local library. Using the library as a means to test run books is a great way to avoid making unnecessary purchases.

For instance, you might have a child who goes through a love of Clifford the Big Red Dog. But do you really need to spend the money to by every Clifford book? Nope. You can check them out of the library and if your child finds one or two favorites then you can always choose to purchase those to have on hand.

2. Only Buy What You Must

If you are looking to purchase books for your child to read, or because they need something for a unit study, etc, think before you buy. Some books will clearly only be used once and then never again. Try to be discerning about the books that you do purchase and only purchase what will really be of value to you and your family down the road.

For instance, I collect classic literature. Things like Moby Dick, A Christmas Carol, The Scarlet Letter, and Pride and Prejudice are books that easily make the must read by the end of high school list, and therefore will be read by all in our house. These are a good investment for our home library.

3. Buy Used

There are many ways to find used books. From online sources like Amazon and Half.com, to local resources like your library book sale, thrift store, used book store, or garage sales. When I specifically need a book and need it soon, I will buy used online to get it in a timely fashion. For other books I have collected it has just been a slow roll. I always look at garage sales during the season, and so do our kids! We recently picked up some awesome No Fear Shakespeare Books, and the hard covers of the Hunger Games Trilogy for fifty cents a piece!

Creating a list on paper, or in your head of topics and types of books you are looking for can be a big help. That way you don’t double up on anything, and you have a reference to guide you when a sale pops up! I have purchased many non-fiction reference books along the way for pocket change to add to our collection. Things like books about space, history, mythology, science experiments, nature study and more. These have all become staple references in our home library.

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The 9 Parts of Speech

The 9 Parts of Speech from Standard Deviants Accelerate

The 9 parts of speech are; nouns, verbs, pronouns, articles, adjectives, adverbs,
interjections, conjunctions, and prepositions. Learning to distinguish between them can go a long way to help kids understand the English language and how to structure sentences.

Parts of Speech

1. Nouns

Person, place, or thing (tree, car, girl, dog, house, sandy)

Types of Nouns:

  1. Appositive – Noun that renames the subject. (Kathyrn, my soccer coach, is awsome. Renaming Kathyrn.)
  2. Predicate Nominative – (PN) Noun that renames the subject via linking verb. (Kathryn is my COACH.)
  3. Common – Nouns not capitalized (desk, city, cookie, penguin)
  4. Proper – Nouns that starts with a capital letter (Eva, Germany, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, February, Friday)
  5. Singular – Only one thing (horse, camper, arm, pillow, chair)
  6. Plural – Multiple things (horses, campers, arms, pillows, chairs)
  7. Abstract – Nouns that you cannot see (love, patience, hope, courage)
  8. Concrete – Nouns you can see (sidewalk, book, arm, soda)

2. Verbs

Action word (sprinting, jump, run, to walk)

Types of Verbs:

  1. Predicate: Basically another word for “verb.”
  2. Linking: Not an action verb, but linking the subject + predicate adjective. (is, be, was, am, are, seem, look, smell, grow, remain, have been, might be)
  3. Participle: (part.) Verb used as an adjective. ( SOCCER team)
  4. Gerunds: (ger.) Verbs that function as subjects. Such as, SOCCER is my favorite sport.
  5. Active: Doing the action (Chloe EATS chicken.) Chloe is eating chicken.
  6. Passive: Not doing the action (The chicken WAS EATEN by Chloe.) The chicken isn’t doing anything.
  7. Infinitive: Normally “to” at the beginning (to walk, to jump, to slide)
  8. 23 Helping Verbs: Can, could, have, has, had, am, are, do, does, did, be, being, been, shall, should, will, would, was, were, is, may, might, must
  9. Base (play) Past (played) Present participle (playing) Past participle (have played)

3. Pronoun

Word that takes the place of a noun (him, her, it, you, he, she, they. some, each, few, any)

  1. All Singular Pronouns: each, either, neither, everyone, no one, nobody, everybody, anyone, anybody, someone, somebody, doesn’t, isn’t, wasn’t
  2. All Plural Pronouns: both, few, several, many, don’t, aren’t, weren’t
  3. Nominative Pronouns: I, he, she, we, they, who, whoever,
  4. Objective Pronouns: me, him, her, us, them, whom, whomever

4. Article

A, an, the

5. Adjectives

Words that describe nouns (beautiful, shiny, smelly, pretty, bumpy)

  1. Predicate Adjective: An adjective that renames the subject via linking verb. (Ava is loud. Renaming Ava.)

6. Adverbs

Words that describe verbs, often ending in “-ly” (beautifully, colorfully, quickly)

7. Interjections

An exclamation often at a beginning of a sentence. Ah! Oh! Eek!

8. Conjunctions

Conjoining words (and, but, or, also, if, etc.)

9. Prepositions

A word describing a noun’s relations (on, at, below, from, for, beneath, above, against,
until, before, etc. ON the rug, IN the car, BENEATH the chair, etc.

(Predicate Adjective) PA vs. PN (Predicate Noun):

  1. Predicate adjectives rename the subject with an ADJECTIVE. (AVA is loud. Belle is good.
  2. Predicate nouns rename the subject with a NOUN. (Kathryn is a coach. Cinderella is a book.)

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10 Books to Help Kids Understand Shakespeare

10 Books to Help Kids Understand Shakespeare from Standard Deviants Accelerate

Teaching and Learning Shakespeare can fill like a daunting task. The language can be difficult and thus the stories not well understood. One way to help kids out is to get them started early with Shakespeare, using kid friendly resources to help them understand the stories before delving into the original wording of the plays.

Books To Help Kids Understand Shakespeare

  1. Shakespeare Can Be Fun – This is a series of books that takes many of Shakespeare’s works and makes them more understandable for kids without lessening the quality of his work. They’re written in rhyming couplets meant to tell the Bard’s stories in a clever, engaging way. The books are peppered with color drawings by kids ages 7 through 10, and are meant either to be read aloud or performed as plays. 
  2. Beautiful Stories From Shakespeare For Children – In this book the author reproduces  20 of the greatest of Shakespeare’s plays in charming prose simple enough for children to understand and enjoy them. 
  3. Shakespeare’s Storybook – This is a collection of the folk tales that inspired Shakespeare to write many of his great works. It introduces each story with fascinating information about its history and its prevalence in other cultures, as well as insights into local traditions and political issues that influenced Shakespeare’s writing.
  4. The Shakespeare BookThe Shakespeare Book brings the work of William Shakespeare to life with full-color photography, images, idea webs, timelines, and quotes that help you understand the context of Shakespeare’s plays and poems.
  5. Shakespeare’s Secret – Amidst this engaging mystery readers will also find numerous facts about Elizabethan history, theories about Shakespeare’s writings, and, perhaps most importantly, a moral but not preachy tale.
  6. No Fear Shakespeare – This is a series of books that takes many of Shakespeare’s works and presents them with the complete text on the left-hand page, side-by-side with an easy-to-understand translation on the right.
  7. How to Teach Your Children ShakespeareKen Ludwig devised his friendly, easy-to-master methods while teaching his own children. Beginning with memorizing short passages from the plays, his technique then instills children with cultural references they will utilize for years to come. Ludwig’s approach includes understanding of the time period and implications of Shakespeare’s diction as well as the invaluable lessons behind his words and stories.
  8. Illustrated Stories From ShakespeareThis is a wonderful collection of six retellings of William Shakespeare’s best-loved plays – a perfect mix of comedy, tragedy, magic and romance, retold for younger readers. It is full of colorful illustrations! It contains the plays “A Midummer Night’s Dream”, “Hamlet”, “Macbeth”, “Romeo and Juliet”, “The Tempest”, and “Twelfth Night”. It also includes a section at the back on the life and times of Shakespeare.
  9. DK Eye Witness ShakespeareWhether your child has a special interest in the work of William Shakespeare, you’re going to see a Shakespeare play as a family, or you want to add depth and additional resources to Shakespeare’s work that your student is studying in the Eyewitness: Shakespeare is the ideal choice for your child to get to know the bard even better.
  10. Shakespeare for KidsKids can experience William Shakespeare’s England and get their first taste of the Bard’s sublime craft with this lively biography and activity book.

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Thoughtful Writing Prompts for High School from Standard Deviants Accelerate

Thoughtful Writing Prompts for High School

Thoughtful Writing Prompts for High School from Standard Deviants Accelerate

As students get older they have the capability for higher level thinking and analyzing. For this reason the writing prompts given in high school can be more in depth and require more thought than those in the younger grades.

Writing Prompts for High School

  1. What trip would you take if you suddenly had the chance? Would it be by land, air or sea? Would you take anyone with you? Write about the trip.
  2. Write a bucket list for yourself. Do one for the next 5 years, 10 years, or lifetime.
  3. If you could go back and re-do one event in your life would you? What event would you re-do. Tell about the event as well as why you would change it and what you would like to change.
  4. Preconceived notions are often false. Describe a time when you discovered that a preconceived notion of yours (about a person, place, or thing) turned out to be wrong.
  5. (In our house we are driven by music. Each of us with certain loves for certain moods and times. For instance we listen to harmonized duets in the care and we each sing a certain part.) Make a soundtrack for your life. Choose songs that describe different times of your life either based on circumstances or feelings, etc.
  6.  What 3 books do you think every teen should read and why?
  7. What one teacher has truly changed the way you see something? Write about that teacher including what they made you see differently. Why were they able to do that? What or how made you make the switch? (I had a teacher in high school that totally lit a fire under me for historical fiction in just one book suggestion.)
  8. Write a letter to yourself as if you are out of high school and writing to tell yourself some important truth about yourself or the world around you at that time. (Think Brad Paisley and his song Letter to Me.)

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Interesting Writing Prompts for Middle School

Interesting Writing Prompts for Middle School from Standard Deviants Accelerate

Writing is one of those subjects (along with math) that seem to be a thorn in a homeschoolers side. While younger kids may get excited over little writing prompts and pages with a place to draw a picture and write something about it, middle school students may not be so enthused.

Writing Prompts for Middle School

To help keep middle school students from moaning and groaning, try giving them some writing prompts that might be a of a little more interest to them. Finding something that speaks to their interests helps, as well as finding topics that are more relevant to their place in time and age.

  1. Character vs. CharacterPick two characters from different books you’ve read this year and have them get in an argument about something (e.g., who has suffered more, who has had a happier life, whose parents are more of a pain, whose super power is better, etc.).
  2. Find an image to write about. It can be from a book, magazine, etc. Print out a copy of it, attach it to the paper and write something. Tell why you like it, or what it means to you, or create a story around the images in the photo.
  3. Write about a vacation. Tell us about a vacation your family went it. It can be a good or bad memory.
  4. Can honesty be bad? Write about someone, real or created, who finds themselves in trouble for being too honest.
  5. Write about your name. Why you were given it? Are there any associations or stories attached to it? Look up what it means if you don’t already know.  Do you think it describes you? Why or why not? What name would you give yourself other than the one you actually have and why?
  6. How does your character respond? According to Maya Angelou you can tell a lot about a person by the way they handle these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. Write a story in which a character has to deal with any one, all, or combination of these situations. 
  7. Rather be doing. Write about 3 things you would rather be doing other than writing. They can be real things or made up. So choose to either write wholly in fiction, or wholly in fact.

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Understanding Literature – Poetry

Understanding Literature - Poetry from Standard Deviants Accelerate

Poetry is a distinct form of literature, one that offers a different perspective and voice than other types of writing. By definition poetry is, literary work in which special intensity is given to the expression of feelings and ideas by the use of distinctive style and rhythm.” (Google Definition)

About Poetry

Poetry is vital language. Poetry relies on the writer’s feelings, history and perceptions. Poetry draws on the senses and the senses give deep access to memories and feelings which makes poetry writing relevant and interesting.

There are many different types of poetry ranging from ones with very specific guidelines such as haiku, limerick and acrostic to poetry with more free form such as free verse, lyric and narrative.

Poetry Prompts to Get You Started

  • Pick three words that you absolutely love the sound of and set out to use them in your poem.
  • Write a poem that involves an animal.
  • Write a poem about a whistling teapot, or a whirring freight train.
  • Write a poem to tell someone special what they mean to you.
  • Write or rewrite a greeting card poem so that is has meaning to you, or at least is funny.
  • Write a poem based around an emotion, and connect it to a type of weather. Like, rain – sadness; joy – sunshine; pain or fear – thunder.
  • Write a poem about your favorite flower.
  • Ask your friends to give you five random phrases. The phrases can be fragments or sentences. Write a poem that incorporates these five phrases.
  • Use the first letters in a word to create lines of poetry. This is called acrostic poetry.
  • Write a haiku about the current season (spring, summer, winter, fall) Haiku is a Japanese poem composed of three unrhymed lines of five, seven, and five syllables. A traditional haiku contains a season word that symbolizes the season in which the poem is set.
  • Listen to a song you really enjoy. Focus on your most favorite part of the music. Write a poem about all the sensations, images, and feelings that song evokes for you.
  • Write a poem in which a similar or identical phrase is repeated three or more times throughout the poem.
  • Open a dictionary and pick 5 words at the top of pages and use them in a poem.
  • Write a poem about an inanimate object such as your toaster, a chair, hat, boat, etc.

Just the Facts: Understanding Literature: The Elements of Poetry

Figurative language, meter and rhyme, simile, and metaphor — these are a few of the many topics explored in this lively video tour through the genre of poetry. Other elements illustrated in the program include: Oxymoron, assonance, alliteration, imagery, understatement, hyperbole and more…

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Quick Tips for Encouraging Handwriting

Quick Tips For Encouraging Handwriting from Standard Deviants Accelerate

Amidst the things that can be a struggle for kids to grasp and learn is handwriting. Unfortunately handwriting is the basis for school, learning, and life. It requires hand – eye coordination, focus, and typically a whole lot of patience for the writer and the teacher. The good news is that there are some fun ways to help engage kids in writing activities that can get them along the path of handwriting success.

Quick Tips For Encouraging Handwriting

1. Chalk Writing

Most kids love to play with chalk. When the weather is nice you can get outside on the driveway or sidewalk. I used to play tic tack toe, or create a maze for them to trace through. They would delight in writing letters of the alphabet or their names. You can write things for them to trace or copy, you can bring a book out for them to reference when practicing.

When the weather is not so nice you can use a chalkboard indoors. We bought chalkboard paint and created a chalkboard on one wall in each one of the kids rooms. Countless hours have been spent in front of those boards writing and drawing.

2. Dry Erase Boards and Books

There are a large variety of dry erase books you can purchase. But one of our favorite things to do was to print free printables and put them inside a plastic sheet protector and use dry erase markers on that. Traceables and mazes are a great way for kids to have fun while using the skills needed to become successful at handwriting.

Dry erase boards that are small enough to use on laps and tables are a great way to have kids practice and easily be able to wipe off and redo. Having fun sayings or sentences for them to copy from their favorite books or movies each day helps to keep them engaged in the activity.

3. Shaving Cream

For young kids shaving cream and their fingers are an easy way to get the large motion of writing down. Simply spread shaving cream on a table or other surface in front of them. Then have them make shapes, lines, letters, etc. in the shaving cream with their fingers.

Need some extra cash to purchase supplies? We have a giveaway going on right now that includes a $250 Visa Gift Card! It ends 8/31/15. Check it out here

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