L-literature M-music N-naming O-oral language P-phonemic awareness,/picture imaging MyLMNOP are the building blocks used to engage early learners in the promotion of expressive language and vocabulary building skills.

Friday, October 31, 2014

It has been a while. Well actually, it's been a few years since I've dusted off the shelves of this blog of mine. But I could not pass up the opportunity to participate in the best contest for writers of kidlit. The wonderful Susanna Hill is doing it again. Her world famous Halloweensie Contest is underway and this year I'm participating!! Yaay! Boy will she be surprised. She might just faint.

So on to the rules of the game:

The Contest:  write a 100 word Halloween story appropriate for children (title not included in the 100 words), using the words pumpkinbroomstick, and creak.   Your story can be poetry or prose, scary, funny or anything in between, but it will only count for the contest if it includes those 3 words and is 100 words (you can go under, but not over!)  Get it?  Halloweensie - because it's not very long and it's for little people :) 

The challenge of writing a 100 word story for kiddies was quite frightening. Like vampire and ghost frightening. But I did come up with a rhyming story. Why rhyme? Well, it's weird. When I sit down to write, I always begin in rhyme. Does this make me a poet, a good rhymer? Cover your ears...NOOOOOOOOO, It does not! It's just the way I begin. I told you it was weird. So now, from the weird to the bizarre, my story...

 What a Ghost Likes Most

“Trick or Treat!” Is all I hear,
From my friends this time of year.
But for this particular ghost
Christmas is what I like most.                                                

Moans and cre-e-e-e-aks? I’ll pass on that.
 Lights out JackO’. Shoo, Black cat.
I booo, I moan, shaking my chains.
I PREfer stripped candycanes.                                                                      

Wartlene planned this Brew HaHa,                                       
Broomstick shouted__ “Fall Hurrah.”

Candycorn draped on the door.
Pumpkins filled with gifts galore
And then I saw him, Old St. Nick
What a treat. This did the trick!

 “Frien-n-n-nds!” I say lifting to toast.

Yes, for this particular ghost
Friendship is what I like most.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Guardians of the Gift!

Banner by Penny Klostermann

If you have arrived in the middle of the adventure, you may start at the beginning by going HERE 

Happy, Happy Birthday to our Erik of This Kid Reviews Books.  

Erik Faces the Ogre:

“I think we need to keep on to the mountain, Benton,” Erik said. Benton snorted. He would have skittered sideways as he eyed the  wolf-ogre in front of them, but the path was too narrow.

Erik flicked the reins, and nudged Benton with his heels. “Come on, boy. The path goes past the ogre. We can do this. Just gallop as fast as you can.” Another flick of the reins, and Benton flew along the narrow trail. Erik fixed his eyes on the ground just ahead of him, not daring to catch the monster’s eye.

A thunder of hooves, a whoosh of breath, and they were past. Daring to look over his shoulder, Erik saw that the creature -- whatever it was -- had not moved. “How very odd,” Erik said to his pony. “Maybe it wasn’t real at all.” They didn’t go back to take a second look, however. That might be what the ogre was waiting for.

There was a single hoof mark on the ground. “I don’t know how her horse only leaves one hoof mark, but at least we know we’re on the right track,” Erik said aloud. It made him feel better to talk out loud. This forest, so dank and dark, was a spooky place.

For a few moments they were able to trot along easily, then Benton neighed and stopped in his tracks. Prickly brambles crossed the path. There seemed to be no way through them, but there was no other path but the one that disappeared under the thorny branches.

The wind -- or something -- made a sound as it whistled past them. Zzzzzigggg, it seemed to say. “Did you hear that?” Erik asked. As if in answer, Benton skittered to the left -- and they saw that there was a way around the first brambles. Then the wind came again. Zzzzzagggg. Benton skittered to the right. As the wind directed them, they zigged and zagged their way through the bramble patch.

“Phew! I wondered if we’d ever get out of there,” Erik said.

Benton shook his mane, and bent to crop some grass from the side of the path. Erik held on tight this time, to make sure he didn’t slide off as he had before.

“Okay, that’s enough grass. You’ll get your bit all icky,” Erik said. “I may have to make you clean your own tack when we get back.” Benton just snorted.

Again they were able to trot... for a very short time. Again, wild growth across the path forced them to stop.

“Ewwwwwww!” Erik said, pinching his nose together with his finger and thumb. “That smells awful.” Benton sneezed, a huge slobbery horse-sneeze. “Ugh,” said Erik. “Why don’t horses use tissues?”

Strange fronds formed an impenetrable barrier across the path. Oddly shaped pods hanging from the fronds seemed to be creating the odor. The fronds undulated in the breeze, seeming almost to ooze. 

Erik shuddered. “This is disgusting.” He and Benton stood waiting for the wind to tell them to zig or zag or whatever was needed to get around, over, or past the barrier. Silence.

Benton nickered, and nodded his head to the right of the path.

“A sign!” Erik exclaimed. “How come you saw it and I didn’t? I didn’t know horses could read!”

Benton wondered if horses would ever be recognized for the superior creatures that they are. He nickered again and tossed his head, to explain what the sign said to him, but there was that pesky language barrier again. All children should be taught Equine as a Second Language from the time they were foaled, he thought.

Erik read the sign aloud, figuring Benton needed to know what was on it. He was pretty sure Benton knew at least a few English words. 

“This way to speak with Greta, Greatest Gossip in the Great Forest.”

Erik patted Benton’s side. “What do you think, Benton? Try to get through this stinky mess, or go and talk with a gossip who might know everything?”

Benton nodded his head up and down, vigorously, but Erik didn’t know whether he was saying yes, go through the stinky mess, or yes, go and talk with the gossip. Once again, Erik would have to make the decision himself.

To attempt to pass the pods, go HERE.

To seek information from Greta the Greatest Gossip, click HERE.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

See You In September

I'm off to explore the challenges of higher education.  Yikes!  It's been thirty years.  So it really is like exploring the depths of a "final frontier."  I'll be back with poetry, book reviews, and interviews.

Oh before I go, I wanted to share that two of my first classes were physics and chemistry.  I've never really liked either of these subjects.  Nevertheless, I found as an older learner I have such a new-found appreciation.  So much so, that I've begun a pb draft.  Yeah, I laughed, yawned, and even coughed a bit when the notion hit me.  Yet, it began to appeal to me more and more with each exam that I barely passed.  I'm excited to share this adventure with you.  So, See you in September!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

MyLMNOP__the building blocks of literacy

Sandi Hershenson, the author of Annie and Me, is having MyLMNOP Reads to Kids,  as a guest on her amazing blog, The Write Stuff!  This site is filled with resourceful information that is so beneficial to writers of all levels.  She recently interviewed author/illustrator Frank Asch.  He is the author of the Moonbear picture book series. Please visit and read this great interview!   I am excited to be a guest on Sandi's blog!  I get a chance to discuss two of my favorite subjects__children's books and my literacy program.  I began MyLMNOP in the fall of 2005 after being in the field of Early Childhood Education for over twenty-five years.   MyLMNOP is a language based music program designed to enhance literacy and expressive language through music.  This program targets early learners in areas where access to quality literacy engagement is limited.
I love children's books!  More specifically, I love children's books that are rich with descriptive language and compelling illustrations.  These illustrations can be as simple as Shel Silverstein's work or very detailed and complex as in the work of Christopher Canyon.  Either way, illustrations are excellent provisions in connecting young listeners to visual, context clues.  That is why I chose to join the writing community, 12 x 12 in 2012  hosted by Julie Hedlund, I knew that I would connect with writers producing the kind of books that would lend perfectly to my literacy program.  You see, I choose books that take my early learners on journeys of wonderment and exploration.   Add to this the backdrop of music, and a myriad of fantastical creatures come alive!  I love providing an environment with this kind of stimulation and spontaneity!

Each month in MyLMNOP literacy program, a thematic lesson plan is created.  A minimum of two stories with similar themes are chosen.    From the stories, vocabulary words that encourage descriptive narration from our early learners are employed during each weekly session.  The  low frequency vocabulary words are accompanied by theme related songs, and dramatic play exercises.  Enhancing expressive language through music and literature allows for emergent reading comprehension development, and the expansion of descriptive vocabulary.  These activities are excellent aids for students and their retention of abstract concepts.  Additionally, phonemic awareness lessons are used to help children as they connect letters to sounds that make up the words to their favorite poem, story, or song.  Here's an abbreviated example of a  session with MyLMNOP.  The few activities extracted from the lesson was for the Older Three's and Younger Four's program.  The theme:  Time Keeps Passing... Life's Cycles.

In a recent session, Dinosaurs Go to School by Linda Martin, was introduced to visually illustrate the concept of the passage of time from morning to evening.  Additionally clocks were used as tools to measure how time passes in the course of a day.  Accompanying song, When I Wake Up in the Morning."
Vocabulary Word:  Schedule, Routine, and Cycle.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, helped to show how time is measured in the course of a week.  The calendar was used as an additional prop for a measuring tool for time.  Accompanying song, Greg and Steve, Days of the Week, and McMillan's Sing & Learn, Butterfly Fly
Vocabulary:  Larvae, Cocoon, Flutter, Infant, Adult.  Reviewed:  Schedule, Routine, and Cycle.

The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein, showed a broader range of our theme.  The accompanying songs were, Greg & Steve's Months of the Year,  McMillan's Sing & Learn,  Sing a Song About the Seasons,  and The Circle Game,  by Joni Mitchell (which was originally introduced to students as a poem).  The children absolutely loved this song!  I was pleased to see that some of the Fours understood the verse, "Then the boy moved ten time 'round the seasons."  One of the children responded, "He had a birthday ten times!"  Reviewing the vocabulary each week helped the students to understand that as time passes, how we measure repeats itself over and over again.  Learning the songs:   The Days of the Week, The Months of the Year, and Sing a Song About the Seasons, were useful tools in instructing this topic.  Presenting this abstract concept of time measured in days, hours, and seasons, allowed this subject to become more concrete to these brilliant early learners.

These books have been used in various other themes, along with many other vocabulary words (especially with our older students).  Their application in this topic was so engaging and so much fun.  I hope to begin showing videos of my literacy engagements. As soon as I figure out the technical spokes of blogging, uploading music & video files.  I am having fun learning.  I enjoyed sharing a small part of my literacy program with you.  

Monday, April 30, 2012

Phyllis Goes to the Prom!

Dear Susanna!

It's the last day of April and I am writing to you because I miss you, tons.  However, I'm having fun with my friends in Atlanta!!  I have so much to share with everyone.  So I'm sending this letter with some pictures of me and my friends.  It was a whirlwind of activities!  I played soccer, went riding in an F150, and I even got to go to my very first prom.  I'm so excited to share the details with you.  Wait until you see my date.  He's a cutie!

I had two school visits.  First, meet my friends at Little Scholars Academy!

This is Ms. Burrell.  She is the Pre-Kindergarten teacher at Little Scholars Academy.  Here we are at circle time.  They read all about my adventures and how I made it through the snowstorm.  "Hey, that's just like swirling, whirling snowstorm in our Bear Hunt book!"  Brian exclaimed.  They read my story of adventure several times that day, ...tee hee. 

After circle time, some friends wanted me to sit for them, while they created these masterpieces of me.  Makenziele said she loved me and drew hearts all around me.  Cameron made me furry all over.  I love the way he drew my paws.

Here I am, down in my burrow on one masterpiece.  Nadia and Ashlyn wanted to show off my glasses.  Aren't I cute?

It's lunchtime.  Boy, how I love corn on the cobb.  I've got the perfect teeth for shaving the kernels, right?

Later that day, we had an Easter Egg Hunt.  I was so excited!  I hope I get lots of eggs.

We made a great team.  We hit the jackpot!  Yummy!

On to the next school visit!  These are my friends at Legacy Academy.  We all decided to hang out on the playground.  It was a beautiful spring day. 

I did get a bit sweaty hanging out on the monkey bars.

While I had great fun at both schools, it was the afterschool stuff that put a really big smile on my face.  I got to pal around with my Legacy Academy school chums on the weekend.  Here I am at the market with Jason.  "Okay Phyllis, what do we get, bananas?  Watermelon?"  "Hmmmm, hard choice.  Let's get both, Jason!"

Jason took me to the barbershop.  He says it's just for the guys but I would be welcomed.  Jason got a little off the top and sides.  I got my fur trimmed.  It's humid in Atlanta! Ahhhh, we look really nice!

Here we are at soccer practice.  Jason's not to sure about me being the goalie.

Wheeeee!  I love riding in a convertible F150.  Go faster, Jason!

Jason reads how I save the day and he loves the part about the maple candy.  "What's that, mom?"  "Shucks, mom says no maple candy before bed."

Prom Night at Little Scholar Academy!
I know you're asking, "Who is this cutie?"  Well he's my date for the prom.  Yes, I was invited to the prom.  Doesn't he look handsome.    Even though it was a formal affair, everyone oooohed and ahhhhed over my green overalls.  Don't we make a beautiful couple? It was a beautiful spring evening.  Only 72 degrees.  There was a beautiful breeze in the air and I knew this would be a special night for me.

Here are the King and Queen of the prom.  The Queen is Tayla.  Remember her from my tour of the King Center, in Atlanta?  The royal couple wore coordinating royal colors...Lovely!

These three are trying to convince me to get out on the dance floor and er...shake my groove thang!  I'm a bit nervous.  They taught me how to do the Wobble.  Oh yeah, girls just wanna have fun!!

"C'mon Phyllis, let's do the Cupid Shuffle!"  "Wow, I got it! I'm doing the Cupid Shuffle!"  I had sooooo much fun.  I could've danced, danced, danced all night."

The next day I visited Shanterria.  It was much hotter.  The temperature had reached 83 degrees!  Shanterria's mom had some errands to run and she let us come along.  "Mommy, turn on the air conditioner, please!"  We went to the parts store.  They had never had a weather predicting groundhog in their store before.  Then Shanterria and I went to her grandma's house.  We went riding on he bike.  I held on tight to the handle bars.  What fun I had in Atlanta, Ga.  Thank you for my special trip to Georgia, Susanna!  I'll be home soon with lots of pictures and autographs for you.

Vats of Maple Syrupy Love, Always,

Phyllis The Weather Predicting Groundhog!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Meet Danielle Holmes author of The Adventures of Cinnamon and Spice

Jasmine Benjamin displaying her first picture book First Day Blues

MyLMNOP welcomes Danielle Benjamin to our Reads to Kids community! Like the other authors featured on MyLMNOP this week, Danielle is also from my hometown of Natchitoches, Louisiana.  Yep, we've got some major talent in our small town!  Danielle formed a publishing company, Justice Publishing which features her self-published works:  First Day Blues, Cinnamon Goes to the Zoo,  Backyard Bash, The Adventures of Cinnamon & Spice, and Oh, So Boring Day!,  Oh, So Boring day, is a delightful story that shows how a little imagination creates a whole day of adventure for two school-agers who are sooooo bored!  Let's take a listen as Danielle narrates, Oh, So Boring Day!  Afterwards, click on the blogtalk widget to hear our fun conversation as we discussed Danielle's books, community activities and upcoming projects.

 Oh and take a listen to this video.  SO INSPIRING!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Self-Published Author of Maddie, "Waaa!" Barbara Drawhorn

Listen to the interview__click the blogtalk icon to the right

As I thought about how I would participate in NAEYC's 2012 Week of the Young Child activities, two things came to mind:  My hometown of Natchitoches and children's books!  My hometown of Natchitoches, Louisiana is populated with many gifted, creative people.  Among them__three picture book authors:  Denise Lewis Patrick, Danielle Holmes, and Barbara Drawhorn. What a brilliant way to celebrate, The Week of the Young Child!  I mean, why had I not thought of this before?  Well, sometimes my brilliance arrives as slowly as the flow of Cane Syrup in winter.  Speaking of Cane Syrup Nat Town kinfolk, cane syrup, meat pies, boudin, and file' are all sold at a cute little store in Maaayretta.  Oops, sorry!  I'll post about that another time.  I'm always losing my train of thought.  Must...do...better! 

So as I was saying, Natchitoches has beau coup talent and I am so proud to have a chance to share these artists with you.  Yesterday, I interviewed Denise Lewis Patrick, author of the American Girl_Meet Cecile series.  She discussed her historical collaboration with American Girl author, Sarah Masters Buckey of the Marie-Grace series.  If you missed it, you can click on yesterday's blogtalk icon and listen in.  Tomorrow I will talk with Danielle Holmes, author of the Cinnamon and Spice Adventures.  I am so excited about interviewing her.  Tune in tomorrow and find out why.  

Today, it is my pleasure to introduce another hometown author, Barbara Drawhorn.  Barbara is the author of Maddie, "Waa!"  A story based on her real life granddaughter, Madison.  Listen in on today's blogtalk interview as Barbara details how she came to place her granddaughter on the library shelves of Natchitoches and her journey as a self-published author.  Just click the blogtalk icon to the right.