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    Student Writing - Zippy The Draco Lizard

    Last updated 3 years ago

    Zippy, the Draco Lizard, glides through the air. Below his triangle head, his white neck flaps flip out from his gold neck. His skinny arms are reaching out to the sides, holding up two wings colored red and gold with black spots and gray outlines, making it look like one bowl. Stocky legs with blue undersides and skinny long toes are motionless while soaring. Zip also has a 5 inch long tail used for steering. Wings look awesome on reptiles like Zippy when they soar from tree to tree.  


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    How to Write Your Own Scary Story

    Last updated 3 years ago

    Spooky stories are synonymous with Halloween fun. Why not let your kids create their own scary story this year to give them writing practice and confidence as well as memorable family fun?

    Use a spooky story starter
    A story starter or prompt is one of the most effective ways to stimulate imagination and give an initial direction to creative writing. Try one of these or scare up one of your own:

    • As I peered into the large bubbling cauldron, I thought I saw . . .
    • When the door opened, a strange odor wafted toward me . . .
    • As I walked into the forest, I had an eerie feeling about the place . . .
    • Listening intently, I climbed the creaky stairs to the attic . . .
    • No one had been inside the house for years. Nervously, I knocked on the door . . .
    • Creating monsters sounded like fun until I met my new neighbor . . .
    • I knew something was wrong when my cat stood up and growled . . .
    • The ad for the haunted house read . . .
    • The strange noise started yesterday . . .

    Organize your writing with a story planner
    Make a brief template to help your kids organize their ideas and plot their story. On a piece of paper, write an outline that includes important elements like these and lines for filling in each response:

    • Name and description of main character
    • Name and description of scary characters or creatures
    • Location of story
    • How the main character is threatened by the scary thing
    • How the main character tries to get free and fails
    • How the main character finally gets free or defeats the scary thing

    Add online tools to the brew
    To show kids how a story can be created, explore an online story maker that lets them choose items and uses their choices in a short story. These are good practice in story organization and the use of specific details. Older kids might enjoy using a plot generator that summarizes their story idea like a book blurb.

    Scare up the best Halloween words
    Go beyond pumpkins and ghosts. Put skulls and screams, ghouls and black cats into your tale. Look online for lists of creepy and haunting words to make your story come alive!

    Writing and reading their own story can give your kids the best Halloween ever!

    At The Literacy & Language Center, we'd love to see your stories. Bring a copy for us when next time you stop by.

    Have a frightfully good time this Halloween!

    Anyone or Any One? No One or None?

    Last updated 4 years ago

    Let's Play Ball With These Sports Themed Games

    Last updated 4 years ago

    Learn to spell while crossing home plate, and practice math while shooting hoops! These games can make learning math and spelling fun! Try one out this weekend.

    Football Word Search
    Search forwards and backwards for common football words like interception, defense, tackle, and touchdown in this fun word search game!

    Math Basketball
    Learning math is even more fun when shooting hoops! With games ranging from elementary school through middle school math levels, Math Basketball is fun and challenging for many age groups.

    Hit a spelling home run!
    Hold your own offline baseball spelling bee at home this weekend! For each correctly spelled word, players will advance one base. The team with the most runs wins!

    Have fun!

    Good Praise is Worth the Effort

    Last updated 4 years ago

    After a winning game, if you ask a San Francisco Giants baseball player how his team won, he will almost always praise his teammates for the hard work they put into improving their skills.

    We want our kids to be smart and to win, but the way we praise them may be strengthening the very things that keep them from achieving the success they want.

    Praise is a powerful tool that can shape the way people see themselves and their abilities. To use it as positive reinforcement, we need to be sure to focus on effort, not just ability or intelligence.

    Don't Close the Doors
    Praise that focuses only on performance, intelligence, and ability can reinforce social stereotypes about what people can or cannot do: Girls can't do math, boys can't write poetry, people with learning challenges aren't smart.

    If we are taught to view success as a sign of being smart and failure as a sign of low intelligence, we are likely to identify ourselves with these traits and expect our future to be limited by them.

    Open the Possibilities
    Praise that emphasizes the value of working hard to learn and acquire skills opens us to possibilities: I can see you're trying hard, you're getting better at writing sentences, I'm proud of the hard work you put into this.

    Praising effort, hard work, and tenacity encourages people to:

    • Stay with a task longer. Practice develops skills.
    • See failure as part of a learning process, not as proof that they are deficient.
    • View a mistake as an opportunity to test and correct a problem.
    • Develop self-confidence as they see improvements over a long term.
    • Be willing to try new things and realize that they are not limited by stereotypes about ability or intelligence.

    Praising for effort instead of intelligence or ability reflects the ways we actually learn and grow. That's what we need to succeed!

    Contact us at The Literacy & Language Center if you'd like more information about the positive reinforcement of praise.


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