FEETSPEAK’S Book Study: Comprehension Activity Units
Here’s an Overview of FEETSPEAK’S Book Study: Comprehension Activity Units I have created and posted on my http://eashields.com/ website. In addition to several informational posts: “Childhood Mutism” and “Helping Your Grieving Child”, there are TWELVE so far with more to be added….
I’m listing these Activity Units in the order they were published with sequential considerations in place ~ not unlike how I would present them in the classroom. You can, of course select, download, and complete them in any order.
Number One: Story Sequence
The ACTIVITY CONTENTS of this 9-page Unit include:
With the help of Writers Republic, I have self-published the first story book of the I AM A CHILD trilogy! It’s Hot Off The Press: FEETSPEAK!
I wrote these three stories several years ago with a muse on my shoulder guiding me with ideas, verbiage, imagery, and, significantly, a common thread ~ the resilience of children faced with tragic circumstances.
The kindness and care of loved ones, the understanding and flexibility of community as well as the beauty and solace of nature contributed to the healing process of each character.
Before I tell you how each of these three elements play a part in the story of FEETSPEAK, I want to share with you why I wrote these stories.
Why I Wrote These Stories
Thirty years teaching Early Childhood and Elementary school children from all over the world on at-risk campuses confirms my belief in the uniqueness of each child.
Many of these children suffered life-altering tragedies from loss, displacement, hunger, and neglect. Their ability to overcome these challenges with their resilience continually astounded me, as a child who grew up in a comfortable, middle-class environment.
They inspired me to create the stories in the I AM A CHILD Trilogy.
So, briefly, this is what the story of FEETSPEAK shares with you, Readers….
All children are born into an ancestral heritage, rich with tragedy, joy, and a touch of magic.
No two stories are alike, yet encouraging an appreciation for cultural diversity, creative problem solving, and ecological respect as well as protecting the timely development of the contemporary child are daily challenges faced by parents and educators.
In FEETSPEAK, a young child, traumatically mute after her parents are killed during a rainstorm, communicates by selecting different shoes to wear.
Living near a pond and its creatures on the Midwest Plains with her maternal grandmother provides Cinnamon with comfort and understanding.
However, when an engaging French family with a young girl her age moves into the house down the road, Cinnamon must learn other ways to share her thoughts and express her feelings with her new friends.
Soon to enter First Grade, will she be ready to participate and learn in this totally new environment?
You may now be wondering ~ how do those three elements: loved ones, community, and nature influence the healing process of a traumatized child? Please note my stories are just that ~ stories of fiction. Of course they are idealized, but in my experience, these three factors in people’s lives can be extremely influential and effective.
The Loved Ones of FEETSPEAK
My young heroine shares her story surrounded by her loving family. She lives with her grandmother. She frequently visits her uncles and aunt.
Her close neighbors become constant friends and company. Their kindness, acceptance, and care provide the six-year-old child with new experiences to help her explore other places outside the quiet world she has escaped into.
Some of these “other places” are very new and, somewhat, uncomfortable to her, but her family and friends, as well as the community members she encounters help her overcome her reluctance to engage.
An Understanding Community of FEETSPEAK
When a variety of life’s circumstances enter and disrupt Cinnamon’s routine existence with her family and friends, she slowly begins to understand the necessity of living outside her sheltered world. She even begins to enjoy the diversity of the experiences.
Meeting new community members like doctors, teachers, shopkeepers, and entertainers, among others, open up different vistas for communication. She is definitely intrigued, although hesitant. The community continues to engage with her in spite of her uncertainty.
And, perhaps, the most powerful of all the environmental elements is the constancy of Nature.
The Constancy of Nature in FEETSPEAK
I spent many hours ~ I LOVED it!~ researching the flora and fauna of the several environs described in the story, FEETSPEAK, as I did in the other two stories of the I AM A CHILD Trilogy.
Most of the story takes place during the Spring, Summer, and early Fall with one Wintry exception. The majority of the setting takes place on the Plains of the USA’s Midwest and special care was given to a little pond near the small wheat farm Cinnamon lives on with her Grandmother.
A respectful graciousness is shared by all the characters in the story for the beauty and gifts Nature gives.
Country living is shown to be bountiful, yet challenging. A willingness to work and respect the land is threaded throughout the story of FEETSPEAK.
A brief exploration of the USA’s Blue Ridge Mountains and the maple woods of its Northeast are, also, part of the scenery.
Part of my publishing package with Writers Republic includes a whimsical, engaging website, which gives me opportunities to Blog about FEETSPEAK and include many Book Study activities.
My Author’s Website
This website is extremely easy to navigate. The Navigation Bar includes an animated Home Page ( it’s delightful ! ), an About the Author (ME!) link, an About the Book link with a summary and buttons to click for places to purchase and view book pages, my Blog link, and a Contact Me link for all your questions, comments, concerns, and requests.
FEETSPEAK is available in hardback, paperback, and digitally.
I’ve already posted several Blogs (surprise!) and there’s LOTS more to come. Read on….
As an educator, one of my VERY FAVORITE teaching opportunities involved a Book Study. Teased by my teammates for going on and on with activity after activity focused on ONE class-read novel, I just handed them the FAT Unit I created that went on and on into the wonders of a well-written novel.
“The possibilities,” I’d remark with a grin, “are ENDLESS!”
And it is with the same enthusiasm, I have created and developed MANY activities for you and yours to explore and choose while reading FEETSPEAK.
Some, not all, of course, of the Book Study activities include:
learning new Vocabulary Words
analyzing Comprehension Elements
using Graphic Organizers
investigating Characters and their Traits
exploring the Power of Colorful Descriptors
transferring Verbal Imagery into Drawings
cooking up a Recipe or five…
Believe me ~ there’s MORE!!
The Blogs I have published so far:
HELPING YOUR GRIEVING CHILD.
The next Blog is FEETSPEAK’S STORY SEQUENCE.
Most activities will be a digital download.
Well, I hope you enjoyed reading this Info~Blog for Hot Off The Press: FEETSPEAK! as much as I enjoyed writing it. It’s my latest (and, maybe, my greatest) “endeavor” !
A writer uses Figurative Language to include a word or phrase that doesn’t have an everyday, or literal meaning.
S/he uses one or more types of Figurative Language to emphasize:
and/or size of a situation and/or character
outside of its usual, normal place.
Humor and drama can be part of the writer’s purpose and expression.
Usually, Figurative Language tries to explain something that is not real or factual by helping the reader form a visual image.
Writers of novels, short stories, poetry, songs, plays, speeches, news, and, even, informational, nonfiction texts will entertain and engage their readers with one or more of the different types of Figurative Language.
What Are The Different Forms, or Types of Figurative Language ?
Although there are between 10 and 15 types of Figurative Language, your 8 ~ 11 year-old child will be learning seven of them.
As a Third Grader, s/he will be taught to recognize the difference between literal and non-literal language when reading, writing, and speaking.
Of the seven different forms of Figurative Language, usually Similes and Metaphors are introduced as the first of these types to explore. Your child may already be familiar with these 2forms of Figurative Language. S/he can identify them through the content s/he reads and hears in the classroom.
S/he will probably be familiar with the other types through interactive family, friends, and environmental communication. They are: Idioms, Hyperboles, Personification, Alliteration, and Onomatopoeia.
Now, you may be wondering why would a writer want to use Figurative Language.
Are There Advantages to Using Figurative Language ?
Yes ! There are more than a few Benefits for encouraging your budding writer (and speaker) to include Figurative Language in his/her expressions.
Your child hears Figurative Language expressed in music, radio announcements, speeches, commercials, movies, and TV shows. It’s important for him/her to understand what is being said.
Your child engages their creativity and imagination when including Figurative Language during oral and written expression.
As your child transitions from concrete to abstract thinking, Figurative Language can make those complex ideas, concepts, and feelings easier to visualize and, then, understand.
If your child is learning the literal words & phrases of English as another language, practice with Figurative Language will improve his/her literacy & communication skills.
Your child’s understanding of Figurative Language will increase her/his overall comprehension of the content being read.
Not only does reading text with Figurative Language engage a reader, it, also, helps your child visualize, interpret and analyze the setting, character traits, plot, and author’s purpose of the story.
Using Figurative Language when writing presents your child with many opportunities for expressing his/her thoughts in vivid, colorful, unique, and interesting ways.
Your child’s ability to use Figurative Language is a way to effectively change a simple thought into a beautiful, complex image.
So, How Do I Support My Child’s Learning?
Here are a few suggestions for supporting your child’s usage of Figurative Language:
Make sure s/he can define the meanings of each type of Figurative Language.
Use a variety of different forms of Figurative Language when communicating and identify them individually.
Point out examples when reading, watching media, listening to music, information & advertisements as well as writing.
Ask questions about your child’s writing, such as “compared to what, as in, sounds like, looks like, feels like, smells like, etc.
See if your child can differentiate the different kinds of Figurative Language and tell you when it is NOT being used.
Try some interactive activities, too.
How About Some FUN Learning Activities ?
Games and other interactive, hands-on activities with cross-curricular inclusions are effective ways to engage your child’s learning of figurative Language.
See if you and yours enjoy identifying some of the types when doing any of these:
Present a collection of picture books & magazines. Take turns locating and identifying which forms of Figurative Language are being used and what they mean.
During your next walk in Nature or anywhere, have your child describe the surroundings using the five senses with Figurative Language phrasing.
Select different objects around the house and ask your child you use a specific form of Figurative Language when describing them.
Look a a piece of art the next time you visit a museum and both of you use Figurative Language to describe the piece and how it makes you feel.
Create a Figurative Language Image Gallery and play a Match game with the drawings to the form of figurative Language.
Write skits that include Figurative Language and act them out.
Teaching your growing Learners this valuable Literacy element can be a very engaging and valuable asset for encouraging creativity and understanding our Language. I hope you will find some, if not all, of these Units useful.
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A family in harmony will prosper in everything. ~Chinese Proverb
Week One of CLAMDiggers: February’s Literacy Enrichment Collection is a 15-page unit entitled Asian New Year. It contains the following Projects/Activities:
Lion Dance Mask with Lion Dance Mask Tracers Template
Celebration Lantern with Gung Hei Fat Choy Characters & Asian New Year Animal Images
General Supply List: card-stock, construction paper, paper plates, glitter, large craft stick, red paper ribbon, yellow crepe streamers, pipe cleaners, ruler, scissors, glue, hole punch, markers, stapler
You can access the Asian New Year unit by clicking on the link below:
The manner of giving is worth more than the gift. ~P. Corneille
The hustle and bustle of December is a month filled with festive memories ~ past, present & future, delicious & fragrant aromas~ inside & outside, exciting possibilities ~ every day & to come, and multiple celebrations of traditions~ old & new. In my opinion ~ ’tis not a Day, but a Season!
CLAMDiggers’ December Literacy Enrichment Collection includes six of these events:
Remembering an Early American Christmas
Including the Gifts of Nature with Oh! Christmas Tree!
Exploring the Mysteries of Santa and His Reindeer
Recognizing the Traditions of Hanukkah
Discovering the Principles of Kwanzaa
Celebrating the New Year to come
Each and Every Unit of the Literacy Enrichment Collection
The Components of each Unit include:
colorful Front & Back covers
a Contents list
an Introduction Sequence
a Master Materials List
a Thematic Literature List of fiction& nonfiction trade books
an overall Lesson Plan
Projects/Activities with Construction Instructions written on an Independent Reading Level for Grades 3 ~ 6
Ready, Set and Go!
Preparation for each of these units can be done by following this sequence:
Read over the Materials & Tools needed for each project in the Master Materials List ~ a component included with each Unit.
Gather the Materials & Tools together specific for each Activity ~ card-stock, printing paper, scissors, glue, pencil, colors, etc.
Protect your work space with a plastic, washable tablecloth, newspaper, or butcher paper ~ the latter invites doodling & checklists.
Read all the steps included in the Sequence part of the Instructions provided for each Project/Activity BEFORE beginning.
Keep a copy of these Construction Instructions close by, so you can re-read as you create.
Clean up your work space when you have completed what you wanted to do.
What Is the CLAMDiggers’ Literacy Enrichment Program?
Click on this link for more information on CLAMDiggers’ Literacy Enrichment Program:
Upgrading the Family Literacy Circle with Your Second Grader
Notice how many different activities your Second Grader is curious about exploring, and, maybe, yes, maybe, even, trying ?
Is s/he bringing home lots of celebration ideas ? 100th Day!?!
And you’re ready to jump in ~ ALL in !?!
But you see some hesitation and, then, some reluctance, surprisingly enough, when it wasn’t even your idea….
Uh…it’s not you…
Your seven, soon to be eight year old, may be experiencing a bit of.. ah…gulp.. an identity crisis…(EGADS! ALREADY?!?!)
Seven can be a difficult time for your child’s self-assurance. Not really a baby-baby, but not really a confident eight year old either (think how independent you were in Third Grade).
Unfortunately some Second Graders are already concerned with what their peers think of them and how they “fit in”…..(OMG!!! NOT YET!!!)
Encouraging and engaging your child with a celebration or 20 will help build his/her confidence, self-esteem, and, most importantly, critical & risk-taking skills. I’ve come up with some (ha!) ideas that might help move the process along….
This is Part Two :
Upgrading the FLC with Your Second Grader’s Celebrations
Where Is My Bright, Confident Child?
Don’t educate your child to become something or someone, educate them to explore and celebrate who they already are. ~ Vince Gowmon
If your seven-year old appears to be a bit shaky at times regarding who s/he is, it may just be a “bad hair” day….or not.
Second grade can definitely be overwhelming for some children. It seems like the expectations are either too high or too numerous to fulfill successfully.
All the new content in school may be coming at your child too quickly for him/her to process in a solid way. Learning strategies for reading comprehension, math problem solving, writing elaboration is only the beginning.
And, if that’s not enough…..there’s research and science fair projects…..but I’ll get into that arena in my next post….”Second Grade Research”.
Oh yeah… and the 3000 new vocabulary words s/he is expected to learn, understand, and, maybe even use, is huge. Some of them are pretty big, too ~ think…..”analyze, transform, reflect, collaborate…” to mention a few…
I did create a product with activities to help your child learn those WOW Words. Just click on the link below:
Share this experience as special You & Me time or pull out your scrapbook/memories to work on the “hobby” together.
Happiness Is Having A Hobby
Creativity is intelligence having fun. ~ Albert Einstein
“Find something to do or…..” was a very effective catchphrase my mother used as an anti-boredom technique.
There were always colors, papers, scissors & glue to encourage idle hands as well as building tools, pretend play clothes, puppets, etc. Designing paper dolls, paper puzzles, costume additions, etc filled many rainy or too-hot-to-play-outside days.
I usually had my nose in a book ~ historical fiction was/is a fav. I, also, loved to cut out articles & pictures to organize into notebooks ~for future reference, of course.
We seldom got bored during outdoor play….. Lots of things to collect & make out there.
Hobbies ~ I have numerous ones ~ are fabulous avenues into who you are explorations & discoveries. Expose your child to the limitless possibilities.
Studies have shown hobbies & collections can benefit your child in many ways. Hobbies can increase focus, time management skills & self-awareness. Collections are great for teaching organization & detail. The website altiusdirectory listed some important ones :
help develop motor skills & bilateral coordination
encourage self-discipline & personal accomplishment
act as educational tools for critical thinking & cognitive skills
build creativity, imagination & guessing skills
engage in goal setting, decision-making & problem solving
grow into career paths
continue to be lifelong interests
Need a few Hobby & Collection ideas ? BLB’s Library has a Resource for you:
Oh, and video games,television & web-surfing are not hobbies, though I will watch my favorite shows WHILE doing a hobby.
Smile….You’re on Candid Camera
Turning off Screen Time (while eyes are glued to it) is an invitation to the creation of a House of Horrors with the sound effects magnified through rock concert-caliper amps…..yes, oh, the HORROR!!!!!
The worst & best consequence I could dole out as a parent was NO SCREEN TIME. Within a week, I watched my child transform from a , uh, growling meanie to a cheerful, nice person. Seriously….it was kind scary and oh, so enlightening.
PBS & other educational programing-only (I wasn’t a Monster Mom) – did little to soothe the savage beast……at first….
Current & past studies confirm the negative effects too much screen time has on your child’s growth & development in ALL areas ~ physical, mental & emotional.
Stepping Away from Screen Time
Dr. Michael Gurian, a family therapist, brain scientist & author of the book, Nurture the Nature , offers a few guidelines for how much media is too much:
Notice your child’s social behaviors ~ unrealistic screen & virtual relationships? isolation from others? withdrawal from interactions?
FYI ~ The National Parks Service offers an AWESOME Junior Ranger program packed with a variety of interests, like fishing, bats, archaeology, caves, historic preservation and MUCH more. Here’s the link for more info:
You can, also, create some screen time filming, and, then, watching a variety of Pretend Play scenarios, explorations, vacations, holiday gatherings ~ you know ~ good ol’ Home Movies !
Children find everything in nothing. ~ Giacomo Leopardi
Who doesn’t love a good movie !?! Believe me ~ I am a MAJOR fan !
As children, my sisters, friends & I loved to build stages for our variety acts & alternative environments when preparing our role play scenarios. Our parents were always entertained and encouraged sequels.
Your Second Grader’s improved learning & memory skills are encouraging a lot of growth in her/his creativity. Toys without specific instructions & boundaries will engage your child’s imagination & cognitive skills.
Pretend Play is beginning to look & sound like a Reality Show with its detail, dialogue & “sets”.
This downloadable freebie has several Invitation Templates for your child’s Pretend Play scenarios:
Or, maybe, you have an aspiring Social Butterfly and/or Party Planner on your hands…. After all, who doesn’t love a PARTY!?!?!
Oh Yeah ! Let’s Partaaay!
Does your child love to go to parties? Is his/her Pretend Play involve making parties (think tea parties, swim parties, sleepovers) & inviting others?
Your Party Planner may have a career plan in her/his future….for now. It may be time to take your Social Director to the next level.
Talking & fantasizing are definitely the beginnings of what is called ~in your seven-year old’s mind~ the pre-planning stages. You can help reality set in with a brainstorming, Q&A session, especially when the Budget enters the equation:
Who is the party for & Why?
When & Where?
Is there a Theme?
How Many People will be invited?
What Kind of party is it: brunch, lunch, dinner, snacks only, dessert, buffet?
What kind of Food & Drinks will be served ?
Entertainment: games/contests, prizes, music?
Cost / Budget?
Here’s a pair of PDF templates (Party Organizer & Budget Worksheet) to get you & yours started : Party Planner
And your child is stretching out: neighbors, school & community.
Celebrating Your Child’s Out~of~the~Door Places
Since Kindergarten you’ve been hearing “My teacher says…” “At school we….” “S/he’s my friend at school…” Your youngster is, hopefully, a proud & eager participant in all things School. Get out your pompoms & join in !
This “School Rocks !” PDF , fill-in-the-blanks, mini-poster freebie will let you know why your Second Grader is so enamored with her home-away-from-home :
How well does s/he know the neighborhood & community? Has s/he been studying maps at school ? Make one together that starts with your home & branches out to nearby places you visit together, including shops, the library & fire station.
The study of Community Helpers has been part of your child’s classroom since Kindergarten. This PDF freebie will give you some clues about how familiar your Second Grader is with his/her town, city, state & country. An interview sheet is included in case s/he wants to find out more about specific community workers : Community Helpers
So, speaking of the USA…..
Celebrating Major USA Holidays
There are 10 Federal, or Public holidays we, as a Nation, celebrate together. They are days to recognition & honor our accomplishments throughout the history of the USA.
Usually included as a 3-day weekend, many businesses, especially banks, some state & federal offices, the post office & maybe, your child’s school will close to enjoy the long weekend.
Those 10 Federal Holidays are:
New Year’s Day ~ January 1
Martin Luther King Day ~ third Monday in January
Presidents’ Day ~ third Monday in February
Memorial Day ~ last Monday in May
Independence Day ~ July 4
Labor Day ~ first Monday in September
Columbus Day ~ second Monday in October
Veterans’ Day ~ November 11
Thanksgiving Day ~ fourth Thursday in November
Christmas ~ December 25
Here’s a 6-page, PDF freebie with Family Activity Ideas for celebrating each of these Holidays plus 5 more including Valentine’s Day, Earth Day, Mothers’ Day, Fathers’ Day, and Halloween : 15 USA Holidays
We, also, as a Country of many diverse cultures, celebrate the many different countries’ customs & heritages so many of us brought with us when we arrived to live here.
Celebrating Our Multiculturalism
The future of our world lies in the hands, hearts, and minds of our children. ~ David Decker
Many schools across the USA hold an International Day for families & friends to share their different customs, foods, heritage, clothing, handwork & language.
Some schools celebrate their diverse cultures with an International Night. Families set up tables & booths to showcase their different customs, foods, heritage, clothing, handwork & language as a mini community festival.
I taught on a campus with so many international children, we hung flags from the hallway ceilings, representing each one. We were like a small United Nations !
BLB Shop has a 77-page PDF product ~ USA Multicultural Celebrations ~ with information, book lists, activities & recipes for you & your family to experience while celebrating our Multicultural Nation. Just click on the link below:
Of course, there are 100s of festivals across the USA, including 10 Major Global Celebrations. These special days are celebrated by millions of people.
Ten Major Global Celebrations
These ancient Holidays are shared by millions & millions of cultures around the world. Most are based on religious beliefs. However, not all who participate in the festivities are necessarily followers of the religion.
How many of them do you know?
COUNTRIES MOST LIVE IN
Americas, Europe & Oceania
Easter & Christmas
North Africa, Asia & Middle East
Ramadan & Eid al-Fitr
Diwali & Holi
South & Southeast Asia
Vesak & Obon
USA, Israel & Europe
Passover & Hanukkah
To learn more about these celebrations, check out the Resource in BLB Library : Ten Major Global Celebrations. It includes information on traditions & symbols with a book list for each culture :
Did you know there are days on the calendar for celebrating peanut butter, spaghetti, dragons & daydreamers ? Months & weeks have specials celebrations, too, like Frog Month & Pizza Week. Holiday Insights on the site The Spruce is LOADED with Family Fun Celebration Ideas. Here’s the link: