Have you ever sat and watch a child struggle with a blank page? Have you ever wondered why some children just seem to detest anything to do with writing? Have you seem them just give up in frustration and walk away angry and distraught? Well you are not alone. Every one possesses the capability to write stories, plays, poems or journal writings. There is something that belongs to you and nobody else - something that you can always keep a secret. There is something so special that it is priceless, and yet it costs you nothing. This is something that can never be taken away from you, but is yours to share with as many people as you choose. This is something you can keep for a lifetime and use anytime. Do you know what it is? Do you give up? This is your imagination.
Poets and artisans of ancient Greece attributed their inspiration to playful whispers from Muses. Eventually, they recognized the mystic murmurings to be their own imaginations. Einstein claimed that imagination was more important than knowledge. Knowledge was limited, he said, whereas imagination could "embrace the entire world stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution."
As co-author/facilitator of a literacy program in Ontario, 'The Muse Program' Debbie has had a unique opportunity to observe children at work and see the methods that work best. The hesitation comes for some as they sit facing a blank page. Even with a vivid imagination, without the tools to utilize it, it becomes a stumbling block for many children.
Debbie has peppered her books with practical questions easily understood by children of any background. Their answers to those leading questions will provide a strong basis for a story. There is a broad comfort zone, because she leads them through familiar territory so that they can write about what they know best.
Using techniques she has developed with her own children to stretch their imaginations and her artistic background, she is able to conjure up images in their minds that are more easily transformed into words on that intimidating blank page.
The first in the series, 'Short Stories with Imagination' is designed to encourage the use of imagination and to help foster a child's self-image, opening up a whole new world to explore. Based on real-life childhood memories, these stories promote the idea that anything is possible. With a little help from our imaginations, an ordinary day can become one filled with adventure - sailing with pirates, running a race, or experiencing the thrill of a plane ride for the first time.
'Storybuilding with Imagination', the second in the Imagination Series, uses the proven techniques Debbie has developed and helps walk the child through the general principals of story writing. Following her lead helps the child untangle the confusing trail of mazes, and feel the pride of a job well done. 'Storybuilding with Imagination' is written simply, visually and interactively, so that children can follow along, regardless of reading and writing capabilities.
Kid's Writing Place could be called an Internet learning room where children are mused and/or become the muse to others, helping to spark children's imaginations and promote writing skills. Encouraging the use of imagination helps a child build strength and courage, thus fostering a child's self-image. At Kid's Writing Place, children that are intimidated by that blank page can come and get story beginning ideas, or those that are full of ideas but just can't seem to finish the ending can get help with their ideas. Those that are well on their way to becoming the next generation of authors can have their work read and critiqued by others. This not only enhances skill improvement but promotes interaction between others.
The goals of Kid's Writing Place are to Foster Literacy through the Imagination. This is achieved through the interaction, cooperation and brainstorming of the children working together and learning how to build on their ideas. This on-line forum was inspired by a writer's fascination with the ability to motivate the creative process within children using their imagination. Visit www.designsbydebbie.ca/kidswritingplace and join in the fun of letting your own imagination soar and be amazed at the places that it can take you.
"The kids of today are our future", says Designs by Debbie founder, "I believe that we are all capable of helping to improve our children's futures, starting with their own imaginations."
Debbie is co-author of 'The Muse Program' a literacy program for children. Musing children has been a life-time goal of Debbie's, helping children reach their full potenital - http://www.designsbydebbie.ca.
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Are Parents Trying Too Hard?
One of the implications of the current trend toward smaller families is that we now have a generation of parents who are willing to go to enormous lengths to give their children a good start in life.In the rush to ensure that children have a maximum amount of experiences many parents ferry children from one lesson to another after school and on weekends.
MORAL ARMORS Irrational Parenting, Part II
Handing Down Malignancy.Children may begin bright and eager to face the world, but are often inundated with the conditioning of their fear-ridden predecessors speaking of lost dreams-taken by no one in particular.
Pay Attention! Its Your Most Important Job
Anyone can become a parent; there are no tests or interviews to pass. Children can become parents, mentally disabled people - it's even possible to become a parent while in a coma!When my mother, who is a truly great parent still, became a mom the first time, she was 19 and had very little experience with children.
The Child Chef
If you really want to get your children to eat better, and have a better understanding of healthy foods, let them help in the picking and cooking of those foods. When you go shopping, let your children pick out a fruit or vegetable to cook that week.
Mutants or Clones?
In a single dose of children's television, I was bombarded with themes of mutants, cyborgs, evolving and the digital world. These words intimidated me at first, until I learned what the shows were talking about.
Invented Spelling --- Another Alice-in-Wonderland Public-School Theory
As part of the whole-language (or "balanced") reading-instruction philosophy, many public schools now teach what they call "invented" or "creative" spelling. Under this theory of spelling, teachers believe that forcing a child to spell a word correctly thwarts the child's "creativity.
Ready, Aim, Achieve! - Become An On-purpose Family Through Goal Setting
Successful families don't just happen. They take time, talent and planning.
Its OK to Say No
In the last 20 years we've all been introduced to a new style of parenting that is much more democratic than most of us experienced, growing up. Families are more child- centered than they were before, we no longer advocate spanking as an effective form of discipline, we often allow children to negotiate for privileges or things, and we're much more involved in our children's lives than most of our parents were in our lives.
ADHD: Some Survival Strategies for Parents
In our last issue we posted some of our suggested Survival Strategies for parents, and then asked readers to contribute some of their thoughts or tips. Since this newsletter is already running pretty long, I'll only list a few of them below.
Sharing Books with Children
One of my first memories of childhood is that of my mother reading Dr. Seuss books to me in a big brown recliner in our living room.
Is Your Child Becoming A Praise Junkie?
Do you praise your child when he fulfils a basic bodily function? Do you praise your child for obeying the laws of gravity? Do you give praise for simple socialisation procedures that your child practises every day?No, you say. Have you ever praised your child for finishing all his meal? Ever praised a child for staying on his bike or perhaps staying vertical on roller-blades? Ever praised a toddler for their terrific smile and fantastic manners?In the last few decades parents in many parts of the world including the US.
Educational Toys And Childrens Books - A Must For Optimal Childhood Development
The brightly colored plastic mobile dangles lazily overhead in the infant's crib. The baby coos as its tiny arms swing a rattle back and forth.
Renee's Mommy is Here
I still remember the scene vividly. I was getting out of my car at the baby-sitter's house and a little boy comes running out the door.
Kids And Chores - Make It Easy On Yourself!
My neighbours' kid impressed me the other day.I was busy painting the backyard fence, when their ten-year old son came out with the vacuum cleaner.
EEG Biofeedback as a Treatment for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
In this form of treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder the subject learns to pay attention to his own brain wave activity, and then apparently learns to change and control his brain wave activity. The subject is given immediate feedback on just what his brain's activity is like at any given moment through the use of high-speed computers which provide both auditory and visual feedback.
Second Letter to My Daughter
Dear Camille,As I thumb through the photographs that I carry with me always in my briefcase, it's hard to fathom that the short haired, smiling baby holding a crawfish and wiggling its claws has turned into the beautiful goldilocks girl that demands the stage and wants so much to sing.I feel like such a cliché-all those veteran parents telling us how quickly you would grow up, how it would be over before we know it, how we had best pay attention before it all ended.
Every Mom Worries
Sitterphobe "I never have a second to myself," this mother tells you (and tells you and tells you). You agree, judging by her slightly frazzled demeanor, that she could use a break.
10 Signs That Your Teen Is Using Drugs
Did you know that over 75% of teens aged 16-17 report that obtaining marijuana is "easy or fairly easy?" Or that 25% of youths between 12 and 17 say the same of crack?When children start using drugs they usually exhibit many different signs that parents need to watch out for. Unfortunately, many parents often write-off these signs as normal adolescent behavior and as a result they don't realize that their child is into drugs until it is too late.
Play the Ball, Not the Man!
As parents and teachers, sometimes we want to praise, at other times we need to rebuke. Either way, how do we put our point across with maximum effectiveness? Adults entrusted with the character training of children have few weapons in their armory as powerful as praise.
Taking Home Souvenirs, Not Junk
Gift shops are a kid magnet and often a trip highlight! Do you cringe at the sight inexpensive trinkets and novelty items that will be lost or broken in the span of hours? Plan your souvenir strategy early and help your child assemble a collection that is unique and will last for years to come, preserving the memories of your travels together. First, come up with a theme.
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