Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Dare to Dream ... Change the World Annual Writing Contest for KIDS!


BREAKING NEWS!

The Dare to Dream ... Change the World 
Annual Writing Contest 
for students grades three to eight will launch January 25th!  

Grand prize winner receives $1500 worth of Kane Miller and Usborne books for a library of their choice
+
the top 30 poets will be published by Kane Miller Books 
in a free e-book!


The Dare to Dream … Change the World Annual Writing Contest for Kids aims to promote literacy, poetry writing, and nonfiction research while inspiring students to follow their dreams.
It’s based on the award-winning Dare to Dream … Change the World (Kane Miller Books, 2012), which pairs biographical and inspirational poems about people who invented something, stood for something, said something, defied the naysayers and not only changed their own lives, but the lives of people all over the world.

CONTEST DETAILS

WHO: For students in 3rd through 8th grade.

WHAT: Following the format of the book, students will write a biographical poem and non-fiction paragraph about someone who not only dreamed, but who took action and made the world better.

HOW: Send your entry by e-mail to daretodreamchangetheworld@gmail.com, subject line of “DARE TO DREAM Writing Contest.” Be sure to include your first name only, your e-mail address and your parents’ e-mail address. 

Download a FREE Curriculum Guide for Dare to Dream…Change the World at www.daretodreamchangetheworld.com


DEADLINE: April 30, 2013

The winner of the Dare to Dream … Change the World Annual Writing Contest for Kids will make others’ dreams come true by earning $1,500 worth of Kane Miller and Usborne books for either their own school library or a library of their choice.

Additionally, Kane Miller will make 30 student writers’ dreams come true by professionally publishing their work. Kane Miller will publish these top entries in an e-book that will be free for all to read, for all to be inspired.


Ellen Hopkins*Jane Yolen*Joyce Sidman*J. Patrick Lewis* Marilyn Singer
Georgia Heard*Alice Schertle*Lisa Wheeler*Julia Durango*Joyce Lee Wong
David L. Harrison*Elaine Magliaro*Hope Anita Smith*Carol Tanzman*Alan Katz
Rose Horowitz*Hope Vestergaard*Jacqui Robbins*Jill Corcoran*Denise Lewis Patrick*
Joan Bransfield Graham* Laura Purdie Salas*Curtis Crisler*Kelly Fineman*
Tracie Vaughn Zimmer*Stephanie Hemphill*Rebecca Kai Dotlich*Janet Wong*
Lee Bennett Hopkins*Bruce Coville 




Friday, January 18, 2013

Teacher-Grants and Authors—Why We Should Care: Part 4 of the #CCSS Curriculum Guide Series


Teacher-Grants and Authors—Why We Should Care

One of the things I hear from teachers is, “I’d love to teach your book, but my district has absolutely no money.”  As a sixth-grade English teacher in California, it’s a situation I know well.  Budgets are frozen, and where we once had department or library funds, we now have nothing.  We haven’t even THOUGHT about purchasing new textbooks for years now.
But as an author and a teacher, it’s important to know that there ARE ways to get money for books: grants.  I know, I know; you hear that word and think of research and forms and painstaking writing.
But it doesn’t have to be like that.

Recently, I fell in love with Jill Corcoran’s book, Dare to Dream . . . Change the World.   Having worked for nearly a decade in educational publishing and developed curriculum for many companies, I couldn’t wait to use the poems in that book as the backdrop for an awesome poetry unit.  A friend and I developed a teacher’s guide for it (insert link) and I was all set. Except I needed more books.  I needed a grant and I needed it quickly.

Where do I find grant money?
My school is great about letting teachers know about grant opportunities.  Our local rotary club and even some businesses give out yearly grants.  The grant that I applied for was through Delta Kappa Gamma Society that awards money to women educators.  But there are also TONS of grants available online.  Check out this site:  http://www.donorschoose.org/teachers.  Teachers request money for a certain project and people who want to support teachers donate to those projects they think are worthy.  It’s really easy.  

But isn’t writing a grant difficult and time-consuming?
It took me about half an hour.  I just described what I wanted to do.  I came up with a catchy title and then laid out why I wanted these books and why students were going to benefit from them.  I had to put in a few prices and do a little math but then it was done.  Two weeks later, I had the money I needed to buy enough copies of Dare to Dream. . . Change the World to use in my classroom.
And here’s another cool part.  Some companies, like Kane-Miller (Dare to Dream’s publisher), have  MATCHING GRANT programs.  Kane-Miller matches 50% from the first dollar, however when you reach the $200 mark, you benefit from free shipping.   To find out if a book’s publisher has such a program, it’s a simple phone call to their distributor. For Kane-Miller the number is 1-800-611-1655.

But I’m an author, not a teacher.  So why do I care?
It’s good to know about some of the grants available in your area.  Know if your publisher offers matching grants or discounts for teachers. So when a teacher says, “I love your book but I don’t have enough funds to get a class set,” or “I’d love to have you come speak at my school but we don’t have the money,” you can immediately say, “Have you thought about applying for this grant?”  and you might even have the form available for them!

In addition, consider having a well-written, CCSS-aligned teacher guide for your book.  We’ve seen recently how influential teachers and librarians are when it comes to promoting kid’s literature.  Every step you can take to make your book more classroom-friendly makes it that much more likely that a teacher will look at your book over the competition. 

This post was written by Erin Fry, Teacher, Curriculum Creator and Author of LOSING IT, Amazon Children's Publishing
"Fry has a great ear for middle school dialogue, and her light, humorous touch will ensure that readers keep turning the pages until the uplifting conclusion." School Library Journal





 CLICK HERE to read Part 3 of the #CCSS Curriculum Guide Series

Sign up for A PATH TO PUBLISHING online face-to-face writing workshops. Wether you choose the NOVEL TRACK or the PICTURE BOOK TRACK, our goal is ensure you understand concept, plotting, character development, scene development, action and emotional arc development, as well has how to pitch your work to agents, editors, and readers.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Creating Your CCSS-Aligned Curriculum Guide: Part 3 of the #CCSS Curriculum Guide Series


Where do I begin?

Your Common Core State Standards (CCSS) document—get to know the standards for your target age group.  Note that the standards range from basic understanding to deep analysis (purposely reflecting Bloom's Taxonomy).  Pick 5-8 standards that you think you can cover in your curriculum guide - you don't need to touch on ALL the standards as students have the entire year to meet their grade-level CCSS.

Get organized!

Figure out what sections to include in your curriculum guide.  As a teacher, here's what is most useful:

Click on pic to see a CCSS Curriculum Guide
 - a Prior Knowledge section with discussion or writing prompts that students complete BEFORE they begin reading.  A good prompt relates students' prior experiences to themes in the book, and gets them excited and motivated to read.  For Dare to Dream . . . Change the World, a poetry anthology, we have students find examples of poetry in commercials, songs, greeting cards, and nursery rhymes so they realize poetry is all around them!

- a Vocabulary section that includes a list, with definitions, of  grade-level vocabulary students will encounter in the novel.  In addition, it is really helpful to have a handout where students decipher new words in context (using phrases from the novel).  Here's an example from a "Context Clue" handout for Losing It that teachers are loving: “You have to drink when you run, Bennett.  No wonder your head hurts! Most headaches are caused by dehydration, you know.” Dehydration might mean . . .

- Chapter Questions that help students process important themes, while hitting key Common Core Standards. A good set of questions spiral from basic understanding to analysis, and vary in what they ask the student to do. For instance, students might draw a response, complete a graphic organizer, or write a mini-dialogue from the perspective of a character.  Here is a sample prompt for Laurie Halse Anderson’s CHAINS:
Create simple sketches for Elihu Lockton, Curzon, and Isabel. Add a large speech bubble to each character. Write the words, “The real meaning of liberty is . . .” at the top of each speech bubble. Then, do the following:
·         Finish the opening sentence from the perspective of the character.
·         Support your claim with examples or evidence from the text.
·         Provide a concluding statement that summarizes your position.

- a Pulling It All Together section where students take what they've learned from your book and do something with it.  It can be a writing assignment, a project, a debate etc. Given the push for informational text in the CCSS, this is an ideal place to include some nonfiction reading to supplement your book.  For Losing It, we researched and wrote our own text about bullying and then guided students through a debate about what should be done with bullies in schools.   

Get Writing!

It takes some time to create a good curriculum guide, but it's well worth it if you want teachers to be able to simply pick up your book and teach it!  Books that are chosen by teachers for their classrooms have longevity, as well, since teachers tend to use them year after year.  

Nicole and Erin, both teachers and curriculum developers, can help!  You can contact us as commoncorespecialists@gmail.com if you have questions or would like us to create a curriculum guide for your book.


CLICK HERE to read Part 2 of the #CCSS Curriculum Guide Series

Sign up for A PATH TO PUBLISHING online face-to-face writing workshops. Wether you choose the NOVEL TRACK or the PICTURE BOOK TRACK, our goal is ensure you understand concept, plotting, character development, scene development, action and emotional arc development, as well has how to pitch your work to agents, editors, and readers.

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