Fidget Feet Reading and Writing Prompt

Today I’m linking to a reading of my poem ‘Fit as a Fidget’, shared with some of the other happy hoppy contributors to HOP TO IT: POEMS TO GET YOU MOVING compiled by Janet Wang and Sylvia Vardell and published by Pomelo Books.

AND… I thought I’d share a writing prompt to follow it up.

Writing Prompt:

My fidget feet are fab – but there’s
some things feet cannot do.
That’s why it’s really handy to
have fiddle fingers, too!

Do you have fiddle fingers? Wouldn’t it be fun for those fiddle fingers to tap out their own poem? What would they have to say for themselves?

This week’s Poetry Friday is hosted by Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge. Be sure to click back and read Robyn’s hiking poem ‘Trail Ready‘, also included in HOP TO IT! (Robyn has thought of absolutely everything!😅)

Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Award Winners

For Poetry Friday, I give you the Awards Presentation Ceremony for the Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards, streamed from Gunnedah this morning. What a rich resource this is, for poetry lovers, educators and proud Aussies. I highly recommend it! As much as I would have loved to be in Gunnedah today for a live presentation ceremony, I cannot regret this fantastic video.

It was an honour and a privilege to be the Primary Judge for 2019/2020. And to see these young poets presenting their work so creatively and professionally.

Congratulations to all involved!

Carol Varsalona is hosting the Poetry Friday roundup at https://beyondliteracylink.blogspot.com. Thanks, Carol. 🙃

Have a fabulous weekend!

Poetry Swap – Tricia Stohr-Hunt

Hi all. I’m popping back in to share another poetry treasure that arrived in my inbox, this from Tricia Stohr-Hunt, who wasn’t familiar with the work of Australian poets, and in reading around discovered my favourite, ‘My Country’, by Dorothea Mackellar. Tricia had planned to write a golden shovel – but instead crafted this wonderful poem, using lines from the first stanza of Dorothea’s poem. Continue reading

I Don’t Want a Pet SNAKE!

A ssssshort and sssssharp post today to ssssshare a reading of my poem, ‘I Don’t Want a Pet SNAKE’, published by The School Magazine, Blast Off 4, 2020, illustrated by Christopher Nielsen and read by Geoffrey McSkimming.

Use it to teach persuasive texts… and caution in what you wish for. And read it just for fun!

NSW Education Department planned this resource, using it in a study of alliteration.

To see what Jama’s cooking up for Poetry Friday  (Oooh… There be chocolate!) – and to get all the good links – click across to Jama’s Alphabet Soup. Thanks for hosting this week!

Home-Learning Activities

Over recent weeks I’ve been sharing links/ideas in a number of different places, to engage kids of assorted ages and abilities, during these surreal times. The links and ideas shared have been chosen because they appeal to my mother/author/educator persona.

These ideas aren’t targeted at any specific age or curriculum area. Nor have I aligned them to Australian Curriculum. (Feel free to share in the comments if you do.) In fact, I was particularly attracted to ideas that engaged kids across a spread of ages and abilities, like… siblings! I personally believe that curriculum is not the sum total of all learning. And at this point in time, if curriculum ramps up stress levels, (for kids, parents and teachers) then it isn’t worth it! Lifelong learning is about real-life learning – and there has never been a better time to put this into practise!

1) Australian birdlife survey: The survey is valuable activity in itself – but you can then take it further by graphing the birds found in your yard. Perhaps even extending your knowledge with a spot of research. Maybe even keep a diary of a bird’s daily activities… Creating a collage (or other art) of a backyard bird. (There is so much more you could do!) http://www.birdsinbackyards.net

2)  Laura Shovan’s Water Poem Prompt Project: There is no right (or wrong) time to start – but when you do, begin at Day One and follow along.

#WaterPoemProject: Introduction
#WaterPoemProject: FAQ
#WaterPoemProject: Day 1, Irene Latham

3)  Keyboarding skills: Keyboarding is the new handwriting. If you’ve got kids doing home-based learning then put keyboarding high on the list of things to do. https://www.typingclub.com (Thanks Rebecca Toltz for the updated program recommendation.)

4)  Stop-Motion movie: I love the wide-openness of the stop-motion movie! If kids are at home, they’d have more time to invest in polishing a task like this. Or producing multiple attempts to refine their skills. The degree of difficulty can vary for siblings across different grades, whilst the theme can suit different class topics, or individual interests. For example, one child could be working on a fairytale stop-motion. Another child could be working on an advertisement for healthy eating… or a type of physical activity… or animating a scene from a book… (If you’re wanting inspiration, feel free to make a stop motion for my picture book, ‘This is the Mud!’🤠 – or a scene from one of my verse novels.🚌)

Some links to develop understanding:
https://www.instructables.com/id/Stop-Motion-Animation-for-Kids/
https://tinkerlab.com/easy-stop-motion-animation-kids
https://www.lifehacker.com.au/2019/04/make-stop-motion-animation-videos-with-your-kids
https://www.instructables.com/id/Make-A-Stop-Motion-Animation-For-Beginners

Task stages:

a) Design/make a stand for the iPad/phone, so that is does not move for the duration of the shoot. (There are so many different ways this could be done – Lego, blue tack, cardboard box …)

b) Storyboard scenes. (Template: https://www.instructables.com)

c) Shoot the stop-motion – using paper, plasticine, Lego, anything! (Stop motion using bread: https://www.instagram.com)

Don’t forget to add credits for any music/images you use.

5) ‘I Want my Hat Back’ by Jon Klassen, presented as a puppet play is delightful and entertaining, but also wonderfully inspiring for creative play for kids of all ages, giving a glimpse behind the scenes of puppetry. https://www.youtube.com

6) Nat Amoore has a fun book’n’boogie youtube channel, which she’s adding to twice a week. In itself it is a fun way to exercise – and hear a new book recommendation.  https://www.youtube.com

To extend this further for home-learning, have your child/ren:

1) Watch Nat’s video.
2) Groove along.
3) Choose their own book &create a simple boogie how-to.
4) Record it. (Include quick book-look.)
5) Share with friends, so they can learn the dance, too!
6) Tag Nat into the link and she will boogie with you! Twitter/Instagram: @nat_amoore

7) Poetry Competitions/Writing/Illustrating Opportunities:

8) There are numerous poetry/writing prompts, under both the ‘Kids’ Stuff’, and the ‘Whisker of Poetry’ tabs on this (katswhiskers) site. Three specific links are:

Didactic Cinquain Poems
Zentangle Poems
Golden Shovel Poems

There are also teacher notes for my three verse novels (under the ‘Books’ tab) – and a whole HEAP of stuff for Bully on the Bus, including a weekly study guide for Yr 4. Also bus/wolf shape poetry – and three different wolf masks. Click through the dropdown options for a full offering.

9) Georgia Heard’s Heart Maps create an opportunity for kids and adults to express their feelings at this time, whilst also expressing their creativity: https://twitter.com/GeorgiaHeard1

10) Mail a Hug to friends or family members, using your child’s upper body silhouette: https://www.instagram.com

11) For a huge range of curated video resources, to enhance work set by your child’s school – or to further their own interests; https://thekidshouldseethis.com

12) Downloaded your free copy of ‘Coronavirus – A Book for Children’, by the Nosy Crow team – with illustrations by Axel Scheffler (The Gruffalo): https://nosycrow.com/blog

13) Lego Projects: Lego kits are all well and good – but setting instructions aside and letting kids create their own designs is so valuable. (And that’s not limited to Lego. There are so many great construction resources out there.) This tweet from Rachael Lehr featured a Lego tissue box cover in the background – that completely stole the show! Pretty sure we all need tissue box covers. Perhaps even toilet paper covers?🧻 Mayhaps you’ve got enough Lego lying around to create a toy box!😉

14) Recycled Poetry Wall Plaque: Mother’s Day is fast approaching… and I’m a big believer in meaningful homemade gifts. This recycled poetry plaque is one I’ve done with kids in the classroom, and with adults during workshops. It’s perfect for Mother’s Day – especially when we are all hunkering down at home. But it’s also lots of fun as a ‘just because’ wall plaque.

15) NEW RESOURCES ADDED: I’ve created a ‘Too Many Friends Stuff‘ page in the Kids’ Stuff tab, which includes a video reading from by my book, ‘Too Many Friends’ (with help from some friends) and a poetry activity for kids. Also a resource for a Friend-shaped poem. And an activity for kids to do during these days of isolation…

16) Stay @ Home & Play: A resource for those with very young children, developed by Bundaberg Regional Libraries, in conjunction with the Department of Education.

NOTE: With kids home for extended periods, let go of your expectations for a ‘tidy’ house. Don’t put that pressure on yourself! (Or your kids.) If kids can make a little mess they will likely be more deeply invested in a creative project/investigation; more engaged and productive! And perhaps they will also free you up to invest in YOUR projects. #winWIN! (And right now, who is going to be popping in unexpectedly, to catch you with your lived-in, messy house?🙃 )

That’s all for now – but I will continue to update sporadically.

(Last updated 2 May 2020.)

My Amber

My Amber

Imprinting your shape,
feel
and texture
into the palm of my heart;
muscle,
bone
knobby horns,
knees,
      rump,
           nose;
forehead whirl,
and floppy dewlap.

Hands smooth across
sleek red hide,
eyes clouded by tears.

I inhale.

Hold time.

Breathe in the scent of you.

Each pat

   a memory,
   a caress,
   a pause;


‘I love you.’
‘Thank-you.’
‘Goodbye.’

‘My beautiful girl.’

'I love you.'

© Kathryn Apel December 2019

Continue reading

Have Wheels, Will Travel

Good news! I’m rather thrilled to share that ‘Bully on the Bus‘ is chugging across the oceans, to Kane Miller Books. #PoetryFriday peeps, it will be coming to a store near you! After all this time. (Picture my very happy face. ☺)

Already reviews are starting to pop up like bus stops across the interwebs…

Like this review from https://heightshappiness.com;

And in a world where too often fists and weapons are used, Beth Sluzewski (heightshappiness.com) also noted;

How beautiful is that? I’m touched and honoured that something I wrote, prompted that beautiful assessment.

I’m hoping there has been joy in your week.

To read more great poetry posts, putter across to Carol’s Corner, (Thanks, Carol!) for the Poetry Friday link-up.

Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival

During April I was involved with the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival – which would have to be up there as one of the biggest children’s festivals on earth. SCRF2018 was a fantastical, fun and sometimes frenzied (in the best possible way) celebration of creativity in all forms, and it was an incredible experience to be involved with! No matter how I explain it, (or how many pics I collage) you won’t be able to imagine the enormity of it, or the complete and utter w-O-w factor … but here are a few pics that might convey something of the festive feeling … or at least, my little poetry-part of it. Continue reading

Poetry Friday – Child’s Play

Welcome to the Poetry Friday Round-up. This is my first time hosting the Poetry Friday crew – and using a linky widget – so I sure am hoping it’s going to work first go!

Last week I posted some pics and collages from my experiences of Book Week in Australia. I mentioned that I was off to enjoy Boating Under the Bridge on the Saturday, so I’ll kickstart today’s blog with a collage from that day, because it was brilliant! So much free play stemming from a picture book that I’ve loved as both a mum and teacher, ‘Who Sank the Boat?’, by Pamela Allen.

A whole crowd of kids and carers spent a busy morning creating their own fun with simple and effective resources. It was just like #thegoodolddays #wheniwasakid and #kidswerekids. (Actually, it brought back more memories from when my boys were little, and building countless cubby houses, in trees, and from tin – and anything else they could find. And so much play!)

If you are a parent, carer or early-years educator in the Bundaberg region, get involved with the First Five Forever program, link in with Wide Bay Kids, and get yourself into your local library, because these three organisations, with the support of a whole lot of other community groups, are going to make a HUGE difference in the literacy and creativity of our up-and-coming generations! I was super impressed! Play matters – and these groups foster the fun of play-based learning, and recognise the crucial role of parents in that play. You can find more information on the Wide Bay Kids website – or ask at the Bundaberg Library. And get ready to have a whole lot of FUN with your kids!

I’d been planning to share a poem about my little nook of the world, but I’m realising it’s probably the perfect post to follow with a poem about creativity and play…

If I Dress-up.

Pirate02When I let my thoughts go crazy
then I can be anyone!
There’s no need to buy a costume,
just dress-up and have some fun.

With my stripy shirt in tatters
and my faded denim shorts,
I could wear a pirate’s eye patch
as I swish a sword of sorts.

IMG_5096

If I stuff Mum’s old brown stockings
and make goggle ping-pong eyes,
I could go and scare Miss Muffet
in my spidery disguise.

With my parka and Dad’s helmet,
winter gloves and sunnies too,
I would safely look quite speedy
just like racing drivers do.IMG_5171

If I use a bit of face paint,
make a wand and glitter wings,
I can flutter as a fairy
as I sprinkle joy on things.

If I grab my board, and swimmers,
and then smear my lips with zinc
I would only need a wave to
be a surfer, don’t you think?IMG_5155

When I let my thoughts go crazy
then I can be anyone!
There’s no need to buy a costume,
just dress-up and have some fun.

© Kathryn Apel
First published in Comet Magazine; Issue 4 2006
All rights reserved.

And I know I’ve shared Soapy Sid before on Poetry Friday, but… #play #creativity #imagination #hereheisagain And there were pirates Boating Under the Bridge.

© Kathryn Apel
First published in Comet Magazine; Issue 3 2006
All rights reserved.

Maybe you, too, have a poem to share about creative play? Or a particular play-based memory from your childhood – or special moments with your children? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Now, let’s see how I go with creating and inserting this widget (child’s play! 😉 ) so you can share the links to your inspiring poetry posts. Have a great weekend, and enjoy the wordplay!

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