Category Archives: Children’s Stories

IMG_1854

The wonderful participants in Club Estrella–an equally good experience for counselors and students alike!!!

                    Schooled for Peace, Creativity, Humanity and Prosperity

If I were designing a new school, I would make it as experiential as possible.  Maths would include hands-on experiences.  Children would learn to add and subtract by making change and algebra and geometry would be taught by application to real situations–building or designing jewelry or figuring out how high a wall must be built to block a neighbor’s view. My own education was good, but I never really knew the real purpose of algebra and geometry, even though I won the school math prize!

Chemistry, also, would be taught by showing its application to everyday life–the chemistry of cooking and cleaning, the effect of different fertilizers and pesticides in the garden as well as chemicals in the house.  The interrelation of chemicals and pollution to health and safety would be made common knowledge among students and field trips would be taken to demonstrate the dangers of pollution.

Every student would be taught music and music theory, because I know it has a huge effect on math skills and those skills translate to other subjects as well.  All students would be encouraged to try different forms of art–sculpture, clay and graphic design as well as drawing and painting.  It is my belief that everyone has some artistic skill if they can just find their own particular medium.

IMG_2015 IMG_2017

IMG_2028

Education should be a dish full of treasures we find it hard to choose between.

Children would be taught a foreign language beginning in nursery school and both boys and girls would take shop and learn basic elements of electricity, plumbing and building.  And, dance.

IMG_2036

But the main thing that I would insist be taught is communication skills.  In every class, group communication would be stressed, and students would be given grades not only according to their own discussion skills, but also in listening and it being responsible in encouraging others to speak.  In  small group discussions, students would take turns recording the flow of conversation, recording how many times each person spoke, how many times they asked questions of other students to draw them into the conversation and in listening skills.  I actually used this system when I was a teacher and it worked remarkably well.  Students developed more respect for each other and there was less bullying when students knew their own grade depended upon including everyone in the conversation and respecting the comments of others.

IMG_1733

I believe in incorporating activities that encourage ethics, kindness and a consideration of the needs and values of other people.  Schools are currently so tied up in standardized testing and performing to a norm that teachers are somewhat hindered in their creativity and the teaching of subjects not directed toward rote learning and performing to purely academic ends, and I think students suffer by this.

Extracurricular subjects often center around competitive sports, many of which are violent in nature and which teach kids to win at all any cost.  Better that they be taught to win at being human beings and to learn to accept the differentness of others.  Perhaps this might help to make a more peaceable world or at the least, a peaceable society.

IMG_1924

Thirty students had thirty different takes on how to create a beautiful mask! (Click to enlarge.)

IMG_1871 (1) IMG_1875 IMG_1878 IMG_1901 IMG_1980 IMG_1918 IMG_1909

Yes, call me a dreamer, but better dreams than nightmares!

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “The New School.”  You get to redesign school as we know it from the ground up. Will you do away with reading, writing, and arithmetic? What skills and knowledge will your school focus on imparting to young minds?

I chose this prompt offered as an alternative to today’s prompt.

   Sock Front Cover A Christmas story orangeB30-1 copysunup cover all letters outlined

                                                       On The Run!!!
If a grand slam is, as I think it is, a home run hit over the fence with the bases loaded that thereby also brings in three other runners, then I would say the equivalent in my life would be to find an agent who would find a publisher for all four of my children’s books! I am not a lazy writer, but I am a lazy marketer/promoter.  I would love to find someone to turn that part of my life over to!!!

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Grand Slam.” In your own life, what would be the equivalent of a grand slam?

A Small Adjustment at the Fairy Ball

A Small Adjustment at the Fairy Ball

Her gold tiara, finely pearled,
came undone as she danced and whirled
and across the room was often hurled
as the hair that held it came unfurled.
Then her attendant tightly furled
her fairy hair as they fussed and girled.
For the rest of the night, she bowed and twirled,
for now that her hair was tightly curled,
all was right in the fairy world.

The Prompt: Easy Fix—Write a post about any topic you wish, but make sure it ends with “And all was right in the world.”

The Children’s Hour

Okay, I am writing this down by heart, as I remember it.  Then I’ll find a copy and check how well I remember it, putting corrections in parentheses.  Why do I remember this poem that was unfashionable even when I memorized it?  One of her favorites, it was chosen by my mother for me to recite in a contest.  I won with it at school, county and district level and then went to state level where I did not win.  Probably my wrong choice to pronounce “lower” in a manner so as to rhyme with “hour!”

Okay, by heart, mind you, here is the poem:

The Children’s Hour
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Between the dark and the daylight,
when the night is beginning to lower,
comes a pause in the day’s occupations
that is known as the children’s hour.

I hear in the chamber above me,
the patter of little feet,
the sound of a door that is opened
and voices, soft and sweet.

By my lamplight, I see in the darkness (from my study I see in the lamplight)
descending the broad hall stair
grave Alice and laughing Allegra,
and Edith with golden hair.

A whisper and then a silence,
yet I know by their laughing (merry)  eyes
they are plotting and planning together
to take me by surprise.

A sudden rush from the stairway,
a sudden raid from the hall,
by three doors left unguarded,
they enter my chamber wall.

They climb up into my turret,
o’er the arms and back of my chair.
When I try to escape, they surround me.
They seem to be everywhere.

They almost devour me with kisses,
their arms about me entwine,
till I feel like the Bishop of Bingen
in his round tower (mouse-tower) by the Rhine.

Do you think, oh blue-eyed banditos, (banditti)
because you have scaled the wall,
such an old mustache as I am
is not a match for you all?

I have you fast in my fortress
and will not let you depart
but keep you captive forever (But put you down into the dungeon)
in the round-tower of my heart.

And there  will I keep you forever,
yes forever and a day
till the walls have crumbled to ruin
and mouldered, in dust, away.

My mother told me her mother used to read this poem to her and her five sisters.  (Her two brothers were probably off pulling pranks somewhere.)  Whenever her mother would recite the line, “And Edith with golden hair” my mom would cry, because she had a sister named Edith, and my mom wanted golden hair as well.

Although I only met her once, when I was three, I believe my Grandmother was a kind soul and I can’t remember whether my mother told me or I imagined that my Grandmother then altered the line to read, “and Eunice with golden hair” as well.

Now, as to the lines or words I got wrong (after fifty-two years, as I believe I recited this when I was eleven) I am fairly sure that my mother changed that entire line I got wrong, thinking it wasn’t appropriate for a girl of 11 to say the words, “But put you down into the dungeon.” Mother knew best, even over such an illustrious poet as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, a fact that probably stunned the judges and led to my eventual upset as South Dakota  poetry champion of outmoded rhyme.

Now, please recite your biggest feat of memory for me in comments!!!

HALLOW E’EN

1913688_1136038127859_5133796_n
The Prompt: Trick or Trick—It’s Halloween, & you just ran out of candy. If the neighborhood kids (or anyone else, really) were to truly scare you, what trick would they have to subject you to?

Hallow E’en

They pound upon my door and wait outside my wall.
One climbs a tree to peer within. I hope he doesn’t fall.
I cower here within my house. Perhaps they’ll go away.
Though I am not religious, eventually I pray.

Their little voices raise a pitch. They start to bay and howl.
There’s a flutter in my heart region, a clutching in my bowel.
I purchased Reese’s Pieces and miniature Kit Kats
just for all these masked and costumed little brats.

My motives were unselfish. The candy was for them,
for I don’t eat much candy in efforts to grow slim.
And yet that bag of Reese’s, those small Kit Kats and such
called to me from where they were sequestered in my hutch.

It started with a whisper, hissing out their wish:
“We would look so pretty laid out on a dish!”
I knew that they were evil. I knew it was a trap.
I tried hard to resist them, my hands clenched in my lap.

I turned up my computer, listening to “The Voice.”
Those candy bars would not be seen till Halloween—my choice!
My willpower was solid. No candy ruled me.
(If that were true, no kids would now be climbing up my tree.)

Yes, it is true I weakened. I listened to their nags.
I took the candy from the shelf and opened up the bags.
Their wrappers looked so pretty put out for display
in one big bowl so colorful, lying this-a-way

and that-a-way, all mixed and jumbled up together.
No danger of their melting in this cooler weather.
I put them on the table, then put them on a shelf,
so I would not be tempted to have one for myself.

When people came to visit, I put them by my bed.
Lest they misunderstand and eat them all instead.
Then when I was sleeping, one tumbled off the top.
I heard it landing with a rustle and a little “plop.”

I opened up one eye and saw it lying there
just one inch from where I lay, tangled in my hair.
Its wrapper was so pretty—foiled and multi-hued.
Some evil force took over as I opened it and chewed!

This started a small avalanche of wrappers on the floor
as I ripped & stuffed & chewed & swallowed more & more & more!
This story is not pretty but has to be confessed.
My only explanation is that I was possessed.

They pound upon my door and wait outside my wall,
but I have no candy for them. No treat for them at all.
Surrounded by the wrappers, bare bowl upon my lap,
I think I’ll just ignore them and take a little nap.

I hear them spilling o’er my wall and dropping down inside.
I try to think of what to do. Consider suicide.
They’re coming in to get me. Beating down my door.
They are intent on blood-letting—the Devil’s evil spore.

I guess it’s not the worst death a gal could ever get.
I’ve heard of much worse endings than death by chocolate!

1913688_1136038527869_395578_n1913688_1136038367865_7037617_n1913688_1136038287863_5588685_n1913688_1136038207861_6603987_n1913688_1136038167860_1696102_n1913688_1136038087858_6027993_n1913688_1136038007856_1648819_n1913688_1136037847852_2468748_n1913688_1136037767850_5683525_n1913688_1136037727849_5594428_n1913688_1136037567845_630735_n

A Message for Henry Selick

The Prompt: Make It Count—You’ve been given the opportunity to send one message to one person you wouldn’t normally have access to (for example: the President. Kim Kardashian. A coffee grower in Ethiopia). Who’s the person you choose, and what’s the message?

A Message for Henry Selick

In our age of information—
and also instant confirmation
of every little truth and fact,
it’s necessary to react
with some protection, I understand.
The famous of us take a hand
to protect themselves from the clamoring band
of those who call for their attention
to win a conference or audition,
an interview or invitation
to meet for food or a libation
as a means to talk about
ideas that we have need to flout.
And so I see why I could not
reach the person whom I sought
to pitch my Christmas storybook.
The plot is good. I have a hook.
The characters are funny and
the artist has an expert hand.
I even know the person who
I wish to do my pitching to.
But he’s grown famous through the years
and our acquaintance is in arrears—
his movies scarier by far
than any of my stories are.
But readers tell me that in a pinch,
my Christmas story beats the Grinch!
A Christmas classic the film would be
if only Hollywood could see
the book that no one yet has seen
because my Facebook notes have been
seen by no one and I have not
a way to advertise my lot.
So here I make a heartfelt plea
for Henry Selick to contact me!

(To further jog your memory:
Your wife Heather had a job
teaching with my husband Bob.)

The book is Sock Talk: A Christmas Story, and you can see more about it here.


Blog Sock Talk

Sleuthing

case 1.indd

Sleuthing

There’s a Clue in the Leaning Chimney and a Password to Larkspur Lane,
and no one will ever discover them without me, that is plain.
I’d love to go a-sleuthing, my sidekicks at my side—
George Fayne, who is so boyish and Bess Marvin who’s so wide.

Together we’d read diaries and find each hidden clue,
‘cause no one else but us has ever known quite what to do
with broken lockets, attics, tolling bells or hollow oaks;
for non-teenage detectives seem to come off like bad jokes.

They may have had the clues but never seemed to solve the crime—
these matters just too difficult for searchers in their prime.
I’d hop in my blue roadster with a picnic box from Hannah
and somehow I would wind up in Wyoming or Montana.

Interviewing cowboys is the way I’d have my fun,
returning to Ned Nickerson when all of this was done.
I don’t have other fantasies of being Peter Pan
or Goldilocks, Rapunzel, Cathy or Superman.

Those fairy tales and comic books and novels are unreal.
I’d have to be like Nancy—a character who’s real!
The only mystery I can’t solve of all her mysteries seen
is how I’ve gotten so damn old while she remains sixteen!

The Prompt: Fictional Intruder—Go down the rabbit hole with Alice; play quidditch with Harry Potter; float down the river with Huck Fin. . .If you coud choose three fictional events or adventures to experience yourself, what would they be?