Show Me How! Guest Posts on What Color Is Your Brain?

Sheila Glazov, author and personality guru, invited me to guest post on her Brain Color blog to talk a little about Show Me How!  

She is a fascinating speaker, a lover of children and books and a true friend.  When I was poised to publish “Show Me How!”, Sheila generously shared her knowledge and expertise.

Please click on the link, read my post and check out her wonderful blog site.  Take the Brain Color Quiz!  She also puts out a free monthly newsletter that’s lots of fun.

http://www.sheilaglazov.com/2012/12/11/show-me-how-this-book-is-a-perfect-parent-teacher-holiday-gift/

Show Me How is in the News!

THE SUMMER IS MORE THAN HALFWAY OVER!

IT’S HARD TO BELIEVE…KIDS ARE OUT BUYING NEW SCHOOL SUPPLIES….AND TEACHERS ARE GEARING UP FOR THE NEW SCHOOL YEAR.

This post is a summary of some of the projects I have underway and some of the events that have been taking place recently, here in Colorado.

WE’VE BEEN POUNDED BY TRAGEDY…FIRST THE WALDO CANYON FIRES RIGHT HERE IN COLORADO SPRINGS (AND VARIOUS OTHER WILDFIRES IN THE REST OF THE STATE) AND JUST LAST WEEK, THE AURORA THEATER MASSACRE, WHERE TWELVE PEOPLE LOST THEIR LIVES AND DOZENS OF OTHERS WERE SERIOUSLY INJURED.

MANY ASK…HOW CAN WE STOP THIS TYPE OF SENSELESS VIOLENCE?

UNFORTUNATELY, I DON’T THINK THERE IS AN ANSWER…NOT UNTIL EVERY PERSON’S HEART IS FILLED WITH LOVE FOR OTHERS.

WHAT WE CAN DO IS PRAY FOR THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN IMPACTED.  WE ARE ALL ONE FAMILY.  WE CAN REACH OUT TO EACH OTHER WITH LOVE AND COMPASSION BECAUSE, IN THE FACE OF TRAGEDY, LOVE IS WHAT HEALS.

WE CAN ALSO TRY TO MAKE OUR OWN LITTLE WORLD A BETTER PLACE.

SOMEONE WHO DOES THAT VERY WELL IS picture book author, SUSANNA LEONARD HILL.

DURING THE SCHOOL YEAR, SHE HOSTS A PERFECT PICTURE BOOK FRIDAY  WHERE SHE INVITES OTHERS TO LINK UP WITH A PICTURE BOOK REVIEW AND RELATED ACTIVITIES AND RESOURCES.

FOR THE SUMMER, SHE HAS COME UP WITH A WHOLE NEW CHALLENGE: SUMMER SHORT AND SWEETS.

DO YOU LIKE TO WRITE?  ARE YOU AN ASPIRING AUTHOR?

JOIN SUSANNA AND FRIENDS FOR THIS CREATIVE WRITING EXERCISE.

I hope you will check out this fun-filled writing exercise!  Here is my entry for week #3:

I am Castle.
Gray as weathered stone in a cloud-filled twilight.
With tall turreted towers.
Decaying.
Crumbling.
Adjacent to an ancient herb garden where quartz paving stones glisten in the moonlight.
Guarding a hidden secret.
Protecting a forgotten treasure.
Waiting for eventual discovery.
Like a tightrope walker holding his breath.
I am Castle.

Another project for me this summer was to submit a picture book to Rate Your Story.  This amazing website is hosted by several children’s authors, illustrators and editors.  They provide professional manuscript critiques and other services…but will look over your story for FREE and rate it from “1”…great story, you should consider submitting…to “10”…consider this story as practice and write another one.  In addition, some of the judges may even give your story some constructive suggestions to help make it better.

A couple of weeks ago, I submitted, “The Boots of Dylan McGee”.  This is a rhyming picture book that tells the story of a little boy who wants to be a cowboy and loves his boots so much that he never wants to take them off. 

Here’s the first verse:

Dylan McGee was a cowboy-in-training.

Boots were his garb, whether sunshine or raining.

“It’s time to go nighty-night”, Momma would say.

But take off his boots?  Nada, nix, no and nay!

 When his boots begin to hurt his feet because they are too small, “he tried to remove them but couldn’t succeed…those boots wouldn’t budge ‘cause he’d grown like a weed.”

Early this week, I got the reply back…”The Boots of Dylan McGee” scored a “3”… which means: good story, get a critique or two and polish before submitting.  I was really excited because the judge gave me three awesome suggestions which I am working on implementing to make the story better and ready to put out there in publishing-land.

I’m also continuing in Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 in 2012 Picture Book Writing Challenge.

I’ve been having so much fun since January…writing a picture book draft each month.  Thanks to Julie and the encouraging group of more than FOUR HUNDRED participants, I now have seven picture book drafts waiting to be revised and polished and revised and polished and revised and polished some more.  July’s picture book draft is completed!

Another project for me is to de-clutter my garage. 

 

As the comic strip character, Cathy, would say, “AACK!!!!!!”

I know that clutter is a problem for many of us.  Objectively, I understand that clutter creates stress.  Subjectively, it is difficult to decide what to keep and what to toss.

But I have done a little work on this and plan to do more every weekend until I am done.

As Nancy at Spirit Lights the Way would say, “Aaaah, that’s better.

And now I’d like to share some lovely news.

Lovely news #1: Last week, I got an email from WordPress notifying me that I had reached a milepost in “likes”…1000 of them.

For that I have to thank all of you, my readers!  Sometimes it’s difficult to find the time to write, especially because I love to read and comment on everyone else’s posts.  I’m thrilled to have connected with so many people all over the world…what an exciting journey this has been!

Lovely news #2: I just got word from TaRhonda Thomas, Emmy-winning anchor for the 9News Morning Show in Denver.  She will be interviewing me on August 27th and we will be discussing an extremely timely topic for the opening of the new school year…how parents can detect the subtle signs of bullying.  I’ll share more details in future posts.

Lovely news #3: Diane Kress Hower over at bookwisdombydiane did an amazing review of Show Me How! and also one of Cindy Moo.  She has a spot on the local NBC affiliate KKCO TV 11 News morning show where she spotlights children’s books.  On Tuesday morning, she talked about the importance of self-esteem and how those two books were wonderful resources for parents and teachers.  Diane is offering a copy of each of the books as a giveaway on her website…you just need to leave her a comment.

Lovely news #4:  My daughter and her family will definitely be moving to Colorado Springs within the year…I can’t wait to be able to spend more time with my grandson!

Following in the Footsteps of Steve Jobs

Have you seen the February issue of Parenting Magazine?

Splashed on the cover is a picture of a young boy, with glasses, and a thoughtful yet mischievous expression on his face.  I guess you might say he is the “stereotype” of an “intelligent” child.  The lead article in this issue is entitled, “Raise the Next Steve Jobs…or at least a really, really bright kid”.  (Click on the link and it will take you to the entire article on CNN.com) 

Parenting’s senior editor, Christina Vercelletto, did a masterful job of pulling together the opinions of experts along with a mountain of research and contributions from colleagues Lois Barrett, Stephanie Eckelkamp, Beth Weinhouse and Stephanie Wood, as she focused on revealing “what makes a child grow into a brilliant adult”.

The feature recounts how Steve Jobs dropped out of college, but went on to change the world with his Apple computer.  The article examines topics like “genius defined”, “the lowdown on testing” and “the power of a parent”.

I was honored to be a contributor to that article.  Asked what I thought about the validity of IQ and standardized tests and whether they should be used to determine a child’s potential for success in school and later in life, I responded that I believe there are many factors that can affect the score of these tests.  “What if the child didn’t get a good night’s sleep or is getting over a cold?  Maybe the room is too hot or the kid next to him is fidgeting and distracting him.” 

The Parenting Magazine article emphasizes several things that parents can do to encourage school success and greater enthusiasm for learning.  These echo the suggestions that are found in my Show Me How book, where I provide activities and concrete examples for parents of young children.

1.      TALK, TALK, TALK…about anything and everything.  Engage your child in conversation at the breakfast table, while shopping, in the car, on a walk.  Ask open-ended questions like the one given as an example in the article, “What would happen if we stopped for ice cream on the way to the beach?” And don’t talk down or baby-talk to your children…your children will learn whatever you teach them.

2.      READ, READ, READ…anything and everything.  Picture books, comic books, travel guides, atlases, cookbooks…children have more of a chance to succeed in school when they have access to books and someone who reads to them. 

3.      PRAISE RESULTS…mastering tasks and skills motivates children to seek new challenges.  Chapter One in my book, I Can Do It Myself, encourages parents to allow children to try to do things on their own, even if they fail in the beginning.  Give praise for problem-solving and good effort as opposed to blanket praise.  True self-esteem is built on a basis of self-worth.  We feel good about ourselves when we accomplish our goals.   We all need a cheering committee…and parents are a child’s most important fans!

4.      CELEBRATE CURIOSITY…very young children are almost always curious.  But something often happens as they get a little older…they stop asking questions and begin to operate within the confines of what is considered the “norm”.  Parents need to encourage their children by sharing their passions…art, music, sports, carpentry.  And they also need to observe what special talents or strengths their children have and show an interest in those…even if it is watching an anthill or making intricate mud-pies.

5.      SEIZE TEACHABLE MOMENTS…encourage observation of detail and build vocabulary, math and money skills while shopping, driving or doing just about anything with your child.  Parents can engage young children in conversation about the shapes and colors of fruits and vegetables….and older children can discuss where the foods come from and how they are grown.  And that advice brings us back to number 1: TALK, TALK, and TALK.

I don’t know if you want your child to be the next Steve Jobs.  But I do know that every parent wants their child to have a positive self-image and thrive and be happy and succeed in life and in school.  Look back over the five points above…they are simple steps you can take that have big results: Talk with your children; read with your children (join my reading challenge…you might be the lucky winner of a picture book for your child); praise your children; celebrate your children’s curiosity and seize teachable moments.

Reading and Crafting Fun with Kids

I’ve been smiling a lot these days.

During the past few weeks, the Show-Me-How Story-time with Miss Vivian program has traveled to several local kindergartens and libraries.

Back in November, the children at Edison Elementary enjoyed hearing Today I Feel Silly & Other Moods That Make My Day by Jamie Lee Curtis.  Young children are often reluctant or unable to express their feelings.  Reading a story like this one gives them the opportunity to talk about what might be bothering them.  In Chapter Four, I Am Really Mad Right Now, my book, Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking, gives parents and teachers over a dozen picture book titles with summaries and a related quick and easy craft project and matching child-friendly cooking activity for each.

After the kindergarteners had a chance to talk about the feelings of the main character in the story and their own feelings, I showed them the fun craft we would be making.  The children were excited to work on the smiling/frowning paper plate.  We punched a hole in the top and pushed a piece of yarn through so they would be able to hang it up on the door to their room…anyone entering will know how they are feeling…another wonderful opportunity for parents to engage  their children in a discussion about emotions.

I was thrilled to receive a bunch of letters and pictures from Ms. Gustafson’s class, thanking me for sharing the story and craft activity with them. 

This past week, I visited with the kindergarteners at Fremont Elementary.  Again I was met with smiling children, eager to hear The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn.  Ms. Vassar’s class was excited to hear about the little raccoon who didn’t want to leave his mother to go to school until she shares a special secret with him. 

 

Young children can relate to this story very well…many of them are anxious about leaving home to go to school or daycare.  Again, picture books can be a wonderful vehicle for calming a child’s fears or helping him realize that others feel just the way he does. 

 

After the story was over, the children made Kissing Hand pictures.   Tracing the outline of their hands onto a piece of paper, I encouraged the children to think about who they love and who loves them.  Each finger represented someone important in their lives. 

Then, on Saturday, I read the same picture book at the Penrose Library’s 10:30am Story-time.  Many of the children attending were only three and four years old, but they still loved hearing the story and looking at the beautiful illustrations.  Very young children are developing important pre-literacy skills when parents read to them.  Knowing how to hold a book, turning the pages from front to back, reading the pictures from left to right, observing and pointing out things they see in the pictures…these are all important skills they MUST learn before they can read themselves. 

Because the holidays are fast approaching, I changed the craft that accompanied the story and we made Kissing Hand Ornaments.  Each child received a handprint, cut from cardstock paper that was white on one side and glittery color on the other.  Using the white side, the children and their parents drew faces of family members on the fingers.  The handprints had a hole punched at the top and a piece of yarn strung through so they can be hung from the Christmas tree, if desired.

It only takes 15 minutes to read a picture book story.  It only takes 15 minutes to do a simple craft project.  Such a little amount of time…but it has such a great impact.   “If you want to be in your children’s memories tomorrow, you need to be in their lives today.” 

I implore parents: please do this with your young children.  Go to the library.  Get out a few picture books.  Read them with your children.  Get some paper and crayons and draw with your children.  Staple several pages together and let them make their own “book” and have them tell you the story they have drawn.

The book I wrote last year is a perfect addition to your home library…with 100 classic picture book recommendations; you only have to flip through the table of contents to find the perfect book to read to your child.  When you open to that page, you will find the story summary, a tip on why that particular book is helpful to read to your child, a quick and easy craft project and a child-friendly healthful recipe…all laid out for you in a simple, easy-to-use format.  Most of the crafts use only paper, crayons or markers…some also need a glue stick, pair of scissors and pictures cut from magazines or catalogs.  Most of the recipes are low-fat, low sugar and high fiber…many are even no-cook, like fresh orange juice made from squeezing oranges and peanut butter balls made from peanut butter, honey and dry milk. 

I wish I had had this book when my children were growing up…everything in one place…no guesswork involved when it comes to planning activities for young children. 

If you order the book NOW, you will be able to start the New Year off right.

Don’t delay…at $24.95, it makes the perfect gift for yourself or anyone you know who has young children.  It even makes a great baby shower gift…unique and priceless…with great parenting tips on building a child’s self-esteem and creating a life-long parent-child bond.

And we all want that…don’t we?  Please visit the Show Me How website now and order a copy today!

Show-Me-How Story-time with Miss Vivian Travels to New Hampshire

What an awesome time to be traveling to New England.

I’ll be flying to New Hampshire tomorrow and I can’t wait to gaze out the window of the plane, down at the magnificient fall folliage…scarlets, magentas, golds…the tree-tops will look like a bejewled crown of a Russian tsarina. 

My grandson will be celebrating his third birthday and I am looking forward to taking long walks with him down to the pond where we love to select the perfect pebbles and toss them in.  Of course, there will be plenty of opportunity to use the Show-Me-How program…I know Jeremy will be thrilled to read lots of picture books, do simple craft projects and work together in the kitchen, preparing easy healthful recipes.

I’m also excited about this trip because I will be bringing the Show-Me-How Story-time with Miss Vivian program to the Tollhouse Preschool in Merrimack, NH.  I’ll be reading Yes We Can by Sam McBratney to the three year old preschool group and doing a leaf tracing craft project with them.  I’m coming prepared with a bag full of leaves…but I’m sure there will be plenty available on the school grounds.

Why is it so important to read to young children?  Reading to young children:

  • Builds self-esteem
  • Develops pre-literacy skills
  • Stengthens the parent-child connection
  • Allows them to relate their experiences to those in the story
  • Provides wonderful opportunities for parent-child discussions

The craft and cooking activities included in my book help extend this learning experience.  What a wonderful gift to give any parent or teacher of young children!  Please visit my website for online specials.

“Looking for a book that creates childhood magic?  This is it!

 – Wendy Young, LMSW, BCD: Clinical Director and Family Therapist

“This is a timely and timeless book that every parent and teacher will love.  It encourages children in an engaging, creative and fun format.”

Sheila Glazov: Author of What Color is Your Brain? and Princess Shayna’s Invisible Visible Gift

Starting School Jitters Be Gone!

COLORADO SPRINGS PARENTS/GRANDPARENTS/TEACHERS OF PRESCHOOLERS

SAVE THE DATE

STARTING SCHOOL JITTERS BE GONE!

THE SHOW-ME-HOW STORY-TIME PROGRAM

Saturday, August 6th

THERE WILL BE TWO IDENTICAL PRESENTATIONS

11:30am to 12noon and 12:30pm to 1pm

Family Christian Bookstore: 7560 N. Academy, Colorado Springs, CO

  • Bring your young children and listen to a story
  • Help your child make a simple craft project
  • Get a free flyer: 5 simple steps to a smoother school year
  • Enter to win free preschool craft supplies

 

Local author, Vivian Kirkfield, is a former kindergarten and Head Start teacher and mom of three. Her award-winning parenting book, Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking, is a wonderful resource of story suggestions and educational fun-filled activities for preschoolers – a true shortcut for busy parents and teachers.

For more information: 237-3111 or vivian@positiveparentalparticipation.com

National Ice Cream Day

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice-cream…when I was growing up, that was a popular ditty.

In 1984, President Ronald Reagan designated the third Sunday in July as National Ice Cream Day. For more information and some special today-only offers, click on this link: National Ice Cream Day

For me, every day is an ice-cream day.  I’ve always loved ice-cream.

When I was a little girl, I remember going to the park across the street with my best friend, Jane.  Each of us would clutch a precious nickel in a little hand and eagerly await the Good Humor Man who would pedal by with the large freezer box attached to the front of his bike.  My favorite was a toasted almond bar!

Years later, on summer evenings, we would sit outside, listening for the calliope sound of the ice-cream truck.  You would hear children shouting, “Mommy, mommy, I need a quarter…the ice cream man is here!”  My dad, who also loved ice cream, would ask me and my sister what we wanted and he would run out into the street as soon as the truck stopped so that he would be the first to give in his order. 

These days, my husband lovingly provides me with a wonderful variety of exotic flavors…double fudge brownie, French silk, coffee with almonds and chocolate morsels…and I treat myself to a small dish of ice cream topped with a spoonful of whipped cream and seven almonds every evening…my reward at the end of a busy day.

Do you like ice cream?  What are your ice cream memories?

Among the 100 simple healthful child-friendly recipes in Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking you will find several for ice pops, sorbet and ice cream treats.  You can buy a copy NOW for 50% off the cover price!  Don’t let the summer pass you by without SCOOPING UP this incredible guide of fun-filled activities and picture book recommendations.  Did you know there is a money-back guarantee?