Poetic Power with Badgerdog's Silver Voices in Ink

Recently, I had the great honor of subbing for a Silver Voices in Ink session, an astounding program offered through Badgerdog Publishing. The website describes the Silver Voices program as a "creative writing program for senior citizens that helps older adults to strengthen language skills in order to reflect on and articulate personal experiences through memorable poetry and prose." Articulate their personal experiences? Heck, how about knocking the socks off of mine?

To get my poets primed, Thar she blows!I turned to my all-time fave writing resource - Nancie Atwell's Naming the World: A Year of Poems  - choosing her "Where I'm From" lesson. I have to tell you that primed SVI creative pumps make Old Faithful look like a garden hose leak. These Silver Voices mined pure gold.

Here's how it all went down. After reading and discussing selections of "Where I'm From" poems, the SVI poets were asked to imagine themselves as children. They could choose whatever age they'd like or move around in time, if that fanned their fancy. Then they filled out a questionnaire consisting of ten questions about their childhood. They answered questions such as what toys did they play with, what singers did they listen to, and what did they watch on TV? 

TV? Ha! Many of the poets didn't have television when they were children. Oh, baby, we hit pay dirt with that one. We reminisced about Gene Autry and the Grand Old Opry, Lawrence Welk, and wonderous days of Big Band brass. We chatted about sling shots and climbing trees, pie-eating picnics, and melted Milky Way bars. After we strolled down Memory Lane, I asked them to detail those treasures in a list poem, and they came through, loud and clear.

 After we scrawled our thoughts on paper, the poets shared their work, openly, with each other. Ripples of, "Oh, yeah...," spread through the room as a reader unearthed gems from the their shared past. And, to top it all off,  a jaunty little lady and I sang a two-part harmonic rendition of "You Are My Sunshine" together. How cool it that?

Snuggle Mountain - A Guide for an App

Each guide that I create offers its own interesting slant. Each are great fun to do in their very own way, and the lovely Lindsey Lane's Snuggle Mountain was no exception, at all. For you see, this charming picture book is now being sold as an app (and sales are going quite well, I might add). Lindsey and illustrator Melissa Iwai have taken a flying leap into new, uncharted e-territory, and I am thrilled have a chance to tag along for the ride.

Lindsey and I often chatted about making a guide. Being that this book/app is so unique, I wanted to create something that would offer teachers, parents, and librarians something substantial to pull from, something that they would use time and time again. The Traits entered into our conversation. I happen to love working with the 6 + 1 Traits of writing. Kids respond so positively to the method. The activities are clear, lively, sound, and so kid-centered. Being that they are founded on the child's creativity rather than stringent academic confines, the work that comes from the young writers is delightful! So, why not make a Traits guide for this delightful picture book/app? Woot!

The guide consists of a number of lessons all centered on the text and illustrations, rubrics to evaluate each trait, writing paper, and a very cool poem page (my fave!). To best benefit from the guide, have the book or app in hand, as the lessons require close consideration of Snuggle Mountain before letting those creative minds soar!