Author Archives: Norah

About Norah

Early childhood educator and resource developer.

results of the Carrot Ranch Fracture Fairy Tale Flash Fiction contest

Rodeo #4: Fractured Fairy Tales Winners

The results of the Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Contest #4 Fractured Fairy Tales are now posted at the Carrot Ranch. Pop on over to find out who the winners are and to read all the qualifying entries.
Thanks to all who entered for giving us a fun and entertaining read.

Carrot Ranch Literary Community

By Norah Colvin

Fairy Tales — Fractured in 99 Words

Once upon a time on a virtual ranch,
Was a whole bunch of writers wanting a chance
To fracture a tale in no more and no less
Than 99 words to show who was the best.

The judges were ready, no red pen in sight
And sent out the prompt for writers to write.
In trickled stories one after one
Till time was up and the contest was done.

The judges then read them and read them some more
The stories that numbered ten times four.
They pondered, selected and collaborated
Till agreement was reached on the #1 rated.

Thank you, contestants. We judges, Anne Goodwin, Robbie Cheadle and I, had a wonderful time reading your stories and thank you for submitting them to the Fractured Fairy Tale Contest.

Although many traditional fairy tales begin with ‘Once upon…

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holiday activities maintain school learning in literacy and mathematics

Holiday activities maintain school learning – Readilearn

Parents often ask teachers for suggestions of holiday activities that will maintain learning before children return to school. While we neither expect nor want children to spend hours at a desk engaged in school-type lessons, there is plenty that parents can do with their children to keep them curious and motivated to learn. This post includes suggestions teachers can provide to parents.

Some of the best things parents can do to maintain children’s learning are: 

  • Encourage their questions and help them find, rather than simply provide, the answers.
  • Engage children in experiments to discover what happens. Don’t rely exclusively on books or internet searches.
  • Take them on outings and adventures to natural as well as constructed points of interest; such as rainforests, beaches, national parks, marine parks, libraries, museums and art galleries.
  • Talk with them about anything and everything including feelings, dreams, goals, desires for the future, fears, how things work and what happens if.
  • Read to them, with them and beside them. Show them you value reading for a range of purposes including for information and enjoyment.
  • Play games with them—indoor and outdoor games, board games and games you create or construct.
  • Most of all, spend time being with them, enjoying their company, getting to know them, in the present moment. Childhood is fleeting and each moment, precious.

Free handouts of holiday activities that maintain school learning 

There are three free handouts of holiday suggestions available for teachers to distribute to parents, or indeed for parents to access for themselves.

Continue reading: Holiday activities maintain school learning – Readilearn

flash fiction kept in the dark

Kept in the dark

Have you ever engaged in an experiment to see how bean seeds grow when kept in the dark compared to how they grow when provided with sunlight? It’s an experiment familiar to many school children. The purpose of the experiment is to show that light is needed for the seeds to grow and children soon find that those kept in the dark do not thrive.

My father used to say that what you don’t know doesn’t hurt you. He wasn’t happy when my brother wrote in my autograph book that what you don’t know doesn’t do you much good either.

what you don't know won't do you much good either

© Norah Colvin

Although my parents were keen for my siblings and me to get a good education, there were some things about which they preferred to keep us in the dark — secret adult things. It seems they thought some knowledge might be dangerous, so they were selective in what we were told.

I am of the opposite view, thinking that a lack of knowledge may be even more dangerous. Just as bean seeds don’t thrive in the dark, minds can’t thrive if kept in the dark either.

Nowadays, in schools, there is an emphasis on the need for being explicit in our teaching, of making sure that children know what they will be learning, what is expected of them and why.

In my childhood days, if a reason was given, it was often ‘Because I said so’ or ‘Because it is’. I much prefer the modern way and, as with many things, believe that knowledge begets knowledge. It is difficult to be interested in something about which you know nothing. But knowing, even just a little, can stimulate curiosity to know more.

I have written about this belief before in posts such as Child’s play —the science of asking questions, Visioning a better school, a better way of educating, and Reflect and refine, to name but a few.

Into the dark flash fiction prompt at the Carrot Ranch

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills wrote about the darkness we feel when we’ve lost our guiding star, or when the spark of creativity has dimmed. She challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story using the phrase “into the dark.” What must a character face? Write about an encounter, journey, relationship, or quest. Follow the ship’s lights on gloomy seas. Go where the prompt leads you.

Funnily enough, the prompt took me to neither darkness of the mind nor heart, but to the literal darkness of a stormy night. I hope you enjoy it.

Stepping into the unfamiliar

The car lights dimmed as she reached the door – timed perfectly. But, when the porch light didn’t activate, immersing her in total darkness, she cursed the storm. As she pushed the door of the still unfamiliar house, she rummaged for her phone. Dang! No charge. She inched along the wall, fingers seeking the corner and toes the step she knew was close. Stepping down, she dumped her bag and tossed her saturated scarf. She edged towards the sideboard and a battery-powered candelabra. As she fumbled for the switch, the room was flooded with light and cheers of ‘Happy housewarming!’

Thank you blog post

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.

Travel with a Twist Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Rodeo results

Rodeo #3: Travel with a Twist Winners

The results of the Carrot Ranch Rodeo #3 Travel with a Twist are in. Congratulations to the winners! Well done to all the entrants and the judges!

Carrot Ranch Literary Community

By Sherri Matthews

Well, we asked for travel stories with a twist, and we got ‘em.  Thank you so much to all who entered, 29 in all. You’ve taken us around the world (twice), to Rome and through most of Europe, to Morocco, Lima, on sun-drenched holidays including the Caribbean and Hawaii, up mountains, along the coast, to a Harry Potter conference in San Francisco, a monastery, Lake Michigan, Key West, Rock Springs and the weird and wonderful Garbled Creese. We’ve walked, ran and hiked, and travelled by car, cruise ship, plane, bus, motorhome, and broomstick.

The high quality and enjoyment of every story, however, did not make it easy for the judges.  I don’t like this part of the job! First, I verified every story’s word count and sadly had to eliminate 2, one just under, one just below 99 words. Then we narrowed it down with each of…

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#WATWB story of barber cutting hair of homeless

#WATWB Barber makes the cut

On the last Friday of each month, We Are the World Blogfest invites bloggers to join together in promoting positive news. If you would like to join in, please check out the rules and links below.

Founders of the blogfest state that

“There are many an oasis of love and light out there, stories that show compassion and the resilience of the human spirit. Sharing these stories increases our awareness of hope in our increasingly dark world.”

I agree and like to join in as often as I can.

This month I am sharing a local story about a barber whose acts of kindness turned another’s life around. The barber Nicky Patti is extremely humble and doesn’t brag about the effects of his actions. Instead he says, ‘I think if everyone does their one per cent then the world would be different.’

Nicky Patti says if each person does their one percent the world would be a better place

I agree! How have you given your one per cent today?

Click here to read the whole article.

Here are the guidelines for #WATWB:

1. Keep your post to Below 500 words, as much as possible.

2. Link to a human news story on your blog, one that shows love, humanity, and brotherhood. Paste in an excerpt and tell us why it touched you. The Link is important, because it actually makes us look through news to find the positive ones to post.

3. No story is too big or small, as long as it Goes Beyond religion and politics, into the core of humanity.

4. Place the WE ARE THE WORLD badge or banner on your Post and your Sidebar. Some of you have already done so, this is just a gentle reminder for the others.

  1. Help us spread the word on social media. Feel free to tweet, share using the #WATWB hashtag to help us trend!

Tweets, Facebook shares, Pins, Instagram, G+ shares using the #WATWB hashtag through the month most welcome. We’ll try and follow and share all those who post on the #WATWB hashtag, and we encourage you to do the same.

The co-hosts for this month are: Shilpa Garg, Inderpreet Kaur Uppal, Peter Nena, Damyanti Biswas,  Eric Lahti.

 Please pop over to their blogs to read their stories, comment and share.

Click here to join in and enter the link to your post. The bigger the #WATWB group each month, the greater the joy!

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your comments. Please share your thoughts.

Thank you blog post

 

interview with Robyn Osborne author of Bruno the Boisterous Blue Dog of the Bush

Interview with picture book author Robyn Osborne – Readilearn

This week I am delighted to introduce you to Australian author and fellow Queensland educator Robyn Osborne and her delightful picture book Bruno, the Boisterous Blue Dog from the Bush.

This post is but one of several celebrating Robyn’s book in Romi Sharp’s Books on Tour. Please read to the end of the post for details of other posts celebrating Robyn’s work.

About Robyn

Robyn Osborne is an Australian author and teacher based in Queensland. She is dog obsessive and many of her books, including Bruno, have been inspired by her furry friends. Robyn grew up on the Sunshine Coast in South East Queensland where her father worked as a sugarcane cutter. As a child, she was surrounded by pets and quickly became an animal fanatic. At age eleven, when she made the connection between cows and steak, she became a vegetarian.

Although she always wanted to be a writer, a number of uncreative roles got in the way. It was when she became a teacher that she rediscovered her love of writing. She has won or been shortlisted for many awards and has published many short stories, junior novels and picture books.

About Bruno, the Boisterous Blue Dog from the Bush

This is a timeless Aussie tale celebrating the friendship between Bob the bushie and his best buddy, Bruno the blue dog.

Continue reading: Interview with picture book author Robyn Osborne – Readilearn

interview-with-dimity-powell-author-of-at-the-end-of-holyrood-lane-

Interview with Dimity Powell author of At the End of Holyrood Lane – Readilearn

This week I am delighted to share an interview with award-winning children’s author Dimity Powell. I previously introduced Dimity to you in her popular guest post Libraries: A wonderous universe to explore.

Dimity likes to fill every spare moment with words. She writes and reviews stories exclusively for kids and is the Managing Editor for Kids’ Book Review. Her word webs appear in anthologies, school magazines, junior novels, as creative digital content, and picture books including The Fix-It Man (2017) and At The End of Holyrood Lane (2018) with more to follow in 2019 and 2020.

She is a seasoned presenter both in Australia and overseas, an accredited Write Like An Author facilitator and a Books in Homes Role Model Volunteer in Australia.

Dimity believes picture books are soul food, to be consumed at least 10 times a week. If these aren’t available, she’ll settle for ice-cream. She lives just around the corner from Bat Man on the Gold Coast although she still prefers hanging out in libraries than with superheroes.

In this post, Dimity discusses her latest picture book At the End of Holyrood Lane. The book, illustrated by Nicky Johnston and published by EK Books, deals sensitively with the tough issue of domestic violence.

The story

At The End of Holyrood Lane is a poignant yet uplifting picture book that deals with domestic violence in a way that provides understanding and offers hope to young children.

‘At the End of Holyrood Lane is enigmatic. Different children will be able to interpret the story in different ways. I think this is excellent. Kudos to both author and illustrator for a successful creation that I hope will enrich many children’s lives.’ Susan Stephenson, The Book Chook.

The interview

Welcome to readilearn, Dimity.

Thank you for inviting me.

Dimity, At the End of Holyrood Lane was written for a very special purpose and a very special situation. Can you tell us a little about how you came to write this story and why it was important to you to do so?

Continue reading: readilearn: Interview with Dimity Powell author of At the End of Holyrood Lane – Readilearn