Monday, May 6, 2013


There’s a change in the air this May, with warmer days and lovely flowering plants and trees. It’s that time of year when we all feel the tug of summer. I’ve been sharing my new picture book THESE SEAS COUNT! at schools and just mentioning the ocean and research I did for this book, makes me yearn for a nice day at the beach.
          What kind of plans are you making for the summer? Camping? Visiting relatives? Planting a garden? People plan summer vacations and authors make story plans, too. Some outline and some map out their ideas using visuals such as paper snowflakes or color-coded index cards. There’s no wrong way, but a story map can be a great guide to help a writer find and create a compelling plot to draw in readers.

          Happy Trails: Creating a fun vacation story map

·        Print out a map of America or use a world map
·        Ask students to choose places they’d love to travel this summer and mark them on the map.
·        Research those places and write a few sentences about what they want to see or expect to see in a particular place. Example: Grand Canyon or the Statue of Liberty
·        Write up an itinerary. What is the mode of transportation? How long will this trip last? Include supplies for trip. Example: Take parka for dog sledding in Alaska
·        Estimate travel costs. What will it cost for each meal? Five dollars? Or more? How about extra money for sightseeing? Use math skills to plan.
·        Write a story about the trip you’re planning and what you hope to see in your travels. Encourage students to use their imaginations to share something exciting that might happen on their trip, but to include real facts about the places they hope to visit.
·        Finish story by sharing how it feels to be home after this amazing trip.

Happy travels and happy writing!

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