Thursday, October 31, 2013

Gobble Up a Quote Sandwich!

Hey all!  

Today we're going to talk about sandwiches! Cheese, turkey, pizza burgers. Yum! Oops. That was my stomach talking. Today's blog is about QUOTE sandwiches. I know, I know. They're not delicious at all, but they will totally help you ace those pesky standardized state tests.  

Quote sandwiches are used in Open-Ended Questions (aka OEQs). Those questions can be found after a reading passage. In the questions, you're asked to go back to the passage to support your answer. Still with me? Check out these paragraphs  below about Welsh corgis (taken from  

Since Welsh corgis are so intelligent, they are easy to train. One of the jobs they are good at is herding sheep and cattle. Welsh corgis are also very loyal companions for people of all ages.

The Welsh corgi’s small size means it doesn’t take up much room as a pet. Its average height is 10-12 inches, and an adult dog weighs approximately 25-30 pounds.

Welsh corgis are also known for being bold but kind, friendly, and alert. They are friendly to all, good with children, and rarely aggressive. 

Let's look a this sample OEQ about the passage. 

Why would Welsh corgis make great pets? Use evidence from the passage to support your answer. 

The “evidence” is the quote, and now we get to the good part. How to make it into a nutritious word sandwich! Think of a real sandwich. There's a top piece of bread, a bottom, and then the yummy goodness in the middle. That's how we have to think of our quote too. The top part will introduce the quote, the middle will be the quote, and the end will sum up what the quote means (or why it's good). 

Check it out as I answer the OEQ from above. 

            Welsh corgis would make great pets for many reasons. As the passage states, “The Welsh corgi's small size means it doesn't take up much room as a pet....Welsh corgis are also known for being bold but kind, friendly, and alert. They are friendly to all, good with children, and rarely aggressive.” As you can see, a Welsh corgi would not need much space in the house. Also, since they are good with children and kind, they would be ideal in any family. 

See what we just did? We introduced our evidence (the quote in blue). Then, we stated our quote from the passage (in red). Finally, we explained the quote (in green). 

There you have it, the three layers of the quote sandwich. Now, I'm off to get some real turkey to munch on!
~ Margie

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Is This a Happy Blog? A Hoppy Blog? A Blog Hop?

It’s a Blog Hop!

What’s a Blog Hop? It's where children's book authors answer identical questions and then invite a few more authors to join in. (We're supposed to ask three. I asked two. I hope the Blog Police don't come after me. *looks around nervously*)

Jody Jensen Shaffer tagged me, and I will answer the questions in a second. First, it's my pleasure to introduce Jody. Please read her bio below, and then go to her website to find out more. Next, RUN to the bookstore to buy her wonderful books.

Jody is the author of 14 published and forthcoming books for children and numerous poems and magazine stories. She has written celebrity biographies and books about animals, science, and social studies. Her work has been published in Highlights High Five, Highlights Hello, Babybug, Humpty Dumpty, Turtle, Pack-o-Fun, Clubhouse Jr, COLUMBIAKids, and coming soon in Highlights. She is represented by Kathleen Rushall of Marsal Lyon Literary. You can visit Jody at

Here are my answers to the Blog Hop questions:

What are you working on now?
Right now, I’m deep into rhyme and going cross-eyed over perfect meter and stanza length. Why? I’m working on the edits for my next picture book, City Street Beat, and my editor wants these edits done by the end of next week. The other books I have in my muddled, rhyming brain must be put on hold for a bit, but I can't wait to get back to them. There's one with an interactive component that's keeping me up at night.
How does it differ from other works in the genre?
Mine differs from other rhyming picture books in that it has an unusual rhyme scheme and an abundance of onomatopoeia (sound words).  
Why do you do what you do?
I stink at Math.
What is the hardest part about writing?
The hardest part is having a terrific idea but not being sure about the best way to get it down on paper. I want to love it! I want my agent to love it! And I want it to sell, so children have the opportunity to love it! That’s not asking too much, is it? * sigh *

Now, I get to tag a few more authors. Please read their bios below and take a minute to HOP over to their blog posts!

Michelle Houts lives and plays on a family farm in Ohio. She shares her days with three children, the farmer of her dreams, cattle, hogs, a whole lot of barn cats, and a dog the size of a small horse. She enjoys reading, cooking and hiking any place that has hills because where she lives it is very flat. Michelle recently acquired a one-room schoolhouse built in 1894. With restoration underway, she dreams of turning it into her writing space. Michelle’s debut middle grade novel The Beef Princess of Practical County (Random House) received the 2010 International Reading Association Children’s Book Award for intermediate fiction and the 2011 Nebraska Agricultural Children’s Book of the Year. Michelle’s next two middle grade novels The Practical County Drama Queen (MuseItUp) and Winterfrost (Candlewick Press) will be released in 2014. Visit her blog:!

Linda Bozzo is the author of over 50 nonfiction books for the school and library market. She enjoys writing fiction as well as nonfiction for children. Many of her fiction stories are inspired by her love of dance. Linda is a member of the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She enjoys presenting her writing journey to both children and adults. Linda lives in New Jersey with her family where she can visit the Jersey shore and enjoy the culture of New York City. You can find Linda online at Blog:

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Let's Dress Up Words!

Hi there, WIT followers. 
It's Alison Formento. I'm happy to meet you!

Halloween is coming soon and we’re busy getting our costumes ready for the big day. Do you have a costume parade in your town or at your school? Wigs, hats, special clothing, masks, make-up and more are used for dress up October 31st. 

Words can be dressed up, too. 

Look at this photo:
Here’s one way to describe it:

A devil walked by. She was followed by a musician with a violin. 
Let’s dress up those same words in a new description of the scene.
A short, red devil had an evil smile on her face.
The nervous classical musician followed close and held tight to his prized violin.

Now, write down what you’re going to be for Halloween and what you plan to wear for your costume. 
Example: Clown with wig and bow tie. 
Dress up your costume with more description this time: 
I plan to be a clown. I’ll wear a crazy rainbow wig, a floppy polka dot bow tie, and giant shoes as long as my arm.

Find out what your friends and classmates are wearing and write out a description of their costumes, too. Use these costume descriptions to create your own fun and spooky Halloween story.
~ Alison 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Write On, Columbus!

Columbus Day is coming!

Did you know that Columbus was a writer? He wrote Columbus's Book of Privileges. It tells about all the favors he thinks are due to him and his heirs by the Spanish Crown. He felt he should be rewarded for his  accomplishments, especially for finding a new route to the West Indies. (Just for fun, ask your teacher:  Did he really discover America?)

Back on topic...

With dear (sort of clueless) Columbus in mind, I'd like you to think about accomplishments. You know, stuff that you've done, or someone else has done, that deserves recognition.

BUT WAIT -- we shall not be pompous like Columbus! (Yes, you should totally look up pompous in the dictionary. It's a great word.)

I want you to write about one of your classmates. Write one paragraph. It doesn't have to be very long. Don't sweat over it. I won't be giving you a grade. Just try to answer some of these questions. And THINK!

Who am I writing about?
How do I know this person?
What has this person accomplished?
Why is this an important accomplishment?
What are my feelings about his/her accomplishment? Do I feel it's a worthy accomplishment?

Have a wonderful holiday weekend.
Accomplish something.
; )

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Let's Put a Twist on Rhyme

Hi EverybodyI

Lori here.
I write in rhyme - most of the time (but not always), so I thought that’s what my first WIT post should be about.  One easy way to practice writing in rhyme is to take a familiar nursery rhyme and change some of the words to create a new one.  The reason it’s easy is because the rhythm (or meter) is already set up, so you don’t have to create a new one.  Usually, the hardest part of writing in rhyme is making it read smoothly and, if the meter isn’t just right, it won’t read well.  

Here are two examples of nursery rhymes I changed: 

Mary Had a Little Lamb

Mary had a little lamb,
whose fleece was white as snow.
And everywhere that Mary went,
the lamb was sure to go.

Mary Had a Little Pig

Mary had a little pig,
whose tail was pink and curly.
And everywhere that Mary went,
They called her piggie Shirley.

Little Boy Blue

Little Boy Blue,
Come blow your horn,
The sheep's in the meadow,
The cow's in the corn;
But where is the boy
Who looks after the sheep?
He's under a haystack,
Fast asleep.

Little Boy Blue

Little Boy Blue,
Come play your flute,
The pig’s in the meadow,
All chubby and cute;
But where is the boy
Who looks after the pigs?
He’s under a fig tree,
eating some figs. 

Here’s a list of Nursery Rhymes to get you started:

Baa, Baa, Black Sheep

Hey Diddle Diddle

Humpty Dumpty

Itsy Bitsy Spider

Jack and Jill

Little Bo Peep

Little Miss Muffet

Old Mother Hubbard

Star Light, Star Bright

This Little Piggy

Give them a twist!

- Lori