Creative Writing: Science Fiction

This week in my creative writing classes I featured a couple of stories shared with my class by a dear friend of mine, Laura McCoy.

Laura and I met through an online writing community called Tribe Writers. She enjoys writing Science Fiction pieces. I wanted to cover different forms of writing with my students so I asked Laura if she would help me out by providing a couple of stories for the kids.

photo (1)The children loved her stories which sparked their imagination and creativity.

One of the interesting aspects of writing Science Fiction is that a writer needs to have an understanding of science to make the story believable.

To help my students understand a little more about the Science behind the stories I read to them, I showed them some videos from the Canadian Space Agency. The videos were taken on their Space Station where they show students how different things work in space.

They show how they prepare food, eat, exercise, cry, and sleep in space. Those are just a few of the short videos we watched.

The older class did a writing exercise. I set a timer and we each wrote for about 2 minutes. When the timer went off we passed our papers to the person next to us, who then adds another couple of minutes worth of writing to it. By the end we each got the paper back we had started.

Here is the page I got back. There were 3 of us in the older class that contributed to this story. I’ll put “…” where one person’s writing stops and another started.

The space cadet floats into the room. He can’t decide if he is hungry or tired. His stomach doesn’t quite feel right. He decides to start with some food.

He…gets some space food and decides to start getting ready to eat and as he puts it in his mouth someone bumps into him and the food starts floating. He grabs it up and starts eating it up and he tries to keep a positive attitude and when he was done eating…

He floated over to the other space cadet and asked him why he bumped him so rudely. The space cadet told him that he was sorry and it really was an accident. So they forgave each other. And it was just in time too, because just then, they rose above the earth. One of the space cadets ran to go get his camera. The space cadet that stayed shook his head.

“That crazy kid!” he said. “He won’t stop taking pictures!”

 

photo (3) I thought we did pretty well for not having brainstormed much before beginning.

I had my younger class draw pictures of what they imagined it would be like to go to outer space. One student drew a rocket ship. My daughter drew the outer space basketball game played on Mars. And my 3 yr old son visited our class and drew his idea of outer space.

Laura’s stories were fun and educational. She provided some discussion questions at the end. My younger class determined that they wouldn’t want to live in Space but they might like to visit some day. 

Two of Laura’s favorite classic Science Fiction authors are Robert Heinlein and Frank Herbert.

photo (2)Do you like Science Fiction? What are some of your favorite Science Fiction stories or authors?

Please leave a comment and let Laura know what types of Science Fiction you like.

Laura is currently working on writing Science Fiction pieces. You can find out more about Laura and her German Shepherd Edel at http://germanedel.blogspot.com. You can also follow Laura on Twitter @lmccy. If you follow her let her know you found her through my blog. 

 

EmailShare

The Family that Draws Together is Drawn Together

Okay, I couldn’t resist that title. I mentioned in my last post  Happy New Month! that we have been drawing pictures every Monday.

My husband set a goal to draw something every day. He set that goal when he saw my need for artwork to go along with my writing. The neat thing is that with his goal to draw something for my writing that gave me the desire to write something for him to draw for. That in turn keeps him wanting to draw pictures for me to write to.

It’s a never ending circle but I see a lot of great things to come from it.  My husband is even talking about setting up a website to connect with my website. Won’t that be great!

I’m not as good an artist as my husband but I’m not horrible at it either. I just don’t like spending too much time on it. And if it takes a lot of effort I’d rather just not. Ha!

Okay, bottom line I’m lazy when it comes to art. I’d rather just write about something than to have to draw it. So having an amazing artist in the family is a wonderful thing.

Now about my charicature…

 

20130206-104828.jpg

mrbean2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not too bad for my first attempt at Charicature. Don’t you think?

Do you recognize him now? I know my charicature  isn’t perfect. The eyebrows could use to be a bit shorter and longer. I think if I were to try again I’d do a little better.  However I’m not the artist remember. I just did this for fun with my kids.

Okay, as for guesses. Not very many people attempted to guess at who he is.

My brother, Jason, guessed correctly. He thought my drawing looked like Mr. Bean.

Thank you, Jason, for making a big sister feel better about her art work. I’ll never forget sitting outside watching your pig. I drew a picture of you and our sister. No, my drawing hasn’t really improved much since then.

My Brother-in-law, Justin, guessed that it was Dracula with his teeth pulled.

Umm… No.

I suppose if Mr. Bean had a widow’s peak hairdo then maybe he would look like a toothless Dracula. Hmm…

Alright, enough about my artistic abilities or lack thereof. Hopefully it won’t be long before I get to show off some of my husband’s work.

How about you? Is there something you enjoy doing even if you’re not good at it? Maybe it’s just for fun or for your family.  I’d love to hear about it!

Real Love Guaranteed to Last

I’ll be having a special post on Valentine’s day. I have a friend, Anne Peterson, that wrote a book about Real Love guaranteed to last.

Her book is free  Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.  It would make a great Valentine’s gift for yourself and to share with a friend. Just click on the picture of the book.  Go ahead and get it early!

Check back here on Thursday where I’ll be talking more about Real Love!

 

 

 

EmailShare

Aftermath of Ike

Here is a picture as promised of some of the damage caused by Hurricane Ike. In this picture you can see a tree down, the church’s steeple twisted and moved, the power line is down, and there was a stick impressively harpooned into the ground. Yes, those are the trees roots you see. It’s amazing how much damage can be done by a hurricane. We have other more detailed pictures of some of the damages but I thought this one made an impressive over all view of the damages.

We stayed with my parents for 2 weeks. When we arrived home we had to find a way to park in our front yard. The entire yard was covered with branches. We came home expecting the power to be out for only a couple of days, it turned out being closer to a week and a half. We were really happy when the electric company finally showed up in our front yard. It’s funny how much you appreciate something after you have been without it for awhile. We really appreciate electricity having gone that long without it.

The kids are doing well. We were doing our lessons over at the church during the week that we didn’t have electricity. We would go over there for breakfast and then I would get the older involved with a lesson, while I figured out what to do with the younger two. It was fine but it is a lot easier to keep them out of trouble in our own house.

It amazes me how much there was for my 3 year old to displace. I walked into a room to get something and saw a large stack of books where she cleared the bottom two bookshelves that she could reach. I, of course, commanded that she put those back on the shelf neatly. Later I found half the church sign numbers moved and set messily on another table. I told her to put those back and she said, “O.k. I’ll put my money back.” Then on another occasion she had pulled all the coffee cup holders out of one of the kitchen cabinets and piled them on a table. I first turned it into a lesson for her by having her separate the cups by colors and then count how many cups of each color there were. Then I had her put them back. That was only some of the things she found to unorganized.

Now that we are able to do lessons here again, I feel like I’m able to keep a better eye on all the children. At least, here I know what she could possibly be doing in another room. There aren’t as many surprises. I can also keep a better eye on Jonathan this way as well.

I have a lot to do this month. I plan to put some of the things the kids are doing in homeschool next time I write. We’ve been pretty busy. I’ll try to get some pictures of them doing some of their lessons. Until then…

EmailShare

Waiting…

I wanted to post a couple of videos since I have access to faster internet. Yes, we are one of many Texas families that evacuated due to hurricane Ike. It is hard to wait sometimes.

I try not to get impatient, as I wait. I try to be adaptable but I like routine as well. It seems like all the different places we have lived over the years, one thing I try to maintain is some sort of routine. It takes me a while to adjust to change, however after a few weeks I get the kids used to a routine and then we are doing well again. We finally started the first week of our new KONOS curriculum when hurricane Ike came through. Now I’m trying to decide whether or not to come up with an “at grandparents house” routine. If we were to go back to our home, we would not have electricity and possibly no water. The sheriffs department there suggested we wait a few days. So by the time I finally got some semblance of a routine going here, we’d be leaving again. For now I plan to work on basic reading, writing, and math with the kids. When we get back home we’ll return to our Unit Study. I plan to take pictures of different activities we do as we go along. Which I will be able to post on here to show some of what the kids are learning.

I hope all is well at our church and our home. I imagine that we will find a lot of trees down when we do get back. Some of our church members were planning to go back earlier today to assess the damage. I hope they find all in order and we will be able to get back as soon as the electricity is turned back on. In the mean time we will just have to wait.

(Psalms 27:14) Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.

EmailShare

Back Online!

I’m finally back online again. We have finally moved into our new home. We still have a few things that we need to pick up from our previous home, but for the most part we’re here now. Our kids really like it here. We have been a lot more organized. It’s nice not to be constantly driving on the weekends. We are now able to settle down and start a routine of sorts.

At this point, we have been trying to get the house organized. I’ve been giving Joshua and Ruth worksheets to complete and writing assignments. I have been giving Hannah little assignments as well. She wants to do everything the other two are doing. Scott has gotten their computers set up. When I first started homeschooling the children, I never dreamed that one day we would have 5 computers. Scott spent quite a bit of last week getting 2 of those computers set up for the children.

Alas, it is very late. I must go to bed for now. But I did want to give a little update to let everyone know that we’re back online. I’ll be able to update more often as we get going. I’ll try to add pictures soon as well. So keep checking back!

EmailShare

What Do You Want to Be?

We spent a whole week in our new home. Scott’s back gave out on him while he was at work the week before last week. After seeing the chiropractor he took Friday, August 8, off and then after an achy weekend he called his boss and decided to take the rest of that next week to rest his back.

Monday night, last week, Hannah suffered a little bit of homesickness. We had rocked her world by not going back to our old house. She wanted her blanket that Mamaw made. My explaining that we would get it when we went back the next week didn’t help any. She was better the next morning, but still wanted her blanket. I did find another blanket that was hers when she was a baby.

I went to the store Tuesday, while Scott stayed home with the kids. He had asked them what they all wanted to be when they grew up. Joshua wants to be a zoo keeper, Ruth wants to be a veterinarian, and Hannah wants to be a Mommy with milk, and to eat chocolate cheesecake when she grows up. Whenever Daddy, gives me something that they do not get, he says it’s becuse I’m mommy. So Hannah has decided that being a Mommy is the best job in the world.

She was watching me give Jonathan a bath and she asked if she could help wash his hair. He was very happy and I did not want him to get shampoo or water in his face so I told not right now. So she watched a little while then she asked me, “When I get to be a mommy, will I get to give Jonathan a bath?” I explained that when she gets to be a mommy she’ll get to give her own babies baths. She was quite concerned and asked, “So I won’t get to give Jonathan a bath?!” I tried to explain that Jonathan will be big by then and would be giving himself baths. She can’t imagine him being grown, she thinks he will always be a baby. After finally conceding that argument she asked me, “Well will you get to give my babies baths.” I told her that that was another nice thing. When she gets to be a mommy, I will get to be a grandma and sometimes I will get to help give her babies baths. Another new concept.

“So will I get to be a grandma?” she asked. I explained that she had to be a mommy before she was a grandma. She then decided she would rather be a grandma and give Jonathan baths. As I’ve told the kids many times, sometimes you just can’t win an argument with a 3 year old.

I feel like I must be doing something right for Hannah to want to be a Mommy when she grows up. Of course it may just be all the special “privileges” she thinks mommies have. Of course she does not “see” the work. Right now, washing dishes in a sink looks like playing in a sink full of bubbles. Vaccuuming is fun. She especially wants to be allowed to mop, or rather sling water all over the kitchen floor with a big wet wig. I asked why their was a mop in the girls bedroom, they had been pretending that it was hair. I asked that when they were through pretending that they return the mop back to it’s rightful spot. Yep, being a mom, is a lot of fun. There is never a dull moment.

I’ve been working on my lesson plans for the upcoming school year. I’ll actually be starting the kids classes Sept. 1. I wanted one extra week after we move to get organized, before we actually start our lessons. I have a lot of work to do this week. We will be moving the last of our stuff.

Scott plans to substitute teach, while I am homeschooling the kids. Things should go well. I’m pretty sure he will get enough calls to supplement the income the church will be giving us and to pay the bills. We really don’t need much. We are pretty good at pinching pennies sometimes. We may have to pinch quite a few, but you can actually live pretty well on very little. I’m just glad that we were able to have enough money this summer to get some curriculum and a copy machine for homeschooling. That will help me a lot this year. We’re pretty much all set.

We haven’t got a phone line, nor internet access set up at the new house yet. I will get that sorted out as soon as possible. I may have to blog from the library a few times. I’ll try not to get too behind on my blogs.

EmailShare

Waiting

This is a picture of my husband and our son Jonathan waiting at my sister’s wedding rehearsal. My husband is making use of his time by reading different mission reports on the bulletin board.

Today was filled with waiting as well. This morning I had to wait on the kids to get their shoes on and change their clothes for Jonathan’s doctor’s appointment. Then we got out to the van and drove to get the van inspected. So again, more waiting while the man drove the van in a circle. He told me I needed to get my right blinker fixed and needed to replace my windshield wipers before it would pass inspection.

I then drove to Wal-mart to buy wipers. You would think that would be simple and quick. Nope! The little computer thing that tells you what size wipers your vehicle needs was broken. So I had to wait while the lady behind the counter looked it up. She wasn’t completely sure which one it was and had to go into another room to ask one of the other workers there. Finally she came back and told me the size I needed to get. I then grabbed the wipers with the lifetime warranty wondering how long the life of my vehicle will be. I decided the little extra cost to buy the wipers with the lifetime warranty was worth it.

Then we were getting close to the time I wanted to be at Jonathan’s appointment so we left Wal-mart and went to the Doctor’s office. We were there a half hour early, so there was a little wait but it wasn’t too bad. Of course the appointment itself seems to take a while. We were called back to the room and waited for the nurse. Then we waited for the other nurse. Then we waited for the Doctor. Then we waited for the first nurse to come back and give Jonathan his shots.

Now all that waiting at the Doctor’s office I thought the kids, especially Hannah would drive me crazy. But the nurse came into the room and told me she wanted to compliment me on how nice my children are. She said she was amazed at how well behaved they are. It’s nice when someone tells me that because to me they seemed fidgity, but compared to most children that come there they are extremely well behaved. So I thanked her, and she asked me if we homeschool and I told her we did. She was impressed. I’m proud of my kids.

Then after the Doctor’s appointment I tried to get the car inspected at another place. More waiting… They gave it an inspection so that they could tell me exactly what it needs and give an estimate on how much it will cost to fix the part that we needed fixed. $320! So I told them I would check around and get back with them if we decided on that. So I then went to our normal Auto repair place. They have gotten used to seeing us there. They are very sweet and feel bad for all of our car troubles. We just drive worn out vehicles. They have always been good to us and tried to give us better prices than we are usually able to find anywhere else. Which is what they did this time. They were able to fix it for $180. Much better! Except they won’t be able to get to it until Monday. But that is o.k. We might try one more place that might inspect it with that minor problem, with the understanding of course that we are getting that part fixed.

Anyway, during these visits my son gets a call on my phone from his Grandfather, “Papa”. Of course the antenna would disappear in the middle of the conversation. “Mom! It hung up on us!” So my poor son had to learn a lesson in waiting. Later I was able to get him back on the phone with Papa. Then while I was driving we went into another area where the antenna doesn’t work. So another lesson in waiting for my son. Sometimes I think a lot of life is about waiting patiently. Now he is looking forward to his hike with Papa. Of course, I’m going to be hearing about it every day. “Is it time yet?” “How many more days?” He will definitely have the calendar down by the time the hike gets here.

There is definitely a lot of waiting in life. My son is young and will have a lot of waiting ahead of him. It is good for him to learn how to wait patiently at his young age. What better way to teach him how to wait patiently than showing him by example. So everytime I wait for something I need to remember my children are watching and make sure that I’m waiting patiently.

Romans 5:3-5 “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also; knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope; and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”

James 1:2-5 “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”

And now for everyone to wait patiently until I get another blog written. :)

EmailShare

Busy Days!

I just finished another busy day. Scott started the day sick. I was hoping he would get to feeling better but he wound up having to leave work early. I am hoping that he feels better tomorrow.

The kids were good today. I was trying to print them off some lessons I wanted to start them on from the internet. However, since my laptop is not working and Scott had set up this computer for me to use, I didn’t have Adobe Acrobat on here. So the kids patiently waited quite a bit of the day for me to download all the files I needed. It gave me so much trouble. I even had to restart the computer at one point, which meant I had to re-download all those files I was trying to load. Thankfully, I have that done and should be able to print those papers for the kids tomorrow. I highly recommend http://www.learningpage.com. This is a wonderful resource that I have used with my kids a lot. You can find lesson plans and worksheets. They have lesson themes that have always captivated my children whenever we use them.

I have so many things I want to teach my children that I sometimes don’t know where to begin, I just throw in a new lesson whenever I find an open opportunity. Thursday, I will be taking my children on a field trip to a Planetarium and an Art Museum. This is an activity that is planned with a homeschool group that we are a part of. My husband may accept a church soon and if he does I want to find another homeschool group like the one we were a part of here. I like the support we receive from other homeschoolers in the area. I also like how we can get discounts going to museums and things as a group. It also helps our kids see that they are not the only ones that are learning in their home instead of in a Public educational setting. So if I am able to find another Christian homeschool group, I will be really happy.

Yes, a church has finally voted to call my husband as pastor. He will be preaching there next Sunday and is planning, Lord willing, to accept their call. I won’t name the church at this time but will just say it is another church in Texas. Some reason the Lord has seen fit to have us stay in Texas all these years. Churches are seeking Pastors all over the place. It is hard sometimes to just pick one location and say this is the place we are suppose to be. We just keep following the open doors that God gives us until he opens a new one.

Well, it is very late and I am very tired. I’m not even going to review for typos right now. I hope there are not too many. I will try to post another blog later. Good-night.

EmailShare

Joshua and Ruth are making a calendar right now as I write this. It was their idea, which I thought was a good one so they got out notebook paper and commenced to writing. When they get done with that, I’ll be starting them on their reading lessons. Hannah turned my ironing board into a drum. She was tapping on all different parts of it with her pencil to see what different sounds it makes.

I just took a short excursion while typing this to help them with their calendars. They started them on the wrong day. Oops. :) I told Ruth hers would work for June. But she was almost near tears over it so. I got them started on a better foot. I just went to the marker board and explained the month to them. They were just trying to copy the calendar on the wall but got confused on where the first day should be. So I got them straightened up. They know there months from a previous days lesson. They knew the days of the week but I am having them further their knowledge. After today they will know that the week should always start with Sunday. And they will remeber that there are 7 days in a week, and 52 weeks in a year. At least I hope they remember that. I plan to drill it real good in their heads, so they won’t forget.

Interruptions like that are good ones. I guess that is why blogging takes me so long. I answer kids questions, play with Jonathan, or hold Jonathan, or feed Jonathan, while many times typing one handed. And then I am constantly having to reconnect the computer, because Hannah knocked the phone line out of the wall or the computer. So if I don’t get a blog done in a day, everyone knows why.

On to another topic. Scott has just about gotten the gas tank off his truck. He has only had a couple of hours this week to work on it. But he should have more time today. The tank he is removing has a hole in it. He found a tank at a junk yard for $50. That’s a lot cheaper than a new one would be. So everyone pray with me that he is able to accomplish this task and the truck runs better than ever. If this happens he’ll save us at least $200 dollars. I think he’ll also gain a good sense of accomplishment as well in doing it himself. Of course his time can be a problem, it will help with the days getting longer, but if his time gets too cut short to allow him to finish working on the truck, I told him that it was o.k. with me if he wanted to take it to the shop. Maybe a little less pressure will make the job feel easier.

We’ve been getting quite a few preaching appointments. So far this month we have two Wed. night appointments filling in, and one Sunday in view of a call. We also have an appointment made with a church in Indiana in April in view of a call. I’m hoping we will have our van running by that time. Even if the van gets bad gas mileage it will be more comfortable for the kids.

Well that is all I have for now. I’ll try to write more soon.

EmailShare

Catching Up on Memories

Alright, alright, so it’s been 6 days since I posted! :) So for my brother, I’ll try to catch up. This past weekend we visited a church in Oklahoma. We enjoyed our visit with them. They put us up in a real nice hotel with an in-door swimming pool. The kids really liked that. We let them stay up a little late Saturday night to swim. Jonathan was the only one who didn’t seem to like the water, but I think it’s mainly because he was tired and wanting to go to bed.

Sunday, we stopped at a gas station on our way to church. The gas station wound up having a computer glitch and so he wound up charged twice but they wouldn’t be sure of it until they counted the till later that day. So Scott told them he would be back after church and they can give him his money back if he was over charged. Thankfully we made it to church before Sunday School started even though waiting on the computer took a while.

The kids made a few friends at the church. We got to see a 9 month old baby, which got the kids dreaming of when Jonathan will be big enough to do that much. The church had what Scott and I call canned music. Their piano is played over the sound system off of a CD. We didn’t tell them that I played the piano at the beginning. We don’t like churches calling a pastor because of what his wife can do. Some churches may say they are seeking a pastor when they are actually seeking a piano player. I think more people should learn to play piano. I am going to have to get out my keyboard and start teaching my children how to play as well. They can play the Ukulele pretty well but I need to teach them the piano. I’ve never taught piano before but I figured it would be worth trying with my kids. It would be a good part of their education.

Let’s see, what else is going on? Instead of blogging I need to be outside working on the trailer. After lunch I will probably start working on that again. I worked on it some yesterday but had to wait on some boxes. I now have the boxes and can finish the task. We are glad we have the trailer available to be used. We will be delivering it to it’s new temporary location at the end of this week. I have a lot of fond memories of that trailer. We lived in it for a year. Even though it was small, we were actually able to manage quite simply. The only problem I had was figuring out where to put our 4th child.

From the experience of living in a trailer, I learned that a person can be content with little. Maybe we shouldn’t ever sell the trailer. We should keep it around and whenever I feel discontented, I should go out to that trailer and sit in there and remember what life was like that year.

I need to occasionally remember all the trips to the laundry mat with 3 kids in tow. Laundry day back then was a once a week, all day event.

I need to remember getting the kids to bed and hanging a curtain up to wash dishes, so I would not disturb the kids sleeping on pallets on the floor, while I was doing dishes.

I need to remember the kids folding up their blankets and getting out their t.v. trays in order to do their lessons.

I need to remember all of us sitting around that small table reading our Bibles as a family.

I need to remember having to put thick curtains around the windows to keep in the heat from the heaters in the winter time. And the air from the air conditioners in the summer time.

I need to remember the time our electricity completely quit on us on the coldest day of the year. I remember making bedrooms for us in the church, for a couple of days, while Scott got it running again with a little help from his boss who was a former electrician.

I need to remember all those things and how much we learned from the experience. Now any house will seem big compared to that. I’m looking forward to the day that we are again in our own house, no matter the size it will seem big in comparison. God has definitely blessed us with always giving us a roof over our heads.

EmailShare