Thursday, September 30, 2010

UBC Farm Friends

The farm has started up again for those of us in the Intergenerational Landed Learning at the UBC Farm Project of Education.  (Verbosity isn't always a mark of clarity, unfortunately.)  Anyway, I'm now in the Thursday group because my Wednesday mornings are spent at St. Thomas Church for my midweek Eucharist.  So, we started a couple of weeks ago with an orientation.  The Thursday group differs from the Wednesday group in that these children have been at the farm before--it's their second or third year.  It's just my third year, so they're at least as familiar with the place as I am.  I'm sure they know a lot more than I do, so, I'll be learning from them.  Today was our first meeting with the children.  My adult partner is a young woman, 20 years old, from Taiwan.  The two of us are the "farm friends" of four children, 2 boys and 2 girls.  They are all in grade 5 except one girl who is in grade 6.  The boys are very exuberant and the girls are very quiet.  Different learning styles altogether.  Of course because today was the first day back, the boys may be more excitable than usual, however I've been warned that at least one of them likes to wander off but will always come back and do what is required of him.  This teacher uses the Montessori Method.  I am vaguely familiar with Montessori for preschoolers, but this is my first encounter with it for higher grades.  Fascinating!!!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

suite 101 again

I've got three articles on suite 101 now.  It isn't surprising that my articles are all on language learning--and then next several will be, too.  After all, my undergraduate degree is in linguistics, and I've studied all manner of languages (French, Russian, Spanish, Esperanto, Greek & Hebrew--oh, and German and Italian.  And Ukrainian.  A little bit of Cantonese.  Latin, a bit.  Welsh, less than that.  Anyway, you get the idea.)  And after 30 years plus of teaching English as a Second Language, even tutoring still, I have a pretty good grasp of how to learn languages.  So, do check out and look for my name.  You'll find all three articles, and maybe any new ones I get a chance to write in the next little while.  If you like to write articles, and you have some pet subjects, give it a try. 

Saturday, September 25, 2010

writing contest

I'm working on an entry myself, but ICL is encouraging folks to spread the word about this historical fiction children's short story contest.  Check it out.  Try it.  And good luck!  I hope I'll get my entry in, too.  Here's the link: .  Hope it works for you.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Guide to Literary Agents blog

One of the blogs I follow is the Guide to Literary Agents.  There's always something of interest there.  One frequent blogger there is a guy named Chuck.  A week ago he wrote 18 Easy Steps to Becoming a Writer.  It came up again in the Writer's Digest emailing on Sept. 14th.  One way or another, you really ought to go and read that.  It is SO true.  Go on.  You won't be disappointed.  :))

Saturday, September 18, 2010

from my e-mail

--- On Sat, 9/18/10, Kari-Lynn wrote
Date: Saturday, September 18, 2010, 5:19 AM
I just wanted to share an event that is happening at the end of the month.
As some of you know, I am an advocate for literacy and for helping others gain access to books.
Perhaps if this event goes smoothly we can help other impoverished schools all over the world, including those schools in Canada that need our support.
Please help us by posting this press release on your blog.
Thanks so much.

Access Books and Airlift to LA
All children should have the opportunity to learn to read!
Please help us spread the word pass and give impoverished families access to books by posting this press release on your blog.
Los Angeles – As part of their ongoing commitment to strengthen inner-city school libraries throughout Los Angeles and beyond, Access Books has joined forces with a team of Canadian authors to help impoverished families gain access to books. The event will take place at Ralph Bunche Elementary (16223 Haskins Lane, Carson, CA 90746-1092) on October 2, 2010 at 9 a.m. This school is one of 25 elementary schools in the Compton Unified School District (CUSD) that is in desperate need of books for its 450 students.

Access Books, "Air Lift to L.A." and a team of volunteers from Bunche will spend October 2nd revitalizing the library by painting murals and cataloging brand new books. In addition to the books, Access Books will provide a reading rug, rocking chair and sofa to create a warm and inviting environment for students. Five authors from Canada will be on hand for the event and to give fun and exciting presentations to the students.
The participating authors are:
Rob Weston, author of Silver Birch award winner Zorgamazoo
Kari-Lynn Winters, author Jeffrey and the Sloth, On My Walk, and other award-winning books.
Jill Murray, YA author of Rhythm and Blues and Break on Through
Wendy Kitts, Freelance Writer, Book Reviewer, and author of a soon-to-be published picture book from Nimbus Press
Helaine Becker, author of more than 40 books for children including Silver Birch award winners Boredom Blasters and Secret Agent Y.O.U.

Sadly, only 48 percent of Bunche's students are scoring "proficient" or "advanced" in English & Language Arts on the California Standards Test. Research has shown that the best predictor of how well a child will learn to read is the number of books to which he or she has access, but 61 percent of economically disadvantaged children don't have age-appropriate books at home. The students of Bunche Elementary fit this profile: 90 percent live at or below the poverty line. According to a 2009 report from the Jumpstart Foundation, communities ranking high in achievement tests share a common denominator: an abundance of books in their libraries.
California's Department of Education recommends 28 library books per student, according to the February 2010 draft of its School Library Standards. Bunche, however, has a mere three books per student. Therefore, Access Books has set a goal: Collect at least 5,000 books for Bunche's library and classrooms. Many of these will be brand new, popular fiction titles – books that have been carefully selected to get students excited about reading.
Access Books' partner for this endeavor, "Air Lift to L.A.," grew wings after Canadian children's author Helaine Becker visited a Long Beach elementary school and saw the empty shelves. Shocked and saddened, she rallied her Canadian colleagues and started a book drive. "The conditions [in Los Angeles] are on par with the worst of the Third World countries," she writes on the "Air Lift to L.A." Facebook page. "Actually, they are worse, because in much of the Third World, people are doing their best to raise their standards, while in Los Angeles, conditions have deteriorated abysmally in the last ten years."
Bunche has just moved its campus library into a new, larger space to afford room for growth, but unfortunately, many of the shelves are bare. The library assistant nicknamed the library "The Dream Shop," but with so few books, its dreams have yet to be realized.
California ranks last in the nation in funding for school libraries, spending less than one dollar per child. Although the 2011 federal budget proposal includes a $400 billion investment in education, there's no mention of federal funds specifically geared toward school libraries. According to Sandra Barnett, head of the American School Library Association, "the budget is proposing to take away the last access to literacy for these kids in high-poverty areas." The American School Library research data clearly shows that students with access to school libraries and good books score higher in state reading scores and are more interested in reading.
"I think the big issue is that we really need to make reading part of school and make reading fun and interesting," said Rebecca Constantino, P.h.D., the founder and executive director of Access Books. "And that starts with having a good library."
About ACCESS BOOKS: Access Books provides quality, high-interest books to Southern California's most impoverished school libraries. Since 1999, they have donated more than a million books to school and community libraries in the greater Los Angeles area. Access Books has been featured in USA Today, the L.A. Times, the New York Times and School Library Journal among many other media outlets. Access Books' founder, Rebecca Constantino, is a recipient of Oprah's "Use Your Life" award. She has published over 100 articles and a book in the areas of literacy development, equity in education, urban school and cultural perspectives of language acquisition.
Give a Child a Book, She'll be Happy
Give a Child a Library, She'll be Literate
P.O. Box 64951, Los Angeles, CA 90064

Friday, September 17, 2010

suite 101 submission published

That's right.  The article I submitted on Sept. 16th was actually published that evening.  So.  Started.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

UBC Farm Friends

This morning was my first day back at the farm.  I'm going on Thursdays now; last year and the year before I went on Wednesdays.  I was very happy to see that some of the Wednesday volunteers had also switched to Thursdays, so I already had friends there.  The school children will be at the farm at our next visit on Sept. 30th.  Their school uses the Montesorri method, which is a new idea for me.  I thought that was only for preschoolers.

suite 101 submission

Yesterday I spent a few hours writing a draft of what started out to be an article to submit to suite 101, but it ended up being many pages long.  So, I rewrote the first part and have submitted it today.  I don't expect it to be accepted, however.  I didn't include any images (at least one is recommended) because I couldn't figure out how to do that.  Still have things to learn, not surprisingly.  I'll let you know what happens.  I expect to hear from the editors in a day or two.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

writing articles online

A few years ago, I heard or read something about Suite 101, looked into it and then went on to other things.  Last October, at the Surrey International Writers' Conference, I came across a table display about it and talked to the woman about what it was all about. I must have signed something and then forgotten all about it, because yesterday when I came across a link online, it rang some bells.  I clicked and signed in using my email address and a password I often use.  Lo & behold, they knew all about me--my name & address, etc., just popped up on their page.  But, I was signed in as a reader only.  So, I clicked on the button that invited me to apply to be a writer for Suite 101.  The name and address boxes were already filled in for me, with only three boxes left: one for my brief bio paragraph, one for a writing sample (suggested I just use "one of my articles"), and one to say I'd read the terms and conditions.  Then I could submit it for approval.  Amazingly, I was able to find an article in my MS Word documents, so it wasn't quite as daunting an exercise as it might otherwise have been.  Wait 24 hours, they say, for their response.  So, this morning there it was: I was "approved". Okay--maybe they approve everyone.  No, apparently not. On their facebook page I found one poor soul who said she'd been rejected three times and wanted to know what she was doing wrong.  So, maybe I was lucky.  Now all I have to do is write an article (400-1000 words) that fits their extensive submission guidelines and have it approved by their editors for publication, and then I can write some more for them.  They even pay!  Worth a try.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

new era

I'm entering a new era in my life.  Since 1971, our family's spiritual home has been St. James Anglican Church, at the corner of Cordova and Gore, in Vancouver.  This morning, my husband and I went to Christ Church Cathedral (Anglican) for the first time.  Changing churches is an emotional jolt, especially after almost forty years in the same place.  It's personal and very painful, but briefly the reason for our departure from St. James is financial.  We can't afford the parking charges!  Can you imagine?  We can't afford to go to our home church.  I never thought I'd ever have to say that!  Our children went to Sunday School, married and had their children baptized at St. James.  My husband and I reaffirmed our wedding vows there on our silver anniversary.  Our eldest son and his wife reaffirmed their vows on their twentieth anniversary, because they doubted he would live to his twenty-fifth.  He did, but a couple of months before their 25th, their son drowned and three months after the anniversary, my son died (of cancer).  Their funerals were at St. James.  We always expected that our funerals would be there, too.  But I guess not, now.  This is the saddest and most personal note I've published here.  I hope I never have another like it.
I've added the cathedral's link on this site.