June 2011 online workshops

I begin new workshops on the first Wednesday of the month.
The June 2011 workshops will begin on Wednesday, June 1st.

Which workshop is best for you?

New to children’s books?
Learn about the different types of children’s books in the Children’s Book Genres Workshop.

Ready to write?
Write and edit your book in the Intensive Picture Book Workshop or the Children’s Novels Workshop.

An online workshop does not have a physical meeting place or classroom hours. You will have 8 weeks to complete the 6 lessons in this online workshop. Turn your lessons in as you complete them, the next day…or on the due date two weeks later.

The June workshop dates are June 1-July 20.

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Copyright © 2011 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.

Going to BEA!

I’m making plans for BEA (Book Expo America) in New York City next week. And I’m not the only one! There are numerous conferences and events being held in the city at the same time. (This is when you need a clone – so you can be in three places at once!)

Thanks to Shelf Awareness, SLJ and ABC Children’s Group I’ve collected a passel of links about children’s book events that week. (25 and counting!)

This link is a MUST! Add the Publishers Marketplace BEA to Go app to your phone. (You can set up a “My BEA List” of exhibitors and events online NOW so everything is ready to go next week. Just click on the star by the exhibitor’s name and it is added to your list. Adding a star to an event or an author signing adds it to your events list, with the event or author name, location and time. And the times are listed chronologically, so you’ll have your entire day organized.)

I hope to see you there!

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Copyright © 2011 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.


The first edcamp in Texas is in my school district this Saturday, so I’ll be there…

edcampPlano – Serving the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex

Saturday, May 14, 2011
Registration is Now Open!

Sockwell Center for Professional Development
6301 Chapel Hill Blvd
Plano, Texas 75093

What, you may ask, is an edcamp?

It’s an educator’s camp, but it’s more than. It’s also an UNconference — a conference where the attendees set the agenda and present all of the sessions. (That’s why the schedule is blank! It will all be decided on the day of the event.)

Now I’ve been to LOTS of professional development events over the years — on both sides of the podium — so I’m eager to see how this all works.

I hope to see you there!

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Copyright © 2011 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.

Read and Write Sports

My latest book, Read and Write Sports: Readers Theatre and Writing Activities for Grades 3–8, just came out, but it’s a book I’ve been writing my entire life.

I grew up in one of those households where we were always told to go out and play, so we spend a lot of time outdoors. At the same time, I was an avid reader and writer. In fact I wrote my first book when I was 11 years old. When I began teaching elementary school in 1977, I brought all of this with me to the classroom. I wrote for my young students and they wrote for me. We read and wrote and moved together. (It’s very hard for young children to sit still. Why not use that to your advantage?)


Many years later when I was a published author, I was asked to work on a sports series. Of course I said yes! I wrote 6 hi-lo sports history books.

The Story of Soccer

Then I was asked to write sports fiction. I started with BMX

BMX Bully

and moved on to skateboarding…  I wrote novels about six different sports with the pen name Jake Maddox, but when I visited schools to talk about my books, the children were always very surprised. How could a lady write about sports, especially when there was a boy’s name on the book?

BMX Bully

Once I began talking about the details, however, everything changed. I shared my sports stories with them, and they shared their sports stories with me. We had a great time!

The Story of Figure Skating

When I developed a writing program for a local school district, I decided to tap that strong interest students had in sports. It helped me teach them an academic skill using their life experience. After I told the students that they could write about sports, in classroom after classroom my reluctant writers became active writers. They couldn’t wait to share their sports stories.

Over the years many teachers asked me to write a book that they could use in the classroom after my visit was over. This is that book.

Read and Write Sports: Readers Theatre and Writing Activities for Grades 3–8

Inside the covers you will find readers theatre plays to perform in the classroom and writing activities for nonfiction, fiction, and poetry. The speaking parts for each play have a reading level listed. The lines of dialogue are quite short, making the reading levels very low. This hi-lo approach allows everyone in your classroom to participate.

After students read about each of the 10 sports in this book, they are invited to write about them.

  1. Football
  2. Basketball
  3. Hockey
  4. Skating
  5. Baseball
  6. Soccer
  7. Track
  8. Gymnastics
  9. BMX
  10. Skateboarding

I write all three genres, so I teach them, too. Students will be asked to research and write an expository paragraph using three graphic organizers. Then they’ll be asked to write a narrative scene, using graphic organizers to help them plan their writing. The third writing section has graphic organizers to help students write an action-reaction poem. (Sports are about movement!)

One thing I discovered in all my years of teaching is that students work better with mentor texts. For many teachers, that means using a great book to guide young writers. I’ve taken it a step further and moved it into the pre-writing stage. Yes, I use mentor texts with graphic organizers. Throughout this book, students will see graphic organizers with someone’s thoughts written down. A blank page can be intimidating, but when you see how someone else has done it, then you know what to do. (I use this approach with ALL of my writers, from kindergarten to college. Graphic organizers are called GO Charts for a reason — they help student writing go, go, go!)

See Anastasia Suen
on the Nonfiction Book Blast: Booktalks and Activities for Your Library panel
June 26 at the ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans.

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Copyright © 2011 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.