Wednesday, July 31, 2013


Some writing is hard work, but some is serendipity. Yesterday I started to create a curriculum unit activity for a science connection, then remembered that many years ago, I created something similar that is still in my old files. I pulled it out, spent the day revising it, and voila! Just what I needed!

One of the rules of writing is, "Write what you know and care about," so I started out years ago writing about Nevada, cowboying, and ag-related topics. Much of what I came up with in my early writing days never sold, but waited patiently for the right opportunity to jump out and find its niche. I love seeing how some of my original ideas, after aging a bit, found new angles and became part of The Orange Slipknot or Starting the Colt. As I recently read in Ecclesiastes 3:1, "there is an appointed time for everything."

Saturday, July 6, 2013

The deeper I get into the curriculum unit I'm creating for Starting the Colt, the more fun I'm having. At first it was hard work to determine and formulate the right kinds of questions, but now, over half way through, the questions are becoming more obvious to me, as I find them building on earlier questions. For each chapter, there is a page of writing/discussion questions and journal prompts, then a vocabulary page.

I'm especially enjoying the vocabulary pages, because I find words interesting. In fact, I start with the vocabulary page, reading through the chapter looking for any words or phrases to focus on. I find that usually my list breaks down into two groups: horse or cowboy terminology, and interesting words. I don't start with the question page because that "seems" like harder work. But in the process of gathering up my vocabulary words, I "discover" the chapter questions without really having to work at it.

Vocabulary activities include glossary and dictionary, context clues, similes, idioms, slang, synonyms and antonyms, root words, origins, parts of speech, domain-specific language in several domains, etc. Right now I'm in the middle of an interesting rabbit trail that started with double-ought sized horseshoes and turned into a math connection page on ought/aught/nought/naught. Now I need to organize all that information and make it interactive.