What do you think it means to improvise in this kind of situation?
Marty McGuire Has Too Many Pets!
Can you think of a time in your life when you had to improvise? Marty loves playing in the school pond and in the woods behind her house, and she knows many of the plants and animals that are part of those ecosystems. An ecosystem is a community of living things like plants and animals as well as other things like soil, water, and sunlight that work together in a particular area. All of those things — living and nonliving — work together to keep the ecosystem healthy.
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Sunlight, for example, helps plants grow, and plants may feed animals to keep them alive. An ecosystem can be almost any size — from a huge lake or forest to a particular tree or a tiny pond. Think of an ecosystem that exists near your house or school, and draw a picture of it, labeling as many living and non-living parts as possible.
When you want people to do something, writing a persuasive letter to explain your reasons can be one way to convince them to do what you want. Imagine that you are Marty, and Mrs. Aloi has just announced the parts for the play. Write her a letter to persuade her that someone else should play the part of princess. Be sure to give a few reasons with details to support your argument.
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Start your letter with an introductory sentence telling Mrs. Aloi what you want. Then add two or three convincing reasons why she should have someone else be the princess. Finish your letter by explaining what you think Mrs. Imagine that you are Marty. Write Veronica Grace a letter to tell her some information about bullfrogs so that she understands them and might be less afraid. National Geographic Kids website has a helpful feature on bullfrogs. What were your favorite books as a kid?
I loved books by Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume because I could identify with their characters so well. Ramona Quimby felt as real to me as my own siblings. How did you start writing books for kids? One day it would be a report about gorillas; another day it might be a story about time travel. My favorite was a book called Shark: Terror of the Sea. I even designed a cover for it, and remember my mom putting it up on our refrigerator. I interviewed lots of interesting people, including Bill and Hillary Clinton, and I got to do some really fascinating things while I was covering stories.
I love teaching and writing, but if I had to choose another job now, it would probably still be something where I got to work with kids — maybe at a museum or outdoor education center. Do you have any routines or rituals that help you write? What people and places inspire you? Who is Marty McGuire? She loves hiking, animals, and her friends.
What made you decide to write a character like this? For Marty, though, the role was as a princess — not a ballerina! Is Marty based on you or someone you know? What adventure from your third-grade days are you proudest of?
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My fondest memory of third grade is actually something my teacher did to get us interested in writing. In the back of the room, Mrs. Fox had a Sentence Box. It was a big box, filled with mysterious things that changed all the time. When you finished your work for the day, you could close your eyes and pull something out of the box to write a sentence about it. I loved the idea that there could be anything in there — so much possibility!
Of course, my sentences always ended up turning into whole stories…which is how I ended up writing books, I suppose! Have you ever disliked something at first, but grown to love it? And ice skating, too. When I was little, my mom tried to take me ice skating once, and I absolutely positively hated it. I never wanted to ice skate again. Now, I really love it, especially when Lake Champlain freezes just right and I can skate outdoors. Was there a time in your life when improvisation got you out of a jam? I teach seventh graders, and if you know any kids that age, you probably know how good they are at coming up with ways to surprise adults!
Oh, I hope Marty would be in it!
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