Study Guide 3: The Science Project by Elaine Donadio

Please see my June 2, 2017 blog post for the updated study guide schedule.

You can preview and purchase The Science Project at Amazon or Barnes & Noble websites for a digital or paperback copy, or you can visit Smashwords.com for a digital copy.

Nestor has devoted himself to the care and training of Hector. Things get a little out of hand, but Nestor is able to recover before it’s too late. Nestor gets in deeper with his bad attitude toward Kwan Min and Jasmine. He starts to question himself.

 

Te following questions are based on Chapters 11-15.

1. Describe Nestor’s relationship with his mother, Ms. Costa, Holly and Jasmine. In your opinion, why is Nestor’s relationship with Jasmine so different from that of the other females in the story?

2. We now know Nestor’s strong feelings of insecurity. Analyze how the males in his life—his father, cousins, and Kwan Min add to these feelings of inadequacy. Think about how Phil’s relationship is the exception to this pattern. What changes to make Nestor question Phil’s loyalty? Give specific examples.

3. Pretend you are Nestor. Create a science log entry for one day showing the care and feeding of Hector.

4. Kwan Min and Jasmine have a plan of their own. Make a prediction about what it might be. Look at the book cover for clues.

5. With his eyes cast down, Nestor stares at in the science table, and for the first time notices the scratches in its surface. How does this serve as a metaphor for Nestor’s life?

 

Spoiler alert: I will not be providing the answers for the questions. If you’re a serious adventurer, then you will discover the world on your own. Support all your answers with facts found in the book. Seek and you shall find!

You can email Elaine Donadio at author@elainedonadio.com.

Next: The Science Project Study Guide 4. See you on June 24, 2017!

All rights reserved 2017.

Study Guide 2: The Science Project by Elaine Donadio

Please see my June 2, 2017 blog post for the updated study guide schedule.

You can preview and purchase The Science Project at Amazon or Barnes & Noble websites for a digital or paperback copy, or you can visit Smashwords.com for a digital copy.

We begin to get a better understanding of Nestor who, like most people, has his good points and his bad points. Nestor does some deep thinking about himself and his life.

 

These questions are based on Chapters 6-10:

1. By now we’ve learned some of Nestor’s insecurities and concerns. What advice can you give Nestor to help him feel better about himself?

2. Pretend you are Nestor. Write an email to Nestor’s father explaining how his absence is affecting the family. Be specific.

3. At this point in the story we have a better understanding of the reasons for Nestor’s resentment of Kwan Min. Tell about a time when one of your classmates treated you unfairly. How did the other kids react to this? What steps did your teacher take to make this bad behavior stop? Is Ms. Costa doing enough?

4. Think about a classmate who bothered the other kids in the class. Who were his/ her victims? Why do you think these kids were chosen as targets? How was this problem solved? What would you have done if you were in charge?

5. What do we learn about Nestor from his care and training of Hector?

 

Spoiler alert: I will not be providing the answers for the questions. If you’re a serious adventurer, then you will discover the world on your own. Support all your answers with facts found in the book. Seek and you shall find!

You can email Elaine Donadio at author@elainedonadio.com.

Next: The Science Project Study Guide 3. See you on June 17, 2017!

All rights reserved 2017.

Study Guide 1—The Science Project by Elaine Donadio

Please see my June 2, 2017 blog post for the updated study guide schedule.

You can preview and purchase The Science Project at Amazon or Barnes & Noble websites for a digital or paperback copy, or if you have a NOOK, you can visit Smashwords.com or Barnes & Noble for a digital copy.

We’re meeting Nestor Ramirez, our main character and his best friend, Phil Williams. Nestor is trying hard to be popular, but he certainly doesn’t have a clue. Oh, he can be nice when he wants to be, but how often does he want to be?

These questions are based on chapters 1-5. 

1.Create a Venn Diagram to compare and contrast Nestor and Phil. Who would you rather have as a best friend? Support your answer.

2.  Find as many examples of how Phil demonstrates his intelligence as you               can. Describe how Nestor reacts to these instances.

3. What do we learn about Nestor from his attitude towards his mother? Be specific. How is Nestor’s attitude the same or different from your attitude toward your parent?

4. List five science facts that Nestor learned in Chapter 5. Make a list of those facts in priority order with the most important fact at number one, and the least important at number five.

5. We begin to see a different side of Nestor. What surprises you most about his behavior? What predictions can you make about what might happen in the story?

Spoiler alert: I will not be providing the answers for the questions. If you’re a serious learner, then you can discover the world on your own. The answers can be found in the book. Seek and you shall find.

You can email Elaine Donadio at author@elainedonadio.com.

Next: The Science Project Study Guide 2. See you on June 10, 2017!

All rights reserved.

 

Study Guide Schedule For Middle Grade Books by Elaine Donadio

Hi Readers,

I’m back! I’ve been on hiatus for the past year—busy promoting my books with encouraging success. If you remember, my books are primarily geared to middle grade readers. They’re loaded with well-researched science facts and are appropriate for classroom study and/ or  supplemental or independent reading assignments with tie-ins for science, literacy and social studies. The secret of their success is their ability  and purpose in allowing the reader to have fun while learning—experiencing the world through the eyes of the characters—journeying with a friend, in a sense.

I’ve decided to provide a study guide for each of my five books: The Science Project, The Ocean’s Way, Who Do Voodoo, The Ocean’s Way Poetry Companion, Sojourn Into The Night-A Memoir of the Peruvian Rainforest. Please check my website (ElaineDonadio.com) for plot summaries, or go directly to Amazon or Barnes & Noble websites to preview and purchase the books in digital or paperback format. If you have a NOOK, you can preview and purchase an ebook at Smashwords.com or Barnes & Noble.

Purchase your books one at a time in accordance with our schedule, or all at the same time if you prefer. Happy reading! Read often. Read well.

The schedule is as follows:

The Science Project                                          June 3, 10,17, 24

The Ocean’s Way                                               June 30, July 8, 15, 22, 29

Who Do Voodoo?                                              August 5, 9, 11, 19, 26

The Ocean’s Way Poetry Companion        September 2, 9, 16, 23, 30

Sojourn Into The Night—                               October 7, 14, 21, 28                                     A Memoir of the Peruvian Rainforest

Spoiler alert: I will not be providing the answers for the questions. If you’re a serious learner, then you can discover the world on your own. The answers can be found in the book. Seek and you shall find.

Our first book: The Science Project. See you on June 3, 2017!

You can email Elaine Donadio at author@elainedonadio.com.

All rights reserved.

Study Guide Schedule For My Middle Grade Books

Hi Readers,

I’m back! I’ve been on hiatus for the past year—busy promoting my books with encouraging success. If you remember, my books are primarily geared to middle grade readers. They’re loaded with well-researched science facts and are appropriate for classroom study and/ or  supplemental or independent reading assignments with tie-ins for science, literacy and social studies. The secret of their success is their ability  and purpose in allowing the reader to have fun while learning—experiencing the world through the eyes of the characters—journeying with a friend, in a sense.

I’ve decided to provide a study guide for each of my five books: The Science Project, The Ocean’s Way, Who Do Voodoo, The Ocean’s Way Poetry Companion, Sojourn Into The Night-A Memoir of the Peruvian Rainforest. Please check my website (ElaineDonadio.com) for plot summaries, or go directly to Amazon or Barnes & Noble websites to preview and purchase the books in digital or paperback format. If you have a NOOK, you can preview and purchase an ebook at Smashwords.com or Barnes & Noble.

Purchase your books one at a time in accordance with our schedule, or all at the same time if you prefer. Happy reading! Read often. Read well.

The schedule is as follows:

The Science Project                                          June 3, 10,17, 24

The Ocean’s Way                                               June 30, July 8, 15, 22, 29

Who Do Voodoo?                                              August 5, 9, 11, 19, 26

The Ocean’s Way Poetry Companion        September 2, 9, 16, 23, 30

Sojourn Into The Night—                               October 7, 14, 21, 28                                     A Memoir of the Peruvian Rainforest

Spoiler alert: I will not be providing the answers for the questions. If you’re a serious learner, then you can discover the world on your own. The answers can be found in the book. Seek and you shall find.

Our first book: The Science Project. See you on June 3, 2017!

All rights reserved.

Color Yourself Calm – Yep, With Crayons!

Welcome to my blog!
Welcome to my blog!

If you haven’t colored anything other than your hair or the scratches on your wood furniture recently, it’s time to get with the times. Relaxation by coloring – the newest stress reliever for adults – is sweeping the country. No need to pay a therapist to listen to what’s on your mind. Less trouble than golf. Less exhausting than tennis. Less strenuous than weights, presses and punching bags at the gym. Less mobility than walking. Less solitary than meditation. All you need is a coloring book of your choice and a stash of crayons. Colored pencils, markers, watercolor paints are optional. Yes, I’m serious. Read on.

According to the article by Avery Mack, “Color Me Calm,” in the March, 2016 issue of Natural Awakenings, March was color therapy month. Sorry, you missed the celebration because of me. I was busy writing about saving our kids and our planet from our polluted environment, and totally dropped the ball on this topic. But, it’s not too late. This is a lifetime activity you can start at any time despite the weather or a lack of appropriated funds. Keep reading for a summary of research, findings, and helpful websites from the Natural Awakenings article.

According to Nikki Martinez, PhD in Chicago, “30 minutes of coloring can constitute a focused meditation that relieves stress. It uses both sides of the brain and improves organizational and fine motor skills.”

Avery Mack tells us, “Publishers Weekly reported combined 2015 sales at 1.75 million copies of the 10 best-selling adult coloring books through November of that year.”

“Barnes and Noble, craft stores, community centers and home parties all encourage the coloring activity.”

‘Dieter Marlovics tells us, “… at the request of my daughter who wanted to color her life rather than generic drawings, I established ReallyColor.com which converts photos into coloring book pages to make individually tailored pages.’ ”

More eco-friendly tips from Avery Mack: “… sprout pencils, made of sustainable wood and fruit-and-vegetable dyed clay instead of lead, are topped by non-GMO seeds that can be planted when the pencil becomes short. Inktense’s water-soluble brightly colored pencils mimic pen and ink. Add water for translucency. Also, select recyclable paper books, soy crayons, watercolor paints and non-toxic markers.”

Maybe you’ll consider sitting down with the kids, or just doing this by yourself. Let me know how you do. I’d love to hear from you.

Next week’s blog post –  Kids: Let The Pros Sweat The Small Stuff

© 2016 All rights reserved

Teaching Kids To Save Our Planet And Ourselves

Welcome to my blog!
Welcome to my blog!

The sins of the parent are visited upon the child. This is a sobering thought. Not only does this adage reach across psychological, emotional, mental and  social boundaries, but it extends to the world situation in which our children and grandchildren will find themselves. A world filled with strife, war and famine. Often, the absence of a peaceful, supportive family life. A world depleted of natural resources. Food shortages. Clean water shortages. As individuals, we do not have the power to save the world, but we each can take a positive step and instill good habits in our children, so we may all work together for a more powerful impact on the world in which we live. Each generation must continue good practices, since no action has everlasting results.

Saving the planet goes beyond reuse, recycle and reduce. It also involves how we treat each other. It’s one thing to be kind and generous to people who enter our lives on a daily basis, but more powerful if we seek out situations where our help is needed and create a game plan for positive results.

I came across an interesting article in the December, 2015 issue of the Long Island edition of Awakenings by Jennifer Jacobsen, “Generous Pint-Sized Givers.” What’s interesting and unique here, is the concept of giving that involves not only donations of money and useful things, but how our thoughts, words and actions impact those around us.

Jennifer  Jacobson offers the following suggestions:

 *Ask Kids How They’d Like To Help– make a list of things in which there is interest    *Make A Game Plan– map out activities like visiting, donating or fundraising              *Quick Tasks Can Make A Big Difference– periodically, fill a “donate box” with items from closets, toy chests, drawers and the garage                                                                                *Find Ways to Raise Money For Donations– yard and bake sales                                   *Associate Getting With Giving– encourage birthday and holiday gifts to include a monetary amount allocated for donations                                                                         *Volunteer To Do Community Service– public gardens, historic buildings, food banks all need volunteers                                                                                                                                 *Grow The Mindset– teach kids to ask,”How would you want people to help you in this situation?”

The important thing to remember is giving is not something we should do upon occasion, it should be a way of life. One person, one experience at a time can change the world.

Next week’s blog post: Color Yourself Calm – Yep, With Crayons!

© 2016 All rights reserved

 

Emotional Intelligence For Kids – A Coping Mechanism

Welcome to my blog!
Welcome to my blog!

In last week’s blog post, we discussed stressed out kids who lack the coping mechanisms most of us learn by the time we’re adults. We can help our children stay balanced in today’s world by helping them to learn emotional intelligence. What is it? Psychology Today defines EQ or emotional intelligence as “the ability to identify and manage our own emotions as well as those of others. It includes three skills: the ability to identify, harness and manage emotions and apply this skill to problem solving, thinking, and cheering up or calming down another person.”  Think about it. Who has the most pleasant life – the smartest, the wealthiest or the one who is balanced and gets along easily with almost everyone?

According to an article “What’s Your Child’s EQ?” by Teal Swan which appeared in the November, 2015 Long Island edition of Natural Awakenings, “emotional health is more important in determining future happiness  than academic success or wealth.”

The author tells us we can ensure a child’s healthy emotional upbringing by avoiding these mistakes:

The Don’ts                                                                                                                                                                         1.  Disapprove of a child’s emotions -don’t reprimand or punish for expressing negative emotions                                                                                                                                                     2. Dismiss a child’s emotions – don’t ignore or trivialize emotions                                                                                                           3. Ignore a chance to offer guidance- don’t neglect to set limits on behavior and help the child understand and cope

The Do’s                                                                                                                                                    We should all value and respect each other’s feelings. Remember, emotions matter.                 * Become aware of the other person’s emotions.                                                                                * Care about the other person  by seeing their emotions as valid and important                           * Allow others to be vulnerable without fear of judgment. Understand rather than agree or redirect.                                                                                                                                                      * Acknowledge  and validate another person’s feelings by saying, ” I can see how you might feel that way.”                                                                                                                                                   * Only after the other person’s feelings have been validated, we can assert new ways of looking at a situation that may improve the way another person is feeling

By helping our children to understand themselves as well as others, they gain another tool to use in times of stress, be it their own, or when they’re witnessing an emotional reaction. Putting a lid on it isn’t always good. Yes, we must be appropriate, but that’s where the strong parenting comes in, whereby we teach our children to express emotions within certain behaviors. Children should learn to use their words, not their fists. Emotions in themselves are not bad. It’s the physical manifestation of feelings that will get us into trouble. Slamming doors, punching a hole in the wall, smacking someone across the face are not acceptable. Instead, children should be taught to state their feelings and know their point will be well made.

Please let me know how you do. I’d love to hear from you.

Next week’s blog post: Selfie: Millennials As Parents

© 2016 All Rights Reserved

 

Kids Off The Hook? Maybe It’s Stress.

Welcome to my blog!
Welcome to my blog!

Are your kids acting out more than usual? Screaming, crying, not cooperating? Refusing to go to school or to an after school activity? Rebelliousness? Or, maybe they’re just stressed out. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, stress among kids is at an all time high with high school and college students often reporting higher stress levels than adults. What do kids have to be stressed out about? Read on.

According to Gina Shaw’s article pp. 61-63 in the September, 2015 issue of WebMD, there’s a whole list of things resulting from life in the modern world. Let’s take a look.

* Kids are asked to make choices leading to careers at a young age.                                             * Facebook and Instagram depict pictures of all their friends at social gatherings to which they were not invited and from which they are conspicuously absent                                                                                                                    * Kindergarten is the new first grade. What happened to blocks, finger painting, music, climbing and jumping?                                                                                                                              * High stakes testing puts too much emphasis on performance on a few specific days rather than on how they function in the classroom over time                                                           * Overscheduling sports, art and music. These are supposed to relieve stress, not add to it.                                                                                                                                     * Reduction of art, music, physical education in the school program eliminates outlets                                                                                                                            * Exposure to adult media content such as shootings, bombings, explosions, earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, effects of global warming, prophesies of the end of the world, falling comets, black holes, drone attacks, terrorist atrocities, etc., causes anxiety and fear                                                                                   * Bullying and Teasing are no longer private matters since kids may be victims on Facebook, Instagram and through text messaging for everyone to witness                                   * Too little sleep affects memory, judgment and mood                                                                      * Chronic illness has more than doubled in kids between 1994 and 2000 with obesity, asthma, type 2 diabetes, behavior and learning problems, and ADHD Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder at the top of the list                                                                                          * Family disruption due to illness, death, deployment, divorce or separation, abandonment, physical or sexual abuse, addictive behaviors with alcohol, drugs, gambling                                                                                                                                * Stressed out parents lead to stressed out kids 

What can you do to counteract these stressors? “Talk with your kids every day. Don’t over schedule so there’s time for free play on a daily basis. Talk about stress and suggest ways to control it, deep breathing, for example. Speak with a doctor about counseling referrals, if needed. Manage your own stress and watch the calm trickle down.”

As adults, we are much better equipped to deal with the stresses of every day life. Our self-esteem is more highly developed. Our happiness is not so dependent on the approval of others. We found a support system that gets us through the day. Most of us are well- settled into the lives we’ve chosen for ourselves. We are in control of our destinies with  decisions and choices of our own making. If we’re not happy in a situation, we have the mobility and where-with-all to move ourselves up and out. Kids haven’t yet developed these coping mechanisms.

Let me leave you with these thoughts. Be the adult in the relationship. Calm yourself. Get your head on straight. Be a role model, and a source of comfort and support for your children, as well as the adults in your life. Be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

Prioritize. Then, let go. Must your child excel in violin and football? Trust that your children can occupy themselves constructively within unstructured time. Let them be. This is how they develop themselves. Present the tools, then allow them to utilize them in their own time. Don’t live vicariously through your children. Their successes ( or weaknesses ) are theirs. If you want bragging rights, then do something constructive and amazing with your own time. That success will belong to you. Don’t hijack the accomplishments of others to try to make yourself look good.

As a former teacher, I have a great respect for education. However, it does not only come from a formal lesson in the classroom. Books, cable shows, YouTube videos, public, school and private libraries, zoos, museums, community and back yard gardens, a walk in the woods, around the block or outside your home, a visit to the beach, a river or a pond, can all offer learning experiences. Look up at the sky in the day, then at night. What do you see? Answer those questions and fill in the gaps with books, Google searches, TV and Cable specials. Let your kids explore. Their natural curiosity will look for answers. Education is knowing things outside yourself. Authentic learning complements formal learning.

Allow them time to find their own path. With so many options available in today’s world, it’s unfair to force a young person to choose before they’ve had a chance to investigate and try it on for size. As we know, one size does not fit all.

Help your children develop a high self-esteem so they might feel confident in the path they’ve chosen for themselves. A strong self-image counteracts negativity from immature and/ or aggressive sources. Allow them to pursue what they’re good at and what gives them happiness. This is how they learn to accept and like themselves.

Please let me know how you do. I’d love to hear from you.

Next week’s blog post: Emotional Intelligence For Kids – A Coping Mechanism

© 2016 All Rights Reserved

From Brooklyn to Hollywood: How Suzanne Corso Wrote Herself Into A Better Story

Welcome to my blog!
Welcome to my blog!

I recently finished reading Suzanne Corso’s trilogy tracing her fictitious based- on- truth account of a young woman’s rise to fame and fortune from mobster- wannabe girlfriend to Hollywood screenwriter. In this type of book, the reader is often confused as to what is real and what is an example of the author gone wild with the power of words. What struck me the most about these books is how this series illustrates the points made in my last two blog posts -“Hard Work Vs. Wishful Thinking” and “How Our Thoughts Can Become Our Reality.” These truths are at work here.

Let’s take a look at Suzanne Corso and her books.

Suzanne was born and raised in the 1970s -1980s Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn, New York at a time when it was predominantly an Italian and Italian-American neighborhood, and mobsters and mobster-wannabes ran the show. Her father was a deadbeat, absent Italian-American. Her mother, although Jewish, embraced the Catholic faith, and was besieged by drugs, alcohol and unsavory men. Suzanne’s Jewish maternal grandmother steadfastly encouraged her, as the only stable adult in her life. She gave Suzanne a gift of a Smith Corona typewriter and told her to write herself out of her story into a better story. That’s exactly what Suzanne did. Deeply religious, Suzanne lit candles and prayed daily to the Blessed Mother Mary, Michael the Archangel and Buddha. She received invaluable guidance from the Catholic priest at her church and encouragement from teachers that spurred her on to submit her writing for publication. Although money was always tight and the family was often on food stamps, Suzanne dreamed of the day she could cross the Brooklyn Bridge to Manhattan and live the life she could only dream. Dream she did, and combined with hard work, Suzanne reached her goals. As a matter of fact, she continues to realize even more success as she enters her mid-forties.

In the first book, Brooklyn Story, teenage Samantha, as her character is called in the series, hooks up with a wannabe- mobster, gets knocked around and dreams of crossing the symbolic Brooklyn Bridge to a better life. (true)

The second book, The Suite Life, tells the story of her marriage to a Wall Street tycoon who rakes in about a hundred million dollars a year (true). This fairy tale life has a sad ending when the market goes south and hubby loses his fortune (true). A serious author emerges from the ashes (true), her fortune is amassed (true) while her husband dies (false).

The last book, Hello, Hollywood, introduces character Samantha to the world of big time Hollywood production when her first book, Brooklyn Story is optioned as a movie (true, I think). She is even richer than before  (true) and has her share of wacky men, but eventually meets Prince Charming and lives happily ever after (who knows?).

In real life, Suzanne’s husband is very much alive and between them, have regained that lost hundred million. Suzanne believes losing that money was the best thing that ever happened to her since it motivated her to mobilize and stay the course.

The important thing to know is these books are not particularly well-written. The characters are stereotypical, one-dimensional and predictable. The plot is often repetitious and the events are obviously contrived with enough coincidences to make your head spin. We’re not looking at literature here, yet Suzanne Corso is lauded as an author, pursued as a screenwriter and her book(s) made into movies.

This observation is not meant as a put down. It is meant to show that perfection is not necessary to gain fame and fortune. Someone with authority saw the potential in the body of work. Maybe it filled a gap by telling the story from a woman’s side, or found a niche with a limited audience. It’s not our place to question the why. This evaluation carried weight. Someone saw value where others did not.

How did she do it? She visualized, analyzed, investigated, planned and mobilized. She saw the path clearly, left no stone unturned, walked through every open door. By her own admission, her first book was rejected umpteenth times, but it only took the last one to say yes to change the course of her life. Suzanne never gave up. She saw this as her calling and did not stop until she succeeded. She did what she had to do. Showed up where she had to be. She never let where she came from interfere with where she wanted to go. There’s a lesson to be learned here.

Suzanne Corso’s story has inspired me to set my sights higher. I will make an action plan and follow it after I investigate in which direction to go. Maybe you’ll do the same.

Good luck. Let me know how you do. I’d love to hear from you.

Next week’s blog post: Getting Rid of Stuff

© 2016 All Rights Reserved