Sunday, December 21, 2014

'Twas the Night Before Christmas, I was reading a book...

Here is a list of my favorite Christmas classics that never fail to get me in the holiday spirit.  As Christmas creeps closer, I wrap myself in my favorite cuddle blanket, pour some hot cocoa (the frothy kind, made with real milk, and bobbing marshmallows), and go back to a time when I, too believed in a jolly man in red...


1) A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens

2) The Polar Express - Chris Van Allsburg

3) How the Grinch Stole Christmas - Dr. Seuss

4) "The Gift of the Magi" - O. Henry

5) The Nutcracker - E.T.A. Hoffman, illustrations by Maurice Sendak

6) The Best Christmas Pageant Ever - Barbara Robinson

7) The Christmas Box - Richard Paul Evans

8) The Night Before Christmas - Jan Brett

9) The Tailor of Gloucester - Beatrix Potter

10) The Father Christmas Letters - J.R.R. Tolkien


Merry Christmas!!!


"God bless us, everyone!"  Tiny Tim, A Christmas Carol  

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Books Make the Best Gifts! Support an Indie Author Today...

Lucy and CeCee's How to Survive (and Thrive) in Middle School

Time to put the freak-out on pause because outgoing, boy-crazy Lucy Pringle and shy, studious, bespectacled CeCee Cruz have the goods on how to make middle school the best three years ever! Lucy and CeCee-the official self-proclaimed Madison Heights Middle School experts on how to deal with haters, hormones, and hot lunch dilemmas-are ready to demystify swirlie urban legends and dish about academic and social topics. They're keeping it real, lacing diary entries with their own daily escapades regarding skater slacker boyfriend crushes, BFF shopping trips to the mall, and BEE (Bitter Eternal Enemies) text wars. The two seventh graders swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth . . . so help them Good Fairy of Popularity. In this handbook, two girls who have already survived boyfriends, sleepovers, nerd crushes, detentions, and runaway pimples share helpful hints and lingo lessons that will help tweens not only survive, but thrive while navigating through all the gory glory of middle school.  

Check out Lucy and CeCee's official blog at http://tweengirlsrule.blogspot.com

Winner of Editor's Choice, Rising Star, San Francisco Festival of Books - Young Adult Honorable Mention, and New York Festival of Books - Young Adult Honorable Mention Awards.



Saturday, December 6, 2014

Books Make the Best Gifts! Support an Indie Author Today...

Pretty Dolls - Young Readers Picture Book

Pretty eyes and pretty hair, we're the best dolls anywhere.
If you were a pretty doll, you'd be up here standing tall...

Gracie is the purple-eyed, one-armed, spiky-haired doll who has won the snuggly arms and heart of Tasha. Only Emily-Nicole, the prettiest porcelain doll in Tasha's collection, will have none of it. What Tasha doesn't know is that when the lights go out, the doll wars begin....Pretty Dolls is Winner of the Reader Views and Character Building Counts Best Children's Book of the Year and featured on TeachingBooks.net and StoryCub.org.





Sunday, November 23, 2014

Thankful for Books!

In Honor of Thanksgiving...

I give thanks for ten of my favorite books growing up...the ones that have influenced me, taken me to different worlds, and fueled my love for the written word...


Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger

The Outsiders – S.E. Hinton

Gone With the Wind – Margaret Mitchell

Lord of the Flies – William Golding

To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret – Judy Blume

Romeo and Juliet – William Shakespeare

Assorted short stories and poems – Edgar Allan Poe

Carrie – Stephen King

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain


Which books are you most thankful for?  Which books have changed your life?




Sunday, November 16, 2014

Smells Like Tween Spirit: Get to Know Lucy and CeCee

Lucy Pringle and CeCee Cruz are the zany "authors" of the award-winning Lucy and CeCee's How to Survive (and Thrive) in Middle School.  L & C will put your freak-out on pause as they give helpful hints, scary switch solutions, and lingo lessons on how to navigate middle school.  Their solemn promise is to to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth - so help them good fairy of popularity.


Full Name: Lucy Anne Pringle

Biggest Dream: To be popular and have a boyfriend with a one-syllable J name like Jim, Jake, or Joel; to be invited to Kandi Klass’s annual birthday sleepover party*

Favorite Word: Ew!

Favorite Color: Bubblegum pink

Biggest Fear: Being ignored

Siblings: Older sister, Lilly (sixteen years old and thinks she’s all that), and younger sister, Lacey (six years old and soooo annoying!)

Three Words to Describe Self: Bouncy, spazzy, chatty

Thing I Love about Self: Kinda cute toes

Thing I Hate about Self: Eyebrows are bordering on a unibrow but too scared to pluck

Birthday: April 23

Most Valued Possession: My faux Coach purse

Three Things I’d Take on a Deserted Island: My faux Coach purse, autographed picture of Justin Bieber purchased on eBay, Taylor Swift CD

Obsession: Astrology and my less-than-perfect complexion making me feel like Zit-zilla

Biggest Annoyance: Being perpetually grounded to the Tower of Pringle

Secret: I’m 99.9 percent positive everyone at Madison Heights thinks I’m a dork

Bestest Bestie: CeCee Cruz

Luv Her Cuz: She has great specs appeal

Favorite Book: Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham

Favorite Movie: The Princess Diaries (reminds me that dreams do come true)

Hobby: Going to the mall; reading Seventeen, Teen Vogue, and CosmoGIRL

Favorite Food: Cinnabons and Taco Bell (not together, but wouldn’t be opposed)

*Kandi Klass is the VIP queen bee of Madison Heights Middle School. She is the standard by which all other MHMS girls are measured and both my idol and the bane of my existence. Her birthday is April 2—the day of her annual birthday sleepover party. It’s my absolute dream to be invited. If only she knew I existed …


*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  


Full Name: Cecelia Elena Cruz

Biggest Dream: To seek the truth and see that good conquers evil (Okay—I’m an over-the-top fantasy geek)

Favorite Word: Tolkienesque

Favorite Color: Magenta

Biggest Fear: Failure to achieve my middle school* scholastic quest

Siblings: Older sister, Cora (fifteen and a sophomore in high school)

Three Words to Describe Self: Quiet, brainy, trendsetter**

Thing I Love about Self: Astute observer of the human condition

Thing I Hate about Self: I hiccup when I get nervous (the superloud kind)

Birthday: August 28

Most Valued Possession: My Lady of Guadalupe locket from my great-grandmother

Three Things I’d Take on a Deserted Island: My Lady of Guadalupe locket, iPod, family photo

Obsession: In lieu of any magical crystal amulet, I shall never be without my Blistex

Biggest Annoyance: People who don’t use the gifts bestowed on them and who are mean for no reason

Secret: I have a belly ring (Shhhhh …)

Bestest Bestie: Lucy Pringle

Luv Her Cuz: She makes me laugh and reminds me not to take myself so seriously

Favorite Book: Lord of the Rings

Favorite Movie(s): The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, The Return of the King

Hobby: Editor of school newspaper

Favorite Food: Twizzler Nibs


*Middle school is kind of like Middle-earth. It’s a magical journey filled with elves, dwarves, hobbits, queens, kings, and a few corrupted wizards. Word to the wise: pick your traveling companions well. Ones with the courage and moral fiber to persevere. Ones who wield their lip gloss like magic wands when confronted with danger. This way, when you pass through the congested hallways rife with pernicious diversion, you achieve your desired destination—or at least your next class.

**Irony alert—I’m a class-A brainiac, but my clothes are way fetch! (Take that, Gretchen Wieners!)






Sunday, November 9, 2014

Three Reasons to Teach The Hunger Games

I decided to add The Hunger Games to my middle school repertoire this year.  I realize I’m coming to the party a little late, but what an academic coup!  Students who sluggishly slog into class, run into class bellowing, “Are we reading today???"  "Can we pleeeeease read The Hunger Games?”  

Yes!!!

Upon my post-unit reflection, there are three excellent reasons to teach The Hunger Games:  

1) The Hunger Games Motivates Reluctant Readers:

First it was Harry Potter and then Twilight.  Every few years a magical book comes around that has the ability to captivate even the most reluctant of readers.  The Hunger Games is such a book.  It’s an intoxicating combination of action, suspense, philosophy, and romance that packs a literary punch.  Alongside its action-packed plot, is a profound thematic message about discovering what you truly believe and how far you are willing to fight for your beliefs.

2) Katniss - A Heroine for Today’s Generation:

The Hunger Games appeals to boys and girls alike.  That said, Katniss is a nice break from the whiny, helpless Bella.  Katniss embodies the temperament of most adolescents: difficult, prickly, moody.  Yet, she also possesses enormous physical and moral strength as she volunteers as a tribute, selflessly taking the place of her younger sister, Prim.  Katniss Everdeen is without a doubt, the girl on fire!

3) Heavy Themes Equal Profound Discussion:

The Hunger Games’ profound themes allow for profound discussion.  Students want to be part of the conversation, weighing in on poverty, political oppression, and yes, the violence.  Engaging students with adult topics and capitalizing on their passion for the book generates into real life action.  One tween professed, “I can’t wait to turn eighteen so I can vote and change our own government.”

Game on!!!




For lessons plans and activities on The Hunger Games, visit Kimberly's store at:

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Teens and Horror: A Perfect Marriage

When it comes to horror, Hollywood knows teens are an easy kill (pun intended).  Look how they flock to the theaters to spend an evening with Michael, Freddy, and the freaky Ring girl who lives in VCR’s.  And unlike their curmudgeonly, adult counterparts, teens don’t thumb their nose at sequels, especially when it comes the trinity of slice and dice: Halloween, Friday the Thirteenth, and Nightmare on Elm Street.  Compound that with their new penchant for torture porn like Saw, Hostel, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and it’s easy for us adults to shake our heads and go Hmmmm.

So why are teens so disproportionately attracted to the adrenaline rush?  Why the insatiable thirst for blood and guts? Reflecting back on one’s own adolescence, it’s clear why. 

There is an undeniable parallel between a horror and adolescence.  Imagine the monster and then imagine it being the angst of adolescence itself – a metaphor for all the anxieties associated with that six-year time gap between childhood and adulthood.  When teens watch horror, they live vicariously through the protagonist.  And while they writhe and scream in their seats, they’re experiencing a personal connection – their own need to survive and conquer on a deep psychological level.  

Of course the odds are stacked against the hapless cast.  They will either succumb or conquer the Big Bad.  And just like Michael and Freddy, Adolescence comes after teens with a vengeance, leaving no prisoners.  It’s just they and Pubescence Personified alone in the Alley of Adolescence, like the blonde girl in A Nightmare on Elm Street, running away pointlessly as Freddy runs his knife fingers up against the walls.  Parents can’t help.  Friends can’t help.  Even the environment is impotent.  Those safe confines of home, school, and the suburban neighborhood no longer protect.  Adolescence rules and hungers for the teenage immortal soul!  But with a little knowledge, skill, and courage, the teenage years can be dealt with sans the bloody sequel.    

So next time you see the walking hormonal hoards lined up to see the next Paranormal 15, root for them!  After all, everyone wants to be the hero of their own adventure.  




An Excerpt from the Award-Winning Cheerage Fearage

Fly high and Die!!
            
The silver moon threw light on the two girls as they eagerly peeled off their clothes, tossing them in heaps on the wooden dock.  They jumped off into the vast lake, giggling and squealing at the shock of its coldness as the dark water swallowed up their tanned, limber bodies.

Although fierce competitors on the school’s most exclusive faction, the two girls were the best of friends with much in common.  They ran with the same elite crowd, dated the same square-jawed jocks, and chose the same stylish trends to be mindlessly imitated by featureless masses.  Quite simply, they were perfection personified coupled with a “rules-don’t apply-to-us” attitude that even the teachers chose not to challenge - the outcome resulting in unequivocal classroom suicide.

“Nervous about tomorrow?” asked the sandy blonde with an I-know-better grin.

 “Yeah, right,” shot back the redhead.  “It’s in the bag, sister.  Fly high or die.”

 “You know I love you best, right?"

 “Of course.  It’s you and me forever.”

They traded playful splashes and squeals until without warning, the blonde gripped the redhead’s neck taking her under.  She held down the thrashing body, welcoming the newfound power and control that had evaded her for so long.  Vindication was only moments away….

Responding to a startling kick to the shin, she released the girl without delay playing it off with a full-bodied laugh.  “What are you doing?” the redhead yelled, spastically choking.  “You trying to kill me?”

“Relax,” said the blonde.  “You’re my best friend.  I would never hurt you.  You know that, right?”

But the redhead didn’t answer – at least not with words.  Her shrill scream was cut short by the blonde thrusting her under again, this time with even more force.  She yanked tufts of the covetous red hair everyone always spoke about, the crowning feature that solidified her title of reigning school beauty.  Brutally jerking her head to the left and wrenching it to the right, she forced the girl to swallow massive amounts of water.

The redhead’s adrenaline now metastasized into rank primal fear.  She kicked and scratched for dear life causing the blonde to tighten her grip.  Overcome with sheer panic followed by pure helplessness, the redhead relaxed into an inevitable surrender.

With the determined patience of a professional assassin, the blonde counted slowly to fifty, waiting for the shapely, agile form that had cruelly beat her out of every competition to go still and flaccid forever.  She delighted in feeling the strong steady pulse slow to a mere fleeting throb and then finally to complete nothingness.  When the time came, the blonde released the body into the dark water without pause or sentiment, and gracefully swam back to the dock, crawling up the ladder with a smooth, athletic gait.

Mission accomplished.

Giddily content, the blonde patted away streaming lines of lake water with her tank top, tossing it back on along with her vintage cutoffs.  She left the other’s clothes balled up below the “NO DIVING” sign and never looked back.  The long-suffering second-in-command was now the captain of the Valentine Cheerleading Squad.

It was official.  The queen bee had be dethroned and destroyed.





Now available from Wild Child Publishing:


Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Big Project

An Excerpt From the Award-Winning Tell-All 
Lucy and CeCee's How to Survive (and Thrive) in Middle School

Lucy: Some teachers have BPS (Big Project Syndrome).

CeCee: BPS teachers just love, love, love the big projects. They love creating them, assigning them, talking about them, and grading them.

Lucy: Big projects either make or break you. Speaking from past experience, I can only vouch for being broken.

CeCee: So when you are assigned one, especially a long-term big project, it’s best to do your bestest because it’s very easy to get overwhelmed with the big project. And when you’re overwhelmed, it’s very easy to procrastinate. And when you procrastinate, it’s very easy to blow it off.

Lucy: And when you blow it off, it’s very easy to fail.




CeCee’s Tips on Acing the Big Project

Really understand the assignment. If there is a rubric or criteria chart, be sure to follow it. Ask questions if you are unsure about something.

Make an itemized list of all materials you will need, including poster board, markers, and so on. Buy all your supplies early on so you’re not panicking the night before.

Organize and calendar all due dates, especially if there are multiple deadlines.

If the project includes research, seek help from the information master herself—the school librarian. When she’s not shhhhhing, she can be very helpful in helping you find the appropriate resources.

Break up project into small parts or tasks. Make a little schedule or have a daily check-off list.

Project should be superneat. No typos, ripped edges, or messy writing. Always word process it if you can. When it’s time to submit it, make sure to write your teacher’s name, class, and date on a title page—along with your name, of course.

Set a date to finish a few days before it’s due. If possible, show the teacher, and ask if you’re on the right track so he or she will know you care.

If the teacher allows, do something extra cool—like a video or PowerPoint.



*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  

Life Science, Mr. Kragler  
October 5
Period 3


Science project notes on electricity experiment (and love analogy) by Lucy Pringle

Objective: To demonstrate static electricity using cereal, my hair, and a comb.

Materials used:
*Plastic comb  
*Twelve-inch piece of thread
*Hair (dry, not wet)  
*Tape
*Puffed rice cereal

Process:

1) Okay, first, I tied this piece of puffed rice cereal to one end of a twelve-inch piece of thread. Then, I taped thread to the edge of my mother’s dining room table. (She got a little trippy about the tape taking off the finish, but I explained it was helping me pass science.)

2) Next, I washed my comb to remove all my hair oils and dried it well.

3) Then, I charged the comb by running it through my hair several times.

4) After that, I brought the comb near the hanging cereal piece and noticed it swung on its own in order to touch the comb. I held it still for a few seconds until the cereal jumped away by itself.

5) Knowing the cereal jumped away because of Mr. Kragler’s spellbinding lecture on the dynamics of electricity, I tried touching the comb to the cereal again. As expected, it moved away as the comb approached, sort of like I do when I see Lyle Whitehurst coming down the hall.


Explanation:
Okay, so the act of combing my hair jacked up these electron thingies because the comb has a negative static charge. And then, the neutral cereal was attracted to it but only at first. When they actually touched, the electrons moved from the comb to the cereal, making them all spazzy. Because both objects had the same negative charge, the cereal was repelled and then voilà—electricity!


Reflection:
This was a supercool experiment and reminded me of when I liked this BMOC, Josh Land, who I thought was the polar opposite of me: cool, attractive, and wildly popular. Anyway, it turns out he had this serious negative charge because he thought he was all that (and wasn’t) and liked this other girl, Kandi Klass (who eventually wanted to kick my butt). As it turns out, this negative charge had a negative effect on me. And yeah, it took a while, but eventually, I got repelled by him and now can’t even stand to look at him—mostly because his feelings were never reciprocal and his girlfriend still sees me as hate bait, but we won’t even go there … cuz now I like a new boy named Eddie—and guess what—he likes me! (IDTBC—Impending Drama to be Continued!)
 
Anyway, who would have thought Life Science was so much like real love? This experiment rocked, Mr. K.!


An excellent analogy, Ms. Pringle.
Grade—A+






Monday, September 22, 2014

Happy Banned Book Week!

According to the American Library Association, here is a listing of ten classic books that are subject to being banned in American schools.  How many have you read?



1. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

2. The Catcher in the Rye

3. To Kill a Mockingbird

4. Bridge to Terabithia

5. The Lord of the Flies

6. Of Mice and Men

7. The Color Purple

8. Harry Potter Series

9. Slaughterhouse Five

10. The Bluest Eye


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Download Your Cybersmartz

An Excerpt From the Award-Winning Tell-All 
Lucy and CeCee's How to Survive (and Thrive) in Middle School

Let’s face it.  It’s a cyber world out there.  Here’s a quick list on how to be savvy on the internet and download your cybersmartz.:

Don’t plagiarize from the Internet.  Besides the fact it’s cheating, teachers are getting wise to this and chances of getting busted are excellent.

Don’t get in email or text wars.

Keep the peace at home and talk to parents about rules and guidelines for going online.  Agree to keep up with homework and that websites should be age-appropriate.

Never meet anyone online without telling a parent or checking with them first.

Nix the webcam.  Overall, not a good idea.

Don’t T.M.I. on myspace or other websites.  Before you know it, your overshare will go viral and you’ll be e-famous for all the wrong reasons.

Don’t be duped by those misleading banner ads.  Put the blinders on and ignore them.

Show good netiquette and never cyber-dump anyone.

Most cell phones are portable computers, so apply the same rules with your phone as online.

Blog rages may be all the rage but are tiresome to read.  Whatever you write can and will be held against you.

Think before you post.  Today’s friend can be tomorrow’s enemy.  And once something is sent, you can’t command Z it.

Keep all passwords private and don’t give away any personal information about yourself.

To avoid e-gret, play nice online.  If you don’t have anything positive to say, it’s probably best you don’t say anything at all.

Know your school cell phone policy.  Even if it’s loose, it’s best to keep your cell in your  backpack turned off along with your iPod.  Otherwise, there is a high risk of getting it stolen.

NEVER, EVER, EVER sext.  Remember, cyberspace lasts forever.

Don’t ever use cell phone to cheat.

Don’t let anyone text and drive.

Don’t believe everything you read online.

If you’re being cyber-stalked or harassed – get help immediately from an adult.

Don’t ever take or post pictures of people without their permission or knowledge.

Downtime is healthy; turn off your cyberworld and read a book or call a friend.





Cyber acronyms are cool to use when texting, emailing, or IMing.  Here are the basic ones to know and love:

BFF – Best Friend Forever
BTW – By the way
FYI – For your information
G2G – Got to go
IDK – I don’t know
IDC – I don’t care
IMHO – In my honest opinion
IMNSHO – In my not so honest opinion
L8R - Later
LOL – Laugh Out Loud
PIR – Parent in room
POS – Parent over shoulder
PAL- Parents are listening
PAW – Parents are watching
ROFL – Rolling on floor laughing
TMI – Too much information
TTFN – Ta Ta for now



TEXTS FROM CECEE TO LUCY AND LUCY TO CECEE


Hi Luce.  I miss u.  Want 2 hang out
tonight?  S.S. for everything.  You’re
right - should have told u about Kandi’s
invite.  Can u forgive and absolve me
for my horrible-ness?
C.



Hey CeCee.  Missed u 2.  Can’t hang
out 2-night.  Have 2 work on science
project or Kragler’s going 2 totally fail
me.
L.
P.S.  I was wrong 4 telling u not 2 publish
about the uniform thing.  S.S.



Want help on your project?
C.



Thx.  But have 2 do this 1
on my own.  Got myself
n-2 this mess.  How bout the
mall this wkend?
L.



4 sure.  R we still B.F.F.?
C.



Of course.  Luv u!  ☺





Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Students Acting Slothy? Teach Them Something Gothy!

The honeymoon is officially over, and it's about this time that students reveal subtle symptoms of slothy sluggishness.  Consequently, around late September/early October, I reach deep in my literacy bag of tricks for my go-to Gothic Literature unit.  Reading spine-tingling excerpts from Dracula, Frankenstein, or Edgar Allan Poe are all but guaranteed to reignite enthusiasm from my students and possibly even the most reluctant of readers who have yet to reveal their literary chops.  (My hope is, in keeping with the theme, they are merely keeping me in suspense!)




That said, before plunging into the dark world of castles, chambers, and creepy cloisters, students require background information on Gothic Literature itself.  It is at this time we examine five basic elements of Gothic Literature, which I have classified into the following categories:


5 Elements of Gothic Literature

1) Elements of Superstition
  • Presence of ghosts, vampires, etc.
  • Unexplained sounds, sights, occurrences
  • Eerie atmosphere
  • Mysterious tone adds to building of tension

2) Emotions and Passions
  • Emotion surpasses rationality
  • Spells of hysteria, lust, and anxiety
  • Frequent crying and screaming
  • Detailed sensory description revealing characters’ passions
  • Characters experience terror and hysteria due to miasmic atmosphere


3) Broken Families
  • Families are often broken, incestuous, or murderous
  • Women subject to lustful wrongdoings 
  • Male characters are tyrannical
  • Women depicted as damsels in distress
  • Family unit confining, from which characters must escape

4) Eerie, mysterious setting
  • Claustrophobic, dark venues such as an old castle, mansion, or abbey
  • Places of fear and dread that portray the world as deteriorating
  • Desperate, dark ruined scenery
  • Surrounding area is dismal and rotting, often adding a haunting flavor of impending doom


5) Distinctive Characters
  • Characters are lonely, isolated, and oppressed
  • Presence of a tyrannical villain 
  • Action revolves around an unrequited love, or illicit love affair 
  • A vendetta or vengeance is a prominent theme

After my students are fully inducted into the world of Gothic Literature, it's time for them to write their own stories.  For inspiration, I offer some creepy music, telling them to listen at their own risk.  (Note to Blog Reader: Play at your own risk!)




Assignment: Write a Gothic Story...

The requirements are as follows:
  • Setting must be a large old house or graveyard
  • An unexplainable, scary event occurs in the house or graveyard 
  • Presence of the supernatural, such as a ghost, vampire, or werewolf
  • Unexplained phenomenon, such as doors slamming shut or lights turning on/off by themselves
  • Highly emotional characters who cry and scream
  • Implementation of Gothic symbols, such as a staircase, shadows, or a full moon.  

With a little inspiration from the darker works of the literary canon, students can't help but get their Goth on.  Whether you are a teacher, writer, or simply have a nagging nostalgia for Manic Panic, it's the perfect time to reach inside YOUR creepy bag of tricks and write your own Gothic tale.  



For more literary Goth inspiration, go to Kimberly's product store at:

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Musings on the Guidance Counselor a.k.a. Tween Whisperer

An Excerpt From the Award-Winning Tell-All 
Lucy and CeCee's How to Survive (and Thrive) in Middle School

In middle school you will be assigned a guidance counselor who is sort of like a “tween whisperer.”  Guidance counselors take on a sympathetic view of the adolescent by providing academic and emotional support.  You see, we tweens are going through a difficult time (as if you needed reminding).  Changes are rapidly taking place physically, psychologically, and emotionally, and sometimes we need the ear of someone older and wiser who’s not a parent and or teacher.  Enter: The Middle School Counselor

You will probably meet with your guidance counselor at least once or twice a year.  Sometimes more, if you are having academic troubles or personal problems.  Either way, be open and honest during your one-on-one sessions.  Your guidance counselor is there for one reason and that is to support you.  Tell them what’s going well and what isn’t.  They’ve taken a lot of adolescent psych courses and know a lot about helping tweens.

Counselors provide support in a variety of ways.  You can use them to discuss or receive support both individually or in a small group setting.  Some of the things counselors can help with are:

Academic skills support
Test-taking skills support
Time-management and organizational skills
Career options and planning
Habitual discipline issues
Class schedule changes
Dangers of substance abuse, like drinking and drugs
Peer relationship support and mediation if needed
Counseling for stressful situations, such as tragedies, loss, or suicidal thoughts
Counseling for dramatized students who have trouble dealing with the stress of middle school


Dear Diary ~

After thinking about it all weekend, I wrote a request 2 see Ms. Clark about the whole cyberbully sitch becuz everyone knows cyberbullying is no joke.  Basically she had me show her all the text messages and took lots of notes.  Then she left 2 go talk 2 Mr. Payne.  Long story short, they traced the calls 2 Kandi Klass’s phone (big shocker) and now she’s N uber trouble with her parents and school police and may even get transferred 2 another school.  Imagine Madison Heights Middle School without Kandi Klass?

So after all the drama, Ms. Clark got all C.S.I. on me and started asking questions on how my year went and what she could do 2 help me succeed.  That’s when I just started telling her EVERYTHING that was buggin’ me.  Including that I’m flunking Life Science, lost my B.F.F., and totally getting stalked by Lyle Whitehurst.  Ms. Clark listened, nodded a lot, and then explained that seventh grade can be a confusing time but that I still need 2 control the chaos and focus more on my studies.  I knew that lecture was coming but somehow it sounded different coming from her.  She also suggested I stop racking up so many tardies (26) and detentions (5).  

Finally when I was about 2 leave, she asked who my B.F.F. was and I said CeCe Cruz.  She said, “Well, I hope you and CeCee make up. She’s a great girl.”  Then she smiled and said, “Keep it posi, Lucy.”

And I said, “Okay, Ms. Clark.  Later.”  

Hearts and sunshiny days ahead,

Lucy



*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *


Dear Diary,

Today Ms. Clark summoned me during sixth period.  At first I thought it was something academic, like tutoring or picking up my awards from the assembly last week when I was home sick.  But I was wrong!  She wanted to get all intimate and personal, which isn’t my cup of Earl Grey.  So of course I was very guarded but then she hexed me with her adolescent psychological voodoo tricks - and it was like my private vault of secrets opened up for all the world to examine – or at least Ms. Clark.

Basically I confessed that I went to the doctor who said I have a predisposition to an eating disorder.  He said it was common among adolescent girls - especially ones who put a tremendous amount of pressure on themselves, like yours truly.  I told her Mama is having me see a counselor to help deal with it.  Ms. Clark said she was relieved I went to the doctor and suggested I also meet with a support group of girls with eating disorders starting next Thursday, period 3.  I told her I’d be missing algebra and worried about falling behind but she said my health comes first.

That’s when I turned on the waterworks and started bawling like a baby.  I was completely mortified but then I didn’t even care because it felt so good to let it all out.  I told her I’m a second-rate, dishonorable friend with monstrous tendencies who lies by omission and doesn’t share anything with her B.F.F.  And then I told her I feel positively dreadful about my B+ in algebra and need to make straight A’s because I want to make everyone happy – most especially myself.  And then I came clean about Chase and how I was completely smitten but felt way over my head.

She listened really intently, nodded a lot, and then said I have oodles (yes, she used the word “oodles”) of time for guys and not to complicate my life in seventh grade with a serious boyfriend.  She also said to embrace the chaos of life and not try to control it so much.  There’s nothing wrong with a B+ now and then.

So when I was about to leave she asked who my B.F.F. was and I answered Lucy Pringle, and then she said, “I hope you and Lucy become friends again.  She’s a great girl.”

“Me, too,” I answered.

P.S. I’ve never been one for confession-sessions, but overall, it was an enlightening experience.  And I have to give it to Ms. Clark.  Adolescent psych voodoo aside, she’s very wise - kind of like Gandalf without the staff and beard.  

CeCee


Monday, August 25, 2014

Thrills and Chills: Teaching Suspense Writing to Kids

This weekend I had the pleasure of presenting at the Killer Nashville Writing Conference.  My topic - Thrills and Chills: Teaching Suspense Writing to Kids.

Kids are innately attracted to suspense in books and movies for one simple reason - the adrenaline rush parallels the angst of adolescence.  Kids, (teens in particular), experience a personal connection on a psychological level as they writhe in their seats, wondering...What if?  Consequently, it makes perfect sense that kids make amazing suspense writers - if given the proper tools.      




"It was a dark and stormy night..."  

This is how most kids will begin their suspense story.  Not that there is anything wrong with dark and stormy nights.  Dark and stormy nights are very good when building a backdrop for suspense.  But in the interest of avoiding cliches, I introduce kid writers to the special formula of suspense writing:  G.E.M.    



G.E.M. is the acronym I coined for writing a "writhe-in-your-seat-worthy" suspense story.  It stands for Gothicism, Expansion of Time, and Magic of Three.

All suspense stories should have some elements of the gothic genre, such as the supernatural; an eerie, mysterious setting; emotion over passion; and distinctive characters who are lonely, isolated, and/or oppressed.  Throw in a tyrannical villain, a vendetta, or an illicit love affair - you've got goth gold!

Next, introduce the art of expanding time using foreshadowing, flashback, evoking sensory detail, and implementing "well...maybe dialogue."  This allows the writer to twist, turn, and tangle up the plot.  Tease your audience, I tell my students.  Pile on the problems and trap your protagonist with a ticking clock.  Every second counts with suspense!     

Finally, the Magic of Three comes into play.  The Magic of Three is a writer's trick where a series of three hints lead to a major discovery.  During the first hint, the protagonist detects something is amiss.  The second hint sparks a more intense reaction but nothing is discovered - yet.  And then - BANG!  The third hint leads to a discovery or revelation.  

Teaching suspense writing to kids breeds amazing results.  Once they learn the craft through G.E.M., they realize the power behind suspense and why audiences are drawn to it.  They recognize and appreciate suspense for what it is...the secret sauce of writing.

Remember what the master of suspense himself, Alfred Hitchcock said, "There is no terror in the bang, only the anticipation of it."

So go mine your story, and find your G.E.M.  The clock is ticking...



Saturday, August 16, 2014

Killer Nashville Writers Conference



Join me next week at the Killer Nashville Writers Conference where I will be presenting "Thrills and Chills: Teaching Suspense Writing to Kids."


August 24th at the Omni Hotel in Nashville, TN

Sunday, August 10, 2014

It's That Time of Year...Teacher Types

An Excerpt From the Award-Winning Tell-All
Lucy and CeCee's How to Survive (and Thrive) in Middle School 

teach• er |ˈtē ch ər|
noun
(official definition) – a person who teaches, esp. in a school; an adult role model who indoctrinates the younger generation intellectually, morally, and socially; one who helps others learn, as by example.

teach• er |ˈtē ch ər|
noun
(middle school student’s definition) – an adultish type person who slugs coffee, wears bad ties, frumpish jumpers, and who decided (due to his/her  own scarred teenage existence) to torture kids by inducing parental groundings through frequent phone calls home to report defective grades and deplorable behavior. Resulting outcome: avoid and ignore efforts; torture whenever possible.


Okay, J.K.!!  Teachers should be respected.  After all, most educators enjoy working with kids and some actually have something to teach us.  They are a guiding force in the molding of us adolescents and essentially our guardians from 8 to 3, Monday through Friday.  However, there ARE exceptions.  And the thing about middle school is you will have several teachers to deal with – not just one like in elementary school.  However, baring a few things in mind, you should adapt just fine.    

The first thing to realize about middle school teachers is there are certain types.  Nice and mean, right?  Actually it’s more complicated than that.  There are as many teacher types as there are personalities.  There are teachers who are nice, friendly, lenient, strict, dumb, smart, scary smart, funny, so-funny-they-should-be-a-comic-funny, boring, so-boring-they-put-you-in-a-coma-boring etc.  We’re going to focus on three basic types you will certainly come across in middle school, the telltale identifiable signs, and tips on how to deal with them to your advantage.  


The Taskmaster Control Freak/You-Ain’t-Doin’-Nothin’-in-My-Class/Lecturer
These types of teachers became teachers so they could hear themselves talk. The truth is that they have no interest in you or what you have to say. You’ll know them by the classroom arrangement, which consists of unyielding vertical rows with their bully pulpit lectern front and center. Don’t even think about asking to use the bathroom or going to your locker, as the hall pass is simply an accessory for the Taskmaster (i.e., not to be used). And, don’t get sick in their classrooms because you ain’t leaving! Their stock answer for everything is “No!” They have no sense of humor and no sense of mercy. We advise lying low in their classes, as their tolerance for any kind of adolescent shenanigans is nonexistent. Hand in your homework on time and keep a low profile. Cheating, passing notes, and otherwise acting up are unheard of in the Taskmaster’s classroom.


The Fossil/I-Had-Your-Grandmother-and-Will-Have-Your-
Children’s-Children-and-Never-Ever-Retire Teacher
The Fossil tends to linger in the math and science departments. They are well known throughout the local community—and for good reason. They’ve been around forever, and as a result, they have built a solid reputation. They’ve been around so long that their “Just Say No” antidrug posters from the ’80s have an inch of dust caked to them. They use the same old lesson plans, projects, and activities they’ve had since college. Basically, they do their jobs on cruise control and aren’t apt to press the accelerator anytime soon.


Mr./Ms. Good Time/I-Want-to-Be-Liked Teacher
Mr. and Ms. Good Time are usually young and fresh out of college, and their entire educational philosophy is based on being liked. These teachers tend to be easy graders and give less homework (with the exception of a deep fondness for projects) than the others. Their strength is creativity and working outside the textbook (think complete opposite of the Taskmaster). The best thing to do in Mr. and Ms. Good Time’s class is to get them off topic by asking some real-world questions. Also, convince them that a once-a-week party is academically beneficial and aligns perfectly with the standards. Other things to try are having them take you outside, watching teen angst movies, and throwing Game Day because it promotes personal development and self-esteem.

So good luck as you start middle school.  We know you will get "a handle" on those teacher types soon enough, but this should give you the jumpstart needed as you head to that first class.

Until next time...Hearts and Sharpies!
Lucy and CeCee



Sunday, July 27, 2014

A Parent's Guide to Surviving (and Thriving) Middle School

Back to school is right around the corner.  Only this time your child is entering middle school – that rite of passage where they will undergo academic, social, and developmental challenges like never before.  While your eager middle schooler is raring to go, you may be secretly asking yourself if you’re truly ready for this auspicious journey.  The answer is Yes!  With today’s challenges, middle school may seem like the new high school, but below are six tips on how to make the transition seamless for both you and your child.  Get your brave on and learn how to survive (and thrive) as a parent of a middle schooler…



6 Steps to Swinging Into Middle School With Ease

Prepare:  Middle school isn’t exactly The Hunger Games – but you will fare much better if you know the rules.  Procure a copy of the school’s handbook and read it, ideally with your child.  Be familiar with the school’s policies.  For instance, does the school have a dress code?  Is there a general class supplies list?  What is the protocol for absences, medications, cell phone usage, etc.?  Make sure to complete all emergency card information with several contacts and up-to-date phone numbers for easy communication.    

Volunteer:  Join the PTA, PTO, or Booster Club.  Introduce yourself to the principal, counselor, and teachers letting them know you are available to assist wherever needed.
With school funding at a premium, some ways parents can help are volunteering in the computer lab, chaperoning field trips, selling concessions, leading a book club, or supervising dances.  If working with students one-on-one, be sure to check the district’s policy on parent volunteer fingerprinting and/or background checks.

Be a Study Buddy:  Check homework once a week or more if your child is struggling. Designate a study time and place free of distractions with adequate supplies, including pencils, paper, dictionary, and calculator.  Calendar long-term projects, and be available for assistance or hire a tutor if needed.  Many schools offer free after-the-bell tutoring programs or intervention services.  Encourage and teach time management and organization skills – before social networking, cell phone, and television time.

Communicate:  In elementary school, teachers call home if there is an academic issue, but in middle school the report card is often a parent’s first notification that their child is struggling.  To avoid Report Card Shock Syndrome and address problems early on, attend Back-to-School Night and all parent/teacher conferences.  Introduce yourself to your child’s teachers, provide email contact information, and let them know you want to work as a team.  In middle school, each teacher has their own way of posting homework, grading, and communicating with parents.  Ask for a copy of the class syllabus. Communication is key to your child’s success.

Get Social:  Your child’s circle of friends will most likely be at the top of their priority list. This is a good time to rally your own parental BFF’s, if nothing else for moral support.  In short, get to know the parents of your child’s friends.  Arrange a lunch to establish common norms for sleepovers, social networking, etc.  Discuss bullying and implementing appropriate safety precautions.  Talk over the school’s vision and what you can do as parents to make it the best place it can be.

Be a Cheerleader:  As your child enters middle school, he or she will tackle academic, social, and peer related issues.  There will be laughter and there will be tears.  Let your child know that you are their greatest fan and support.  Encourage their strengths and interests with extracurricular activities such as clubs, sports, band, and foreign language. When a problem arises, be there to help but also just to listen.  At the end of the day, sometimes a tween just needs a sympathetic ear.  Middle school is a challenge, but never let your child forget that you are their ultimate BFF and secret cheerleader.




This nostalgic read is both fun and informative in its perspective of middle school existence. The author's use of tweenie vernacular adds to character development and theme relevance.  - Readers Favorite

(Dana) knows her audience well, and has pitched this book to them perfectly, packing useful information into a fun, frothy read....Any sixth grade girl who's facing middle school as if it were a firing squad will find great comfort here.  Both entertaining and useful, How to Survive is a winner.  Starred Review - BlueInk Review 

Lucy and CeCee's guide to middle-school survival is a fast-paced, funny, and insightful book that will serve to clarify typical teen lingo and behavior for adults and give guidelines to tween and teenage kids who are having trouble navigating the middle-school milieu. - Clarion Reviews

But while the girls' teachings are often amusing, what really makes Dana's book exceptional are the girls themselves....Lucy and CeCee's target audience may consist solely of tweens, but this is a book that can educate readers of any age. - Kirkus Reviews

With plenty of humor and adventure, "Lucy and CeCee's How to Survive (and Thrive) in Middle School" is a strongly recommended addition to young adult fiction collections, not to be missed.  - Midwest Book Review


Sunday, July 6, 2014

An Excerpt from the Award-Winning Cheerage Fearage

Nothing says summer like mosquitoes, sunburns, and sweat...but there can be worse things...




            The silver moon threw light on the two girls as they eagerly peeled off their clothes, tossing them in heaps on the wooden dock.  They jumped off into the vast lake, giggling and squealing at the shock of its coldness as the dark water swallowed up their tanned, limber bodies.
            Although fierce competitors on the school’s most exclusive faction, the two girls were the best of friends with much in common.  They ran with the same elite crowd, dated the same square-jawed jocks, and chose the same stylish trends to be mindlessly imitated by featureless masses.  Quite simply, they were perfection personified coupled with a “rules-don’t apply-to-us” attitude that even the teachers chose not to challenge - the outcome resulting in unequivocal classroom suicide. 
            “Nervous about tomorrow?” asked the sandy blonde with an I-know-better grin.
            “Yeah, right,” shot back the redhead.  “It’s in the bag, sister.  Fly high or die.”
            “You know I love you best, right?
            “Of course.  It’s you and me forever.”
            They traded playful splashes and squeals until without warning, the blonde gripped the redhead’s neck taking her under.  She held down the thrashing body, welcoming the newfound power and control that had evaded her for so long.  Vindication was only moments away….
Responding to a startling kick to the shin, she released the girl without delay playing it off with a full-bodied laugh.  “What are you doing?” the redhead yelled, spastically choking.  “You trying to kill me?”
“Relax,” said the blonde.  “You’re my best friend.  I would never hurt you.  You know that, right?”
But the redhead didn’t answer – at least not with words.  Her shrill scream was cut short by the blonde thrusting her under again, this time with even more force.  She yanked tufts of the covetous red hair everyone always spoke about, the crowning feature that solidified her title of reigning school beauty.  Brutally jerking her head to the left and wrenching it to the right, she forced the girl to swallow massive amounts of water. 
The redhead’s adrenaline now metastasized into rank primal fear.  She kicked and scratched for dear life causing the blonde to tighten her grip.  Overcome with sheer panic followed by pure helplessness, the redhead relaxed into an inevitable surrender. 
With the determined patience of a professional assassin, the blonde counted slowly to fifty, waiting for the shapely, agile form that had cruelly beat her out of every competition to go still and flaccid forever.  She delighted in feeling the strong steady pulse slow to a mere fleeting throb and then finally to complete nothingness.  When the time came, the blonde released the body into the dark water without pause or sentiment, and gracefully swam back to the dock, crawling up the ladder with a smooth, athletic gait. 
            Mission accomplished. 
            Giddily content, the blonde patted away streaming lines of lake water with her tank top, tossing it back on along with her vintage cutoffs.  She left the other’s clothes balled up below the “NO DIVING” sign and never looked back.  The long-suffering second-in-command was now the captain of the Valentine Cheerleading Squad.

            It was official.  The queen bee had be dethroned and destroyed.


Now available by Wild Child Publishing:

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Take Me to Your Reader: UtopYA 2014

I had a great weekend attending the UtopYA Convention here in Nashville.  As a newbie attendee, I wasn't sure what to expect but had a fab time milling around Area 51 amid aliens, wizards, and über-paranormal writers.

The convention kicked off with an electrifying keynote address by bestselling author, Sylvia Day.  Following that were informative panel discussions, such as "Putting Together a Kick A** Street Team," "The Big Bang: World Building," and ostensibly today's hottest YA topic: "YA vs. NA: Today and Tomorrow."

The first-of-its-kind convention for women writers of contemporary and supernatural YA and NA fiction, this unconventional convention was out of this world (literally)!

(Me with my new extraterrestrial friend!)


Sunday, June 8, 2014

How to Be Popular

An Excerpt From the Award-Winning Tell-All
Lucy and CeCee's How to Survive (and Thrive) in Middle School 

Okay, CeCee and I are just going to lay it out there.  EVERYONE wants to be popular!  And while some people are just born popular, like Kandi, Kassi, and Kalli, most of us have to work at it (very hard, I might add).  Now, CeCee and I haven’t lied to you, and we’re not going to start now.  We’d like to be a lot more popular than we are.   Oh sure, people know us and we’re not like uber-nerds or anything but we’re not A-crowd either.  That said, we’re working on it.  Meanwhile, we do know what a popular girl looks like, sounds like, and acts like.  So here goes...



Do’s and Don’ts on How to be Popular:

DO - join lots of clubs to meet new people.  Join a sports team; try out for cheerleader; run for student council.  Don’t worry if you make it or not.  Just go for it!  You’ll meet lots of cool people along the way.

DO possess confidence.  Walk down the hall like you’re important and people will think you’re important.  Make eye contact and smile, smile, smile.

DO flaunt a positive attitude.  No one likes a Grumpie Gretchen.

DO go to all the dances and after school social events.

DO go to parties when you’re invited and get your social on.  Sometime during the year (maybe around your birthday) throw your own epic party.  Invite everyone, including the popular kids.

DON’T ever be mean to other kids and DON’T gossip.

DON’T over do it.  No one likes a desperate wannabe.

DON’T ever drink or do drugs to be popular.*  You’ll just get the wrong reputation.

DON’T do things with guys just to be popular.  Again, you’ll be popular but in the wrong way.  Remember: a reputation can follow you all the way into high school.  


*Peer Pressure
If someone does try to get you to drink or do drugs, you can say “no” and still be cool.  Here are some ways to deal with peer pressure: 



Situation – Patty Peer Pressure comes up to you and says, “Hey, you should take a drag of this cigarette.  It would make you look so fly.”
You can:

Come up with an alternate idea.  Example: “No thanks.  Let’s go chat it up with Stacie instead.”

Be nice but firm.  Make it clear you don’t want to smoke now or in the future.  In other words, don’t say, “Maybe next time,” or “Maybe tomorrow.”  Say, “I’m not really into that scene.  I try to be really healthy.”  If she persists, walk away.

Hang with people who share your same beliefs and values.

Remember a true friend will always respect your wishes.


BEWARE: Popularity is flimsy.  You can be popular one day and not so much the next.  In other words, it’s way more important to find a group of friends you like and vice-versa.



Saturday, May 31, 2014

Maya Angelou: A Phenomenal Woman

“Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with shades of deeper meaning.” -- Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings






Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Thank You, Dan Mills Elementary School!!

I had a fabulous time visiting with the kindergartners of Dan Mills Elementary School!  We talked writing, reading, and invented our own characters.  It was amazing fun!!







Sunday, May 25, 2014

Sensational Summer Reads for Tweens and Teens

As we all fondly recall, summer vacation is the ultimate!  Staying up late into the night, basking in the golden sun, slurping up frothy ice cream concoctions, and yes - hopefully reading a good book or two or three...or three in one day.  And why not?  It's summer, after all.

Here is a list of twelve of my fave summer reads for tweens and teens.  The list includes some classics and some contemporary, depending on personal choice.  Either way, tweens/teens will have a blast getting their read on!!!




Kimberly's 2014 Summer Reading List for Tweens

1) The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky

2) The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins

3) The House on Mango Street - Sandra Cisneros

4) The Fault in Our Stars - John Green

5) Monster - Walter Dean Myers

6) Divergent - Veronica Roth

7) The Outsiders - S.E. Hinton

8) The Best of Roald Dahl - Roald Dahl

9) Shiver - Maggie Stiefvater

10) The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger

11) Witch & Wizard - James Patterson

12) The Truth About Forever - Sarah Dessen

13) Mrs. Peregrin's Home for Peculiar Children - Ransom Riggs


HAPPY READING!!!!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

How to Fake Sick

An Excerpt From the Award-Winning Tell-All
Lucy and CeCee's How to Survive (and Thrive) in Middle School 

Lucy: Let’s face it. Sometimes, you just can’t make it through a whole day of school.

CeCee: Maybe your hair is misbehaving, you have a test you didn’t study for, or you’re just not up to playing Keep-Away Frisbee in gym.

Lucy: What you’re coming down with is a severe case of schoolitis, and there are a few things you should know.

CeCee: First, you can’t do this all the time. The habitual fake out will only come back to haunt you, causing your teachers and parents to eye you with suspicion when you really are sick.

Lucy: In other words, only do this when you really need to. (No more than 8–10 times a semester.)



L&C’s How to Fake Sick Tips

If you know you’re going to fake sick, toss out the bait early. The morning of, tell your parents you’re not feeling well but that you don’t want to miss any school. Tell them you’ll try to make it through the day and go to bed right when you come home. (This way when the nurse calls, there are no surprises.)

Go to your first class looking a little haggard. Don’t wear any lip gloss, mascara, or blush. Mess up your hair a little. Put your head down on the desk, and don’t interact with anyone until your teacher asks what’s wrong. When she does, give the impression that you’re disoriented. Tell her you just can’t concentrate and feel funny—like you might be sick. (Note: this scares the chalk dust out of most teachers, and he or she will immediately send you out. No teacher wants you doing Technicolor yawn on the classroom floor.)

Score! Now it’s time to hit up the nurse. This takes a little skill, as nurses are very adept at dealing with fakers. It’s always best to keep your symptoms nagging but vague. Nothing too specific. Good adjectives to use are queasy, achy, hot and cold. If you combine symptoms, make sure they go together. Case in point, earache and nausea don’t go together and scream faker! Whereas stomach and headache, earache and sore throat, and dizziness and nausea all have the ring of truth.

Never suggest the nurse call your parents, but ask if you can lie down and close your eyes. Cover face with both arms and moan periodically. Speak as if really exhausted by dragging each word out.

When the nurse finally suggests she call your parents, act bummed. Say something like, “But I don’t want to miss any school. I have a test today. Do you think I could get my homework first?” This should seal the deal.

Beware: When in the nurse’s chambers, keep the drama in drama class. Don’t go overboard and fake a seizure or pretend to pass out. Nurses have been to nursing school and know when someone is really conscious or not. Also, they could call for an ambulance.


 How to Be Sick by Lucy

Yay, you did it! Now, how to be sick. Both CeCee and I have our own idea of how to burn a sick day.

Here’s mine:

Dance in the living room.
Text your friends and give them updates on your “illness.”
Text your BFF every period and begin each text with “I guess you’re in period ___ now. Meanwhile, I’m watching _______________ (insert cool television show or movie here).”
Call your parent at work and moan as if really sick. Ask for more DVDs and puzzle books.
Sleep.
Make a blanket fort.
Snoop in your sister’s room. Read her diary. Call her boyfriend and hang up.
Call and order a pizza. Ask for a large with pepperoni, sausage, mushroom, green pepper, olives, onions, anchovies, double cheese, and extra sauce. Hang up. Five minutes later, call back and say you changed your mind.
Play with the dog.
Play with the dog, and film it with your cell phone camera. Submit dog video to YouTube. Watch other dog trick videos and convince self yours is the best.
Play computer games.
Go through your mom’s closet, and write out fashion suggestions. Send them to her anonymously.
Try on all your mom’s jewelry, and talk as if you’re out to dinner with your father. Practice her mannerisms in the mirror.
Write poems and e-mail them to people.
Take a hot, lavender-scented bubble bath.
Take a picture of yourself sleeping and send to friends.

How to Be Sick by CeCee 

Call the school informing them of your respective infirmity and request all homework.
Complete homework.
Calendar projects.
Clean and systematize closet.
Read.

Tip: Don’t forget to have your mother write an illness excuse note. You don’t want a truancy on your record.