Archives for August 2016

Heritage2Legacy Podcast 1

Heritage2Legacy Podcast

Identifying, Publishing, Preserving family memories

Whether it means chasing fireflies on a summer evening, enjoying a fire in the fireplace, or sharing the porch swing and small talk with your grandparent, each of us has a vision of home.  Memories are what create our definition of home and those memories are what we desire to identify, publish, and preserve for the next generation.

Join us at as we help you to capture 12 moments from your past, each prompted with the help of 12 delightful children’s books…we call it the Chasing Fireflies’ Heritage2Legacy Project.

Book Prompt 1 of 10
Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen

Tell a story about your own local library or librarian, a favorite book, someone who read to you, anything having to do with books  – the printed word.

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CLICK HERE for Love, Button [Posted August 10,2016]

The Heritage2Legacy Podcast 102
“The Magical Basement”


Gil Moegerle

My maternal grandfather, Wilbur Powell, had a magical basement, or so it seemed to me as a young boy. Here the smells of printer’s ink and machine grease meant a special kind of adventure was imminent.

Granddad was a printer by trade. His poorly lit, wooden-beamed basement held two huge printing presses. At least they seemed huge to my young eyes and small frame. The adventure was simply watching Pompey, as we called him, set type by hand, letter by letter. Then he carefully loaded the rack of words and spacers into the front of his big press. Next he picked up what looked like a paint roller and spread ink across the type – the sense of adventure was building.

Now it’s your turn.  Can you think of a simple memory from your childhood centered around a local library or librarian, a favorite book, someone who read to you, anything having to do with books?   Simply write it down or record it on your phone’s recorder.   Don’t worry about the finished look – we’ll get to that later.  Right now, just write or record one memory.  You can do it!





Library Lion LIT Trading Cards

If this is your first time hearing about our Chasing Fireflies’ Literature Trading Cards, here is the introductory post.  Next, check out Elizabeth’s first blog post [and collect your first set of cards – A Splash of Red].

Library Lion Lit Trading Cards


I take a lot of time to read through each book, study the illustrations and think about how children will remember the story. Whether it’s the type of artistic flare from the illustrations or the author’s content and characters, each trading card design brings out the essence of the literature book it’s based on. The result is a fusion between the joy of exploring children’s books with the excitement of sharing and trading collectable cards. There are many ways teachers, parents and homeschool groups can use literature trading cards.

Here are 3 ART ideas specifically for Library Lion:

1. The friendship between the lion and Miss Merriweather is very special. Have your students draw a picture of their fondest friend along with the friend’s name. They can use watercolored pencils or construction paper crayons to tie along with Kevin Hawkes’s artwork. Watercolor pencils do not require as much water and won’t ruin the cards. Construction paper crayons are not as messy as real oil pastels either.

2. You can also simply just have them draw their favorite character in the story using the watercolor pencils or construction paper crayons. My favorite character is of course the Lion!

3. The story had a great lesson on helping others. Discuss with the students ideas and ways that they can make a contribution to help others and their community. Have them draw this scene of service and love for other people.

Important information you don’t want to miss…


I consider these little cards a unique piece of art. A little mini-canvas similar to an Artist Trading Card (ATC). The possibilities are endless so please take the time to really have your students get creative with them. All artists sign their names on their artwork, so make sure you have them do the same and maybe even the date.


How fun to be able to trade with friends and even the teacher! Or trade with another class from a different city or state. By subscribing to FirefliesBlog and collecting sets of literature trading cards, you are invited to join our closed FB group where you will get special instructions, ideas, and maybe even a “Freebie” every now and then – just to say, thanks! Also, you will meet other parents and educators who are interested in creating connected learning environments for their children/students. (Think old school pen pals!).  An example of how to get started would be to have students create one card for themselves and then another to trade. This is why signing the cards is so important. Their own set of cards can then be displayed in a trading card sleeve, which can be purchased at a variety of craft and hobby stores in the baseball card section. You can also make a small accordion book to paste them all in. I have done that in the past and it is a wonderful way for the students to keep all of their “mini-artwork” in a “mini-style book”! These keepsakes are a great way to revisit all the wonderful literature books you read throughout the school year and preserve those moments together.


To obtain the full beauty and functionality of the cards, please print in color on bright white card stock and cut each one to 2 1/2” x 3 1/2” size. This is a traditional trading card size.

Please note that these cards are only available for a limited time to our FirefliesBlog readers.  After that, you will find them in my TPT store, EAQ Designs, along with other Lit Trading Cards.

Please email us at and ask to join our closed FB group if you are interested in connecting with others who are using and trading these LIT cards.   Type LIT TRADING CARDS in subject line.

CLICK HERE for Library Lion Trading Cards
available free until August 22, 2016 at 9PM EST.


Elizabeth Quigley

Let’s be VERBAL!

Why are poems so important to language development?

Poetry is music and movement.  It is rhythm and beats.  Children, young children, may not understand all the words and meanings inferred in a poem, but they will feel the movement of the words and be drawn into the language – which is what you want.  Poetry is the most kinesthetic of literature forms because it moves the reader.   Listening is a critical skill needed to become fluent readers and writers.   Poetry is an excellent tool to enhance listening skills.

Give your children a brain-challenge.  Help them to grow a strong memory.   Enjoy this poem Mary Kline wrote in honor of Library Lion, just for you!  Print it out; memorize it together.  Or just have your child practice reading it with great expression and inflection.

Majestic Lion
by Mary Byrne Kline

Majestic lion wakes and rises,
Ready for the day’s surprises.
Furry cubs gather round to play,
Excited for another day.

Soon they’re nipping at his mane,
As gently falls the summer rain.
At days end, a glorious sunset beams,
Sweet dreams, dear lion, sweet dreams.

And now for your listening pleasure…a few of our young Chasing Fireflies followers reading, Majestic Lion.
Thank you to ALL of you who sent us your readings (continue to send them in!).  This is just a sampling from our amazing young verbal communicators.  [I’ll tell you what – there is just nothing sweeter than a child’s voice…]

Sierra [age 7]

Emma [2nd Grade]

Mariah [3rd Grade]


Here’s a favorite book of poetry I have on my poetry library shelf.  I encourage you to purchase one for your own home library.


Readers Theatre
a favorite Verbal Communication experience!

Maybe you have several children at home or you teach a classroom of children and are interested in having them participate in a simple Readers Theater activity.   Here is one  that basically writes itself.   Once you get the hang of creating your own Readers Theatre, you can customize a script for your group of students – easily.   After reading one of the books from our BOOK LIST read aloud the following poem by Emily Dickinson (page 44 of the book shown above) and then present the Readers Theatre.

There is no frigate like a book
To take us lands away,
Nor any coursers like a page
Of prancing poetry.

This traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of toll;
How frugal is the chariot
That bears a human soul!

Since there are no costumes, props, etc. make sure that children work on presentation:  inflection and speed.  If you have older students, add more to the script to make it more challenging – for instance, why not embed the poem by Emily Dickinson into the script?

Remember, the purpose is to grow a child’s confidence in the area of verbal communications.  Simple scripts and/or readers theatre, where children read the scripts and stay in place, are tools used in the beginning of the communication skills process.   If you choose to have children memorize something, have them recite it together in the early grades.   Putting a shy child in front of a microphone all by themselves without the comfort of their peers may prove disastrous.   Take time to grow, nurture and cheer on your young speakers.

Simple Readers Theatre Script

Next we will be focusing on our young authorsPrint Communications.

Deni Corbett

Grow a Storyteller

The goal?  To grow a storyteller;  for young children to learn to tell simple, imaginative stories.

There are no rules – except to have fun.   Moms and Dads, you must take turns as well – but keep the stories simple, so that your little ones feel that their stories are equal to your efforts.   Enjoy, laugh, create legacy family memories around a great children’s book and a storytelling prompt. You may want to use a minute timer for those who tend to create the story “that never ends”, or the child who needs to be rescued by a timer.   You know your children – just create a safe environment for storytelling…no TV, no cell phones, no computers – just family members and maybe some popcorn!  ENJOY!


1.  Keep a recorder close by and capture each TMAS [Tell Me a Story] experience.  You don’t want to miss a single family legacy storytelling gem.
2.  After you have shared together one of this month’s Chasing Fireflies book selection, or your own favorite books about libraries and books, engage your child in conversations about the book(s) before asking them to tell their own story.  Children must have a reference point; information and pre-knowledge on which to hang their ideas.
  • Who are the characters in this book?
  • Describe each of the main characters.   What adjectives would you use to describe _____?  You want future storytellers to recognize how to paint a verbal picture of each of their characters.  Begin by having them point out the differences in the characters from the book you read together.
  • What happened in the book?   Discuss events and the order those events happened.
  • What is the setting(s) described in the book?
  • Paraphrase the plot.  Tell me what happened – problem & resolution.

Please don’t go through these questions as if you are preparing them for a test.   These questions should flow through an engaging conversation..”Who do you think……”   “How would you?”   Again – let the interest and engagement of your child guide you.   If he/she is enjoying the conversation – carry on.    If he/she is annoyed at all the questions and it is obvious you are sucking every bit of the joy out of reading the book – STOP!  I beg you – STOP!

3.  This month I didn’t fill the Chasing Fireflies’ Tell Me a Story Box with several small prompts (more on that next month for those of you who don’t know what a TMAS Box is..).   Instead, I chose to purchase a replica of the main character of Library Lion and use it as the prompt.   I just really love this book and decided to encourage children to come up with additional adventures the lion may have had.   Perhaps you can think of a great “reveal” for your lion.   Perhaps he does fit in your TMAS box (if you follow FirefliesBlog and have one)!   I purchased this one from Amazon and just love it!  Great quality and price.
4.  Be sure to make your storytelling time an event.   Your voice and body language should express excitement and anticipation.  Both should convey that something magical is about to happen!
5.  Keep storytelling time short.  Make sure your child is engaged by having them tell just one story and then pass the storytelling microphone on to the rest of the family.  Setting a timer works for some, depending on the ages of the children.  For 5-year-olds, aim for a 10 – 20 minute total experience and add 5 minutes for every year.  The bottom line? You know your child(ren) better than anyone else.  You will be able to sense when they are becoming disinterested or frustrated.  Try to end before the storytelling experience becomes a negative one.   Leave them wanting more.

Follow up:


As I was walking through the grocery store, I spotted these and decided to try them for storytelling.  I’m not sure any of the animals are recognizable – but I’m determined to find a lion in the bag!    I’ll let you know if they were a storytelling hit – if I don’t eat them all first…a real possibility.

Here’s what I’m thinking:

Choose 2 animals and share the conversation they are having.   I just have to come up with the context for the conversation.   I’m going to create 10 situations, type them up, and put them in a jar.    Example – “Your two animals are walking home discussing their first visit to the library.”  “The animals are meeting for the first time and are describing their families to each other.”

After you tell your story – you may eat the characters in your story!  Talk about motivation.

I need to work on these obviously, but you get the idea.    I think it has real potential for storytelling fun!