Authors find different inspirations for their writing. Dr. Seuss’s book And to Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street was named for a street in Springfield, Mass., where Dr. Seuss grew up. Many of the pictures in the book are derived from things he saw in Springfield as a child. Dr. Seuss also had a closet of funny hats that inspired him to be creative and silly.
What inspires you to write? Is there anything you do to get you in the mood to write? Is there a particular subject you enjoy writing about?
Many books have a theme or message. The message might be an axiom, a statement that is an accepted truth. Think about these thematic axioms from two books by Theodore Seuss Geisel, or Dr. Seuss, as you may know him!
- A friend in need is a friend in deed. (from Horton Hears a Who)
- You never know unless you try. (from Green Eggs and Ham)
Pick one of the themes and illustrate it with an example from your own experience or from books you've read or movies you've seen.
Some people say that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. This saying is a proverb, or a short, popular saying. Many proverbs were created to help predict the weather. Here are a few more weather-related proverbs:
Red sky at night, sailor’s delight. Red sky at morning, sailor take warning.
No weather’s ill if the wind be still.
When the wind blows from the west, fish bite best. When it blows from the east, fish bite least.
Do you think weather proverbs can be based on facts? Choose a proverb and explain why you do or do not think it has truth to it. Back up your opinion with reasons and examples.
National parks are dedicated to the conservation of native plants and animals. In 1980, the Channel Islands, located off the coast of southern California, became one of the many national parks in the United States. The park protects a large number of diverse marine plant and animal species.
• save something from loss, decay, or waste; preserve
• the protection of valuable things, especially natural resources
What things on Earth need to be conserved? How do you contribute to conservation efforts? Use the word conserve or conservation in your answer.
In March of 1912, Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo, Japan, gave more than 3,000 cherry trees to the city of Washington, D.C. He wanted to better the relationship between Japan and the United States. Every spring, Washington, D.C. has a festival to celebrate its cherry trees coming into bloom. The National Cherry Blossom Festival includes a parade and a lantern lighting ceremony. There are also events centered on Japanese cultural arts, including origami, the traditional Japanese art of paper folding.
If you could send any gift to another city in the world, which city would you choose and what would you send? Explain your choices.
Today is Mardi Gras! “Mardi Gras” is French for Fat (Gras) Tuesday (Mardi). Many French words have been adopted into the English language. Here is another French word that has been adopted into English:
• the character and atmosphere of a place
Describe the ambience of a place you have been. Be specific in your description. Where and when were you there? What was going on? How did it make you feel?
Strawberries are grown in every state in the United States, but California grows the most. California produces about eighty percent of all the strawberry crops in the country. Approximately 2 billion pounds of strawberries come from California every year. Most of these grow during the peak season, which runs from the beginning of April to the end of May.
Describe the taste, color, and texture of strawberries or another fruit you've eaten. Use plenty of adjectives and sensory words.
1. an activity that takes the mind away from serious concerns
2. something intended to distract attention from something more important
Which meaning of diversion is used in each sentence?
1. The crooks created a diversion to keep the police busy while they robbed a bank.
2. The board game Monopoly, like most games, is a pleasant diversion.
Write a sentence using either meaning of the word diversion.
1. something intended to distract attention from something more important
2. an activity that takes the mind away from serious concerns
Ireland is the 20th largest island on Earth and boasts a famously beautiful countryside of green grass. As a result, some people call it the “Emerald Isle.” There have been people living in the Dublin area since about 140 A.D.
Would you like to visit Ireland one day? What would you be most interested in seeing? Describe your ideal trip.
Author Kenneth Grahame wrote The Reluctant Dragon and The Wind in the Willows. In The Wind in the Willows, Toad is obsessed with motorcars.
• think about all the time; be preoccupied with, often to a troubling degree
• the state of being obsessed
Do you have an obsession or a passion? What do you obsess about? Describe an obsession or passion (your own or someone else’s). Use the word obsess or obsession in your answer.
In Ireland, English is the most commonly spoken language, but some people can also speak Irish Gaelic. Irish Gaelic was the main language of Ireland until the 17th century. Slowly, it began to be replaced by English. Irish Gaelic is still an important part of Irish culture today.
Can you speak a language other than English? If so, write down which language or languages you can speak. Explain a few words and their meanings. If you don't speak another language, write down which languages you might like to learn and why.
A motto is a short saying that represents a core belief of a person, a group, or an institution, such as a school.
The Girl Scout motto is "Be prepared."
Does your school have a motto? If so, write it down. What would you choose for your personal motto? Explain why that saying holds meaning for you.
The blooming of flowers is just one sign of spring. Other plants begin sprouting at the start of spring. The reappearance of certain animals is another sign. Many hibernating animals become active again because more food is available for them to eat. Animals that migrated to warmer places for the winter start returning to their summer feeding grounds. Many species of birds migrate for the winter, so the sound of birds chirping is often a sign of spring.
What changes do you see in your area of the world that indicate that the season is changing?
An adage is a proverb or saying that expresses a general truth.
Necessity is the mother of invention means that a problem often forces new ideas to be generated.
One example of this adage is the invention of the earmuffs. Fifteen-year-old Chester Greenwood invented earmuffs because his hat didn’t keep his large ears warm enough. He created earmuffs so he could spend time ice skating during the winter. If Chester’s ears didn’t get so cold, he might not have had to invent earmuffs.
Illustrate this adage by describing a problem you faced and the invention that resulted.
Kite flying is an ancient activity. The earliest account of a kite being flown occurred in 200 B.C. Chinese General Han Hsin flew a kite as part of a military attack plan. Kite flying spread across the world, with each area developing distinctive kite styles and cultural purposes for the activity. In 7th century Japan, for example, Buddhist monks flew kites to ward off evil spirits and ensure rich harvests. Today in the United States, kite flying remains a fun pastime, perfect for a windy spring day.
If you could design a kite, what would it look like? What shape, size, and color would it be? Describe your kite in detail, painting a mental picture with your words.
What does the bold word mean in each sentence?
1. The ceiling fan circulates air throughout the room.
2. Magellan was the first to successfully circumnavigate the globe.
3. A circular staircase winds up to the crown of the Statue of Liberty.
4. The competition circuit includes meets in several Midwestern states.
5. The circumference of a circle is the outer rim.
The prefix circu- means ______________.
1. circulate: move around
2. circumnavigate: go completely around
3. circular: spiraling
4. circuit: a planned route for a series of events
5. circumference: outer rim
Circu- means around.
March is National Nutrition Month. Eating nutritious foods helps your body grow and stay strong. The five food groups include grains, vegetables, fruits, dairy, and protein. Keep your diet balanced by eating something from each food group every day. Also avoid highly-processed or fried foods and sugary drinks such as soda and juice.
Choose a favorite food from each of the five food groups. Explain why it's your favorite. Research what nutrients are in your favorite foods.
An idiom is a phrase with a meaning that can’t be defined word-for-word. The idiom put out the welcome mat means to extend a warm welcome to newcomers.
What do you think is the best way to put out the welcome mat for new neighbors or for new students?
Spring brings harvest time for many delicious and nutritious fruits and vegetables. Strawberries, asparagus, apricots, peas, and radishes are all spring favorites. Sometimes farmers pull vegetables early because people like how the immature vegetables taste. Baby carrots and spring onions, for example, are immature versions of the full-grown variety.
Plan a fruit salad. What fruits do you think would taste good mixed together? Write the recipe for your dish. First, list all the ingredients needed to make the fruit salad. Below the ingredients, list the directions step-by-step.
March 15 is the Ides of March, infamous for being the date that Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 B.C. In William Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar, a seer gives Caesar an ominous warning: “Beware the ides of March.”
• giving the impression that something bad or unpleasant will happen; threatening
Use the word ominous in a sentence of your own.
St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated on March 17 every year. In the United States, St. Patrick's Day was a minor religious holiday until the 1970s. Then many Irish-Americans began using the holiday not just to honor the patron saint of Ireland, but also to celebrate their Irish heritage.
In Ireland, St. Patrick's Day is a national holiday. Many people wear a small bunch of shamrocks on their clothes, and some girls and women wear green ribbons in their hair. In Dublin, there is a five-day festival that includes carnivals, dancing, a treasure hunt, and a parade.
Do you do anything special for St. Patrick’s Day, such as wear green or watch a parade? If so, describe your tradition. If not, tell about a tradition you’d like to try.
Julie and Nancy invited Greg to join them at lunch the other day, but Greg politely declined. He decided to forgo socializing in order to get ahead on his homework.
What do the bold words mean? Use each in a sentence of your own.
decline: refuse, turn down
forgo: omit, go without