Friday, December 14, 2012

The MUSEBOX: Hide Your Walnuts!

Professor Watermelon!

Walnuts! Chestnuts! Peanuts! Hazelnuts! Almonds! Pecans! Cashews!


Boris Nutcracker

Dear Boris,

With all due respect, I don't know what to tell you. You see, the MUSEBOX is where messages and artifacts are left for my Creative Writers! If you want NUTS, I am sorry to say that you were sent to the wrong address. But I'm sure my Creative Writers will go NUTS over writing a story about you!

Ah La Peanut Butter Sandwich!

Professor Watermelon

Dear Creative Writers!

All main characters WANT something really badly, or the story they star in will simply fall short. I think we have found a great main character in Boris Nutcracker. He definitely WANTS something. Can you write a story about how he goes about getting what he wants? This Creative Writing Challenge is worth $20 Melon Dollars!

With Imagination!

Professor Watermelon

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The MUSEBOX: A Gift from Santa's Elves

Greetings Professor Watermelon,

Our North Pole Teddy Bear factory has never been busier. We have stuffed nearly a million Teddy Bears in last week. We wanted to send you a few of these Teddy Bears to share with your Creative Writing students. I'm sure Santa won't mind! We also wanted to ask your Creative Writers if they could write a story about our Teddy Bears and the factory. Do you think they are up for it?

Happy Holidays!

Santa's Elves

Dear Santa's Elves,

I LOVE these Teddy Bears. They are so soft and cuddly! And I'm absolutely certain that my Creative Writing students will LOVE them, too. As for the Teddy Bear stories, you got it. Let's see what my Creative Writers come up with.

Seasons Greetings!

Professor Watermelon

Dear Creative Writers,

You heard them! Santa's elves want some Teddy Bear stories. Can you write one? Maybe your main character is a Teddy Bear. What does this Teddy Bear want more than anything in the world. Who is keeping the Teddy Bear from getting it? You can write your story in the comment section below, or you can bring it to Creative Writing Club. This challenge is worth $20 Melon Dollars!

With Imagination,
Professor Watermelon

Picture this...

Using the comment section below, write a few paragraphs describing this picture. This creative writing challenge is worth $10 Melon Dollars. Be creative (wink).

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Weekly MUSE: Reindeer

Reindeer (Photo by Dawn Endico)
Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donder, and Blitzen.

There is something magical about these names. They make me want to look toward the sky and listen for the sound of sleigh bells.

What’s that? I forgot one? Oh, yes…

RUDOLPH the Red-Nosed Reindeer! 

These nine reindeer have been on my mind lately, and they have probably been prancing around in your mind, too. So let’s explore these magnificent creatures called REINDEER!

Reindeer (Photo by Billy Lindblom)
So, why did Santa choose reindeer instead of horses to pull his sleigh? Well, it is just a little too cold for horses at the North Pole. But reindeer thrive in the cold climates of northern Europe, North America, Asia, and Greenland.

Reindeer are herbivores, which mean that they only eat plants. They especially like moss and lichen. Reindeer eat up to twelve pounds of food every day. Imagine eating twelve pounds of pizza!

Reindeer are also the only member of the deer family in which both males and females grow antlers. Sometimes the males can grow antlers reaching five feet tall. Holy Cow… I mean, REINDEER!

Reindeer migrate up to 1,600 miles a year from north to south in the winter and south to north in the summer. This is one of the farthest animal migrations on the planet. At some parts of this migration, reindeer must swim through icy-cold bodies of water. Watch this AMAZING video of some reindeer herders in Northern Norway.

What an extraordinary adventure. Did you see the reindeer’s hooves paddling underwater? If you look closely, you will notice that the hooves are hollow. This helps with swimming and digging for food in the snow.

Also in the video, you saw some very young reindeer. Females give birth to one calf a year. And these calves can stand after just a few minutes, and they are able to move along with their mothers by the next day. WOW! It takes us several months to learn how to walk.

In northwestern Mongolia (Asia), there is a tribe of people known at the Reindeer People. Ancient forests are a part of this region, and the Dukha Tribe believes that their ancestors’ ghosts live in these forests as animals that lead the living. The Dukha people live very closely with the reindeer and rely on them for milk and transportation for hunting.  Sadly, these forests and wildlife are dwindling, which threatens the Dukha’s way of life. Take a look at these photos of the Dukha people.

If you live in the Seattle area, you there are two places that I know of where you can meet some real-life reindeer: The Cougar Mountain Zoo and Swanson’s Nursery.  Ask an adult to check out these websites to plan a visit.

So, let’s get back to Santa’s reindeer – RUDOLPH in particular. I love the story of Rudolph, and if you are currently in Creative Writing Club, there will be an opportunity to buy the movie with your Melon Money. In the meantime, let’s sing Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer together. Click on the video below.

With this new knowledge, what kind of story could you write? Maybe these WHAT IF questions will help you get started.

WHAT IF your main character was a reindeer who wanted to migrate to the North Pole in hopes of becoming a member of Santa’s sleigh team?

WHAT IF your main character lived in a family of reindeer herders?

WHAT IF your reindeer character’s antlers would not stop growing?

The possibilities are endless, and please leave your own what if questions in the comment section below. I’d love to see what you come up with.

So, grab a cup of hot cocoa, a pencil and a piece of paper, and let’s begin. With your imagination, we can go anywhere. I look forward to seeing where you take us.

With Imagination,

Professor Watermelon

The word of the day is “migrate”. Here is the definition: to pass periodically from one region or climate to another, as certain birds, fish, and animals.