Story Writing With Your Child – How To Speed Up Learning Using “Chunking”

Writing a story is hard work, even for authors. There are characters to create, dialogue to deliver, plots to plan, tension scenes to capture, endings to invent and starts that have to sizzle so much they superglue your reader onto a chair.

Then you have to put it all into interesting sentences that flow smoothly. Whew! Breaking the complex process of writing into chunks makes helping kids with their writing more effective – and far more fun too.

Here are two ‘chunks’ you could try to help your child write with more impact.

Show, Don’t Tell

As we read words, pictures form in our mind. See what happens when you slowly read the lines below:-

o Snow glistens, thick and white on a mountain top.

o Orange and yellow poppies stand tall and cheerful in a vase.

Our job as writers is to create these pictures in the brains of our readers. That’s what Show, Don’t Tell is all about.

However, how can we do this when the idea is more abstract – like emotions? That’s much harder for kids to write as there is no picture. Therefore we need to show them how to create one. For instance:-

TELL: My brother is lazy.

SHOW: ‘Your turn for the dishes Tank,’ said Mum. ‘Yeah, later,’ he said, yawning, and turned up the TV louder.

‘No, now,’ said Mum. She stood in the doorway, arms crossed. She knew later in Tank’s mind meant somewhere between the year 2012 and infinity. Once, as punishment, Mum put all the dishes and saucepans Tank had forgotten on top of his bed. He just dumped them on the floor. A week later they were still there, a shoe in the spaghetti sauce, sweaty socks on the plates and a really bad smell wafting out the door.

Ah, now we have the picture for our minds. It takes much longer to write – but as readers we are far more convinced.

How to Write Tension Scenes

Imagine a birthday party, a top restaurant, friends and family – and a massive earthquake that ends in disaster.

Here’s the starting point by a 9 year old boy:

We were having fun in the restaurant when suddenly the ground started to shake. I didn’t believe it. Then glasses started to break all over my plate. My sister tried to stand up, she was afraid. The ground was trembling, there was noise everywhere…

Tension scenes are one of the hardest parts of a story to write. Kids often make them too basic and short. Why? Well, we say ‘write what you know’, but children often don’t have enough ’emotional experience’ to imagine this sort of thing.

However, other people do – and their words are all in a dictionary or thesaurus.

So try this: Get your child to underline key words in the story – and then use a thesaurus to help bring the scene alive. You can actually do this BEFORE they write as well. Just ask, ‘what are some things which will happen?’ and make a list for them to use.


fun – delight, enjoyment, amused, teasing, laughing, happy

shake – shudder, shiver, quake, quiver, buzzing, tremor,

break – crumble, disintegrate, collapse, crush, shatter

afraid – scared, fearful, terrified, panicked

tremble – quiver, shudder, beat, vibrate, grind

The idea is NOT to merely substitute one word for another. It is to give a greater variety of words/inspiration/ideas to the writer – and let their subconscious do the melding.


The waiter smiled as he put down a hot chocolate pudding right in front of me.

‘You’re not going to eat all that!’ said my Dad. ‘Here, I’ll help!’ He reached across with his spoon, teasing me. I pulled my plate away fast. Everyone laughed.

‘Just a little bit,’ Dad begged.

I shook my head. It was weird, but there was a strange buzzing sound as if everything was not quite real. I lifted my spoon, my hands felt like they were shivering. Or was it really the floor shaking? It wasn’t possible, but now all the glasses were starting to clink. Suddenly one fell, shattering glass across my plate and into the dark chocolate. Then the noise hit me, harsh, grinding, vibrating right into my brain…

Get the idea? See how the word ‘fun’ has turned into something more specific – teasing and Dad trying to steal chocolate pudding. A simple ‘shake’ now has triggered ‘shivering’ and a ‘buzzing’ in the head. Best of all look at that last line; the words suggested from ‘tremble’ have now made this incredibly evocative and powerful.

If you want rich writing, give kids plenty of rich ingredients to work with.

© Jen McVeity, National Literacy Champion.

Cat Training – Can It Be Done?

Cats are extremely popular pets for a very good reason, because they are smart, loving, and satisfied living indoors. This makes them a great pet for city dwellers. But, how difficult is it to train them? Cat training is very complex and interesting, because in theory training should be quick and easy due to their high intelligence level.

But just ask any cat owner, and they will tell you that cats are also strongly independent, and not nearly as eager to please as dogs are. This can make training them more difficult, as they may not be as receptive to some of the methods commonly used in training dogs.

The successfulness of cat training will depend on several variables. First is when you start your training with your new cat. Younger cats are more receptive to new behaviors, so you should consider beginning kitten training as soon as you get your new pet. The second thing to consider is what does “cat training” mean to you. If you want to train your cat to come when summoned and to be housebroken and use a litterbox, then these tasks are easily taught.

When it comes to simple tasks such as these you should use praise to get your cat to obey. Call to your cat, then when it comes to you give some good praise and affection, using a proper praising tone of voice. Pretty soon your cat will come when you call to them, as they will associate it with love and praise. Whatever you do, though, remain consistent, your cat will become confused if you change your behavior in the middle of training.

Be prepared for your cat’s litterbox training to take some time, though this may not be what you were hoping for, since no one likes the smell of cat urine lingering around their house. In the case of litterbox training, though, patience is a virtue. There are several methods for training that you can use, and you should study the different methods to determine the right one for you, but whatever you choose you must be consistent. Once you have selected a particular method for training, you must stay to it, this helps your cat know what to expect.

A different form of cat training is the elimination of bad habits that your cat picks up in daily life. Occasionally a cat will start a habit of not using the litter box as it has been trained to. This will result in urination under beds, in corners and other spots. Often this is just a bad habit to be broken but sometimes it can be medical related. Before you begin any changes, be sure to take your cat to the vet. If nothing is medically wrong, then a good strategy to break this habit is to put cayenne pepper in the areas where the cat frequents. Cats do not like the pepper therefore it will dishearten the cats want to urinate where the pepper is.

Cat training is certainly possible, it just requires you as an owner to be sensible and consistent. It can help you build a better bond with your beloved pet, by eliminating any unwanted behaviors, and it can be very satisfying to succeed in teaching your cat something new.

Computer Security Schools

Computer security schools help to develop computer security skills with the help of theoretical, as well as practical preparation. It helps students become aware of security aspects involving single computers or a network of computers connected to a central main server. Students who want to make a career in computer security can participate in standard security courses offered by schools or online computer security courses offered by different institutes.

Elementary knowledge of computers is essential to join in on any computer security course. Computer security lessons are imparted at a DOS (disk operating system) level. Students are given a DOS primer that can be studied before starting the course.

Students who enroll for computer security courses need to have a Pentium 300 MHz PC, with operating systems configured with Windows 95 or newer versions of an operating system to receive online study material and to complete practical tests. It is also important to have a spare hard drive that holds eight hundred megabytes to two gigabyte, a supply of HD 3½-inch diskettes, a printer and a modem with an Internet connection. Minimum software requirements include computer security utilities (provided with enrolment), a data sniffer (provided with enrolment), quick view plus, Norton utilities and Norton Ghost.

Enrolled students are provided with study modules on a variety of computer security topics. Some of the topics include operating systems, formal methods for information security, cyberspace laws, software engineering, network security, database systems, algorithms & applications (cryptology), information security audit controls and distributed computing security.

Advanced computer security tools are costly and used by most organizations to protect critical data, such as credit card numbers, login passwords, transaction passwords and others. If they are not protected, distortion may occur and lead to financial losses running into thousands of dollars. It also reflects upon the reputation of the organization with respect to providing security to customers.

Computer schools provide all necessary skills for becoming a trained computer security expert. However, it is always advisable to remember that certification alone is not enough to be accepted as a computer security expert. A combination of knowledge and experience is also necessary to get recognition as a computer security expert.

Is This the Easiest Way to Learn Guitar Under the Sun?

Ok, this all depends on the angle that you decide to look at it. For the people that are naturally music inclined, it would be easy. But for those that are not, it might not be so easy. Despite this difference, guitar is really not as easy or as hard as people may think.

Think back to the day that you came across a guitar for the first time, what went through your mind? Bet it was something like, “boy! Is that a cool instrument or what?” Regardless what you thought, guitar playing is what it is.

If one takes it as being difficult, then that is exactly what it is going to be. But if they take it as being easy, then that is what it will be. To take this a step further, let us look at the two separately.

Guitar is Difficult

The one surprising thing that you might come across, if you have not already, is the fact that some people want to learn guitar without having to deal with everything that comes with it. Things like learning tabs, chords, notes, the fret board, practice techniques and the list goes on.

Learning Tabs

If you want to play the guitar but don’t want to learn to read guitar music, it would be wise to know your tabs. After all, how do you expect to know what you are doing on your guitar if you can’t read tabs.

Chords and Notes

Then there are the rare few that think they can magically skip learning or knowing the chords and notes. How can one play the guitar if they do not know what A flat (Ab ) or A sharp (A#) are. Playing the guitar is not a magic trick, hence it deserves it due diligence.

Fret Board

Now tell me, who has ever heard of playing the guitar without the fret board? No one I bet, unless there is a guitar out there that has no fret board then I guess that the people that are avoiding learning their frets have a big chance of learning guitar the easy way.

Practice and Practice Methods

Each and every person knows that practice is one of the requirements for improving at anything. You can’t expect to get better at playing the guitar by simply looking at the instrument days on end. That just won’t cut it. You need to do your part as a guitar player.

Guitar is Easy

If you are nothing like the guys in the above scenarios, then you have nothing to worry about. By the way, the things mentioned above are not the only things that are needed to learn the guitar, there are many more.

The only thing that you need to be armed with is the desire to put in all the effort and learn some or all the cardinal things needed to be a guitar player. Then and only then will you be closer to having the guitar easy to learn.

Unfortunately there are way more things that you need to know about when it comes to playing the guitar. It was not possible to put them all down here.

Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA)

After all the hard work and professional training, you finally consider yourself ready for the medical office assistant jobs. But wait, how will you convince the employers that you’ve taken in all the knowledge and skills from the training, instead of dozing off during the classes? Thus passing a certificate exam is important; it is to show your employers that you are fully qualified and committed to the profession and the safety of future patients. In addition, it also provide you with a competitive edge in the job market.

Medical Administrative Assistant Certification (CMAA) is considered the gold standard for medical administrative assistants, a.k.a. medical office assistant. It’s administrated by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA), one of the largest allied health certification organizations in the nation, who’s goal is to “increase the quality of patient care and to help provide students with the support and certification needed to succeed in the allied health field”.

CMAA Exam prerequisites

  1. A High School Diploma, or equivalency
  2. Written proof of recent completion of a medical office assistant training program or more than one year of work experience within the field.

CMAA Exam Registration

  • Candidates who are enrolled in approved National Healthcareer Association school programs may take the exam at test sites.
  • Candidates who are eligible to take the exam, but not enrolled in the school programs my register for the exam online, and sit for the exam at PSI/Lasergrade test locations.

Fees and Cancellation Policy

The exam fee is $105.

There are no refunds offered on certification exams unless the scheduled exam date is cancelled by the National Healthcareer Association.
However, the exam fee may be transferred over to a new date for up to six months from the original date. All exams
must be rescheduled a minimum of 24 hours in advance to avoid additional costs.

Exam format and content

There are three formats of the exam:

  1. Paper/pencil exam
  2. Proctored Internet testing
  3. Computer based exam at PSI/Lasergrade center.

The Paper and pencil exam, and the proctored internet testing are offered at National Healthcareer Association recognized school program test sites. The computer based exam at PSI are mostly offered to people who are not enrolled in the above mentioned school programs.

The exam duration is 110 minutes, and there are 110 multiple choice items.

Check National Healthcareer Association website for the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) Handbook with more details on the exam. National Healthcareer Association also provides official study guides for the exam.

Holistic Universities – Meeting Alternative Education Demands

Find Holistic Universities in the United States and Canada. While the fields of alternative and holistic medicine continue to expand, so does the growing demand for integrative and complementary healthcare. This explains the phenomenal development and rise of holistic universities.

Today, one can choose from any number of holistic universities that offer a broad spectrum of healing arts modalities. Whether you elect to enroll in a chiropractic course of study, or if you are more drawn to massage therapy, then holistic universities can provide you with education and training to meet your personal and professional aspirations. Chiropractic holistic universities do, however, require prerequisite education from an accredited college or school. Furthermore, students choosing to pursue their doctor of chiropractic degree will quickly discover that the majority of chiropractic holistic universities call for a mandatory 4,000+ hours of clinical, class and lab training.

Holistic universities offering bodywork programs, for example, will typically provide education and practical training in musculoskeletal anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, deep tissue massage, sports massage and Swedish massage. For more advanced courses, a number of holistic universities will extend hands-on instruction in acupressure/shiatsu, Chinese medical massage (Tuina), cross-fiber massage, craniosacral therapy, Rolfing technique, lymphatic massage, Thai massage, and a variety of other specialty bodywork methodologies.

Holistic universities offering Oriental medicine studies will give students an opportunity to learn about Eastern medicine philosophies, including education in acupuncture, Qigong, Chinese herbal medicine, needling techniques, moxibustion (cupping), and other related coursework.

There are also holistic universities that offer training to students who desire to become holistic health practitioners. Applicants who engage in this course of study will gain a wealth of knowledge and skills in holistic health modalities including instruction in mind-body-spirit medicine – which may involve energy healing therapies, bodywork, herbology, natural health, nutrition (vitamins, supplements, etc.) and associated classes in anatomy, physiology and pharmacology.

Overall, conventional medicine is no longer the only proverbial “kid on the block” for treating common illnesses, ailments and disease; holistic universities provide the necessary academics and training to accommodate the popular demand for holistic MDs, chiropractics, acupuncturists, massage therapists and the like.

If you (or someone you know) are interested in finding holistic universities, let career training within fast-growing industries like massage therapy, cosmetology, acupuncture, oriental medicine, Reiki, and others get you started! Explore career school programs [] near you.

Holistic Universities: Meeting Alternative Education Demands
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Completing CompTIA A+ Courses

Having a CompTIA A+ certification is a must if you are trying to have a career as a computer support technician. In order to have this certification you need to be able to pass the CompTia A+ exam. This is part of the corporations like Microsoft, Novell, and HP. Having this certification proves that you are capable of installing, troubleshoots, networking, and protecting computers.

Since you will be a computer support technician, you will be doing this to other people’s computers and need to be well skilled and highly trained. There are even some companies that have made having this certification necessary for service technicians and you won’t be able to work without it. You have to take 2 exams in order to get the CompTIA A+ Certification, CompTia A+ Essential’s exam 220-701 and Practical Application exam 220-702.

You may not be sure that you are able to pass the test. You might need to refresh your memory on some of the information. For this reason there are CompTia A+ Courses you can take to provide you with all the information needed to pass the exams. CompTia A+ Courses can be taken anywhere from 1-12 months and you need at least 1-12 months experience with computers in order to take the test to become certified CompTia A+ Courses provide you with all the knowledge needed to pass the exam, get the certification, do the work and even provides you with knowledge on some computer based programs such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

Over 700,000 people have become CompTia A+ Certified since the program was created in 1993. After taking and passing the exam you will have the skills and certification necessary to become an entry level IT worker and you will have 500 hours of experience under your belt also if you take the CompTia A+ Courses before examination.

College Football Playoffs – Who Needs It?

Awh, it’s that time of the year again. The interstate rivals, the conference championship games, and the bowl season right around the corner. But as usual, everyone is caught up in the college football playoffs controversy. It seems to happen every year. People with poor memories will forget what it used to be like and how we would derive at a national champion.

The two best teams seldom ever played for the championship. The most embarrassing year was in 1984 when Brigham Young University won the title. Let’s get one thing straight off the bat. Finishing the season undefeated means absolutely nothing if you play crème puffs to get there. Brigham Young didn’t even have to play a serious opponent in a serious bowl to win it. They played Michigan, who finished tied for 6th place in the Big-10 and they played in the Holiday Bowl.

All of the elite bowls back then were played on New Year’s Day which means that the championship was decided early in the season. To be fair, Oklahoma was supposed to win it but they were upset in the Orange Bowl against Washington University. And to make matters worse, the Cougars barely beat Michigan to take the bowl.

Folks have been screaming for a college football playoff system since the BCS started. But the number one accomplishment of the BCS is that it has instated a computer system that ranks teams by strength of schedule. Unlike the NFL that has parity and only 30 teams, college football has over 100 teams and some conferences are simply much stronger that other conferences.

Who needs a playoff anyway? The passion and drama of regular season football at the college level can never be matched by the NFL. The bowl season begins in September and runs through December. You can lose a game and quite possibly two and still get there, but the pressure is on to win every week. In the NFL, most playoff posturing has been decided before the last two weeks of the year so playoff bound teams rest players. That means that the final two weeks are similar to pre-season. That never happens in college. You fight to the finish.

The BCS since its inception has continuously but the two best teams in the final meeting and the ratings have been awesome. I have one last example for you. If baseball didn’t have a playoff system and we decided the World Series like we did 50 years ago, guess who would have played in the World Series? The Yankees and the Phillies would have been the final two teams and I think the ratings would have been a bit better than the Rangers and the Cardinals don’t you?

Classes & Coaching – 4 Types of Coaching Classes

There are a variety of coaching classes available on the internet depending on various factors like the number of students and the web technologies involved.

o Individual or group: Individual coaching involves a one on one coaching for the student. There are many websites that help students to find tutors to solve their personal queries on a specific subject like Maths, Physics or Chemistry. The tutor may bid for the assignment and the student can select the best tutor. In other cases of online coaching, one facilitator handles a group of students who have enrolled for the course. This type of a group course can be conducted via email, website or a webinar. Examples include courses for marketing, and software usage.

o One way or interactive: One way coaching means the tutor or the expert delivers the contents and is not concerned with the learning of the student. Usually such courses are in the form of pre-packaged e-books which can be downloaded from the tutor’s website. The tutor has no responsibility to answer the queries of the students. On the other hand, in an interactive coaching class, students can discuss their questions with the trainer and get them answered. The interactivity can be provided through email or text chat. Most online coaching classes have some elements of interactivity.

o Offline or online: Offline coaching is asynchronous which means there is no real time interaction between the student and the teacher. The teacher will either send the course via email or publish the course on his website. The student will then have to go through the course whenever he has the time. Many online distance learning courses offered by universities are conducted in this manner. On the contrary, online coaching involves the physical presence of all the students and the teacher at the same time. The teacher conducts the class via web seminar or video conference and students can directly interact with the teacher. Most of the university contact classes are conducted in this manner.

o Short time or Long term: Many online courses are short term courses which get completed in one or two sessions. These are easy to create and deliver. Many of them are delivered over email or through the website. Long term courses on the contrary can stretch for weeks or months. They require elaborate planning and coordination. Many times, the course is started even when all the modules are not yet developed. Long term courses are a lucrative option for coaches to make money online.

You can choose any option depending on your expertise and the needs of your target market.

Could You Be a CNA? Certified Nurse Assistant Careers

Even though the economy is in the tank – there are certain career fields that are still thriving. One area where there are still many jobs is in the medical field. Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) training is one way to get started in the medical field without a huge investment. If you are considering a career as a CNA, you will want to be sure this is a good career for you before you get started.

Most CNA courses are short – 4-6 weeks is about average. This means you can move into a paid position without a long wait. This is important if you need to start earning money now – not in months or years. Being a nurses aide is often challenging, but many aides say this is the most rewarding job they have had.

What does it take to be a good nurse assistant? Here are some skills you should have before considering a certified nurse assistant program.

* Compassion is a must! If you truly care about other people and want to help them, you will do well in this field.

* Physical stamina is a plus! Caring for patients can be tiring. Being in average or better shape is a good thing. You don’t need to be a bodybuilder, but you should be able to be on your feet for long periods and be able to lift and support patients as needed.

* Follow directions well. As an assistant to the other members of the medical staff, you will be responsible for carrying out instructions from doctors and nurses. It will be important for you to be able to understand and follow those directions without making mistakes.

* Interest in medicine. Having an interest in medicine helps if you want to be in nursing. Going to work every day is a lot more fun if you enjoy what you do.

If you have these skills and traits, you could do really well in this profession. Often, a nurse assistant career is a stepping stone to a career as a registered nurse or other jobs in medicine. There are many more keys to success – including choosing a quality CNA training course. Some courses are even available online. If this idea excites you – be sure to learn more about this profession. You’ll love having a job you are proud of – and you can make a lot more than minimum wage.