Category Archives: Events

Interview with Dr. Michael Kinsey

Dr. Kinsey Bio Pic

Dr. Michael Kinsey is the author of the picture book Dreams of Zugunruhe.

In these times, connections are awfully important to maintain. I have found a wonderful expert on this subject, Michael Kinsey, PHD. He is a clinical psychologist that lives in Manhattan. Dr. Kinsey’s specialty is parent-child attachment, and he has written a wonderful book that is called Dreams of Zugunruhe that combines his expertise and love for birds. Through the journey of the Little Tern, children experience empowerment in order to face challenges. I had the chance to ask some questions of Dr. Kinsey about his childhood, his book, and how to support children during this pandemic.

1) What is your favorite memory from reading as a child?

Dr. Michael Kinsey: When I was a child we started a Christmas tradition of reading “The Polar Express” by Chris Van Allsburg every Christmas Eve. To this day it’s my favorite children’s book. The illustrations underscore the magic of the story, and I love the message of keeping childlike imagination and fantasy alive into our adult lives.

2) Who was your favorite author and how did they influence you?

Dr. Michael Kinsey: I read a lot of Gary Paulsen as a school-aged boy. Not surprisingly, his most popular book, “Hatchet”, was my favorite work of his. Recently I spent a weekend staying at lodge in the Catskills, near where Brian Robeson, the main character in the story, had to survive on his own. I was struck by how my memories of reading that story enhanced my experience of the landscape.

Your question makes me realize that his writing has really influenced my inner world. Multiple times I’ve taken trips to boreal forest in search of experiences with nature. I realize now that my love of nature and particular fascination with boreal forest likely stems from his influence on me. It proves to me that beloved books can really shape our inner world and our life as a whole.

3) Do you have a writing routine? Share what works for you.

Dr. Michael Kinsey: Writing is still something I do as a passion and hobby. I love the idea of rigorous writing routines, but for now I don’t obsess over craft and regular schedules. My method is really to maintain a commitment to listening to the muses when they sing to me, and doing my best to capture the spirit of their message.

4) What subjects would you like to write about in future projects?

Dr. Michael Kinsey: My expertise is in parent-child attachment and I like to write about the bonds between parents and their children. Proper parenting is such a delicate balance of providing support while getting out of the way of nature’s oversight of a child’s developmental journey. That’s what Dreams of Zugunruhe is about and I see myself continuing to write on that theme. In the future, I’d like to write on the unique contributions that fathers make to their children. Fathers are important in creating happy and healthy adults and I’d like to provide a vehicle for fathers to provide the guidance children need from them.

5) Why did you become interested in “birding”?

Dr. Michael Kinsey: My love of birds started at a school assembly when I was about 8 years old. A man who rehabilitated hawks and other birds of prey brought some of the birds he cared for to the school. The birds made a huge impression on me. They were an awesome display of paradoxes; they were both fierce and serene, powerful and elegant, hulking and delicate. I was also struck by how dignified they looked in captivity. As a child I think I often felt trapped and admired both the freedom these creatures could have through flight, and the strength they showed while fettered.

The realization I think I had at that time was that these creatures, in all their majesty, could be found and observed if I were willing to pay attention and look for them. This is the link between being a birder and psychologist. Amazement can be achieved remarkably often if we are willing to pay attention and look for what’s hidden in plain sight.

6) Why are connections important during the coronavirus pandemic?

Dr. Michael Kinsey: It’s what humans do and what defines our species. It’s a cliche but also very true that we are social animals.

During times of stress and uncertainty, we instinctively look to friends, family, community, and culture for comfort and support. The inhuman aspect of this pandemic is that we’re told we need to “distance” ourselves from others to survive. Luckily, we as humans have amazing brains that allow us to treat “closeness” and “connections” as abstractions. We have powerful communication tools that allow us to follow our instincts and turn to people we love and trust as attachment needs arise while we maintain the necessary physical distance.

7) What can you suggest for parents in regards to connections now that children are at home for distance learning?

Dr. Michael Kinsey: I do have some suggestions which I’ll make later on, but the main thing I’d like to offer parents is that this is a really challenging time to use opportunistically. A lot of parents I work with really want to use quarantine as an opportunity to connect with their children, but it can feel overwhelming to create opportunities out of a situation where boundaries blur and home is now home as well as school, office, and playroom.

Just because there may be more time and opportunity, does not mean it’s easily harvested. Schedules and structure are helpful. If you can combine schedules and structure with some flexibility and spontaneity, all the better.

Connecting with kids is a very personal thing and each parent will have to find his/her own way to reach each child. Creating space and openness to allow for connection is the hard part. Younger children especially are extremely good at making sure a connection happens if parents can only free up time, attention, and the receptivity to take advantage of opportunities their kids bring to them.

8) What have you been doing at home with your family during the coronavirus lockdown?

Dr. Michael Kinsey: I’m actually not a father yet, but I have recommended to fathers that this is an ideal time to start a project with their kids. A father’s traditional (or stereotypical role) in times of crisis is to insulate children from danger and to provide a model for how to confront challenges. Starting a project, in the yard, in the garage, or in the living room, is a fantastic way to show children that things are safe. If a father can show children that it’s safe enough to immerse his attention completely in a project, then children will truly feel safe.

I think these times also reveal how overvalued the content of a standard educational curriculum can be. Schools do teach valuable skills, yet the value of a traditional education is lessened when parents are at home and available to teach their children important things that they have learned. A skill passed on from father to son is far more valuable than the typical thing a child learns in the average day of school. A project, whether basic repair, woodworking, building a model, learning a sport, etc., promotes feelings of safety, teaches something valuable to a child, and provides quality time between parent and child.

9) What main takeaway would you like to give as support to parents during this time?

Dr. Michael Kinsey: Children are watching and learning during this time, as they always are. Not every parent will be able to use this time as an opportunity for bonding because of economic pressures. That’s fine. Think of this period as an opportunity to show financial resilience, perseverance, and resourcefulness. If you’re a parent who is fortunate enough to have a financial cushion, treat this as an opportunity to bond with or teach your kids something important. This could be as simple as reading a treasured novel together, teaching them something about your work, or have them help you with the daily chores. Show them your coping skills–especially the ones that actually work for you.

To be succinct: parents have a ton to teach their kids.

I really want parents to think of themselves as having something valuable to teach their children, and empower them to supplement (or even replace) the day-to-day educational curriculum with something only they can teach their children.

10) What is writing to you in one sentence?

Dr. Michael Kinsey: Writing is a tool to create connections, and thus moments of temporary relief from the pain of existential isolation.Cover JPEG

Dreams of Zugunruhe
is a charming picture book that captures the ups and downs of leaving home and growing up. It is told through the lens of “Little Tern” that goes on the harrowing journey of migration with his mother. Expressive illustrations enhance the beautiful conversation between the terns. Children will hear the empowerment and encouragement through Mother Tern, and be emboldened as they face the great adventure of life. The urge in birds to migrate is a great springboard to educate and comfort children. It’s a great addition to any home or classroom library.

Dreams of Zugunruhe is available through Amazon. This is a Kindle Unlimited title.

For more information, please visit Dr. Kinsey’s website at:

Reflections on Anne Frank, Hiding, and the Corona Virus Lockdown


ID 125060942 © Kristina Kostova |

The last few weeks, I’ve been supporting parents that are suddenly homeschooling because of the school closures due to the Corona Virus Outbreak. It’s helped to give back in the way that is unique to my teaching and writing background. A full novel story for my first book took two weeks to write and post for all of you. I do hope it has helped bring some light during these bleak times. As I’ve said before, I think we all need some fairies and the Fey in our life right now.

But I’ve also been on a personal journey to help deal with the events that have been happening due to the corona virus outbreak. I live in California in the Silicon Valley. I grew up here. In fact, my book series touches on the orchards I used to play in while growing up here. But at first, it was a ground zero for the outbreak, with Santa Clara County the first to lock down in the US. It was soon followed by the whole state of California.

I’m at high risk since I’m over fifty and a woman with a heart condition. So, I took this all IMMEDIATELY seriously when enough was known on how deadly this virus was becoming. I gave a leave of absence letter to my boss, and did a huge shopping trip to help get through what I thought would be a 3 week lockdown. My last day out in the real world was March 11. On March 12, I started my own lockdown to stay safe. And then, I watched my county and later my whole state join me a few days later.

I do work a lot on line. I have gigs that I help out other authors with blurbs and interview them for this blog. I self publish all my romance and children’s books, and am currently writing a “How To Self Publish” book.

But somehow, this shelter in place turned into something a lot different than my normal writing schedule. Everyone else was there with me. My friends were online all the time now. People were coming up with awesome, supportive things to cheer up each other. Putting up Christmas lights in the windows and displaying teddy bears for kids to do bear hunts were just some of the things I’ve participated in my neighborhood to connect during these strange times. But it also reminded me and started to feel like something else.


Outside of the Secret Annex, the building the Frank family hid in during WWII. ID 100750106 © Fedecandoniphoto |

I first read Anne Frank when I was eleven. I couldn’t put it down, and I cried endlessly when I got to the end wondering why she had to die. This touched off a lifetime of questions about WWII and the Holocaust. I have since been to the Anne Frank Haus in Amsterdam, stood outside Auschwitz (which was unfortunately closed on the day I visited), and have read many books about the behind the story about the Secret Annex, the helpers, and people that knew Anne.

I turned now back to these books, finding that there were even more memoirs, more information in regards to the hiding saga that has touched so many people. I’ve dived into some recently new memoirs and biographies involving people with the hiding of the Frank family and the other hiders. I’ve never felt more closely in experience with Anne before. She wanted to be a writer. She hid for two years, and I had tried to imagine before what it must have been like for her. I have more of an idea now.

It is strange to say that reading about Anne Frank and the hiding saga that took place almost 80 years ago brings me comfort during a pandemic, but it does. I’ve always had the question of what it was like for Anne. I’ve stood in the Annex in Amsterdam, touched the sink where they washed dishes, and listened to the clock bong the hour. That made the story so real for me tears started to form. And again, I still seek the answer, what was it like for Anne? What did she go through while hiding? Well, I’m living it right now. We all are.

There are some parallels that make Anne’s story true for us today. No. I don’t have Nazis looking for me. But the fear that some invisible enemy is out there is part of my thoughts.  My routine is constantly to clean and try to keep myself safe from it. The anxiety is awful. She must have felt some kind of similar anxiety about being discovered.

I do have helpers bringing me food in the form of delivery services. But the fear is different because the invisible virus could be on what they bring me and I have to wash everything. Of course, this could be akin to the fear of discovery, the attention to keep yourself safe, and to do what was needed to stay safe. I do have to ration and try to get the food I need, always trying to hit the delivery window online, which sometimes can take days. And I have to plan to get the food in advance. It’s like a combination of being a helper and a hider.

This outbreak shows the continued cycle of the struggle for humans to survive and that we can adapt to it all. It has a similar truth that Anne’s story has. And we’re living it together. If we hang in there, we might still have that hope shared with Anne in her writings. She was always positive, and still thought the best about humanity.

I spend my days writing, adult coloring a calendar I got for Christmas to relieve stress, and taking care of my husband and cat in a small, one bedroom condo. I am more fortunate than many, I know. But my mind just can’t help but imagine the similarities between Anne’s, her family’s and the others with them hiding experience must have been like. It is similar to what a lot of people in the world might be experiencing now, together. Trying to stay sane within close quarters of living with others.

There is one thing that is also clear. Anne had no way to know how her ordeal would end. She hoped it would be after the war that she could write her dairy finally as a book. But that never came to pass since she passed away from typhus at a concentration camp after her family and fellow hiders were betrayed, arrested, and sent to the camps. But while she was hiding, she had the most incredible hope. Hope that she would get through everything and have her dreams. Hope that everything would be alright when the war was over. She is quoted in “The Diary of a Young Girl” as saying:

We all live with the objective of being happy; our lives are all different and yet the same.

And that’s why I’ve related with her all these years, and so much now. Her life was so similar to ours until it was changed by the war, her family was forced into hiding, and she spent two years waiting for a more positive outcome than what she received. I hope for all of us, we all have a more positive outcome. That we all stay safe, we survive this pandemic together, and live through to the other side to still see the beauty in the world.

Please, do not lose hope. And if it helps any, read “The Dairy of a Young Girl” that was Anne’s dream to publish, but was unable to in the end, and her father made her dream come true. Then, here are some great follow up books that give different perspectives of the hiding experience:

  1. Dairy of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

2) Anne Frank The Untold Story: The Hidden Truth about Elli Vossen, the Youngest Helper of the Secret Annex by Jeroen de Bruyn & Joop van Wijk

3) Holocaust Memoirs of a Bergen-Belsen Survivor (Classmate of Anne Frank)

By Jeannette Blitz Konig

For more information on Anne and the secret annex where she hid, visit the:

Anne Frank Foundation/Anne Frank House Website

So, I invite you to read not only Anne’s story, but that of all the people she touched. It shows how one life can be so special, and how even in the worst of times, kindness can prevail. Like now. Maybe that’s why I’m turning to these books right now. We need the wisdom. We need the guidance of those that have gone through tougher times like our present pandemic situation. And what better resource than the books that survive them all.

If you do choose to read them or would like to talk about them after, please leave messages in the comments. I’d love to hear how you are dealing with the Corona Virus Lockdown, and maybe people in the future will use our stories of struggle for their own inspiration.

-Until next time, stay safe, wash your hands, and appreciate the little things,

-Tiffany Turner

Parent Support for Homeschool: Free Ebook & Online Novel Study


The Lost Secret of Fairies is FREE on Smashwords for a limited time!

So folks, some of you have been following along with a two week, free novel study. I thank you for that, and am warmed by the feedback I’ve been hearing. Because of this, I wanted to help you out even further.

I have managed to find a way to get the ebook for the novel study, FREE, for a limited time. From now until the end of the month, The Lost Secret of Fairies ebook is FREE. Yes, you heard that right. I’m giving it to you as a gift, along with the entire free online novel study, to help promote reading and learning during these hard times for the world. It is my gift to the world to hopefully help us all get through together. I’m sure fairies are something we all need right now.

Link to Smashwords Free Ebook

Offer extended until May 31, 2020.

I hope you enjoy the story, and for those of you just finding my blog, here is a link to the entire online novel study in order. It takes about 2 weeks to go through the whole novel study. Please leave any comments or feedback on how you are enjoying it. Plus, feel free to add any questions too. I love talking to people and finding out how they enjoyed my book.

summer1The Free Online Lost Secret of Fairies Novel Study

Day 1: Beginning of The Novel Study/Journal Entry Set Up

Day 2: Spooky Writing Online Unit

Day 3: Chapter 1-3 Study Questions

Day 4: Chapter 4-6 Study Questions/Blog Reading Activity

Day 5: Chapter 7-8 Study Questions/Definitions Activity Worksheet

Day 6: Chapter 9-10 Study Questions/Using Fairy Tales & Legends in Lit Paragraph Response Reading Activity

Day 7: Chapter 11-12 Study Questions/ PE Activity

Day 8: End of Book Study Questions/ Summary & Character Change Response Worksheets

Day 9: Theme/Author Message Response Worksheet/Video Lesson

Day 10: Final Essay Test & Grading Rubric with Completion Certificate

Bonus Posts:

Tips for Helping to Create Structure & Schedule For Distance Learning/Homeschooling 

Reflection on the Emotional Impact of the Corona Virus Lockdown: Poem and Journal Response Activity

Just remember, wash your hands, stay safe, and be kind to everyone, because the world needs that right now. Oh, and fairies. We need the World of Fairies too.

So, enjoy, read and write!

Until next time,

Tiffany Turner

***Tiffany Turner is the author of the children’s fantasy series, the Crystal Keeper Chronicles. She has had 18 years teaching experience in California as a public elementary teacher. She is currently tutoring in the private sector and continuing to write full time. 


Day 10: Last Day of The Lost Secret of Fairies FREE online Novel Study w/ essay test


Final Day of The Lost Secret of Fairies Novel Study: Final Exam Day!

Welcome to the final day of The Lost Secret of Fairies free online novel study. As of just an hour ago, as I’m writing this, the California governor has announced that California schools will be closed for the rest of the academic year, and maybe some changes will happen in the fall in regards to reopening schools. I could tell this was going to be for the long haul, and I am happy to be completing the support for parents in my home state, throughout the US and from my statistics, throughout the world.

I wrote my books for children and used the writing of them as instruction when I was in the classroom. To include them for novel study instruction to help teach reading seems to complete the circle of learning they were created for. I’m happy to have brought you this online novel study for my first book, and I would love to hear any feedback you have about using it.

summer1The Lost Secret of Fairies Novel Study Essay Test

So, with that said, here is the final activity to go with the novel study, the final essay test. If your child or student has been completing all the activities, including the summary, character change response worksheet and the theme/message worksheet, your little one is all ready for the essay test. They should have all the time they need to complete it, and they can use the book and their journal notes to help find examples and support.

LSOF Essay Test

Grading Criteria

I’ve included a rubric for you to help grade their answers. They should include examples and details of support from the story, their own ideas, and language from the worksheets they used during the novel study. Other words, they need complete sentence answers, topic sentences and closing sentences. The essay test and all the responses this week have been teaching basic essay response language and structure for your child. These are all standards in most school systems in the US and the world.

Below is a Grading Rubric for you to use. Traditional, 1-4 grading is used on these rubrics. If you want to change that from D grade to A Grade, you can. 1=D, 2=C, 3=B, 4=A. But I feel if your child has made an effort, worked hard, includes the language in a complete sentence and uses supporting details, they should get a high grade. It is up to you. As the parent, high praise from you will mean a lot. 😉

For those wondering minds, a passing grade in school that children would be working toward is the 3 on the rubric. It can also be helpful to show your child the rubric so they know what is expected of them before the essay test.

Rubric for Lost Secret of Fairies Novel Study Essay Test

When your child/student has finished the test, and you’ve looked it over and graded it, I’ve included a link to a completion certificate below. You can sign it and give it to your child.


Congratulations! You’ve completed a reading novel study unit with your child, and they’ve become a better reader and writer!

And that’s about it, folks! I want to thank you and your child for continuing with the novel study, and I hope they enjoyed reading the book. If they would like to continue the series, here are the links below for the three books that continue Wanda’s journey and adventures in the World of Fairy.


Book 2

The Lost Secret of the Green Man (Book 2)


Barnes and Noble:




Book 3 

The Lost Secret of Dragonfire (Book 3)


Barnes and Noble:



Lost Secret - High Resolution (1)

Book 4

The Lost Secret of Time (Book 4)


Barnes and Noble:



Thank you to everyone that have participated in the novel study! I welcome all the feedback and invite you to follow my blog as I continue to post more learning activities and homeschooling support for parents in the future weeks.

Take care, stay safe, wash your hands, and we’ll get through this together!

-Mrs. Turner

***Tiffany Turner is the author of the children’s fantasy series, the Crystal Keeper Chronicles. She has had 18 years experience teaching in California as a public elementary teacher. She is currently tutoring in the private sector and continuing to write full time. 






Day 9: The Lost Secret of Fairies Online Novel Study, Theme Response Worksheet & Video Lesson Link


Greetings for Day 9 for the Lost Secret of Fairies Online Novel Study. I know I threw a lot into the last post, and I even realized I need to add one more thing before the final essay test, a lesson on theme or message. That is on the essay test, and I wanted to do at least one lesson with The Lost Secret of Fairies since it is an original fairy tale, and working with morals and themes is a standard for 3rd and 4th grade. It’s reviewed in 5th grade to get ready for looking over Tale Tales and American Folk Tales.

So, here you go. I’ve added the theme response worksheet to my free downloads for this novel study. Plus, below is a video from BrainPop. The literature concept of theme/message is taught with animated Star Wars universe characters. It’s about 6 minutes long. Most children are familiar with Stars Wars, so I thought it was a good fit to talk about message and theme.


When your child is done watching, they should have a better understanding of theme for books and movies. You can talk with them about the following discussion questions below:

  1. What is a moral? Can you think of any morals for some of your favorite fairy tales.
  2. What kind of patterns and ideas can you think of in the book, The Lost Secret of Fairies? What idea can you think of to connect them?
  3. What is a basic motif in Star Wars? What do you think is a motif in the book The Lost Secret of Fairies?
  4. Where can you go hunt for themes in a story?
  5. What is one theme in the Star Wars movies? What are clues and examples that support this theme?

summer1Now, they should be able to work on the theme response worksheet below. They can download the webbing graphic to help them organize their ideas. And yes, this will be on the essay test. So, they’ll need to do this. 

Theme Response Sheet for LSOF

The Lost Secret of Fairies- Webbing Graphic Organizer

I’m sorry about this oversight, but it is an important lesson to incorporate into the unit. I’ll post the essay test tomorrow, I promise.

Until then, enjoy the lesson on theme and messages. Stay safe, wash your hands, and together, we’ll get through this.

-Mrs. Turner

***Tiffany Turner is the author of the children’s fantasy series, the Crystal Keeper Chronicles. She has had 18 years experience teaching in California as a public elementary teacher. She is currently tutoring in the private sector and continuing to write full time. 




Day 8: The Lost Secret of Fairies Online Novel Study with Summary & Character Handouts


Chapter 13 and End of Book Questions today!

Greetings everyone! It has been a challenging couple of weeks, but I hope you and your child have enjoyed reading my book, The Lost Secret of FairiesToday, on Day 8, I’ll be helping to wrap up the story and novel study. I’ll be including some downloadable worksheets to be used in response to finishing the book, and tomorrow, will include an essay test that your child should be able to complete on their own from doing the activities. The activities can be done over the next few days with the essay test given at the end of the week.

Let’s start today with the final journal response questions:

Chapter 13 & End of the Book Questions:summer1

  1. Summarize in a paragraph the book The Lost Secret of Fairies. Use a topic sentence, list the events, and use a closing sentence.
  2. How did you like the Lost Secret of Fairies? What was your opinion of the book? Describe your opinion with supporting details and examples from the book.
  3. What is the theme or message from the author of The Lost Secret of Fairies? Name examples from the text that are clues.

Bonus: Do you want to read the next book? Why or why not?

Now, for the end of book activities. These can be done over the next few days, with one a day, as a lead up to the final essay test. I’d suggest the summary first, followed by the Character trait essay answer, and then going through the journal response questions to get an idea of what the book was about in their minds. Then, in a few days, have them do the essay test. I will post the test tomorrow. They will be able to use their journal response pages to take the essay test. Of course, they should use the book to find examples and details.

Downloads for End of Book Activities:

Summary Fill In Handout for The Lost Secret of Fairies

Character Change Writing Response WS

The Lost Secret of Fairies- Webbing Graphic Organizer

Paragraph Writing Lesson Support

(Through my online store on TeachersPayTeachers)

Free Book Review Handout:

Writing Opinion Packet: (Only $0.99)

Paragraph Parts Review Packet (Only $0.99)

Diorama Book Report/Home Project Extension (Only $0.99)


I hope that helps set the rest of the week for reading response and writing for your child. I’ll post the final test tomorrow that can be the wrap up for this novel study. The other activities included above are great follow ups for the book and extension activities.

Thank you for following along with this novel study. I hope it has helped bring reading and learning to your little ones during these strange times. I’ll be posting the last day of the novel study tomorrow, and I welcome all of your feedback and comments below. It will help me plan for future instruction to help out during the pandemic.

Until then, keep reading and writing,

-Mrs. Turner

***Tiffany Turner is the author of the children’s fantasy series, the Crystal Keeper Chronicles. She has had 18 years experience teaching in California as a public elementary teacher. She is currently tutoring in the private sector and continuing to write full time. 

UPDATED March 31, 2020:

The essay test will be posted on Wednesday, April 1 now. I’ve added a lesson on theme and message, and posted it today. It is on the essay test, so I wanted to make sure I included a lesson on themes. Thanks for following along with the novel study. Please let me know how I’m doing in the comments below.

March 31, 2020 Post on Theme/Messages







Day 7: The Lost Secret of Fairies Online Novel Study with Distance Learning & Homeschooling Support


Study Guide Questions for Chapters 11 & 12 for Online Novel Study

Welcome to Day 7 of the online novel study for my novel The Lost Secret of Fairies. We’re nearing the end of the story now, and I hope you have been enjoying the journey with Wanda into the World of Fairy. I also hope you are being safe, locking down with your family, and washing your hands often. It can be hard when something like this pandemic is going on and being inside is the safest thing, but it’s important to stay inside. I know spring is happening outside, but you can go on a daily walk for exercise with your family for many of the lockdowns going on around the United States.


Spring bee pollinating cherry blossom on my daily walk for exercise today.

Hopefully, your family is able to take exercise walks from time to time. Like PE, it’s important to get some fresh air and exercise daily which is allowed for most of the lockdowns, as long as you keep 6 feet distance from those you don’t live with.


Zeta & Teddy look out my front window for kids to spot during a bear hunt neighborhood walk.



I had a chance to take some pictures of cherry blossoms along my daily exercise walk today. I have leash trained my cat, CATherine Zeta Jones, and she enjoys walks around my condo complex too. We always keep 6 ft. from my neighbors, especially the dog walkers. But we smile and wave at each other. That is still allowed too. Kindness and friendship is important still, but at a distance.

Plus, maybe people have started putting teddy bears in the windows so you can go on a bear hunt with your family. I’ve placed my childhood teddy bear in my window. He’s over 50 years old, and my cat has a new buddy to sit next to while she watches the world through the window. Remember, just like in PE, it’s important to stretch your legs, walk and keep your body in shape. There are even online free dance classes or video games that can get you moving. Here are some links to some free online homeschooling PE activities:

Note: Star Jumps are called Jumping Jacks in the US.


And now for today’s:

Study Questions for Chapters 11 & 12

  1. summer1Who do you think is the mysterious voice? Use evidence from the text to support your answer.
  2. What kind of magic powers do you think you would have as a Keeper?
  3. Name some obstacles that Wanda had to overcome in the book so far. How do you think they have changed her?
  4. How do you predict the story is going to end?

Bonus: What would you do if you were a Keeper like Wanda?

We’re nearing the end of the novel study, but I’ll continue to post parent distance learning and home schooling support to the blog. Plus, if there are any areas you are interested in seeing, please let me know.

I also am considering posting my Young Author’s Fair Writing Unit that I developed over the years. I was also the coordinator at my school for several years, and would love to support a Young Authors Fair online if people were interested. Kids can write stories through the online unit, and as part of the fair, they can read their stories on YouTube, and I’ll link them on the site. At the end, I can post a downloadable certificate of completion.

What do people think? Would your child like to participate? Would they like to write a story and then read it in a YouTube video to share with others? Of course, the reading would be voluntary just like it was in my classroom, and of course, only with parent permission.

Just a thought I wanted to put out there to see what you think.

Until next time, keep reading and writing!

-Mrs. Turner

**Tiffany Turner is the author of the children’s fantasy series, The Crystal Keeper Chronicles. She is a credentialed teacher in California and has had 18 years of public classroom experience. She currently is semi-retired from teaching and spends her day writing. Of course, her cat still gets lots of attention and the daily walks on her leash.





Day 6: The Lost Secret of Fairies Free Online Novel Study & Distance Learning Support


Day 6 of the Lost Secret of Fairies Free Online Novel Study

Welcome to Day 6 of my online novel study for my first book in my children’s fantasy series, The Lost Secret of Fairies. Today, I’ll be including a blog post activity to go along with the next set of study questions.

Here is a link to a blog post written by me on legends and myths in children’s literature. It is part of the standards to study myth and legends in 3rd, 4th and 5th grade. Novel studies and using real nonfiction blog posts is part of the standards approach to reading. To note, fifth grade does study Tale Tales and US folktales for its fairy/folktales. It is called: “Using Legends and Fairy Tales in Books”. I originally wrote this post to be used in this novel study and to support other teachers to have online nonfiction reading material.

Here are the activity directions. It can be used in conjunction with the novel study or as a separate children’s reading activity.

  1. Read the blog post “Using Legends and Fairy Tales in Books” by Tiffany Turner
  2. Print out the blog post if possible. Circle or highlight evidence or details you think are important.
  3. Now, answer the question about the blog post below. Write as many details as you can to support your answer using examples from the blog post.
  • How does an author use legends and fairy tales in their book?
  • Use evidence and examples from the blog post to support your answer.

For ELD and/or Special Learning Needs, I would often write out a framed language fill in answer sheet. Below is a handout that can be used for the above question to help create a full paragraph answer using supporting details from the nonfiction article. But this paragraph response sheet below will help all children in language structure and for building academic language.

Once your child or student as filled in their answers, they can recopy the paragraph in their best writing to learn the structure for academic language.

Paragraph Response to Using Fairy Tales

summer1Chapter 9-10: Study Guide Questions for The Lost Secret of Fairies

  1. What was decided at the Crystal Council?
  2. Who is Balkazaar? Why do you think he is behind the Queen’s disappearance?
  3. What are germites?
  4. What would you do if you were in Wanda’s place?

Bonus: Predict how you think Wanda will save the Queen.

Tomorrow, will be more study guide questions and more activities to go along with the novel study. Please comment below to let me know how you and your child, class or other distance learning students are enjoying the novel study and activities.

Until then, keep reading and learning!

Mrs. Turner

(Tiffany Turner)


Isolation & Psychological Fallout During Corona Virus Pandemic: Poem and Journal Activity


I want to thank everyone that has been following along in my blog for the last week. I started self isolating on March 12 due to the fact I’m over 50, and have a heart condition. I went through a battle to get back to health through most of 2015, and I really don’t want to go back there. I’ve been through an induced coma, pneumonia, septic shock, all due to my heart blood clot. But I’m not sure if my body could survive COVID-19. So, I isolated or how it feels to me, am hiding from getting this disease.

Then, I saw this poem today on Facebook being passed around. So many people are sharing their art. I would like to share it with you.

“History will remember when the world stopped.

And the flights stayed on the ground.

And the cars parked on the street.

And the trains didn’t run.


History will remember when the schools closed.

And the children stayed indoors.

And the medical staff walked towards the fire.

And they didn’t run.


History will remember when the people fought.

For their old and their weak.

Protected by the vulnerable.

By doing nothing at all.


History will remember when the virus left.

And the houses opened.

And the people came out.

And hugged and kissed.

And started again.


Kinder than before.”

By Donna Ashworth

The poem above helped me this morning. Creating art, blogging and writing,  is helping me. But I also feel like I’m waking up in the middle of a dystopian novel each day, and it’s making all the zombie shows and apocalyptic shows more real. I guess this is because I live a lot of the time in my imagination which really helps my writing self. But for a real pandemic, it is creating a fear that I have to face daily.

But now, reality is partially like fiction these days. That makes it kind of weird. Like expecting the vampires and zombies to show up next. I’m sure marshal law is just around the corner like in the Handmaid’s Tale, and too many things in fiction are making an appearance in real life. Maybe the jokes on me, because I imagine all this and write stuff down. Some of it has go to come true, right?

I’d like to give credit to Donna Ashworth and say thank you for the use of her poem. I contacted her on Facebook after I read it, and can see the story of how her poem is spreading and helping others. I’d like to present you with some journaling questions for parents and children in use with the poem to help with journaling on this subject:

  • How are you feeling about being in isolation or the soon to come shelter in place for your area?
  • Write down some of how you’re feeling about the corona virus in your journal. How are you feeling? What fears do you have? What experiences have you had over the past few weeks?
  • How does art help you?
  • What kind of art can you create to express your feelings or experiences about being in isolation or fears of the corona virus?

Feel free to comment below. If you like, you can talk with your children and see if they would like to use the poem above as an inspiration to write in their journals today or create some art. They can paint, write a poem, story, a song, dance, or create what they feel is right.  I taught on 9/11/01 and the days that followed, and I had my students journal their feelings as that disaster in our nation’s history unfolded. This is another time where journaling our feelings can be helpful.

Feel free to use the questions above or even add questions below in the comments. This can be a discussion for my blog community following along with my novel study and homeschooling activities. I’d love to hear how you are feeling.

Take care, and be kind to each other.

-Tiffany Turner

(Mrs. Turner)

For more information on Donna Ashworth, please visit her website/blog:

Ladies Pass It On.


Day 5: Lost Secret of Fairies Novel Study & other home schooling resources


Study Questions for Chapters 7-8

Greetings everyone! Hope you had a safe and healthy weekend. As more of the US hunkers down and isolates, I’m hoping this will help keep the education of your little ones at home going through the next few weeks. And of course, after all this is over, teachers and parents are still welcomed to use this for educational studies.

First off, I’d like to offer the next set of study questions for The Lost Secret of Fairies novel study. Hopefully, your child is writing down notes and details as they read each chapter in their journal. They can go back and look at the notes they took to answer the questions.

summer1Study Questions for Chapters 7-8:

  1. Summarize the story so far. Pretend you are talking to a friend and describing the story to them. Include who the characters are, setting, main problem, and plot events so far.
  2. Why does Wands tell Jessica she’s going to build a pond in the backyard?
  3. How do the fairies help her escape and get the water?
  4. Was it worth getting into trouble for the spring water? Support your answer with details from the story.
  5. Why do you think Wanda stopped to face her fears?

Bonus: Have you ever had a time where you have had to face your fears?

I’m also including a vocabulary building worksheet. As your child has been reading the story, they’ve been writing down words they don’t know into the area at the bottom of the journal entry sheet. They can now go back to those entries, and pick three words that they don’t know to look up in the dictionary. The following worksheet can be downloaded and printed out for them to fill in the words. Then, they look up the word usage and meaning from the dictionary. They can do this activity every 3 chapters.

Lost Secret Fairies Definition Fill-In WS

Tomorrow, I’ll have another blog post activity that will relate to Legends and Fairy Tales. This is a standard for many lower grades, including fourth and third grade. It’s also a great review for the upper graders, and ties into their prior knowledge.

Until then, remember stay safe and healthy! We’ll get through this together!

-Tiffany Turner

(Mrs. Turner)