Poetry Post Challenge
To motivate creative writing, I am inviting school-age students to send me a poem with parents’ permission using my guidelines. I’m choosing one every two weeks to share via a video message.
Free Audio Books
During these challenging times, I’m releasing new works on audio for free. Available for free listening through June 30, 2020.
Good Crooks Book Four: Quackily Ever After
Fans of my Good Crooks book series are dying to know what happens to Billy and Jillian! Starting April 1st, I’ll be releasing several audio chapters per week until the book is done! Best for ages 7-10.
The Chicken of the Family Collection: Six gentle stories about 4-year-old Henrietta and her loving, funny family. Best for families with children ages 3-6 to enjoy together.
School Zoom or Skype Sessions
Contact me to arrange a virtual school visit.
Private Zoom or Skype Sessions
I’ve been teaching private and small-group lessons via Skype for years for all ages. Creative writing, songwriting, and ukulele. Affordable lessons can be scheduled.
Teaching Packet to Show Writing and Publishing Process
A free packet that shows the step-by-step writing and publishing process including real examples of brainstorming, drafts, research, revising, and more.
How-to (Write) Handouts
- Story Writing Challenge (article in the Washington Post)
- How to Write a Mystery (for elementary school students)
- Tips for Keeping a Diary
- Tips for Keeping a Writer’s Notebook
- Tips for Parents to Encourage Creative Writing
- Tips for Teachers to Encourage Creative Writing
- Helping Writers to Get Started (and also tips to overcome writer’s block)
- Tips for How to Become a Writer
- How to Write an Author
- How to Write a Funny Poem
- Tips for Using Theater Games and Techniques in the Classroom
- See also: Writing Blog
- See also: Contests and Magazines that accept kids’ submissions
Revision Examples for Creative Writing Lessons
- From: Snarf Attack, Underfoodle, and the Secret of Life: The Riot Brothers Tell All
- From: Invisible Lines
- From: The Naked Mole-Rat Letters
- From: Edgar Allan’s Official Crime Investigation Notebook
Reader’s Theater Scripts
- The Chicken of the Family
- Edgar Allan’s Official Crime Investigation Notebook
- Good Crooks Book One: Missing Monkey!
My DIY Videos
Creative Writing Lessons
- My Want-Obstacle Spiral Exercise for revising a novel.
- My “big paper” process in revision.
- My Writer’s Notebook shows how I use my small notebooks in my writing process.
- Editing and Publishing Process (shows the editing and publishing process for Edgar Allan’s Official Crime Investigation Notebook)
- How to Hear a Character’s Voice (gives four tips for writing to hear your character’s voice)
- Writing Edgar Allan’s Official Crime Investigation Notebook (explains how one character took over story; shows writer’s notebook in use)
- Writing Invisible Lines (shows writing process, including webs, drafts, and revisions for Invisible Lines)
- Answers About The Naked Mole Rat Letters
- A Message for Kids (about turning off TV)
- Why Even Writers Need Math (showing how I use math in my professional life).
- Mary Amato Books Slideshow (slideshow of all book covers)
- How to Make a Dutch Baby (from Riot Brothers)
- Mushrooms on Display (shows images of mushrooms that inspired Invisible Lines)
- Stinky and Successful Acceptance Speech
- Example of Student Shadow Theater Project (Script Writing, Puppetry, Film Making) Octopoda Papyrus
Reading Rocket Interview Videos about Creative Writing Process:
- Writing Process Interviews with Reading Rocket
- Notebooks and diaries
- Expressing big emotions
- Capturing memories on paper
- Writing to find meaning
- The hard middle of the draft
- Ideas come from the world around you
- Rejection is an opportunity
- Finding time to write
- Dreaming and writing without being evaluated
- My secret: the WOW
- The WOW in action
- The natural flow
- Writing is like sports
- Making mistakes is liberating
- Improv revision
- Two strategies for reluctant writers
- Collaborative journals
- Exploring character through writing
- Songwriting about science
- Why we read
Curriculum Connections, Book Discussion Guides, Activity Guides
- Lucy McGee Series page link with mp3s, karaoke recordings, videos, and more.
- Lucy McGee Series reading and teaching guide.
- Our Teacher is a Vampire and Other (Not) True Stories: Activity Guide; Writing Process Packet.
- Good Crooks: Common Core Teaching Guides for Book One and Book Two.
- *Guitar Notes: Resources (Discussion Guide, Interdisciplinary Exploration Unit, and more)
- General Songwriting: Resources (Songwriting Lesson Plan, Songwriting Notebook, Videos and more)
- *Edgar Allan’s Official Investigation Notebook: Interdisciplinary Exploration Unit (10 pages); Book Discussion Guide (1 page); Poetry Activities
- *Invisible Lines: Interdisciplinary Exploration Unit (9 pages); Book Discussion Guide (2 pages)
- Please Write in This Book: Activity Guide; Interview with Illustrator Eric Brace
- *The Naked Mole-Rat Letters: Reading Guide
- *The Word Eater: Reading Guide; The Word Eater Guide (by Melissa Henderson)
- The Riot Brothers Book Group Lesson Plans (by Tammy Posner and Jenny DeCuir)
- Snarf Attack, Underfoodle, and the Secret of Life: Activity Guide
- Drooling and Dangerous: Activity Guide
- Stinky and Successful: Activity Guide
- Take the Mummy and Run: Activity Guide
- Vocabulary List for Edgar Allan’s Official Crime Investigation Notebook
*STEM and STE(A)M related novels and chapter books: Edgar Allan’s Official Crime Investigation Notebook (forensics, chemistry, poetry), Invisible Lines (mycology, biology, naturalist’s notebook, sketchbooks, visual arts), Guitar Notes (physics, music, songwriting), The Word Eater (scientific method, language arts), The Naked Mole-Rat Letters (biology, zoology, writing, psychology)
- ALA’s ALSC blog post on Ukes in Libraries.
- My resources on Ukes in Libraries
- Mary Amato Kid Songs Songbook
- Mary Amato Music Resources
- Blogposts related to music or songwriting
- Good Crooks Stick Puppets
- Poetry Writing Activities (from Edgar Allan’s Official Crime Investigation Notebook)
- How to Make Mini Books
- Mushroom Sculpture (art idea related to Invisible Lines)
- How to Make a Spore Print (science/art activity related to Invisible Lines)
- How to Go on a Mushroom Foray (science activity related to Invisible Lines)
- Mushroom Recipes (related to Invisible Lines)
- Dutch Baby Recipe from The Riot Brothers series.
Materials for Adults, Teachers, Librarians, etc.
- Writing Process Interviews for Reading Rocket
- The Washington Post KidsPost: Parody Songwriting Lesson
- Hyattsville Wire
- The Hornbook
- Left to Write
- Author Amok
- Librarians in My Life–ALA
- Teen Diaries and A Visit to the Anne Frank House in Teen Librarian Toolbox (or in pdf form)
- Listening to Old Ghosts: The Influence of Wilder and Masters in Open Mic Night at Westminster Cemetery in Teen Librarian Toolbox (or in pdf form).
- Bring the Power of Music Into Your Library in Teen Librarian Toolbox (or in pdf form)
- Researching the Westminster Cemetery for Open Mic Night in Westminster Cemetery in Carolrhoda Lab’s blog (or in pdf form)
- Performing in an Open Mic for B&N Teen Blog, September 2018.
- Kidlit Characters Who Break Into Song, a blog post for Mr. Schu Reads. (Pdf form)
- Embracing Silliness: Essay about my experience with silliness in children’s fiction.
- Songwriting with Kids: Essay for Reading Rockets on my experience with one of my many songwriting residencies.
- Tiny Triumphs: Ukes in Libraries article for ALA’s ALSC blog.
Checklist for a Successful Skype
- Get ready for a Skype workshop or presentation with this Checklist.
Bookmarks and Postcards:
You can use these to create author centers, bulletin boards, or posters.
- High Resolution Display Images (book covers and portrait shot)
- Foreign Editions
- Mary Amato’s childhood diaries and notebooks
- Encourage Diary Writing Display
If Mary Amato is coming to your school: Fun Author Info Sheet to photocopy and distribute, post on your school’s website, or share via email newsletter.