Try This! - Look for a Springboard

From Linda Martin Andersen:

Springboard—a perfect summer word for time by the pool.  

A springboard can also be a jumping off place for your writing—an ah-ha moment. 

How do you find springboards for writing?  Keep alert.  Focus on what’s around you.  Record what you see:  Picture it in your mind. Keep notes. Take photos, if you can.  

How do I create a summer notebook moment?  One way is to follow these three steps.

1.  Find a springboard (ah-ha moment) in the world.
2.  List the senses it evokes.
3.  Write a notebook entry.

Let’s say your parents make a stop at the local garden center. While you’re there, look for a springboard.  Anything that catches your attention could become a summer notebook moment.

Here's one of my springboard moments.  You can see the steps I went through in my mind, from springboard to notebook entry.

Take a Photo with a Camera or with Your Mind

1. Springboard:  
The seed counter at Bell’s Seed Store, where seeds are scooped from bins and sold by the ounce.  

2. Sense(s) Involved:  
Sight and Touch.  I dipped a metal scoop into a butterbean display and placed a few beans in my hand.  I recalled these things:  

Planting hills of beans in my family’s garden
Winning a blue ribbon on a 4-H Club garden project
Helping my family pick and shell five bushels of butterbeans     on the 4th of July.
My mother encouraging my siblings and me.  She’d say, “Look back at how far you’ve come.  Don’t look ahead at how much         you have left to do.”

My Notebook Entry:

Five Bushels of Butterbeans

Near sunrise one summer morning, my family and I picked butterbeans from our garden.  When we finished, we each pulled up a chair under a shade tree.  Newspaper was placed on the ground and butterbeans were spread in thin layers to keep them cool.  We scooped beans into our pans, wiping our hands before shelling. Hulls were pitched into buckets placed between us.  

As my friends rode by on their way to the beach or lake, they honked their car horns. That was a 4th of July I’ll never forget. 

Even though I didn’t get to have fun with friends that day, it led to another special day.  A blue ribbon day, earned in 4-H Club for my garden project. 

Linda writes A Writer’s Playground, a blog with activities for kids. She has published activities and magazine stories and hopes to have a published picture book soon.  Linda lives in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and you can follow her blog at

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