Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

99 things meme

I have only participated in a few memes but this one looks fun. The idea is to look at a list of 99 things and say whether you have already done them, you want to do them, or you have absolutely no interest in doing them. It is a fun way to reflect on things that I have done in my life.


Things you've already done: bold
Things you want to do: italicize
Things you haven't done and don't want to - leave in plain font

1. Started your own blog. Or two

2. Slept under the stars.

3. Played in a band. High school band count?

4. Visited Hawaii.

5. Watched a meteor shower. Every August

6. Given more than you can afford to charity.

7. Been to Disneyland/world. Both

8. Climbed a mountain. (OK maybe some people would say it was a hill)

9. Held a praying mantis. When I was little

10. Sang a solo. In High School. And now whenever I’m home alone!

11. Bungee jumped. Never, no way, no how.

12. Visited Paris.

13. Watched a lightning storm at sea. An incredible site.

14. Taught yourself an art from scratch. Didn’t say I was good at it

15. Adopted a child. My wonderful son.

16. Had food poisoning. Not a pleasant experience. At summer camp.

17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty. I don’t do high places.

18. Grown your own vegetables.

19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France. It is much smaller than I imagined.

20. Slept on an overnight train. Actually enjoyed it.

21. Had a pillow fight. My sister and I had them all the time.

22. Hitch hiked. A long time ago and would not do it now

23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill. Shhh – don’t tell

24. Built a snow fort Growing up in New England – of course

25. Held a lamb.

26. Gone skinny dipping.

27. Run a marathon. Watched one once.

28. Ridden a gondola in Venice. We got stuck behind the trash boat

29. Seen a total eclipse.

30. Watched a sunrise or sunset.

31. Hit a home run.

32. Been on a cruise.

33. Seen Niagara Falls in person Just saw it for the first time in August.

34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors. Spent a year in Ireland searching my roots!

35. Seen an Amish community

36. Taught yourself a new language. Have tried to learn Gaelic by tape but not too successfully.

37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied.

38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person

39. Gone rock climbing.

40. Seen Michelangelo's David in person. I was in awe

41. Sung Karaoke. Badly

42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt.

43. Bought a stranger a meal in a restaurant. But I have paid tolls for strangers on highway

44. Visited Africa.

45. Walked on a beach by moonlight.

46. Been transported in an ambulance.

47. Had your portrait painted.

48. Gone deep sea fishing.

49. Seen the Sistine chapel in person.

50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Don’t do heights so had no desire to go to the top. Looking at it from afar was good enough.

51. Gone scuba diving or snorkelling. In the Caribbean. Beautiful.

52. Kissed in the rain.

53. Played in the mud. Still do!

54. Gone to a drive-in theatre. Miss those days with the kids

55. Been in a movie. But my daughter was so I was on the set a lot.

56. Visited the Great Wall of China

57. Started a business

58. Taken a martial arts class

59. Visited Russia

60. Served at a soup kitchen do this several times a year.

61. Sold Girl Scout cookies. Was never the top seller though

62. Gone whale watching. Magnificent animals

63. Gotten flowers for no reason. Don’t need a reason!

64. Donated blood. Every 8 weeks.

65. Gone sky diving. No way, no how, no where

66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp.

67. Bounced a check. Accidently of course.

68. Flown in a helicopter. No way.

69. Saved a favorite childhood toy. Still have my stuffed animals and first doll.

70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial. With my kids

71. Eaten Caviar. Served it once at a banquet but didn’t have the gumption to try it. The three year old I was with loved it.

72. Pieced a quilt. Have done several for newborns.

73. Stood in Times Square. Not on New Year’s Eve.

74. Toured the Everglades.

75. Been fired from a job. Thank goodness.

76. Seen the Changing of the Guard in London. Well as much as I could see in the crowd.

77. Broken a bone. But only a toe

78. Been on a speeding motorcycle that I was driving.

79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person.

80. Published a book. Just published number 14.

81. Visited the Vatican. An amazing place.

82. Bought a brand new car. On brand new car number 3. I keep them for 10-15 years so it works out.

83. Walked in Jerusalem.

84. Had your picture in the newspaper. Had a regular column so picture was in every week.

85. Read the entire Bible. Not yet but working on it.

86. Visited the White House. During the Clinton years.

87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating. Don’t think I could

88. Had chickenpox. A long long time ago.

89. Saved someone’s life.

90. Sat on a jury. Been called twice but only served on one jury.

91. Met someone famous. Too many to mention

92. Joined a book club. hasn’t everyone?

93. Lost a loved one. Too many to mention

94. Had a baby. My lovely daughter

95. Seen the Alamo in person.

96. Swum in the Great Salt Lake.

97. Been involved in a law suit.

98. Owned a cell phone. Can’t understand how I lived without one.

99. Been stung by a bee. Every summer.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Let it snow!

OK, we went right into winter -- big time. We got a foot of snow on Friday and then another foot and a half last night. It is crazy out there. Today is cold and windy but the sun is shining and it is beautiful all covered with powdery snow.

But, thoughts do drift to warm weather and summer days. Today's podcast is for Beijing by Richard Platt. I enjoyed reading about the history of this magical city from it's earliest times right up to the summer Olympics or 2008. Back in the time of warm days and sunshine.

Platt, Richard. BEIJING

We heard a lot about Beijing this year since it was the site of the Summer Olympics. We saw the venues and got a bit of the history of the city. This book gives us a glimpse of the thousands of years in Beijing's past right up to the 2008 Olympics. In 16000 B.C., it was little more than a marshy home for the earliest humans. Now it is one of the major cities in the world.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Winter is here

OK, officially winter doesn't start until tomorrow but you certainly wouldn't know that by looking outside. We got a foot of snow yesterday and are expecting another foot tomorrow. People are still suffering from the ice storm 9 days ago. There are still over 20,000 people in NH that have no power 9 days into this. And some won't get power back until January. I feel so blessed that we have not had issues like that. The only worry I had was the chimney leak that let a bit of water into my bedroom. I just had to keep emptying the bucket. But the mason came on Thursday and now I have a brand new chimney at last. Also, the construction remains from the siding project were finally picked up and I'm feeling good about the home repairs.

But there are many people who still have lots of worries. Perhaps a worry tree would help them forget their worries for just awhile. In WORRY TREE by Marianne Musgrove, a young girl finds a worry tree painted on her bedroom wall and decides to give it a chance to take her worries away.

Musgrove, Marianne. THE WORRY TREE

Do you have to share a bedroom with a sibling? Are you living with a slob? Well, Juliet Jennifer Jones sure is. Her little sister is a slob and drives Juliet crazy. Finally her parents decide that she can have her own room. It's a room that her father now has all his stuff in so it will take a bit to clean it out. The girls are not allowed in that room now because of Dad's stuff. But he clears it out and Juliet finally has a place of her own. When the wallpaper is peeled away, a mural of a tree is revealed. Lots of animals are in the tree. It turns out that this had been her grandmother's room and this was her worry tree. Each night she gave her worries to one of the animals and let them take the burden off her. Can this work for Juliet also?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Jean Cannon

On Sunday last week, I was doing some Christmas shopping at Target hoping to get a majority of it finished. But I kept running into people I hadn’t seen for awhile so stopped to catch up with them. One person I ran into was Jean Cannon. Jean retired from the middle school last year after 35 years of teaching! Jean taught 8th grade Language Arts and was a master of dealing with that tough age. She taught writing to kids who didn’t want to write. She taught reading to kids who didn’t want to read. She taught the value of education to those who could care less. Jean left her mark on all the students she taught through the years. She didn’t stop teaching just because she retired from the middle school. Jean went on to teach English Comp at the local community college.

I’ll always remember the first time I met her. She was in class and I had to go ask something. I quietly opened the door a sliver and found a completely dark room except for one small candle on Jean’s desk. She was reading The Tell Tale Heart and the kids were engrossed. I quickly shut the door and hoped I hadn’t spoiled the mood. She let me sit in for the next class and I was amazed. Of course, the candle burning would not be allowed today.

I was so happy to see Jean on Sunday. It had been awhile seen we had seen each other and we were able to catch up. We chatted about mutual friends and colleagues. Have you seen so and so? How is she doing? Lots of small talk and catch up talk. We talked about retirement. I am still wavering about retiring in 2010 and Jean and I talked about the pros and cons of taking the plunge. We talked about the homeless shelter that was just voted down. Jean was furious. It was to be an emergency family shelter housed in a school that was no longer used. Jean had planned to volunteer there helping kids with their homework. We talked about Jean’s upcoming trip in the spring. We talked about our grandsons. Henry and Aiden are the same age and we were comparing the phases they were going through. She said she hoped to live long enough to see Henry outgrow this stage.

Jean had a massive heart attack on Tuesday. And she did not live long enough to see her grandson outgrow this phase. But she did live long enough to love her grandchildren and share a special bond with them. And she did live long enough to touch the lives of so many of Concord’s children. And she did live long enough to influence so many educators and help them become better teachers and people.

But she didn’t live long enough for us. The school is grieving and Jean is so sorely missed.

Good night Jean. Sleep well.

Jean Cannon Dec. 21, 1946 – Dec. 14, 2008

Sunday, December 14, 2008


My youngest grandson is having a problem with monsters in his room. We now have an elaborate ritual that must be performed every night before he will climb into bed and go to sleep. Most children go through this stage and hopefully Jordan will get over this soon.

But if you are talking about monsters, why not embrace them? That is where this book comes in. Hess, Nina. A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO MONSTERS

So you think you know your monsters, right? Well, step right up and see if you are right. Are you ready to be an apprentice wizard? The monsters are introduced by Zendric, a wizard from the Knights of the Silver Dragon. The monsters are found in the Dungeons and Dragons game but everyone who is interested in monsters will find some good information in this guide.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Ice storm

New Hampshire, and much of the surrounding area, was the site of a major ice storm yesterday. Power has gone out and many towns near me are still without power and may be so for days to come. We were fortunate in that we only lost power for a short time. Barely enough time for the cold to penetrate the house. I went out to the mall yesterday and found that many of the stores had no power and were closed. It was odd to see the major retailers like Sears and BonTon closed while the smaller store were doing hefty business. The big box tech stores were all without power so I didn't quite finish my shopping but pretty close. Although we are all fine here, I do hope that those without power don't suffer too long. It is very cold today. There are no hotel rooms left and shelters are filling up. Give me a foot of snow over an inch of ice anyday.

I received a review copy of my first book about President Obama!! It is well done and gives background information about our next president. I am happy to be able to show off a book about our new president in a timely fashion!

Gormley, Beatrice.

Barack Obama is about to become our 44th president. This is an exciting time and a time for change. But who is this man? Learn about his childhood, his time at Harvard University and his record of service to the citizens of Chicago. From community activist to United States Senator to President of the United States, President Obama rose quickly to become the first African American president.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Mythology Bee

My school just received the Percy Jackson Mythology Bee kit. It is so cool. There is a wonderful medal for the winner of the bee and buttons for all the finalists. There's a nice certificate signed by Rick Riordan for the winner. And the winner gets to enter a drawing for a trip to Greece with Rick Riordan. Too cool. Second prize is a week at Camp Half Blood. The teachers are looking forward to holding the bee and we will probably wait until March so that all the kids can have time to learn about Greek mythology. We have the spelling bee coming up in January so one thing at a time.

Today's podcast is for Lynn Curlee's book on mythological creatures.


Who doesn't love reading about mythology? All those great beasts and monsters! But do you sometimes forget which is which? Is the Minotaur half horse or half bull? Which one is the goat? Well, this is the book for you. Read about those fabulous creatures and bone up on your knowledge of mythological creatures.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

The networked student

I have spent the day working on my final paper for my class. I am writing about personal learning networks and have done a lot of reading, research and thinking about the concept. I have also been thinking about how students could benefit from networking. How their eportfolios should include a plan to continue learning and continue to network. And now Wendy Drexler has put a lot of my thinking into a video. Well, it is really her thinking but it certainly reflects what I have been thinking.

I got a kick out of the term "network sherpa" that Wendy used in the video. When I mentioned it to her, she suggested we should get badges to identify ourselves. Cool idea.

Dreaming of baseball

It is going to be a snowy weekend and that is fine. I am in the midst of writing my final paper for the semester. But I am having so much trouble getting in to it. I have to believe that if I just stop procrastinating and start writing, I'll get it done. I have just been overthinking it and now am not even sure what is expected. So, I am taking a break and will get another cup of coffee and try to start writing again.

Today's podcast is for the book HEY BATTA BATTA SWING! : THE WILD OLD DAYS OF BASEBALL by Sally Cook. I am a huge baseball fan and can't wait until spring when it starts up again. I have even been known to watch reruns of games during the winter months.


What was baseball like back in the days before free agency and designated hitters? Back when the game was young and new and the teams were still trying to figure it all out. Back when there were no uniforms and only one umpire? Where did those team names come from? Learn about some of the ways the game has changed -- maybe not for the better!

Friday, December 05, 2008

New Hampshire Ladybug Book Award

The winner of the NH Ladybug Book Award was announced today. Congratulations to When Dinosaurs Came With Everything by Elise Broach. Voting tallies can be seen at

My newest book came in the mail today as well. This was a fun book to work on since it was dealing with my two loves -- technology and books. The Tech Savvy Booktalker offers simple but powerful ideas and instructions for integrating technology into your presentations, and using booktalks to launch learning across the curriculum. You'll discover how to use your existing technology to make enhanced booktalks to use with students-video, audio, and text; how to integrate the booktalks into the curriculum to meet standards; and how to extend the excitement with online book discussions. Lesson plans and examples, strategies, and resource links make implementation a breeze. I really hope people will find this a useful tool.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Looking forward to a few days off

Last week I spent a few wonderful days doing a NEASC visit to a school. I love doing accrediting visits since you get to talk to so many people and see so much in action. I was particularly impressed by the lunch room. Is that wierd? It was just so cool to see so many kids go in and out so easily and without a lot of muss and fuss. Although I must admit, I kept feeling like a loser when the kids would leave me after a few minutes but a new group would take their place.

I finished up the class I was teaching at Plymouth State University and we had a nice party at the end. The grad students were great and we had many laughs along the way. Thank you all!

My first doctoral course is winding up soon. I have so much work to do to get the final project finished. It will seem so odd to have some time in the evening to read. I feel as if I haven't read a book in so long.

Winter is beginning to rear its icy head and we are supposed to get our first snow tonight. The North Country has already seen the first snow of the year. I still don't have my leaves raked so I hope it holds off until after the weekend.

I wish everyone a happy and healthy Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Ben Mikaelsen Author Visit

Wow, what a day we had yesterday. Ben Mikaelsen spent the day at our school and spoke with the 6th grade class. He was fantastic and the kids were hanging on his every word. If you ever get a chance to have him visit your school, jump on it. I wish we had more time as the kids actually moaned when he said his talk was ending. He challenged the kids to stand up to bullies and to be special.

Today's booktalk is for Fiona Macdonald's How to be a Roman soldier. Our 6th graders are studying ancient Rome now and many of them are fascinated about the soldiers. This book is perfect for them.

OK, if you can tell the difference between a standard-bearer and a legionary centurion, then you may well be on your way to becoming a Roman soldier. If not, perhaps this book will help you. You find out what type of training you'll need and what is expected of you. Do you know you have to buy your own weapons? What else is involved?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veteran's Day

I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you for every man and woman who has served our country in order to keep us free. No matter how much people complain about what is going on, no matter how bleak things may seem, we are very privileged to live in the United States. A new day is coming and hope is in the air again. And it is our brave military who have made it possible to look to a bright future. Thank you.

Today's book is a non-fiction book examining the separation of church and state. During this long election season, we have heard many speeches that included religious references. Be it a simple "God bless you all" to some rather strong religious rhetoric. Just what does the constitution say about the separation of church and state?

The First Amendment of the United States Constitution reads:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

When people are begin to talk about the separation of church and state, they cite the First Amendment. But what does it really say. Does the Amendment say that the government cannot promote religion? In the Pledge of Allegiance, is the term "under God" a violation of the Amendment? Or does the Amendment imply that the government cannot promote one religion over others but can promote religion in general? These are the questions that lawyers and scholars have struggled with for many years. Come along and join the discussion of the separation of church and state.


Sunday, November 09, 2008


"Don't you hate when your eyebrows fall into your soup? Dig them out with a six -- it's a great eyebrow scoop!" OK, you get the idea. Grandpa Gazillion has a number yard and you can find all sorts of uses for the numbers. Use 5 as a snorkel. or 14 as a sailboat. See how many other uses you can think of.

This is a cute counting book that shows children the letters. It is a funny book that I'm sure will be a hit with the wee ones.

Listen to the podcast at:

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Time flies when you are busy

I love being busy and this month has certainly been a very busy month. I gave two presentations at the NH NEA conference in October. Then I flew down to Virginia and spoke with the Henrico County librarians on Columbus Day. What a great group of people. In spite of a bit of technical difficulty, they hung in there and were very enthusiastic.

I spent election day in Pennsylvania. (I sent in an absentee ballot!) The school that hosted the presentation was beautiful. Thank you to Chichester Middle School! A very enthusiastic group of librarians spent the day with me learning about infusing booktalks with technology. I overplanned as usual and we didn't have time to play with the equipment. I have heard from a few attendees that they did indeed go back and use what they learned! Thank you to all the librarians for a great day.

I just finished up the month-long ALSC module "The Tech Savvy Booktalker". I was absolutely blown away with the quality of the final projects. Kudos to all participants. It was a fast paced month with a lot of information to absorb but I know they were up to it! Can't wait to do this again.

My proposal for a AASL preconference program has been rejected :-( I sent in a proposal to do a tech savvy booktalker preconference that would allow participants to play with the technology. I'm bummed but I'll get over it. I probably wouldn't be allowed the time off anyway.

I have been appointed as the Chair of the 2010 YALSA Young Adult Literature Symposium. An honor but I worry about what I've gotten myself into. That coupled with my work on the YALSA Technology Committee is sure to keep me very busy.

So, I haven't really had much time to read for pleasure this past month. I am currently reading the new book from City of Ember. I am enjoying it and hope to finish this weekend. I've also read Living Dead Girl. Very disturbing and has one of those endings that can be interpreted several ways. I love those!! Right after that I read Invisible. I wish I had read a funny book in between the two!

Monday, October 06, 2008

Busy, busy

I spent the weekend putting the final touches on the course I'm doing for ALSC. All you tech savvy booktalkers out there, it should be a fun month! I hope you are going to enjoy this journey.

I'm doing 3 workshops over the long weekend. I hadn't planned to do that but NEA NH asked at the last minute and I can never turn them down. So I'm doing two different workshops for them. Then I'm off to Richmond VA for workshops on Monday. I'm really looking forward to it. I am doing my typical tweaking until the last minute so I haven't been able to give them the handouts to copy. A special thanks to Whitney for her patience. I finally got the handout to her today. I'm still tweaking so who knows what the workshop will look like by Monday.

I just want to thank the Red Sox for their contribution the the economy. Sure they could have won last night and swept the Angels. But they are looking out for the little guy. The hot dog vendors and ticket sellers at Fenway. By having the series go one more game, they are helping the economy greatly. But you can win tonight guys!

Today's podcast is for an interesting book by Dori Hillestad Butler. DO YOU KNOW THE MONKEY MAN?

Sam hasn't seen or heard from her father in years. Dad left when Sam was three. Right after the accident. Dad and Sam's twin sister Sarah went out in the canoe. But it tipped over and Sarah was killed. Dad took off and the only time Sam heard from him was a postcard he sent from the zoo. It had a picture of a monkey on it and a short note but nothing else. And now Sam is consumed with finding Dad. She is so desperate, she goes to the local psychic for information. But that was no help. The woman only told her that Sarah was alive. So much for being psychic! So Sam sets out on a journey that she hopes will lead to her father.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Off to Cris Tovani workshop

I am really excited about today. Cris Tovani is in town and our district has arranged for a few of us to have an all day workshop with her today. I would have liked to attend her public event last night but since I am invited to attend today, didn't want to use a seat that someone else could use. A couple of years ago, she had worked with teachers in our district for several days around her work on reading comprehension. Today, Cris is working with us around assessment.

Today's podcast is for Philip Reeve's Larklight. It is pure steampunk -- a genre I adore. I loved steampunk before I realized there was a name for the genre! And I love Reeve's novels.

Reeve, Philip

Art and Myrtle Mumby live with their father in a 19th century manor that just happens to be orbiting the earth. They live a rather prim and proper life and are not prepared when they are invaded by spiders. Not the kind you are used to. These are huge spiders. Fortunately they are able to escape but find themselves on the moon where they are captured by moths. Or it is just too horrible to tell. These things are just too awful to contemplate. You will just have to find out for yourself. Lovers of steampunk fiction should give this book a read.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

NHSTE meeting was grand

Last night's NHSTE Annual Meeting was a blast. It started out with a web 2.0 smack down. Lots of cool sites in a very short time. Although the crowd was small on the rainy night, everyone seemed to be enjoying the sites. The dinner was delicious and the after dinner speakers gave us food for thought. Cheryl Oakes and Bob Sprankle from Maine shared their insights on participatory culture. There is no doubt in my mind why they are keynoting at K-12online.

Podcasts added this month include Barry Lyga's Hero-Type and Suzanne Phillips' Burn.

Lyga, Barry. HERO-TYPE

What happens when a nobody with a bad case of acne saves a classmate from a homicidal maniac? He becomes a hero, of course. He is even given a car -- or at least a discount on one. And the car comes complete with Support the Troops ribbons. When Kevin tosses the ribbons because he thinks they are empty symbols, he doesn't know he is being photographed. And now the hero has become the villain who doesn't support our troops. What happened to free speech?

Phillips, Suzanne. BURN

The locker room is the worst. The football players just can't get enough of bullying him. Freshman year started out just fine but now it is a total disaster. He does his best to stay out of the way. Camerron has learned which hallways to avoid. Which classes to be late for. Where he can be safe. His friends don't want to be associated with him since it would make them targets too. Cameron isn't even really sure why he is a target. But everyday gets worse. And Cameron is getting angrier. And he feels he is about to explode.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Thoughts of Paul Newman

I was so sad to hear of the passing of Paul Newman. He had such an incredible career and an incredible life. I loved his movies. I would be hard pressed to name my favorite. Maybe Butch Cassidy. Maybe Cool Hand Luke. Maybe just about anything he was in! Those blue eyes got to me every time. Even in his last years, his eyes just floored me every time I saw him.

His off screen life was not the usual fodder of the tabloids. He was married to the same woman for over 50 years. He didn't seem to get caught up in the Hollywood stereotype. He fought for the ideals he believed in. He believed in peace and opposed war. He wanted to do go.

I never met him but he touched my life in an amazing way. My son has a bleeding disorder and it would have been hard for him to attend summer camp like most children. But not to worry. Paul Newman started Hole in the Woods camp in upstate New York just for kids like my son. For 11 years, the highlight of my son's summer was his week at Hole in the Woods. The camp was totally free for us and, in the later years, even the transportation from NH was provided. He would talk about his time at camp all year and looked forward to the time he would get on the bus to head off for camp. And I was comfortable knowing there were doctors and nurses who understood his condition and would be with him if anything happened. My son met children with different handicaps and learned how to live life to the fullest. We will never forget the contribution that Paul Newman made to our lives.

Goodbye Paul. Sleep well. And know made a difference in this world.

Cabot, Meg. SIZE 12 IS NOT FAT

How many of us will agree with the sentiments of Cabot's title? This is the first of the Heather Wells mystery series -- Cabot's adult series of books. How does Cabot write so much and have so many different series? I don't really read books for adults but this one struck me because of the title. And the book is fine for YAs. Heather was once a teen singing idol who seemingly had it all. She was famous, had money and her boyfriend was also a pop star. But then things went sour. Her mom ran away with all the money, her boyfriend sold out, and Heather lost her career. She also gained a few pounds. But, as she is quick to mention, size 12 is average -- not fat. But that doesn't stop those who recognize her from commenting on how she let herself go. Now she is putting herself through college working as a residence hall assistant. She is keeping the books for a private investigator in exchange for rent. The investigator happens to be the older brother of her former fiance and Heather happens to be crushing on him big-time. When students in the resident hall start dieing, Heather teams up with Cooper to find out what is happening.

Cabot, Meg. SIZE 12 IS NOT FAT

She looks familiar doesn't she? I know I saw her someplace. Wait a minute. I know -- that's Heather Wells. You remember. She used to be a singer. Boy, she was a lot thinner in those days. She's really let herself go.

Heather is used to hearing things like this. It's true. She was a teen idol when she was younger. OK, and thinner. But size 12 is not fat. It's average. And so is Heather. She's lost all her money -- her mother took off with it. Now she's working as a residence hall director at a small college in New York City. She also does the books for a private investigator in exchange for room and board. It just so happens that the PI is her ex-fiance's brother. And Heather has a bit of a crush on him. When girls at the school start showing up dead, Heather joins with Cooper to find out why.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Thirteen reasons why by Jay Asher

This has been a quiet week. It has been busy but quiet. My daughter, son in law and two grandsons have moved out!! They decided it was time for them to find a place of their own. After almost 5 years, it is nice to have my house to myself. Without the boys, it is quiet. But I am enjoying the quiet. I have gotten a lot of writing done this week.

Today's podcast is for Jay Asher's Thirteen Reasons Why. This book really disturbed me. The whole subject of teen suicide disturbs me. I just can't imagine being so lost that there is not a flicker of hope. I wish there were a way we could identify and help these kids. There are just so many reasons why they choose this drastic escape. In Asher's book, Clay has no idea how he contributed to Hannah's suicide. The others probably did not either. But it points out how our actions effect others.

Asher, Jay.
Clay has no idea why he got the tapes. What does this have to do with him? Hannah Baker has committed suicide but Clay had nothing to do with it. But he knows he must listen to the tapes and then pass them along. He listens to the secrets that surround Hannah. The secrets that led to her final, horrible decision to take her own life.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Wow. Has it really been almost a month since I've updated my blog? So unlike me. And I haven't posted a podcast in about a week. I have got to get back into a routine.

This school year has started out at a face pace. I hit the ground running and haven't slowed down since. In addition to the expected 6th grade orientation, I was pleasantly surprise to be asked to booktalk to many 7th grade classes. There is a new content literacy class being offered so all teachers must teach literacy. And they are coming to the library. How cool is that? Of course, we just get the kids charged up about books and then close the library for a month for standardize testing. I will be going to the classrooms during that time though. It will be OK.

I had my second f2f class for my doctoral course yesterday. As much as I appreciate the fact that I don't have to drive an hour each way too often, I do love the f2f times when we have them. It is wonderful to be surrounded by like minded people. The passion in the room is palpable. We'll see how it feels a couple of years into the program!

Now that I am spending money on classes, doesn't it just figure that unexpected expenses would pop up?? My computer died a couple of weeks ago. Yes, it is the same computer that I just put lots of money into for repairs in May. I decided that I just couldn't justify putting any more money into it. I ended up buying a low end laptop on clearance. This one will probably last a lot longer than the one I spent so much money on. I just need a reliable laptop to use -- especially for workshops! I also had to spend lots of money to get my car fixed so it would pass inspection. But it is 11 years old and hasn't needed anything major before so I guess it is worth it.

So I've gone from not writing to just rambling. So, today's podcast is for White, Linda Arms. I COULD DO THAT! : ESTHER MORRIS GETS WOMEN TO VOTE. This is a good book to share just in time for the elections. And to talk about women in politics. (I am still a Hilary supporter!)

You have probably never heard of Esther Morris. But she was very important in the history of women's rights. Esther was the type of person who didn't take no for an answer. When she wanted to do something, she would try until she succeeded. In 1869, Esther was living in Wyoming with her husband and children. She decided that she wanted to vote in the upcoming elections. But at that time, women were not allowed to vote. This didn't stop Esther. She talked to politicians and convinced them to introduce a bill to allow women to vote. I Could Do That!, she thought. And she was right.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Last day of summer break

We start back to school tomorrow. District meetings, building meetings and then a wee bit of time in our rooms. The children come on Tuesday. Another summer gone.

Yesterday I spent the day in class. My doctoral class meets one Saturday a month and it was good seeing everyone again. There were great discussions and my poor little brain hurt by 5:30. Too much info going in :-)

Podcasts added to my site include two books that may help me as I search for answers and watch ideas grow!

Dear Mr. Mutt,
It's ridiculous!
Holidays are unbearable. First I'm a baby, next I'm a bunny, then I'm a bride, now I'm an angel.
I'm NOT a baby or a bunny or a bride or an angel.
I'm a dog.
Where is my dignity? I'm the laughingstock of the block! I'm in need of your assistance immediately!
Help me, Mr. Mutt!
-- Overdressed in Oklahoma
P.S. My people never dress up the cantankerous cat!

What would your dog write if he sent a letter to a doggie advice column?

Swanson, Susan Marie. TO BE LIKE THE SUN

Have you ever planted a seed? And took care of it? And watched it grow? Here, a young girl does just that. And we share her journey. As she plants a sunflower seed, she wonders what it is made of. And how it knows to become a sunflower.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Summer's worth of plans in a day?

Like educators around the world, I have so many plans for the summer. It seems to stretch out before us in June and there are endless little projects that can be finished. Clean the basement, paint the kitchen, finish the bathroom, read, read, read. But then late August arrives and you realize that very few of the projects have been crossed off the list. I have gotten a couple of project finished but certainly not all. And I have not been reading very much. At least for pleasure. I had so much reading due for the start of my doctoral course that it was all I could do to finish all that. That type of reading is so different than reading a fiction book. Or even a memoir. I did managed to get a couple of books read and recorded podcasts.

Today's podcast is for

Rhodes-Courter, Ashley. THREE LITTLE WORDS : A MEMOIR

Ashley entered foster care at the young age of three. Over the next nine years, she and her younger brother were placed in a variety of foster homes. Sometimes together, sometimes apart. Ashley endured 14 placements in nine years. Some of the homes were good, and some were abusive. Through it all, Ashley desperately wanted to believe her mother would return for her. Her mother had promised that they would be back together again. This is the author's true story of her life in the foster care system. Her story of being caught in the system and her desire to live a normal life.

Yesterday, I added a podcast for Alice Schertle's new book

Schertle, Alice. LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Little Blue Truck rides along the back roads saying hi to all his friends along the way. He is having a great ride. But when the huge dump truck comes by, things change. The dump truck thinks he's too important to stop and say hello to all the animals on the road. But when he gets stuck in the mud, he wishes he had been nicer.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Another online quiz

OK, I admit I'm a sucker for this online quizzes. Be it Which Harry Potter character are you or this one. The Perception Personality Image Test. You look at some beautiful photos and tell what you notice most and least. Fairly harmless. Come on, give it a try.

Your result for The Perception Personality Image Test...

HFPS - The Humanitarian

Humanity, Foreground, Big Picture, and Shape

You perceive the world with particular attention to humanity. You focus on what's in front of you (the foreground) and how that fits into the larger picture. You are also particularly drawn towards the shapes around you. Because of the value you place on humanity, you tend to seek out other people and get energized by being around others. You like to deal directly with whatever comes your way without dealing with speculating possibilities or outcomes you can't control. You are in tune with all that is around you and understand your life as part of a larger whole. You prefer a structured environment within which to live and you like things to be predictable.

The Perception Personality Types:


Take The Perception Personality Image Test at HelloQuizzy

Happy Birthday Aiden!

Today is my grandson's birthday. Aiden is 5 years old today and one week away from starting Kindergarten. One thing that Aiden loves is funny rhymes. He loves hearing Mother Goose and other children's poetry. These might keep him laughing today.

Prelutsky, Jack. MY DOG MAY BE A GENIUS

The penguins once collided --
both were in a nasty mood
and quickly started bickering
they were extremely rude.

Those penguins argued on and on
without an interlude,
and that was the beginning
of their famous frozen feud.

Jack Prelutsky and James Stevenson team up again to give us another great poetry collection. Come on in and join the fun.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

One week to the start of school

Only one more week of summer vacation. If it seems shorter this year, it is. We had to go a week later in June due to all the snow days. The summer flew by even faster than usual. I think my grandson Aiden is the only one excited about school starting next week. He is going into Kindergarten! We just found out that he will not be going the first day of school. They are having half the class go on Tuesday and the other half on Wednesday. So, he will have to wait another day. I hope we can keep his enthusiasm up for many years.

Yesterday's podcast was for the new Fancy Nancy book. I love Fancy Nancy -- and not just because of her name! The vocabulary used in the books is wonderful as are the stories. And the illustrations. This is just the kind of book I would have treasured as a little one.


Fancy Nancy and her friend Bree are planning the most extraordinary birthday party. It will be a butterfly party. Whenever Nancy and Bree see a butterfly, they say "Bonjour" -- that's French for "hello". Nancy is so excited about Bree's party. She has her butterfly outfit all planned. But then her mother tells her something bad. They are going away that weekend and Nancy can't go to Bree's party. Now Nancy scowls and sulks and storms around the house.'connor_bonjour.mp3

Today's podcast if for Kimberly Pauley's first book. And it is a vampire book. You just can't have too many of these. The girls just eat them up. Take a bit out of this one.

Pauley, Kimberly. SUCKS TO BE ME

Most teen girls have to worry about who they are going to the prom with and maybe where they will be going to college. At that age, the whold world is open and there isn't a real hurry to decide your future. Unless you are Mina Hamilton. You see, she comes from a very different family and now she is told that she has just about a month to decide what her future will be. To help her make up her mind, she has been enrolled in special classes that explain what she will need to consider. What she will need to know to become a vampire like her parents.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Baseball is summer

I've been enjoying watching the summer Olympics and seeing some incredible performances. Those swimmers, those gymnasts, those runners. And the sports I don't normally watch. How did I miss that trampolining became an Olympic event?

Anyway, the sport that really says summer is baseball. I love watching and I'll admit I usually have the game on the tv while I'm doing other things. I've been a baseball fan for as long as I can remember. So Linda Sue Park's new book certainly brought me back to the good old days before steroids and multi-million dollar babies who demand to be traded then whine that they were traded. Oh well. I still enjoy a good game.

Park, Linda Sue. KEEPING SCORE

It is 1951 and nine year old Maggie believes she is the biggest Dodgers fan on the block. Sure, just about everyone around is but Maggie lives for the Dodgers. The team is not what you would call a winning team but that could change any time now. Maggie's dad used to be a firefighter at the local station before he got hurt. Even if he isn't at the fire station anymore, Maggie still hangs out with the guys and listens to the games on the radio. When the new fireman joins the crew, Maggie can't believe it -- a Giant's fan!! Jim will just never fit it. Or will he?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Home again.

After several flight delays and several changed itineraries, I finally made it home around 1:00 this morning. I was one of the lucky ones. Many of my fellow travelers either didn't get on a plane of got sent to other airports. On my NH flight, I was sitting with a young man who was trying to get to Burlington VT and this was as close at he could get. His parents were driving 3 hours from VT to pick him up. I hope they got a hotel and didn't turn around and drive 3 hours back.

My son is now set up in his first apartment 1500 miles away. I didn't like leaving him there but I just have to trust that he will be fine. He has a week to settle in before he starts his Americorps program.

Family really is very important to us. Be it driving 3 hours in the middle of the night or leaving your baby 1500 miles away. Today's book is all about family and the importance of working together to help out one member.

This is exciting news! Eubie has won a full scholarship to college! This is what they were hoping for. But, the family needs to come up with $3,000 for her room and board. It seems like an impossible amount. But maybe if they all work a little extra, they can raise the money. Even though Lily wants to help, it seems that every thing she does turns out wrong. Will she be able to help with Eubie's expenses?

I wasn't able to blog yesterday with all my travels. But, would anyone miss it if I didn't blog? I doubt it. But I am a strong proponent of having kids blog. But they really need to be careful about what they put out there for others to see. Or have a possibility of seeing. The kids have to learn that what they put out may be used against them. And that is just what happens to Libby.

Libby Fawcett has just had about the worst day in her life. She accidentally set her hair on fire in chemistry class! In front of her secret crush Seth. And her mortal enemy Angel. How can she possibly go back to school? Ever? So she begins a blog to pour out her thoughts. It's password protected so no one will ever see her secret, personal, for her eys only thoughts. Will they?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Connected again

Left to drive west on Sunday and expected to have Internet along the way. The hotel in Niagara Falls told me it was broken. They didn't seem to be in a hurry to fix it either. So, today is the first day that I have had access. I guess it was good for me to be offline for a few days.

Today I helped my son move into his first apartment in Columbus OH. He is so excited. His roommate moved furniture in but won't be back for a week so my son is on his own. Sort of. We went shopping to get the things he needs and he'll stay there tonight and get used to it. I'll be going home tomorrow and it will be nice to take a plane rather than drive for hours on end.

Highlights of the week include Baseball Hall of Fame, Farmer's Museum (Cooperstown), Baseball Wax Museum, Niagara Falls, Niagara Aquarium, Discovery Museum, Niagara Wax Museum, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Today it was just department stores and grocery stores. Such a change.

So, today's podcast is for a wonderful book that is a visual delight.


Dragons, mermaids, and trolls, oh my. They are all in this collection of poetry. We also meet gargoyles, trolls and even hobgoblins. How many of these creatures have you heard of? The poems are illustrated with vibrant paintings that will surely catch your eye.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

On the road...

Today we set off for Cooperstown NY. We had planned to get an early start but the son is not ready yet. He hasn't even started packing the car. I know he is nervous about his move and I think that is why he is dragging his feet. But we should be on the road within the hour.

Today's podcast is for the book LaReau, Kara. RABBIT & SQUIRREL : A TALE OF WAR & PEAS. I think it is important to expose children to stories about mindless conflict, misunderstandings and conflict resolution. While watching the Olympics, I keep wishing we could all come together for more than just sports. But it is an avenue for discussion and comradery. But the situation in Georgia breaks my heart. Let's keep teaching war and peas -- I mean peace!!


Rabbit is oh so very proud of her garden. She spends a lot of time taking care of it. Squirrel lives next door and also has a garden that he is proud of. Now, you'd think since they lived next door to each other and they both love gardening that they would be friends. But they never even spoke to each other. Until one day when Rabbit finds that someone has ruined her garden. She blames Squirrel and vows to get even. And then someone ruins Squirrel's garden and he is sure it is Rabbit. Now they are sworn enemies.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

First week of doctoral studies finished!!

I made it through the first week of doctoral studies. I think everyone in the cohort is questioning his/her sanity in pursuing this course. It is going to be a long four years. But it will be an exciting time. The professors are very supportive and I've connected with a couple of people in the cohort who are interesting in similar research. This week was just the orientation week! The real fun starts on August 23rd. Why am I doing this??

Since I was otherwise engaged, my podcasts and my blog were put on the back burner. I've uploaded more podcasts today to make up for the past few I missed.

Tomorrow my son and I set out to move him half way across the country. We are driving his car out to Columbus Ohio where he will be participating in City Year -- part of the Americorps program. We going to take about a week to get there so we can stop along the way and do some site seeing. I'll spend a couple of days in Columbus and then fly home. I've never had one of my children so far away before. I don't know how I'll cope!! When he first decided on Columbus, there was an airline that flew from NH to Columbus for $39 each way. That was so cheap we figured he could come home on weekends if he wanted to. Unfortunately, that airline no longer exists. And we all know how much airline tickets have gone up. He probably won't be able to get home until Thanksgiving.

New podcasts:


When Mama Duck accidently swallowed a rubber band, she could not possibly know what would happen. And what did happen is that one of her ducklings was born with a rubber leg!! That's right -- a rubber leg. Instead of running, he bounced. The animals make fun of him but his Mama tells him he is very special. Will the other animals ever believe that too?


Vulgarity. Poor grammar. Low morals. Heresy. Nudity. Sexism. Racism. Do these sound like words to describe required reading in high school? Can you believe your teachers would force you to read a book like this? Well, this is just what many high school teachers are doing. Forcing their students to read Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Are you surprised? Well, this book is one of the most challenged book in the last century. And yet, it is considered an American classic. How can that be?

Little Rabbit needs a topic for his school report. All the kids are going to give their report on Friday but Little Rabbit can't think of anything. He was so worried about it, he had trouble falling asleep. When he finally fell asleep, he had a nightmare that woke him right up. Night after night, the nightmare came back. Will he ever be able to get some sleep and write his report?

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

First day of doctoral studies

I survived my first day of my doctoral studies. Only four years to go!! The program at Rivier is designed to be a bit different than traditional programs and I chose it for that reason. There are so many opportunities for us to follow our interests. I am really looking forward to being in the program. The cohort group is amazing. There are so many interesting, accomplished educators. I am anxious to get to know them and learn from them all.

Today's podcast is for a retelling of a classic fairy tale. Give it a read!


This tale may sound a bit familiar. A beautiful princess is born and a huge party is thrown for her. The fairies each wish her happiness. All except for Beebo the fairy. She is furious about not being invited to the party so she places a curse on the baby. "When this babe turns sixteen, she will be run over by a pie wagon and die!" But Tintinnitus the fairy is a bit hard of hearing and changes the curse into something completely different.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Summer is on the wane

I can't believe I only have 3 weeks before school starts. The summer has flown by and although I have gotten a lot accomplished, I haven't had much time for reading. My piles of books are not getting any smaller and the new fall titles are arriving. So, I'm trying to get through the picture books at least. I'm preparing my new BER seminar and want to add some new picture books.

Next Sunday starts vacation baby. Traveling the highways and byways with my son. Looking forward to it.

I didn't blog about yesterday's podcast so today I'll post Sunday and Monday entries. Yesterday was spent doing errands (buying Jordan a big boy bed) and I ended up at US Cellular for almost 2 hours. No, I wasn't waiting all that time. I was being waited on for the time -- much to the chagrin of others in the store. I finally upgraded to a smart phone. I had thought of switching carriers and getting an iPhone but there is not much coverage in my area so I decided to stick with US Cellular. I got a lime green Motorola Q. It is not top of the line but we all need to start somewhere. I feel like one of the big kids now. I was checking my email and surfing the web from the phone. And I finally got unlimited texting (the kids are delighted) so I played with that a bit. Gee, there is even spell check on text!!! So today we go back and the kids can get new phones. I told them any phone they get, they pay for so I don't think they will get anything too fancy. I'm kind of glad we can only get new phones every two years. Saves me the angst of what to get.

Grimes, Nikki. OH, BROTHER!

Boy, it's hard enough dealing with a new stepfather, but Xavier also has to deal with a new stepbrother. A younger, perfect stepbrother. Chris does everything right. He clears the table, does the dishes and even does all his homework. Xavier isn't fooled though. He knows Chris is just playing up to the adults. He wants to be the favorite child. Xavier is certainly not going to let that happen.


How many of you like to eat grapes? They are delicious, aren't they? Have you ever thought about how they get to the supermarket for you to buy? Who grows them? Who picks them? A man named Cesar Chavez changed the way the grapes -- and other crops -- are harvested. Years ago, immigrant workers were used to pick the crops. These were poor, uneducated workers who moved from place to place to follow the crops and get jobs where they could. They were worked hard and paid very little. When Cesar was growing up, his family were migrant workers so he knew what a hard life they had. When he grew up, he did something about the bad conditions. How could one man change so much?

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Manny who?

When I first heard about Manny Ramirez being traded, I was a bit sad. I always enjoyed his quirkiness. Then as I heard a bit more about some of his antics, I realized that it was indeed time for him to go. And now we have Jason Bay. And it has become the Bay State all over. He is doing really well. I'm glad as it was probably very difficult to come into this high pressure situation. So, welcome Jason. Bye Manny.

Today's podcast is forMONKEY AND ME by Emily Gravett. I remember my daughter had a sock monkey when she was little. I always thought it was rather scary looking but she liked it. And so does the young girl in this wonderful book.

A little girl and her sock monkey are imagining some great adventures. They are off to see wild animals. Monkey and me / Monkey and me / Monkey and me / We went to see / We went to see some..." See if you can guess what animal they are going to see before you turn the page.