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.