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.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Happy Birthday to me!!

Ah summer birthdays. I like having a summer birthday and having the day to do what I want to do. Since I have summers off, I have this luxury. The weather is great today and I plan to just relax and enjoy myself.

The local Borders store will be staying open late tonight. I'm sure it is just for my birthday even though some people think that it is for the release of Breaking Dawn. I don't think I'll do the party this year. The Harry Potter releases were fun but ...

When Haddix concluded her Shadow Children series, I was a bit sad knowing that I had no
more to look forward to. But now she is back with a new series. The first one is Found and we are introduced to a group of children who appeared out of nowhere and have been adopted -- some unknowingly. There is much intrigue in the story and I can't wait for the next one. I have about a year to wait though.

Haddix, Margaret Peterson. FOUND

"You are one of the missing." "Beware! They're coming back to get you." What would you do if you got these letters in the mail? There is no return address and no way to find out who sent them. Is it a prank? Or should Jonah and Chip worry? Jonah is adopted and he has always known that. But Chip had no idea that he was adopted as well. Why would his parents hide that from him? And now no one is talking. Except for one woman. The woman who witnessed the airplane just appear out of nowhere twelve years ago. Carrying 36 babies -- and no adults. This is the first book in a new series. If you like Haddix's Shadow Children series, be sure to pick this one up and find yourself among the missing.