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!