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My humorous thoughts about life.

"My Humorous and Helpful Thoughts About Teaching / Educational Resources for Your Classroom / Music and Random Fun"

Monday, November 2, 2009

Long Time- No See

Some folks say, "If you can't blog well, don't do it at all." This is a struggle during the busy time of the day job. Is there such a thing as seasonal blogging? Sounds like allergies. Sorry for the lack of words to catch. I'll pick her up when the job settles down.

With Love,

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Help me Choose books for Kids

I am a teacher and have been asked to choose books for my students to read each quarter. I would really appreciate your advice on which books to choose.

For fifth grade, we are already enjoying Ingrid Law's Savvy and will read Paul Fleishman's Bull Run starting in October. But what about second semester? I must choose one book from each of these lists.

3rd quarter
The Great Depression

Bud Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis
The Happy Yellow Car by Polly Horvath
A Long Way to Chicago by Richard Peck
Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor

For the fourth quarter I plan to have the fifth graders read Number the Stars by Lois Lowry.

Fourth grade is already loving Indian in the Cupboard but the future options include
2nd Quarter
American Revolution

The Fighting Ground by Avi
George Washington's Socks by Elvira Woodruff
Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes
My Brother Sam is Dead by JHames and Christopher Collier
Sarah Bishop by Scott O'Dell
Tolliver's Secret by Ester Wood Brady

I've already had two votes for Scott O'Dell.

3rd Quarter
Westward Expansion

Captain's Dog: My Journey with the Lewis and Clark Tribe by Roland Smith
Dear Levi: Letters for the Overland Trail by Elvira Woodruff
Streams To The River, River To The Sea by Scott O'Dell

4th Quarter
Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden
The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
The Road to Memphis by Mildred D. Taylor
The Castle Corona by Sharon Creech
The Door in the Wall by Marguerite De Angeli
Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!: Voices fro a Medieval Village by Laura Amy Schlitz
Igraine the Brave by Cornelia Funke
Princess Academy by Shannon Hale

I'd appreciate your comments on these books. Thanks so much!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Wake Up Call

Diabetes has harassed my family from generation to generation. First, my paternal grandmother hobbled up and down steps with her wooden leg, then my poor father suffered tremendously when this awful disease stole his limbs, kidneys, and life. My mother became diabetic as an elderly lady and now another close family member tests her blood in order to keep her Diabetic sugar levels under control. So why did I wait so long to kick into a healthy life style?

It’s easy to become fat and lazy being a writer. Over the summer, I spent hours sitting in front of my computer doing the thing I love most—writing, but there are consequences. My weight was up along with my cholesterol and blood pressure until that frightening call from my doctor’s office telling me to come back for another blood test because I might have Diabetes. Fortunately, I got lucky with a Pre-Diabetes diagnosis and a stern warning that my status would surely change if I didn’t react to the news.

So, I’m doing what’s necessary. The Diabetic Store in Memphis, Tennessee offers free classes for anyone whether or not you are a diabetic. I eagerly attended two classes and have followed the eating and exercise plan proposed to me. Three weeks later, I’ve dropped a dozen pounds and am still going strong.

Throughout my life, I figured I’ve gained and lost the weight of several people in my quest to be thin. Since my last rebound to the fat lady store, I’d given up on this task and watched my weight balloon past my nine-month pregnancy size. I’d even stolen a comedian’s line by instructing my kids to keep me on life support, if I ever needed it, until I became a size 6.

Now, I’m determined to be a six without life support. The difference in this diet and all of my others is portion control. In the past, I’d load up on the healthy vegetables but never limit how much, thus keeping my stomach from shrinking. I now realize that this is what keeps people thin: that small stomach that can’t fit careless binges.

At first, eating three ounces of meat, a third cup of rice, and two or three half-cup servings of vegetables was very difficult. I chew my food slowly and top off the meal with a 16 carb serving of sugar free chocolate ice cream. I’d leave the table hungry but was determined not to eat more because that was all my body needed. I did and still do enjoy snacks when hungry, but I keep them around 15 carbs. Now that I’ve finished my third week, an amazing thing has happened. I can get full on very little food, and it’s no longer difficult.

So wish me luck in this venture, and if you’re overweight, come join me before the doctor gives you a do or die warning.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Character Suffers After Crash

My computer crashed and wiped out my precious writing. I’d used an external hard drive, but it had given error messages and I procrastinated fixing it. Although I'd saved the most important items, I lost a partially written first draft of my third book of a series. I'd quit working on it when I read about not writing sequels to unpublished books. This would have been the second sequel. It was rough and poorly written but the start of something that could’ve been big.

The manuscript began with Ben swimming with his latest squeeze Lucy. Next, his crime family had done their usual No-No maneuvers so he was forbidden to leave the house; but, he'd promised to take his girl to a Leaf Jet 8 concert. My boy disobeyed and snuck out. Right before the computer crashed, Lucy had ditched him for the lead singer of her favorite band and Ben was lost in a deserted neighborhood with someone shooting at him.

Although in the original, he escaped bullet wounds, I’m in the mood to up his angst. Having to rewrite from scratch makes one ready to throw the wrath of God (or the author) at the helpless victims (the characters).

I don’t know what will happen to Ben, but after the crash, I guarantee it won’t be pretty. Maybe this is God’s way of getting authors to abuse characters.


Turns out, I found a copy of the original manuscript and Ben was saved from a severe shaking up! Whew for him.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Why I Read Kid's Books

My daughter often says, “Mom, you’re an adult. Read adult books!”
Sure, I had my days inside the mind of the psycho killers brutally murdering helpless victims. I used to be pasted to the pages of Dean Koontz novels, but I’ve moved on. Usually, we advance to more challenging adventures, but not me. I write for children.
So, I wonder: does it make me immature when I laugh hysterically over Gordon Korman or Louis Sachar? Let’s face it, an adult story will never have Cap Anderson innocently referring to his classmates as Buttwad or Jerkface like in Schooled or the fun antics of kids breaking into a lowlife’s house in Swindle. Furthermore, will we ever see the silliness of Wayside School in the adult section of the library? Yet, Sachar gets deep as well as funny in A Boy in The Girls’ Bathroom.
But if it’s adventure you want, there’s plenty of that in the YA section of your library or bookstore. I’ve found nerve-racking stories such as Margaret Peterson Haddix’s Shadow Children series where third born children must hide or be murdered by an uncaring government; or how about, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins? Young Catniss must fight for survival in a future America. And YES, I love Anthony Horowitz’s, Alex Rider character. This junior James Bond is sure to hold anyone’s interest. Of course if you want to battle monsters in a modern day world, Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson adventures make for a fine read.
Probably being a bit ADD, I love the way a child’s story taps into a scene or character quickly without boring me with too much detail. So next time you're in the library or bookstore, check out the kids’ section. You won’t be disappointed.
Please check my previous post to get a taste of my writing. Thanks!