Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Have A Blast

"I bet those guys are really scared."
 Yesterday I helped out at a Cub Scouts Troupe Meeting with twelve other students from my school. Our purpose? To teach the rock cycle.

I was assigned to the Igneous Rocks section. A couple groups of four or five Scouts had come to our table so far. We had some rocks (granite, obsideon, diarite, and basalt), and some books with awesome illustrations and pictures.

(this is not the same picture, but a similar one)
Source of Photo
One of the Scouts was looking at one of these books. The full page was covered in a photograph: A volcano spurting orange lava straight into the air, with a helicopter in the foreground watching. Hence his comment "I bet those guys are really scared."

I wanted to let him know that some people are so interested in things like volcanoes that the helicopter in the picture was probably there on purpose, not some random passerby. In conclusion, I told him, "They are probably having a blast!"

I'll give you one guess as to what he did next.

He laughed!

I was very confused, not sure what was so funny... he explained.

"You said 'blast', and the lava is blasting up!"

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


The Blogoshpere is huge. I mean, seriously- how many hundreds of thousands of blogs are out there?
But sometimes, it shrinks in a way that reminds me of the 'its a small world' song.

I found out that a classmate of mine has a blog!
here, you should check it out.

My favorite thing about her blog is her 'College Wisdom' that she writes at the end of some posts, listing a few interesting things she's learned. They made me laugh so hard, and I may possibly do something similar. Eventually, anyway. Check out her blog!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Things Making Me Happy:

the weather

remembering this song from forever ago, that makes me think of weather like most of this week's weather

talking with my cousin over the phone for one hour and fourty five minutes

That most of my homework for the week is finished


world war two era books

non-fiction books, when they are not assigned but read for fun

that my sister got a signed copy of The Giver for me

taking notes on an unlined piece of paper, and including lots of pictures

my grandparents visiting me at school

my family skyping me so I could be a part of a birthday celebration back home

the prospect of spring coming

seeing shoots of flowers and plants peeking out from dead leaves and dirt



waking up feeling absolutely refreshed

learning about prayer

finishing crocheting another scarf- even though its not cold out anymore

thinking about this summer

deep breaths

latin being mentioned in books and during lectures, and myself having an idea of what they mean even before it is explained

wearing non-prescription glasses

finding out the vending machine has fruit snacks, and tail mix

being able to tell others about what makes me happy

hearing what is making others happy (hint hint)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Passion & Purity by E. Elliot

Elliot, E. (1984). Passion and Purity. Revell.Grand                Rapids, MI. p 184

Elisabeth Elliot's Passion and Purity is subtitled 'Learning to Bring Your Love Life Under Christ's Control.' It is riddled with excerpts from her journal, from letters written to her, with letters from Jim Elliot, and with scripture. It is a sort of autobiography or memoir of those five years between meeting Jim and marrying him that lets the reader into their life and thoughts.

There were some good points, some quotable parts, and several chapters or paragraphs that hit home. But overall it seemed so distant, so far removed from myself. It seemed I was entering a private book, one I wanted to finish, but didn't necessarily relate with one hundred percent. And the letters from Jim? I was surprised at them, actually. He was rather... forward. Often I felt slightly embarrassed to read them. The story itself is beautiful; two people mutually attracted to each other and in love, but wanting to serve God first and foremost even if it meant being away from each other, or never being married. That story in itself has many lessons to teach us about surrender and trust, lessons that apply in many areas of our lives and not just the love life.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Frindle by A. Clements

From my Literary Journal in my Children's Literature class:
Clements, A. (1996). Frindle. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing. 106 pp.
            (Grade Level 3-5).

            Nick is entering the fifth grade and he has Language Arts with Mrs. Granger. She was the only fifth grade Language Arts teacher, and she was notorious for loving the dictionary. In class one day, she comments that each and every person makes words mean what they mean by using them and keeping their meanings. The next day, Nick invents the word Frindle, to take the place of the word 'pen', and gets his friends to use it, too, thus creating a new word. The word catches on despite what Mrs. Granger does to prevent it, and it spreads all over the country.
            This story was fun and colorful, and would be enjoyed by many middle-schoolers. The characters are interesting, even though some of them are rather flat, and the point of view the author  uses pushes the book along very quickly. After the book is read, I think a discussion about 'enemies' in our life would be important (as Nick finds out, Mrs. Granger didn't really dislike him, she was actually rooting for him the whole time) and how we don't always know what other people are thinking. It could also lead into a discussion on the origins of words, and how new words are created, copyrights, what things are important and what things we should just 'let go', and even on how news is made and the process it goes through before it is broadcasted. 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Twelve Clever Brothers and Other Fools

From my Literary Journal in my Children's Literature class:
Folktales from Russia, adapted by Ginsberg M. (1979). The twelve clever brothers and other fools. New York, NY. J. B. Lippincott. pages 1-19  (Grade Level: 1st-4th).

            In this first of fourteen folktales, the twelve brothers decide to go to town for some things they need for themselves and their families. They leave, but do not reach town before nightfall, so they stop at an inn. Thinking themselves clever, they each turn their sleds towards the direction they must continue in the morning, but while they sleep the mischievous innkeeper turns the sleds around. The twelve brothers do not even realize they have been tricked until they reach home again, and one of the brothers' dog comes running up to them.
            This is an interesting story that reminds it readers not to think themselves too clever. The brothers thought they were being exceptionally smart, but their plan backfired, and they were, in the end, too dull to notice. This story could be used in the classroom to talk about Russia, transportation in Russia, travels, and of course about pride. I do not like the ending of the story, though, because the brothers do not necessarily realize they were tricked by the innkeeper, also, they decide traveling is too confusing and too much of a hassle, and decide to stay home from then on, and never get the supplies that they needed. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook by E. Davis

From my Literary Journal in my  Children's Literature class:
Davis, E. (2009). The secret science alliance and the copycat crook. New York, NY.
            Bloomsbury U.S.A. Children's Books. 154 pp. (Grade Level: 3rd-7th)

            Julian is excited about moving to a new town because he wants a fresh start, one where he is not the nerd. He tries this at his old school, but does not like it very much, and eventually cracks and lets off how smart he is. This leads to his inclusion in the secret science alliance, where the three members design and create inventions. Until, that is, their notebook full of all their ideas is stolen, and the thief builds their inventions and passes them off as his own.
            This graphic novel was fun to read, full of colorful frames and lots of information. Some of the characters spit out facts and history rather often, and they would be easy for students to pick up and remember. I liked that there were a couple twists in the plot, and I also liked the friendship exhibited by the three Secret Science Alliance members. This would be a valuable addition to the classroom because of discussion of friendship, and how we treat each other and ourselves, and it would also be an interesting time to have students create an invention and describe it on paper, and present their blueprints to the class. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Scholastic Link

Here is a link to the Scholastic website.

This link will take you to a page with a list of types of books. This list was created by teachers and for teachers, but that doesn't mean non-teachers cant use it or will have no use for it. Its really interesting, actually.

You click on the link of the type of book you want, and it takes you to another list. This is the list of books the teachers compiled. The title, author, and cover art. Some books even come with quizzes. Check it you, you may find some pretty cool books!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Vegetable alphabet book by J. Pallotta and B. Thomson

From my Literary Journal in my Children's Literature class:
Pallotta, J. & Thomson, B. Ill. Stewart, E. (1992). The vegetable alphabet book. Watertown, MA.
            Charlsebridge. 30 pp. (Grade Level: K-4th).

            The Vegetable Alphabet book travels through the alphabet using vegetables; some common, some uncommon. The authors also try to incorporate some humor, helping take some of the dryness out of the book. It is full of information, not stopping at the name of the vegetable but also giving some details about it.
            The illustrations are incredibly lifelike and detailed. I also appreciated that they were multi-cultural. I am not sure that this book would be good for teaching or reenforcing the alphabet to younger children because many of the vegetables are uncommon, and the young learners would not have some prior experience to glean from to help them learn. This would be best for older elementary students, to help learn about vegetables and reinforce the alphabet. Some unusual characteristics include that it uses so many unusual vegetables and could be the basis for deeper learning. 

Monday, March 14, 2011

Why, Hello Again

I'm reading fiction non-school required books again.
The break from them was not nearly as horrible as I had feared.
And that may have been one of the most important things I learned.
That it's ok not to read books all the time; its not the end of the world.
I don't have plans for what to read next. No stack of books waiting to be read.
My TBR list has been growing, but I'm not obsessed over it.
Those books will all get read, its just a matter of when.
I'm in no rush.


Friday, March 11, 2011

10 Minutes 'Till Bedtime, by P. Rathmann

From my Literary Journal in my Children's Literature class:
Rathmann, P. (1998). 10 minutes till bedtime. New York, NY. G. P. Putnam. 46 pp. (Grade
            Level: K-3rd).

            The little boy 's father tell him he has 10- minute until bedtime, so he starts getting everything ready. Soon, many hamsters flood into the house for the bedtime tour. The hamsters participate as the boy gets ready for bed, doing what he does and just having a lot of fun. Many more hamsters show up, more than the boy and his pet hamster had planned on, and they are added to the tour. Finally, when they boy is ready for sleep, there are too many excited hamsters, so they boy sends them away, just before his father comes in, and he is able to fall asleep.
            The colors are vivid and well chosen. The pages before and after the actual story are also important to the plot progression, showing the boy getting ready for the tour and his pet hamster putting an ad on the internet for hamster 10 minute bedtime tours. The boy's father calls out from the other room every minute how many minutes are left until bedtime. The bold red numbers help the younger readers know its time to shout out a number, and the father says the same thing each time so young readers quickly become familiar with it and can read along outloud. It is also cute that the boy reads a book to the hamsters, and it is the '10 minutes till bedtime' book. At different points in the story, the book is open to a different page- the page the readers are on. Also, there are many other things within the book that young readers can be asked to count, besides the number of minutes before bedtime. 

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

My Father's Dragon by R. S. Gannett

From my Literary Journal in my Children's Literature class:
Gannett, R. S. (1948). My father's dragon. New York, NY. Random House. 87 pp.(Grade Level:

            My Father's Dragon is the story of the narrator's father's adventure to rescue an imprisoned baby dragon. He has the aid of a cat who, at the beginning of the story, helps him decide what to bring to this island where the lazy wild animals are detaining the dragon. The boy is able to sidetrack each wild animal he comes across in just the right way, and just long enough to get to the dragon.
            The pictures are black and white, making them rather boring. But the story itself is lively, unrealistic, and entertaining. This book's unusual characteristics include how the boy gets from place to place on the island, and how precise some of the random facts are. Kids will love the crazy ways the boy is able to distract each of the wild animals. Also, there is a map in the beginning of the book that kids will love to pour over. It not only has the different land masses and names, but labels for random places on the map, and some parts are labeled with different things the boy did in those places. 

Friday, March 04, 2011

Miss Nelson Is Missing by H. Allard

From my Literary Journal in my Children's Literature class:
Allard, H. (1977). Miss Nelson is missing. Ill. Marshall, J. New York, NY. Houghton Mifflin
            Company. 32 pp. (Grade Level: 1st-4th Grade).
Miss Nelson teaches in room 207, the room with the naughtiest students in class. One day, she goes missing and horrible Miss Viola Swamp teaches for the week. The students are forced to work hard and have no fun, and they begin to miss Miss Nelson, and try to figure out where she has gone. Eventually she comes back, and the children are so happy to have her back that they behave well, and neither teacher or students will tell what happened to them.
            The watercolor pictures are interesting and exaggerated well for a children's book. The colors are a little dull, however, and muted, but it works well with the storyline. The plot is intriguing, and children will be caught up in it quickly. A teacher could use Miss Nelson Is Missing in his/her classroom to talk about proper behavior, or about how sometimes we do not know what we have until it is taken away. As a creativity prompt, and a prediction exercise,  halfway through the book when the students are guessing what happened to Miss Nelson, the students could be asked to come up with some possibilities of their own, a few likely ones, and a few unlikely ones. There are other Miss Nelson books that could also be used in the classroom to talk about other topics.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Home by Baker, J.

From my Literary Journal in my Children's Literature Class:
Baker, J. (2004). Home. Pub. city, state: Greenwillow Books. 28 pp. (Grade Level: K-3).
            This picture book looks out Tracy's bedroom window as she grows from baby to a mother herself. From the window the reader sees the street on the other side of the family's yard, and as pages are turned and Tracy grows up, the girl's family, neighbors, and friends begin reclaiming the street. It goes from a rundown street to a garden/park and a wonderful place for children to play and grow.
            Baker created this picture book as a collage, and it is aesthetically intriguing.  Many things change from page to page, within the room but more-so outside. While this book could be part of a unit on what 'home' is, or even a social studies until about the different places people live, it would be hard to use in the classroom. So much changes from page to page that in order for readers to get the full grasp of what is going on they would need to pour over the pages intently, which would be hard to do with 20-30 young students all at once. It would be better used in a one on one setting, or at a 'station' where only a few students would 'read' it at a time. 

Tuesday, March 01, 2011


I listened to 'How To Live on 24 Hours a Day' by Arnold Bennett from

Very interesting book, and I'm trying to implement some of the suggestions. Not all of them are exactly realistic, though, because it was written for an englishman in 1910, not a college student in 2011. But many of the principles are worthwhile.

It made me think of this song, most particularly the second verse. You should listen to it. I even made it easier to get to, by embedding it here.

here are the lyrics:

Every day is a journal page
Every man holds a quill and ink
And there's plenty of room for writing in
All we do is believe and think
So will you compose a curse
Or will today bring the blessing
Fill the page with rhyming verse
Or some random sketching

Teach us to count the days
Teach us to make the days count
Lead us in better ways
That somehow our souls forgot
Life means so much
Life means so much
Life means so much

Every day is a bank account
And time is our currency
So nobody's rich, nobody's poor
We get 24 hours each
So how are you gonna spend
Will you invest, or squander
Try to get ahead
Or help someone who's under

Teach us to count the days
Teach us to make the days count
Lead us in better ways
That somehow our souls forgot
Life means so much
Life means so much
Life means so much

Has anybody ever lived who knew the value of a life
And don't you think giving is all
What proves the worth of yours and mine

Teach us to count the days
Teach us to make the days count
Lead us in better ways
That somehow our souls forgot
Life means so much

Every day is a gift you've been given
Make the most of the time every minute you're living