I've just got to share the good stuff I read.

I love to read. I read every chance I get. If I read something really good, I want to share it with my friends and co-workers. I make copies of magazine articles, read aloud to my students, tell others about good books I'm reading, and keep a book with me at all times.

I love teaching and learning new things. I need a place to share some of the lessons and what my students and I learn. Since my teaching situation is different from everyone else's in my school, I would like to tell all of you in the blog-o-sphere about these great lessons.

Feel free to share what you are reading, teaching and learning with us in the comments.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Mid Winter Musings

In the bleak mid-winter...
In Mississippi it isn't too bleak. Sure the days are shorter and the weather is unpredictable but there are still plenty of growing things around our house.

The baby doll bed has a healthy crop of hardy succulents and the viney things in the corner will continue to live through the cold in their protected space near the bubbling fountain.

Violas and parsley are doing well in this pot and Mr. M recently planted pansies in a sunny spot.

These red berries look festive by the front door. I think if the birds get hungry enough, the berries will get eaten.

I'm enjoying all the Christmas music on PBS-TV and radio.
What am I reading? I've started a binge on mysteries by Leslie Meier. The setting is Maine. It's not hard to visualize since we visited Maine on our way to PEI a few summers ago.

This two week break is flying by. I'm trying to savor each day and not hurry back to thoughts of work.
How about you? Do you like this time of year?

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Summer Books from ILA Convention

Here are three books I received this summer at the ILA Convention. I may have mentioned in an earlier post that I mailed a box of books to myself from Boston. One good reason to attend the conference is all the free books that publishers give away to the attendees. 

These books are for young adults-mature middle and high school students. Most of my students aren't ready to read on this level, so I'm giving these away to a friend who teaches high school English.

Unexpected Everything is a great book about an independent girl who rigidly organizes her life and finds in the course of the book that experiencing unexpected things can be rewarding.

The Graces really pulls the reader into the narrator's life and explores the manipulation of teens from different view points. The ending is very surprising.

Iron Cast is science fiction that travels back in time to the early 1900's to an imaginary place where some people use the arts to create fantasy situations for all who see or hear. These special people are misunderstood, hated, and feared. A great way to explore differences in people.

I enjoyed reading these books and the others in the box. Can't wait for next summer to get some more books to preview.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

November's almost gone

The month is almost over and it is feeling like fall.
I was inspired to do a little fall planting.
Added violas to this pot with a geranium.

I decided to convert the doll bed into a succulent garden. I hope these make it thru the winter.
The parsley has been moved into the pot with the geranium.

I finished reading the books I was given at ILA in July. Most of the books were for middle and high school students and are too hard for my students to enjoy. I'm passing them on as door prizes at the reading conference in a few days.

This book is now in stores and was a good read. Target audience-teen girls.

What are you reading?

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Is it fall yet?

My many followers may wonder what has happened? Did she fall of the edge?
No, I have been busy adjusting to a new job with slightly different hours.

I now have time in the mornings to enjoy the birds and flowers in the backyard, eat breakfast, and read the paper before I head to work. That's the plus side of working closer to home. The downside is I have students until 3:40 pm and get home in the afternoon later. Also, leaving early on Fridays is not happening. I am enjoying working with older students and being responsible for fewer students.

For my birthday Anna and Steve took us out to Ship Island. It was a beautiful day. I hadn't been out to the island since I was a child. Mr. M. had never been. 

We walked from the sound side over to the gulf side. It was hot walking-not a bit of breeze. Grumps gave Liam a ride on the way back to the boat. They explored the fort while I talked to the park ranger.

Glad we took time from our usual routine to experience this with friends and family.

Thanks, Anna & Steve!

Liam and Ben
looking for dolphins. We saw several.

View from the top of the fort.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

What I saw around Savannah

Last week I participated in a National Endowment for Humanities teacher workshop in Savannah, Georgia. It was a great learning experience with quality speakers and field trips to places of significance in the story of Gullah Geechee people.

This was a whipping tree that was on a plantation that later became a cemetery.

This statue commemorates the people who came to Savannah as slaves. It is located near the river. Not sure what message the artist wanted to convey with the people in modern dress.

Isaac, whose 'basket' name was Dog, let us feel the difference in crab nets plain and dipped in paint. Guess which one lasts longer in sea water.

Tom tried his hand at making a loop on the crab net after I tried it. I thought it would be more like crocheting but it was more like macrame.

This was a former oyster shucking shed. Now it is part of a learning center.

Closer view of oyster shed.

We had a cultural immersion/low country crab boil at the Pin Point Center.  It  reminded me of a crawfish boil. They didn't use quite the same spices and there was no remoulade or come back sauce.

Another field trip was to the Penn Center in South Carolina. This former school was started in 1862 during the Civil War. The morning was spent on traditional school subjects and the afternoons were spent learning trades like basket weaving, farming, carpentry, and cooking.

The grounds were filled with trees covered with Spanish moss.

In the 1960's Martin Luther King, Jr. met with his supporters and associates at the Penn Center.

We enjoyed hearing Ron Baise sing. Have you heard of Gullah, Gullah Island? It was a TV show that Ron and his family were on a few years back. 

This room in the library was made to look like a sweet grass basket. The community was involved in the planning of the library and it was an important place in their community.

We visited this praise house on our way back. Each community had a praise house where people came to worship Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday nights. They would take care of problems with sassy children, wayward church members, and other small disputes here.

There are more photos. I'll try to post them soon. 

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Finished One of Required Books

I finished the narrative God, Dr. Buzzard, and the Bolito Man for my summer workshop. I think I understand a little bit about the way of life of the people on Sapelo Island. I saw many connections to the life of poor Mississippians that I have observed traveling around the state and listening to family and friends. The big difference to me was that the people on Sapelo were from one certain area of Africa and kept some of their ways after they were brought to the island.

The other readings are on my to-do list. I have two plane rides coming up in a week or so that will be perfect for reading the rest of the required list.

Check out my sewing blog for the other activities that are keeping me busy.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

National Endowment for Humanities Gullah Voices Experience

This summer I'm going to participate in a workshop sponsored by the National Endowment for Humanities (NEH) in Savannah, Georgia. I'm excited to get to study about the people of this area, their dialect, culture, and music. As part of the workshop all of us have homework to read before we start our week together. 

I have printed all the selections that were emailed to me and this week I received these two books. I have started reading the one on the left-it is more narrative and I love a good story. I hope to use this blog as a place to record the process and what I learn.

The process actually started in February when I remembered to check out the NEH website and summer workshop offerings. I applied to two different workshops that were within driving distance. There is a bit of paperwork to the application process but it was not too much. Then I had to wait until April to find out if I was accepted. Participants can only attend one workshop per summer.

Finally in early April I found I was accepted to the Gullah Voices workshop. There is a stipend to help cover expenses like transportation and hotel. The organizers of this workshop chose a very nice hotel in Savannah as the headquarters for the week. Some people are going to share rooms to cut down on the expense. Being a person who likes a good bit of alone time, I chose not to have a roommate. This means my stipend won't go as far but I had planned to drive instead of fly. I'm using loyalty points to stay at hotels as I drive to and from the workshop.  

Now I have to get on that homework. I'll share my first impressions in a later post.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Middle Grade Spooky Books

Remember last summer I attended the International Literacy Association convention in St. Louis? Well, I have been slowly reading through the bag of free kids books I was given there. I recently finished these two spooky middle grade books. 

I read A Curious Tale of the In-Between first. I'm not a big fan of horror and this one started off a little creepy. But the story was interesting and different so I read on. The main character sees dead people or at least their ghosts. She can talk to them, too. She has been friends with a ghost boy for most of her life. When a strange woman finds out about her abilities, the girl is abducted. The story of her escape and the fate of her ghost friend were satisfying to read.

Next I read Took, a Ghost Story. It was even more creepy. Sometimes I had to put the book down it was so creepy. Again a girl is abducted by a strange woman. This time the girl's brother is her rescuer. I'm not sure what type readers would enjoy this book. It had a great ending but getting there was creeping me out. 

Do you recommend books to your students, co-workers, or friends? How do you decide what book fits a reader? These two books are more difficult to read than most of my students can attempt but I know someone out there likes spooky books, so I'm suggesting these to you. 

If you enjoy them, let me know.
Til next time,

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Faux British Mysteries

I'm reading mysteries that aren't very scary-some have no dead bodies. The Aunt Dimity mysteries by Nancy Atherton are set in a village somewhere in the UK. The main character and her family are Americans living in England. But Lori is very nosy and gets caught up in other people's problems.
So much of these books remind me of the ones I just finished by Susan Wittig Albert.

 Here is a pic of this year's bunk bed flower bed. I ordered some seeds from Buchart Gardens. I know, our climate is so similar. Anyway, Martin and I planted these seeds on Saturday and they have already sprouted! Can't wait for little zinnias and cosmos to take over. Should be as colorful as a quilt.

That's all for now. Going to see some kids I know at a community theater drama.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

A Woman of Literacy

This month is International Literacy Association's Women's History Month. Mississippi Reading Association President, Dr. LeAnn Carter, asked board members to write about Women of Literacy who have influenced our lives. 

The first person who came to mind was my mother, Helen Thornton. No, she is not a teacher. But she is the person who instilled my love of books. She read to my brothers and me from our earliest days. She took us to the public library once a week. We were there for Story-time as preschoolers and in the summer when we were school-age. 

I remember my mother reading books for her own enjoyment, too. The first book I remember discussing with her was Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. I was in first grade and just beginning to read. The book she was reading was SO thick. It was the thickest book I had ever seen, even thicker than her Bible. I was curious about a story that kept her reading page after page. I asked her what the book was about and that was the beginning of our conversations about books. 

Mom will be ninety-one this week. She still loves to read. Her favorite books now are biographies. She still likes to talk about the books she is reading. She likes to share 'just a page' or 'just a paragraph' to other willing readers. 

Who is your Woman of Literacy? 

Friday, March 11, 2016

More Mysteries

Spring is here! Not by the calendar but certainly by the flowers.
I picked these at mom's. She has so many and she loves to share them.

This week has been our Spring Break. I went to the Canton library and checked out these mysteries. I am obsessed with this author. I have read all of the ones set in Texas and Alabama. Now I am reading through these set in the Lake District in the UK. Beatrix Potter is a main character. There are also talking animals (of course the people can't understand them). If you like mysteries but not the gory, violent kind, then these are just right for you.

Catching up on my recorded TV shows, too. Good thing I have lots of inside activities since it is raining steadily for the next few days.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

A Wrinkle in Time Graphic Novel

I'm on a graphic novel kick with my older students at school. We read the graphic novel version of the first Percy Jackson novel. I was going to compare it to the movie and chapter book but the movie was just too different and combined a couple of the series into one movie.

I bought this graphic novel version of the classic A Wrinkle in Time. It is a very thick book. The original is quite complicated for English Learners to follow as a read aloud. I wasn't sure if they would like this version either.

Well, the first day I read this one of my newer boys commented when I finished the first chapter, "I like it!" This kid hardly ever likes anything. So I think this is a hit.

It is very close to the original version and the pictures make it easy to follow. This week end a local theater is presenting a live performance of the story. Some of the kids said they would go see the performance. Hope so.

What do you think of graphic novel versions of chapter books?

Saturday, January 16, 2016

What I'm reading

Well, I finished all the China Bayles mysteries and found the Darling Dahlias mysteries by the same author. The book jacket describes the genre as 'cozy'. The mystery is not as scary but the plot is still interesting. These stories are set in a small town in south Alabama during the 1930's. It reminds me of stories my mom told about her childhood during the depression.

Most of the book is accurate but there are some parts that don't sound southern to me. Some of the plants (yes, plants are featured in these books) don't grow well in middle Mississippi and I'm doubtful they grow in south Alabama. Otherwise, I'm enjoying the time travel via these books.

What are you reading?

I'm looking forward to a new China Bayles in April. Stephanie Plum has a new adventure but the library's copies are all checked out. I have one more Darling Dahlias to read. Looking for suggestions.