Teaching English Methods Reflective Journal Entry #5

Beach and Burke both explore how different literary perspectives can provide multiple perspectives, a cornerstone of reading education. Review these listed theories & write an entry in which you describe how you would utilize at least two different perspectives in teaching The Giver, Narrative Life of Frederick Douglass, or Macbeth.
    Deconstructive Criticism with The Giver. Discussing the privileged status of Jonas when he becomes the giver within his community.
    Reader’s Response Criticism with The Narrative Life of Frederick Douglass. Discussing the connections we can make between the life of Frederick Douglass and our own lives. In addition, which elements, words images or devices - affected me most while reading. How did they affect me?


Teaching English Methods Reflective Journal Entry #4

At the beginning of Chapter 5, Burke shares his reading autobiography. Be sure to include how your thoughts about reading have developed throughout your life, notable teachers, and instructional methods; as well as particularly influential texts.
    Reading has always been a part of my everyday life. As a small child, I recall playing with books and pretending to read my Dad’s Reader's Digest. We often attended the library where I brought 20-30 books home with me. I read them several times before they were returned. When I started Kindergarten, I was reading at a second grade level.
    As I grew older, reading became an escape from the ordinary; as well as an excuse not to do my chores on the blueberry farm. I enjoyed teachers who allowed us time to read our own books  during school and took the time to read to us. I loved being read to. My Dad would would often read to me from his favorite stories; he had a lot of books that he re-read for entertainment. The storyteller at the library is someone I often visited. When I was in junior high, I assisted her with the younger kids reading and as I entered high school I began my own storytelling time for those in Kindergarten through third grade. I also continued to read my own novels, thirty minutes before bed. I still attempt to do so (if I am not completely wiped out from my day). It is a habit for me just as washing my face and brushing my teeth.
    I have children now and I read to them. I started reading to them when they were utero. My oldest is seventeen, he still likes to hear me read to my daughter, he still does some of the voices and makes underwater noises in the part of Green Eggs & Ham (a book I read multiple time to him throughout the years).

Teaching English Methods Reflective Journal Entry #3

Think back on the most effective lessons that you had as a student. Pick one or two of these lessons and discuss why they were so effective. How do you plan to integrate a similar model in your own classroom?
     In junior high, I recall reading several Shakespearean plays in class. In the beginning of the Shakespeare unit, we each took a survey which helped direct us toward the Shakespeare play we should choose to read. I believe, there were five or six plays being read with about four or five students per group.
     I loved being paired with like-minded classmates who wanted to read Hamlet. Through the unit, our teacher led us through a variety of activities; reading, short stories, close reading, acting out scenes, creating a poster, etc. Even though each group was reading a different play we all experienced Shakespeare and shared our knowledge with the class. At the end of the unit, we all had knowledge of several Shakespearean plays.
     In my classroom, I would love to incorporate a similar unit! Giving students choice and grouping them with those who also made the same choice increases both the intrinsic motivation and the engagement of the material I want each student to learn.

Teaching English Methods Reflective Journal Entry #2

Consider your relationships with some of your middle and high school teachers. In what ways were you similar with your teachers? In what ways were you different?
     In middle school, I found myself to be more similar to my teachers than different. A large percentage of my teachers were white females; however, I did have a few male teachers, a hispanic teacher, and a black teacher.
     In high school, I found it to be more similar as they were ALL white; however, I had more male teachers. I do not remember a lot of diversity in color in my high school.
     In addition to differences and similarities in race and sex. There was a larger difference within the socio-economical factors between my family and those of my teachers. Most of my teachers were middle to upper class; while I lived in lower class in a farming family stricken with poverty.

Reflection on the Science of Citizenship

In reading, The Science of Citizenship written by Belle Boggs, I found the article to coincide with my understandings of what our public education lacks nationwide. I was not surprised to read, Lawrence had never been told how a cell works. I am only saddened by the idea, “the richest country in the world still struggles to educate our citizens about science and to make that education relevant and present in their daily lives” (para. 7). I pause at the notion that a highly functioning society cannot create a public education system that holds the ability to consistently teach students across America, the basic skills needed to be highly functioning citizens. Or is it that we have these abilities; yet, America includes those citizens who do not prioritize these foundational pillars of knowledge (ie cultural literacy)? Boggs climactic moment is written within the following words,

If American citizens are to have any chance of speaking truth to power, they will need to have a better handle on the truth part. They will need to be better educated, and the science classroom will have to be political — not in the partisan sense, but in the sense of the Greek word politikos: of, for, or relating to citizens. The science classroom will need to prepare them for engagement in our democratic society, to make choices that affect their lives and their communities (para. 22).

    She is preaching to the choir here with most of us future educators. Right? Unfortunately, as I reflect on those words and in addition to my question; I remember conversations from my fellow classmates here at Idaho State University and with students those around the United States in regards to preparing citizens to make a better engaged and educated democratic society… they are not in agreement. They say: politics needs to be taken out of education, the government needs to be removed from the public education system, and they do not want to provide students with the ability to make a better society, they want to better individuals so they can be good strong readers, writers, and critical thinkers ready for the workforce. I disagree. Public Education was built on the opportunity to create an educated and engaged democratic society and should remain its overarching purpose; reading, writing, math, science, art, music, P.E, etc.

    The teaching of the whole child, mentally, physically, emotionally; no matter what socioeconomic class they were born into. None of these foundational pillars of knowledge should be considered a luxury; they should all be considered the norm. America has the ability to create an educated and engaged democratic society, the citizens need to choose whether or not it is their priority.

Teaching English Methods Reflective Journal Entry #1

What are two or three of the most important skills you can teach a student in an English classroom? Why are they the most important? How might you impart these skill to your class?

     I believe, the most important skills I can teach a student in an English classroom are: communication, collaboration, and critical thinking. These three skills are important for the workplace, further education in public school, higher education in college; as well as life in general.
     These skills could be taught through giving students relevant, daily opportunities to practice. Through activities such as literature and text master circles; students would be allowed to find their voice, learn material in collaboration with other students, and analyze their own readings as well as others to enhance their critical thinking skills. In addition, communication skills will be increased through these in written form in preparation and orally when participating in the activity.

The Power of Play, Thoughts on another Ted Talk

Play, Stuart Brown in the Ted Talk The Power of Play, states that the opposite of play is not work it is depression. A pioneer in research on play, Dr. Stuart Brown says humor, games, roughhousing, flirtation and fantasy are more than just fun. Plenty of play in childhood makes for happy, smart adults -- and keeping it up can make us smarter at any age. Involving yourself in play - creative, hands on, movement, laughter, imaginative - is crucial to your physical, mental, and social health. Research has shown that angry, depressed people have been deprived from the exercise/state of play.

    In my future classroom, play is crucial to the ability to connect with classmates and the learning environment. Whether we are completing a readers theater, acting out scenes from our book, creating a model of a scene, or using our imagination to dig deeper into our readings … this act of play is infused into the learning by student and teacher alike.

    In addition to the above strategies to involve students and teacher in play, purposefully. I want my future classroom to be a safe place for students to act in their own type of (acceptable) play while learning. Laughing, using their hands to create, social interactions, excitement at their own pace (not instructed). Using their own personality to both learn and show their learning.

How do you infuse play into your classroom for your students and in your own life?

Professional Article Analysis: How Spelling Supports Reading: And Why it is More Regular and Predictable than you may Think

     The article, How Spelling Supports Reading: And Why it is More Regular and Predictable than you may Think, Louisa Moats provides research regarding the importance of spelling instruction in addition to reading and writing; explores the writing/spelling system within the English language; and shares knowledge that students should know in grades Kindergarten through seventh grade. Teaching the framework within the five principles transforms the arbitrary weekly spelling list into purposeful instruction toward understanding the English language and becoming better readers and writers. The five principles “explain why English words are so complex … and reveal regularity to the English language” (p.14). Article concludes, with the following idea and purpose, “The complexity of English gives us seemingly infinite choices among words we’re searching for the right way to express ourselves, and the language’s regularity makes reading, speaking, and writing those words an achievable goal. (p.42)”

  • learning the rules of spelling
  • studying the meanings of roots, prefixes, and suffixes
  • families of related words
  • historical development of the English language
  • words’ language of origin” (p.14)

     Research correlates the link between writing and spelling. Being a person who has always spelled quite well, I have never thought about how this would deter students when writing papers. Limiting the words they use within their written forms of communication and assignments and losing their purpose of writing through the process of trying to correctly spell a word. Research also shows relationship between reading and spelling. It was stated in the article, “spelling instruction can be designed to help children better understand the key knowledge (connection between letters and sounds) resulting in better reading” (p.12).
     As a future middle school English teacher, knowing the importance of continuing spelling instruction for my students changes my thought about what ought to be taught in my classroom. The article suggests the following in allocating a small amount of time to continued appropriate spelling instruction: 
This teaching will provide students with assistance toward their vocabulary growth; as well as support their reading.

The UnSocial Network

College of Southern Idaho
Professor Matier
English 102      

      Facebook was created to bring friends, families, childhood playmates, acquaintances, and those within our local communities together. One must wonder with status updates such as, “I made chocolate cupcakes today”, “I am taking my family to Disneyland this summer”, and “I ran fifty miles this week” who it is we are posting for. Facebook, an online social network that was created to connect one another, has become a place for the disconnected.
     Facebook, created by Harvard University’s student Mark Zuckerberg, was launched on February 4, 2004. According to Caitlyn McGarry of PC World, “it was a way for college students to seek each other out for friendship, or, you know, whatever” (par.1). Ten years later the mission of Facebook has expanded to connect the world to the internet, with one billion active monthly users one might say Zuckerberg is well on his way.
     Statistically speaking one-seventh of the world’s population is connected to the internet through the online social network Facebook, of these users, how many are actually connecting to one another?  In order to make a connection, one would need to communicate with those “friends” they have associated themselves with. Does posting the status update, “I made chocolate cupcakes today,” on one’s Facebook wall satisfy the idea of a connection? Most people would not translate that into a conversation or even an update they would be interested in reading, in fact one may even consider it as a selfish boast of themselves, a way of communicating to those reading their news feed, look how wonderful I am this very second. These status updates are not only annoying to read and a waste of our valuable time but they are creating a disconnection amongst the connected.
     Instead of having millions of people connecting, conversing and building relationships on this social network, we have millions of people disconnecting, boasting and breaking communication lines on this un-social network. In the paper entitled, Misery Has More Company Than People Think, published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Alexhander Jordan shares a series of studies in which examines how college students evaluate their moods. The researchers at Stanford’s Psychology Department found that their subjects consistently underestimated how disappointed others were and would likely end up feeling more miserable as a result. These college students observed, appeared to be feeling particularly inferior about themselves after logging onto their Facebook site and scrolling through their friend’s attractive, filtered, Instagram improved photos, accomplished about me sections, and the boastful “I ran fifty miles this week”, status updates. Jordan was often told by these college students, “they were convinced that everyone was leading a perfect life” (par.32).  Though the tendency for people to compare ourselves to others is nothing new, social networking is making this negative practice worse.
     The truth is people only post what they believe others want to know. Not very often a status update will include the words, “I hate that I yelled at my children today”, “I failed my English class this semester”, or “I could not pull myself out of bed this week”. The Facebook “Like” button has created a social pressure to post that everything is wonderful in one’s life and the more wonderful it is the more likes one will receive from those they are connected to.
     The reality is no one’s life is always wonderful and those who are truly connected off line are often too busy and have no need to share about the cupcakes they made for their family today. These posts of too much information that lead us to blocking a user or even unfriending them may be an act of invalidation to someone who just wants to belong.  A study finds that oversharing on the world’s most popular social network is a possible sign of loneliness, these people are disconnected. Yeslam Al-Saggaf and Sharon Nielsen of Charles Sturt University found Facebook users who felt lonely were more likely to post more personal information, as well as their relationship status, favorite things, address, interests and hobbies, than users who felt connected so that similar people or those living nearby could approach them, allowing them to minimize their feeling of isolation (pp. 462-464). The research also states that these over sharers admit to refraining from posting their thoughts, facts and beliefs in regards to subjects such as politics and religion to steer clear from people disliking what they say.
     It is impossible to categorize Facebook users into two perfectly separate groups, the connected and the disconnected; however, it is important to be aware of such differences. Rebecca Hiscott of The Huffington Post describes Facebook as a, “double edged social sword, a network that can simultaneously alleviate symptoms of depression and loneliness in some and cause them in others” (par.13). A lesson attained from such information is that not all users are aware or respect their audience they have on Facebook. Instead of being quick to slap the hands of someone who we are uncomfortable with their need to belong, one may need to become a more attuned reader in knowing the post author in avoiding the overlook of the over sharer who might just be reaching out for a human connection.  Facebook after all was created to be an online social network that will connect the world to the internet
Works Cited

Al-Saggaf, Y., & Nielsen, S. (2014). Self-disclosure on Facebook among female users and its    
     relationship to feelings of loneliness. Computers in Human Behavior, 36(2014), 460–468.
Hiscott, Rebecca. "Why Your Empty Facebook Profile Is A Good Sign." The Huffington Post.  
     TheHuffingtonPost.com, 3 June 2014. Web. 23 Feb. 2015.
Jordan, Alexander H., et al. "Misery Has More Company Than People Think: Underestimating
     the Prevalence of Others’ Negative Emotions." (2011).
McGarry, Caitlyn. "Facebook At 10: How The Social Network Grew Up." PC World 32.3  
     (2014): 24-28. Academic Search Premier. Web. 25 Feb. 2015.

Ted Talk: Do Schools Kill Creativity?

In the Ted Talk, Do Schools Kill Creativity? Sir Ken Robinson shares his experiences with education and the importance of creativity. He claims that education strips children from their creativity. I believe, that if we are not careful, he is right.
     I was in a Kindergarten classroom a few years ago, completing my field experience for a College of Southern Idaho education class. One day the students were asked to create a pig out of the letter P. The teacher had a model of the creation. The P was on it’s side and had four legs coming from the long line of the letter P. The circular portion of the letter P was his face, with two ears, two eyes, and a mouth. The pig was lying down. One student, created the P standing up, with one eye, half of a nose, one ear, one leg, and half of a mouth. At first glance, I began to think she completed the assignment incorrectly and I wanted to help her fix it. When I kneeled down to discuss her artwork, the student looked at me and began telling me that this pig was tired of lying down and wanted to take a walk. I did not discuss with her of what I had initially thought, instead I told her that her pig was fantastic and asked her if she would like to share her pig with the rest of the class. She agreed and she was full of smiles. Later that day, after the children went home, the mentor teacher told me that I should have corrected her. She said that this child was always doing things wrong. She did not follow directions. I was shocked. I wanted to cry. I explained to the teacher what the student told me and I also told her that every other letter they have completed was right side up. I chose to stand up for the student and I wanted to know why the teacher had thought we needed to change her artwork. The teacher had no answer. We never brought it up again.

    I have seen this video before, but I have not made this connection to this particular situation. I do not know if this scenario happened again for this student. Was she told that she wrong? Did she have to complete the assignment again? I am glad that for at least for one moment that child was celebrated for her creativity. I am glad that I did not put a stop to it. I am saddened that a teacher would. If we are to create a classroom that fosters creativity, we need to change the focus from the teacher to the student. The student did not do this to be wrong, the student did not do this because she was lazy; she had a purpose and a story. As teachers, we need to allow for “mistakes” so the process of learning and creativity can take place. There is time for corrections during this process (spellings, incorrect facts, computation errors,etc). New ideas and something that is not on the lesson plan should be encouraged. I mean what if the girl who is allowed to let her pig go for a walk, keeps her creativity? If she is allowed to process her creativity now, imagine what she can be able to do in the future? As Sir Ken Robinson explains, what if she allows her brain to cross disciplines freely and does not put her creativity in a brain compartment for art class only and thinks of a way to cure brain cancer?

Professional Article Analysis: Reading and the Brain

In the article, Reading and the Brain: What Early Childhood Educators Need to Know, authors Nancy Frey and Douglas Fisher share neuroscience research that is applicable for educators. The authors analyzed the research and provided five topics of understanding: every brain needs to be taught to read, learning the written language physically alters the brain, repetition leads to automaticity, visual information is important to the learning process, and the role of imitation in learning. Within each of the five understandings they have additionally provided practical guidelines for teachers to use within their classrooms.

I learned a plethora of information on how the brain works, how it does not work, and how to make this knowledge work in my benefit as a teacher of reading. First, thousands of spoken languages have existed through the course of human history; causing the brain to be wired to speak and listen. Second, the brain has not been hard wired to the written language; as this has only been around for 6,000 years or so. So, when born we are ready for sound but we must be taught to understand print. Last but not least, through early experiences with print, intentional instruction towards phonological awareness, being read to, etc the brain can be altered toward the ability of the written language and the student will become a reader.

This article provided a few takeaways for my future teaching practice:

  1. More reading produces a better automaticity. Providing many opportunities in reading, creates pathways that fire consistently so that the readers working memory can focus on comprehension instead of the act of reading.
  1. Provide strategies to assist the reading path to reach automaticity for those struggling readers. Note: All readers at one time will be struggling as they are building toward an increase of text complexity.
  1. Use Readers Theater as a way to use reading repetition without losing the student’s motivation in reading; they are focused on performing their script well for the audience!
  1. Provide visuals in reading activities to increase learning process.
  1. Intentionally teaching through modeling, demonstration, and thinking aloud. Students learn while teachers think through information out loud and modeling reading strategies to assist them to navigate through difficult texts.

Read anything good lately? Please share with me in the comments below.

Professional Article Analysis: Teaching Reading is Rocket Science

 The article, Teaching Reading is Rocket Science: What Expert Teachers of Reading Should Know and Be Able To Do, provides us with well researched information regarding the importance of teaching reading, where we are in regards to our teaching programs, what we should be teaching within these programs, and how we obtain these goals within teaching programs and professional development. The author, Louisa Moats, states within the opening sentence, "Reading is the fundamental skill upon which all formal education depends" (p. 7). Highlighting the importance of teaching reading and why this research is in high regards for both preservice and service teachers, if they are to be successful toward teaching their students to read. Although some students will learn to read no matter what teaching they receive, most students need teaching instruction that is explicit and systematic.
     Before reading this article, I was unaware of the lack of education toward reading, writing, and language within the teacher preparation programs. I was surprised to see that even in 1999 we were still seeking scientific research in reading acquisition. According to Moats, it was at this time that reading scientists and educators were finally able to agree on what needs to be done to assist with the needs of our students in regards to learning how to read. 
     In addition, I was unaware of the following effective reading instruction component, "Frequent writing of prose enables deeper understanding of what is read" (p. 8). I am interested in learning more about this component and how is that I can practice this skill within the classroom to assist readers. 
his resource provided me with a list of practices that I should look at in reading instruction. Especially with my middle school aged students who are still having difficulties with reading. Reading interventions and reading instruction continues after the third grade. Comprehension strategies, vocabulary instruction, prose writing, reading a variety of texts, written English instruction, and providing lessons on basic word structures (p. 10) are activities that should continue within the middle school and high school education. 
     In addition, I felt as though this article provided a call to action for educators to make a difference toward the instruction of reading in the following ways: seek out new research in reading instruction and incorporate them into practice, promote and partake in high quality professional development ensuring continuing education with best practices for the classroom, and get involved within the master teacher programs offered at the state and national level. 

Read anything good lately? Please share with me in the comments below.

Q & A Autobiomathography

The following questions were asked by my Math Methods instructor. I am sharing with you my responses about my experiences with Math.

1. Describe the time you first remembered counting or using numbers in some way…when was it?  What did you do?  What was it like?

   I remember every Christmas and Birthday, from a very young age, my Uncle giving me a container of coins ($50-$100 worth). The container was always something really cute! As I prepared to purchase something with my coins, I had to count them and then fill the paper coin wrappers so that I could go to the bank to cash them in. This was very exciting for me, I never really figured out that I was learning counting & money, it was just fun!

2. Which was easier for you to learn and do when you were little…number work or reading/writing? How do you know this?

   I had so many opportunities to do all three; however, I would say that reading came to me the easiest since I was doing it all the time. I remember times with numbers getting frustrated, but I do not recall a time being frustrated with reading and writing.

3. What was math class like for you in school?  How was it different in elementary school than middle or high school?

   In Elementary school, I enjoyed math. I did not like the worksheets that seemed like a waste of time. I did like story problems, I enjoyed finding out the answer. In middle school and high school the problems and the agony began, mostly at home. My dad had learned different strategies (born in 1932) to complete problems so many arguments and tears were had during times that I needed help with my homework. Some of my teachers were fine with the different strategies and I became open to learning new things. But other teachers were not open to new ways and insisted that I continued to do it their way. I would get marked wrong even though I shared my work and came up with the right answer.

4. Describe how math classes make you feel.

   Confusion, mostly due to the different strategies that they were teaching. I often found them to not work for me. I could not wrap my brain around them. Those who would not allow the different strategies, I put up a mental wall and would not listen to them, they made me angry. I wanted to do it my way. I always felt very strongly against the idea of only having one way to do things, especially with Math. I was a good student, it is not like I was getting the answers wrong or didn’t complete my assignments.

5. What did other teachers say about you as a math student?

   Teachers either commented on my creativity towards implementing new strategies or they stated that I was stubborn and was not willing to work with them. After putting a wall up, I started to miss out on some key math functions and I had to repeat Algebra 2. At this time teachers were concerned that I was behind.

6. What did your family think of your math grades?  Why?
   My dad was furious with the way some of my teachers handled his teaching at home. He often would send notes with my homework assignments that he assisted me with. I was so embarrassed, having a note to my teacher from my parent in high school. I often would remove them before turning it in. I put up with my Dad’s arguments instead.

7. If you could change anything about the way mathematics is taught, what would you do?  Why?
   As a public school student, I would wish for teachers to be more open to new strategies. During college, this was accepted and was actually shared among the class. Some students found them to be beneficial. I have noticed my children’s teachers are more open to new ideas. They want to hear their rationale and hear them explain the way they came to the answer. This explanation allows us to know that they student gets it! It increases the student's’ self-esteem (let me tell you, I had very little self-esteem when I had my frustrations in Math) and assists them in their math abilities!

8. Do you think your attitude about mathematics and the grades you got in math are connected?

In middle school and high school, I think when I put the wall up. I stopped learning any of the strategies. I didn't understand the teacher's way and mine was not accepted. So I think they were definitely connected. When I began college math starting from the very bottom of Beginning Algebra. I was able to work through the problems through a variety of strategies. My self-esteem improved and my confidence was held high and I began to earn A’s in my classes. During this time, I believe my grades were impacted heavily on my attitude.

9. When you think of mathematics what comes to mind?

   Dread and the manipulation of numbers. A way to figure out problems.

10. What kind of things did math teachers do that help you learn mathematics well?

   Hands on work, I wanted to see the math problem and know what I was solving. Manipulatives were very helpful!

11. Put these subjects in the order you enjoy them (most favorite ————— least favorite):
    Reading Mathematics Social Studies Writing Science   

  Reading, Writing, Social Studies, Science, Math

12. Describe what it means to be a mathematics teacher.

     A facilitator of numbers and tools. One that will offer many tools to complete the problem. Allowing the student to choose the appropriate tool to get to the solution (it may take them awhile to choose the right one, that is okay). Requires students to explain their answer orally, they may not be able to completely put into words. Let them show you. Help them find the words to describe their actions.

13 How has your experiences in mathematics influenced your decision to be a math teacher?
My experiences with math in the past and present, both good and bad, has assisted me with the idea that I would prefer not to be a math teacher.

Why do I want to teach literature?

This semester, two of the books I am reading for my Teaching English Methods class are: The English Teacher's Companion by Jim Burke and Teaching Literature to Adolescents by Richard Beach. My professor asked us to read the first chapter of both of these books to prepare for a lecture, entitled, What & Why We Teach. This question was asked of me in the beginning of my readings and then it was asked of me several times? Why teach English? Why teach literature? Why teach writing?

I have always had an answer, for why I want to be a teacher, but I have never considered the why behind teaching English and literature. I mean, I know that I want to to teach English, as I have a passion for reading and writing. But why?

Through my readings today and inspiration from both Burke and Beach, I have come to my first of many answers to this question.

Literature is a story, a never-ending story that moves through time, the ages, changes, love, war, hate, indifferences, and more.

Literature are the ideas to be considered and pondered until personal understanding is gained.

Literature is taking the never-ending story and applying its relevance to our own story and applying it to our very own story. As Jago states, "to making a living, making a life, and making a difference."

Literature is finding answers and seeking the truth and purpose. Adding to the story with our own opinions.

Literature is taking your time to enjoy the story and a willingness to continue the story. Passing it on to others so they too will know, see, and understand. In hopes that the never-ending story goes on...

Why do I want to teach literature? 

Teachers of Literature, English teachers are the force that drives the ideal that this never ending story will go on forever.

Why do you teach? Why do you teach literature? Please share in the comments below!

Until next time..


It's a Total (97%) Eclipse of the Sun

It is the day before Fall semester begins and I have an assignment already. My Science Methods instructor would like a discussion board entry describing our American Eclipse 2017 experience.

With both Half-a-Cup and Venti Espresso at school, viewing and studying the eclipse and my Coffee-mate assisting a first aid booth in Sun Valley, Idaho; I am at home, sitting outside with syllabus, calendar, and coffee in hand preparing for the semester. Taking a moment now and again to take a look (with my safety glasses of course) at the progress of the eclipses progress.

     10:12 a.m. I had my first visual of the moon beginning it's journey across the sun.                              Pretty cool stuff!

Image: NASA

     10:41 a.m. A tad more of the sun is covered by the moon.

     11:09 a.m. The sun reminds me of Cheshire Cat's smile on Alice in Wonderland.

Image: Alice in Wonderland
     11:19 a.m. It is quiet, less birds are chirping. I feel a little chilly too. Half of the sun
                      has been covered by the moon.

     11:25 a.m. A sliver of the sun remains.

Image: Personal 
     11:25 a.m. A sliver of the sun remains.

     11:35 a.m. No chirping, 97% is covered. This is incredible!

     11:39 a.m. As the moon continues it's journey, the sun begins to show itself more and                         more.

This was an excellent opportunity to view the eclipse. I wish I was able to see totality in person; however, I did manage to view this occurring Live on NASA. Where were you during the eclipse? Do you have any photos or stories you would like to share? Please post in the comments below.

Until next time.....

The First Rule of Punk: BE YOURSELF

The First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Pérez

There are no shortcuts to surviving your first day at a new school--you can't fix it with duct tape like you would your Chuck Taylors. On Day One, twelve-year-old Malú (María Luisa, if you want to annoy her) inadvertently upsets Posada Middle School's queen bee, violates the school's dress code with her punk rock look, and disappoints her college-professor mom in the process. Her dad, who now lives a thousand miles away, says things will get better as long as she remembers the first rule of punk: be yourself.

The real Malú loves rock music, skateboarding, zines, and Soyrizo (hold the cilantro, please). And when she assembles a group of like-minded misfits at school and starts a band, Malú finally begins to feel at home. She'll do anything to preserve this, which includes standing up to an anti-punk school administration to fight for her right to express herself!

This title will be released on August 22, 2017. 

Pre-order your copy today!

He Called Me Mom

Laying in my unmade bed covered in last weeks laundry, my eyes became extremely heavy as though there were weights hanging from my eyelids. I had not been sleeping well since my first child Venti Espresso was born 11 months prior.

Realizing that I had not yet prepared dinner, given him a bath nor created a shopping list for tomorrow’s early morning shopping trip I just wanted to crawl underneath my covers and hibernate until his 18th birthday. I began to hear noises coming from his room. “Well so much for hibernation,” I thought as I forced myself out of bed to return to my never ending mommy duties. “Okay a few more hours then I will get some sleep,” I declared as an attempt to motivate myself as I slowly dragged my feet down the hall.

When I arrived at his room I saw him playing with his stuffed Winnie the Pooh Bear, that he stopped as soon as he heard me.

When he looked up at me he was grinning from ear to ear and much to my surprise he opened his mouth and exclaimed, “MOM.”

My heart fluttered, a tear of joy ran down my cheek as I scooped him up not wanting to never let him go. I remember the smell of apple juice and baby powder as I lingered in his room lavishing him with hugs, kisses and telling him over and over again how happy I was to have him call me mom for the first time.

As I carried him from the room there was a bounce in my step. “He called me Mom!” I shouted.

Motherhood is completely and utterly exhausting, it has been 17 years since that day and I am still tired and I am still happy to have him call me Mom!

Kelly Gallagher's Readicide

It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now...you just might discover your next “must-read” book.

Last week, I completed the book, Readicide: How Schools Are Killing Reading and What You Can Do About It. Kelly Gallagher names the problem in today's English classroom, Readicide. Readicide is defined as "the systematic killing of the love of reading, often exacerbated by the inane, mind-numbing practices found in schools" (p.2). If you have been around children, young adults, or adults you will not find the idea of people losing their want to read a surprise. In college, I hear it all the time; students losing their love of reading. In social media, people exclaim their hatred of reading.

Gallagher goes beyond defining the problem, he offers a solution! This book provides REAL classroom solutions to this Readicide epidemic. He knows the issues that school districts and the common core presents to the everyday teacher and provides you with ways to meet standards and bring back the love of reading to your students.

The book is only 118 pages long; however, I found myself chewing on every single word. Taking notes, creating ideas in my mind, and being inspired for my future classroom! If you have not had an opportunity to read this book and you are a teacher, you must change that soon and go pick up a copy. I borrowed mine from the library; however, I will be purchasing one of my own in order to have access to his resources when planning my reading lesson plans.

So now what do I read? Goodreads, helped me out!  Goodreads members who liked Readicide: How Schools Are Killing Reading and What You Can Do About It also liked:
The Reading Zone: How to He...

 4.31 avg rating — 1,467 ratings
Reading Ladders: Leading St...

 3.95 avg rating — 457 ratings
Igniting a Passion for Read...

 4.42 avg rating — 1,022 ratings
Book Love: Developing Depth...

 4.60 avg rating — 1,598 ratings
Mechanically Inclined: Buil...

 4.29 avg rating — 1,209 ratings
When Kids Can't Read: What ...

 4.35 avg rating — 1,661 ratings
I Read It, but I Don't Get ...

 4.15 avg rating — 1,882 ratings
Notebook Know-How: Strategi...

 4.18 avg rating — 977 ratings
The Book Whisperer: Awakeni...

 4.51 avg rating — 10,792 ratings
The English Teacher's Compa...

 4.19 avg rating — 886 ratings
Holding on to Good Ideas in...

 4.21 avg rating — 180 ratings
What Really Matters for Str...

 4.23 avg rating — 653 ratings
The Power of Reading: Insig...

 4.16 avg rating — 413 ratings
Mini-Lessons for Literature...

 4.14 avg rating — 438 ratings

What are you reading?