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Showing posts from June, 2014

The Top Five Books Everyone Needs When on a Deserted Island

It sounds good, doesn’t it?Ah, all alone on a deserted island.How idyllic is that?Before you start packing those Beach Reads or the latest Nora Roberts - reality check. Go watch Cast Away with Tom Hanks and rethink that thought. Book # 1:  You will need a good survival guide.  There are many on the market, but you need one that will prepare you for island life, deserted island life.  If you are anything like me, a city girl and a book nerd, you might be able to catch a fish or identify a coconut, but what comes after that?  Have you ever had to gut a fish or crack open a coconut?  This is not Sea Island or Joe’s Crab Shack – you are on a deserted island, you are it – chief cook and bottle washer. Now, I took Camping as a PE credit in college, but we never had to hunt and gather for our meals, everything was frozen in individual plastic, zippered bags, and packed in ice in our coolers.  We learned how to build a fire using two sticks and some tinder, but what is considered tinder on an …

The Grandparent Effect

There’s the Oprah Effect, the Dr. Oz Effect, even the Coach Popovich Effect.Everything they touch turns to gold; it’s a modern-day Midas Touch. Grandparents do the same with the Grandparent Effect. While parents are THE most important people in a child’s life, grandparents, good grandparents, are invested in a grandchild’s upbringing. The grandkids are their progeny; the legacy they will one day leave behind. Grandparents know that time and messy living rooms are fleeting, but memories last forever. They know this because they lived it. While harried parents are busy worrying about the essentials, they do not have time to savor the moments.   Grandparents know that a two-year-old escapee running diaperless through the house makes for an endearing and funny memory to treasure, whereas Dada doesn’t.  Grandparents know that demanding everyone eat their broccoli is a small fight compared to those looming ahead during the teenage years. Children need direction.  They need to be taught the d…

Sportsmanship

Success is counted sweetest By those who ne’er succeed. To comprehend a nectar Requires a sorest need. - Emily Dickinson
I transferred to a public school for the last three years of high school that was not known for its victories on the football field; as a matter of fact, the only time the Mighty Bulldogs ever had a chance at winning a game was when we played the only other team in our district that sucked as badly as we did.  After graduating from a Catholic women’s college (which had no competitive sports program at all), I worked for twelve years in a two-high-school district.  Both teams barely finished the football season with dignity.  But then – I transferred to a 5-A school district with the winning-est sports record in the state. Name the sport; we owned its title. Back then it had only one high school and two middle schools that fed into it.  Our football squad was bigger than most of the small towns in Texas, and our two middle school teams played each other with the ferocit…

Only Humans Write

For years I taught secondary students who had difficulty reading on level. It killed me that they felt less of themselves because of their inability. I would test them at the beginning of the year, share my diagnosis with them, and promised them they would improve by the end of the year if they trusted me and gave me their all.
Halfway through my teaching career (all thirty-seven years of it), I added writing teacher to my résumé.  Besides a reading inventory, I required a writing sample from the students.  After careful study, I made lesson plans accordingly. Once I studied the power of writing, I realized writing ability was the real test of literacy.  Sure the students had to improve their reading, but it was in their ability to write well that demonstrated success.
Consider this:  When learning a new language, a human being first observes (watches and listens), then he/she attempts to speak or repeat the sounds.  It is then the learner associates or matches the sounds to their writ…

The Green Truck

I get in my car and adjust the seat and the rear view mirror.I start the car, buckle in, and back out onto the lane that runs for a quarter mile out onto the highway. I come to a complete stop and look both ways onto the five lane highway, two lanes going north, two going south and a middle lane for turning across traffic. Far, far to my left I spot traffic zooming toward me, to my right one lone, apple green truck is heading my way.  Since I am turning left, I zip out onto the highway and land on the middle lane as if it was third base and I am considering stealing home. I check both mirrors and decide the green truck is far behind me and on the outside lane. I can ease out into the inside lane and we should both be fine. As soon as I venture out, he speeds up and honks at me with such anger I startle and grip the steering wheel.    He passes me, obviously doing more than the 60 mph speed limit.  I follow behind, hoping he gets a speeding ticket.  He never slows down, not even when the…