Pics from NYC Wednesday, Nov 21 2007 

Here are the pics from NYC…

The only view I got of the Empire State Building…
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Both dark due to their strikes…
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Times Square
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And… the authors 😀

Me and Jerry Spinelli, the king of YA lit!  I got his newest book– not yet out 😀  Yay me!

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Ishmael Beah, his memoir still sits with me almost a year later.
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My friend Jess and Katherine Paterson… she told her about reading Bridge to Terabithia five times in 5th grade and leaving a pool of tears at her desk… and then she cried.
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I HEART James Howe!! He asked me for a hug when I told him that I introduce Totally Joe to my 4th graders. Wow! When I sat down later and read his inscriptions in my books, I cried.
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Definitely the best session of the whole conference… Authors’ Readers’ Theater.

Avi, Katherine Paterson, Sarah Weeks, and Brian Selznick…. ahhhh…
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I’m back…. Tuesday, Nov 20 2007 

Back from my trip to NYC, that is. It was super busy and I didn’t get to go to any of the fabulous places that Steven recommended. We didn’t get to our hotel until 2am thanks to delays in our flights. The rest of the trip was fully taken up by the conference, but I was so happy by that. I met and got to speak to some of my all time favorite children’s authors; Jerry Spinelli, James Howe, Linda Sue Park, Walter Dean Myers, Katherine Paterson, Laurie Halse Anderson, Avi, Sarah Weeks… Wow! what an amazing time it was. James Howe asked ME if he could give me a hug! Not the other way around!! So, all I really saw of NYC was the walk back and forth from the Convention Center to our hotel, but I saw Times Square, 7th Avenue, and Broadway. I guess that will do for now 😀 Plus, I got to eat some amazing Brownie Cheesecake at Lindy’s.


Too overwhelmed… Monday, Nov 12 2007 

I guess that would put it mildly.  I’m exhausted because I volunteered all weekend at our school’s booth at the town fair.  Don’t get me wrong, I had a blast… but now I’m paying for it.  The big girl was sick today and my dear mother left work early to come and get her and take her to her house so we could both go to work.  Tomorrow interim reports go home.  Wednesday night is Family Math Night (of which I’m in charge) and I’m leaving Wednesday afternoon to go to NYC for my conference so I’m busy getting the entire thing ready now.

And, the worst news of all, my darling nephew-to-be has been diagnosed with cancer.  My niece will be 26 in two weeks; he will be 30 next month.  He has malignant melanoma and went through his second major surgery today in a week.  Next week he starts chemo and radiation.  This shouldn’t happen to anyone, much less a healthy, vigorous, young man.  He is an Orleans Parish Criminal Sheriff Deputy… you know the ones that you saw pictures of standing on the interstate guarding the prisoners because the prison was under water???  That was him.  They were supposed to get married on Leap Day.  He will just be finishing his rounds of chemo and radiation then so they have had to postpone the wedding because he just won’t have the energy for any of it.

Life is just not fair.


From the “pencils” of babes :-D Thursday, Nov 8 2007 

In continuing with the peace movement…

In my classroom I do a Quote of the Day; where I write a quote and my students write what the quote means to them. Over the last twelve weeks of school I have included several peace quotes. These are four and their responses– enjoy!

Peace Talk

From Room 8

Our interpretations in our 4th grade classroom of some famous peace quotes:

Nothing will bring you peace but yourself.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

* I think it means that peace is in my body.

* It means your self can bring you peace.

* I think it’s about bringing yourself peace. Like when you go home and sit in the tub- that you bring peace to yourself.

* You can’t let anyone give you peace. You give yourself peace.

You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist.

~ Gandhi

* You cannot shake hands if they are balled up because you can’t shake with a fist.

* You cannot shake hands if you are about to fight.

* You cannot shake hands with a fist. I feel like that too because you can’t shake a fist. If you try to shake a fist you can’t do it.

You can’t separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has freedom.

~ Malcolm X

* If you are not nice and the next day you want to be nice you will not get peace.

* I think it means that you can’t have freedom without peace.

* I think it means that you have to have freedom before you can have peace.

* If you are mean, you can’t get freedom or peace.

* You can’t separate freedom from peace, first you have to have freedom before you have peace.

* You can’t break peace from freedom.

* A man must have been a good man that people must have never had freedom.

All we are saying is give peace a chance.

~John Lennon

* Peace is good for life it would be very good but give it a try. Give peace a try.

* Don’t do anything to change the peace.

* Have peace and take a chance. That’s why you need peace.

* Give peace a chance. You might like it.

* It means that you can give peace a chance to try it.




Keep on swimming…. Friday, Nov 2 2007 

I became a teacher because I like to be meaningful in the lives of the children that I teach. Why is it that I am more increasingly having to deal with “adults” who act like children? Didn’t these people go to college and get a degree to be professionals? Ugh, some days I wish I had a nice quiet job in a cube somewhere.


New York City, here I come! Tuesday, Sep 25 2007 

I am so excited.  I never travel… ever.  The last real vacation I had was my honeymoon (and I’m about to celebrate my 13th anniversary!) and those Ivan and Katrina evacuations had hotel stays with pools… so I guess you can count those if you want.  So, my only form of travel ever comes in the way of conferences.  Now– most people would groan at the thought of going out of town for a conference and sitting in meetings all day.  But, you’re looking at a bonafide geek here.  C’mon, I have 117 graduate hours for what… it sure doesn’t increase my pay.  So, I’m ecstatic that I got selected to represent the Greater New Orleans Chapter of the National Writing Project at the National Council of Teachers of English Conference in NYC.  Woot!

Just a small list of the authors and presenters that I will get to hear…. Johnathon Kozol, Jerry Spinelli, Allen Say, Dave Barry, Lucy Calkins, and Ishmael Beah.  Wow, I am such a lucky lady.  It’s the Wednesday through Sunday before Thanksgiving, so as a bonus I get an extended holiday break! 🙂

This is why I teach… Thursday, Sep 20 2007 

This is an article from the front page of today’s paper. Even with a storm heading our way and the Jena 6 Rally today, this made the front page! This is the school I taught at last year and the student interviewed was one of “my kids.” He is the one who read Looking for Alaska when I recommended it to him (only because a professor had done a book talk on it) and returned it the next day. I thought he was passing on it. Actually, he had finished it in one night. He gave it back and said, “Thanks, that was awesome.” That is why I read it. HIS recommendation. He really was a bookworm. Of my 24 kids, 23 passed to the 9th grade!! I bawled my eyes out when I read the article. Enjoy something positive about education for a change.

Taylor’s (Edward– as he wants to be called) story

Why I’ve been missing…. Saturday, Aug 18 2007 

It’s back to school time. I went back to work on August 8th and we got kids this past Monday (8/13). I must say, I’M EXHAUSTED!!! I forgot how much fourth graders wear you out. That, plus, I’m 36, plus, there are 24 of them (6 of which are special ed), plus one of my two a/c units has been out since Tuesday, plus there are six contact hours a day. What does that equal claass????

One exhausted teacher and way too tired blogger. (I haven’t even opened my laptop for three days prior to this!)

Thursday Thirteen #17- 13 things I want to do before school starts Wednesday, Jul 11 2007 

School starts back up for teachers on August 8th… that means I have less than a month to do everything I want to do. Chances are looking slim, but anyway….


  1. Read the massive stack of books in my To Be Read pile.
  2. Start eating healthy. :snicker: …yeah even I had to laugh at that one…
  3. Watch the massive pile up of movies I have on my Tivo.
  4. Finally get these four movies that I have at home from Netflix watched and sent back so I’m not paying all summer for four movies.
  5. Learn to build a nice website for my school so the hubby doesn’t say one more time, “Oh, I can do that for you.”
  6. Maybe teach my children to stop talking at decibels only my ears and dogs can hear.
  7. Put the wainscoting up in the little one’s bedroom. Not so much for the decor purposes, but more for the easy cleaning purposes.
  8. Actually crack open the six new cookbooks I got when I joined The Good Cook book club…
  9. Start looking at the curriculum for the new grade level.
  10. Go out to eat for the NO Aids Dine For Life Event. (If anyone wants to send in a donation it’s July 19th, go here for info!)
  11. Blog more!
  12. Drink more!
  13. Sleep more!

Get the TT information here.

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. What do you do? Write Thirteen things about yourself, summarize your week in one entry, make it easy for other bloggers to get to know you on a weekly basis. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well!

See more TT particpants.

Wordless Wednesday #14- Teachers, keeping the country down… Wednesday, May 30 2007 


See other WW participants here.

**Edited to add… these aren’t old posters.  They are meant to look that way because the posters of old were so carefree because of the world they lived in.  Here is another shining example…. So much for WORDLESS Wednesday…

Manic Monday #3- RED Monday, May 28 2007 

Manic Monday


As a teacher, the color red is one that I have grown a certain detest of because of it’s negative connotations.  I recall getting papers back as a student for many years with red marks all over them and feeling defeated.  As hard as I can, I try to not give that feeling to my students.  My grading color of choice is either green or purple.  These colors are less “harsh” and seem friendlier for some reason.  Even today, when my children come home with papers with red marks on them I feel the pain… Did red marks effect you as a student?  

Writing Tuesday, May 1 2007 

I am so excited!  I found out today that I got accepted to the GNO Writing Project.  This is such a big deal.  It’s an invitation only project and only 20 people get accepted, and I’m ONE OF THEM!!!
It will be intense, it’s 5 weeks from 8-3 every day, but I am ready for it.  Not only do I get to collaborate with 19 other teachers, but we are given time to work on our own writing and have our peers critique it.  For about the last year I have been toying with the idea of writing a YA book.  This could be my kick in the ass that I needed.
Now, if I could only get over this head cold and finish my final projects for my classes, I would feel a hundred times better.

Thursday Thirteen #11- 13 Nonfiction Books I’ve Read Recently Wednesday, Mar 28 2007 


I’m in the middle of a Nonfiction class for my Library certification, so I’ve been reading a lot of that. I’m not, or didn’t think I was a nonfiction reader, but guess what… I like most of what I’ve read so far.

  1. A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier: Ishamael Beah (bought this one at Starbucks and they give 2 bucks to Unicef) Amazing book! Go to Starbuck’s site and listen to his interview as well.
  2. Outbreak! Plagues that Changed History: Bryn Barnard Awesome! Covers the major plagues with great details that kids love. My fave is the original way they gave the smallpox vaccine in China was by blowing it with a pipe down someone’s nose. Imagine if they inhaled!!
  3. Freedom Riders: Ann Bausum So interesting, this book is a comparison and contrast of two men (John Lewis and Jim Zwerg) who both chose to ride buses during the bus boycott time. One is black, one is white.
  4. The Wand in the Word- Conversations with Writers of Fantasy: Leonard Marcus I’m not a fantasy reader by any means, but what Marcus does here is interview 13 different fantasy writers about their childhood and writing processes.
  5. Well Wished: Franny Billingsley Ok, so this isn’t nonfiction… but she’s one of the featured authors in Marcus’ book, so I read her book to get an idea of her work. Like I said, I’m not a fantasy reader, but it wasn’t that bad. Good for girls.
  6. On Shabbat: Cathy Goldberg Fishman I’m completing an expert project for the class on the Holocaust, so I’ve been reading a lot of books about the time, but I wanted to get a feel for the culture. Being that I’m Catholic, I had no concept of what Shabbat was; very enlightening.
  7. Viktor Frankl: a life worth living: Anna Redsand Having received a degree in counseling eons ago, I knew of Frankl’s psychotherapy, but this biography of his life and survival of four different concentration camps was intriguing.
  8. Surviving Hitler: a boy in the Nazi death camps: Andrea Warren This amazing story of survival of 12 year old Jack through multiple concentration camps would put into perspective your kid’s whining about being bored!
  9. Tracking Trash- flotsam, jetsam, and the science of ocean motion: Loree Griffin Burns So cool! Shows the ocean currents through trash movement. Kids will be so into this book!
  10. The Voice that Challenged a Nation: Marian Anderson and the Struggle for Equal Rights: Russell Freedman Tells the life story of the amazing opera singer that changed history by singing at the Lincoln Memorial and became the first African American woman to perform in the White House.
  11. Molly Bannaky: Alice McGill The biography of Benjamin Banneker’s (the first African American to write an almanac) grandmother, a milk maid from England who came to America as an indentured servant.
  12. Mendel’s Daughter- a memoir: Martin Lemelman The memoir of Gusta Mendel’s childhood and escape from the Nazis told in graphic novel format. Very creative!
  13. Fireflies in the Dark: Susan Goldman Rubin The story of Friedl Dicker-Brandeis, who sacrificed her 110 lbs of luggage that she could take with her to Terezin Concentration Camp to bring art supplies for the children of Terezin. Breathtaking!

Get the TT information here.

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. What do you do? Write Thirteen things about yourself, summarize your week in one entry, make it easy for other bloggers to get to know you on a weekly basis. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well!

See more TT particpants.

My class’ blog Thursday, Dec 28 2006 

We’ve started our own blog and I’ve added some of our activities.  They are really getting a kick out of this.

Stop by and visit us.  Our school’s mascot is the shooting star and each classroom adopted a constellation or star as it’s name.  We are Aquila, Orion’s eagle.