#CYBERPD WRAPUP




"When children grow up they are not only going to be wage earners. They are going to be citizens, parents, spouses, teachers, politicians, artists, managers, and so forth. Do we want them to be come successful in these endeavors—citizens who actively work toward a democracy, effective parents and spouses, lifelong learners, effective teachers, creative and collaborative workmates. I think we do. Should we assume these goals will take care of themselves if we just attend to academics? The evidence suggests otherwise"  (113)  


Thanks for coming by today. I don't know about the rest of you, but summer in Colorado is almost over. And while I love teaching, I don't always love the frantic, hamster wheel pace. I don't love that I don't do as much professional reading, or reflection, as I do during the summer. I think OPENING MINDS is a really important book. And I'm not done thinking about the book yet. I really want it to impact my teaching. And I know how easy it is to let the learning kind of slip away, and to never think about it again once I get back into the craziness of school. I wanted to revisit the book one more time. I wanted one more chance to process my thinking before I jumped back into the craziness of school. I hoped I would be ready to present a coherent thoughtful plan of how I was going to use Johnston's work at my school this year. Unfortunately that hasn't happened yet.


I do have a few goals for myself as a teacher and a parent. First, I know that I really want to work toward what Johnston describes as "instruction that directs students (and teachers, because I'm a coach) toward a dynamic- learning frame, agency,  accurate social imagination, and social problem-solving (79).

1) Toward that end, I really want to look at the people I work with (both adults and children), and my own sons, and maybe even myself, through the lens of a dynamic learning framework. I was struck, as most of you probably were, by how children's view of themselves as learners affects not only their current and future academic development, but also their social, emotional and mental development. I think of my own two boys, neither of whom has been particularly successful in school and I wonder how different their experience might have been if more teachers one had  looked at them through the lens of "yet."


2) I want to work really hard this year at promoting great dialogue when I facilitate professional development and when I work with kids.
  • I want people talk to each other without raising their hands.
  • I want people learn to really listen and respond to each other, not just wait for their own turns to talk. 
  • I want to people learn to articulate and defend their opinions. 
3) I want to think about how OPENING MINDS can inform the work that people are doing around Common Core Standards. As I said a couple of weeks ago, I think there are lots of connections between rich dialogue and comprehending deeply. If I really work at promoting that rich dialogue, and helping kids learn to support and defend their opinions, then I believe comprehension will happen. 
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Right now, I have notes throughout the book. And I have fourteen pages of typed notes. And I have two different lists going.  One list is quotes that I want to remember, things I want to keep thinking about. Here are some I especially want to remember:

  • Children seldom misquote you. They usually repeat, word for word,  what you shouldn’t have said. Unknown, as quoted in Johnston (1)
  • As teachers, we choose our words, and in the process, construct the classroom worlds for our students and ourselves. (1)
  • In classrooms, events happen, but their meaning only becomes apparent through the filter of the language in which we immerse them. (2)
  • Errors usually happen at the edge of what we can do, when we are stretching into new territory- when we are learning.
  • This set of interactions might not mean much by itself, but the threads it contains, repeated over and over in different. forms, moment to moment, day to day, week to week, month to month, start to amount to something. Their power is strengthened as they echo and reverberate in children’s talk  (4).
  • Teaching is planned opportunism. We have an idea of what we want to teach children, and we plan ways to make that learning possible (4).
  • Teaching requires constant improvisation. It is jazz (4).
  • The language we use in our teaching changes the worlds children inhabit now and those they will build in the future (7).
  • When children are being successful, it doesn’t matter which theory they hold. When children are failing, their theories matter big time.
  • Asking children “How did you do that?” gives them a reason to retrace their steps in accomplishing something, such as solving a math problem, writing a poem or cleaning up after an art project. This narrative makes what might have been a series of unplanned and unconscious steps into a packaged strategy linked to a goal – a strategic action that can later be invoked for planning and refining (34).
  • How we give children feedback is probably the most difficult for us to change, but it is probably the point of most leverage (34).
  • When we make personal judgments of children, whether through praise or criticism, we teach them to do the same. They learn to judge themselves and others. They develop a contingent sense of self-worth—that they are only able, good, and worthy when they are successful.  39
  • Feedback that helps children think that their performance reveals some permanent quality, intelligence, or goodness at drawing (or anything else) has some serious side effects. These side effects include enjoying the activities less, being less resilient in the face of difficulty, being less likely to choose the activity the next time, being more likely to judge themselves and others, and generating unproductive narratives to explain their experience. 40
  • The more process talk becomes part of the classroom conversations, the more strategy instruction will be occurring, incidentally, without the teacher having to do it  (40).
  • The purpose of feedback is to improve conceptual understanding or increase strategic options while developing stamina, resilience, and motivation—expanding the vision of what is possible and how to get there. Perhaps we should call it feedforward, rather than feedback. 
  • A dialogic classroom is one in which there are lots of open questions and extended exchanges among students (52).
  • Martin Nystrand et al. -Students in dialogic classrooms recalled their readings better, understood them in more depth, and responded more fully to aesthetic elements of literature than did students in more typical monologically organized classrooms. 53
  • Judith Lindfors- Dialogue is a little bit like a game in which keeping the ball in play is the goal rather than winning.
  • It is the perception of uncertainty that enables dialogue. If there is certainty, or only one view, there is nothing to discuss and nothing to learn. Uncertainty is the foundation of inquiry and research  (59).
  • The root of the word school is the Greek schola meaning leisure. SLOW DOWN!!!!
  • For intellectual development, the most powerful lever comes when children disagree and take each other seriously (65).
  • Vygotsky- Cognitive growth is more likely when one is required to explain, elaborate, or defend one’s position to others as well as to one’s self, striving for an explanation often makes a learner integrate and elaborate knowledge in new ways (65).
  • When people expect to disagree and to explain their position, have a reasonable tolerance for and expectation of uncertainty, understand the value of listening to others, particularly those who think differently, and work to produce symmetrical power relationships, they are well prepared for a strong democracy (66).
  • Whether we like it or not, children are acquiring the “character” and dispositions toward civic engagement (or not) as we teach them about history, literacy, math, and science. Their moral development doesn’t just stop because we choose not to think about it (81).
  • In the long history of human kind (and animal kind too) those who have learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed. Charles Darwin, as quoted in Johnston (92).
  • Our main advantage as human beings lies in our ability to think together (92).
  • We conveniently forget that children’s ability to use language as a tool for thinking on their own has its origins in thinking together. We also forget that most problems of any significance require the application of more than one mind. The question is, can children learn to use, say, three minds together to accomplish things that the three minds separately could not accomplish (97).
  • Mary Cowhey- The real test of a dialogic classroom is to have the least empowered children, the least articulate, take a leading role in that dialog while the more articulate children thoughtfully listen and consider things from their classmates perspectives before they comment or question  (100).
  • If the “American dream has a lot to do with the pursuit of happiness,” neglecting broader aspects of children’s development will lead neither to happiness nor to economic security. Happiness matters, even if you focus on economics. Happy teenagers ultimately have much higher incomes than those who are less happy, even after accounting for family income and grades. But happiness, it turns out, is made up of three parts: “the pleasant life” (pleasure), “the engaged life,” and the meaning ful life, and pursuit of the latter two, meaning and engagement, are the best predictors of life satisfaction (114).
  • Our main advantage as human beings lies in our ability to think together. Our main threat has become our failure to think and act together on larger scales and to act on the understanding that the sheer existence of our species depends on how we think together—how we experience and treat each other (114).
  • A better concept of a fair education would be to have every child develop as fully as possible. Of course we have no way of knowing what is possible for each child. All we can do is arrange for children to be fully engaged in ways that we know lead to expanded development… When children are fully engaged in an activity, they press into service all of their resources and stretch themselves as necessary (118).


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The other list consists of language that I really want to use in my work with teachers and kids. Right now this list is way too long. I still need to distill it down. I want it to fit on one page. I want the font to be big enough that I can see it without having to use a magnifying glass. But that distilled, condensed, easy to read list has not happened. Here is my language list as it currently stands. 

Language that promotes a dynamic learning framework
  • Let’s see how much you know already.
  • I’m not good at _______________ yet
  • You have changed so much this week
  • You have learned so much since ________________ (September).
  • Would you have used that strategy back in _______ (March?)
  • You haven’t learned about that yet, but you will.
  • When kids say they have heard a book before: Are you exactly the same person as you were in ___________________.  So when you hear these words this time, you might think differently about this book. 
  • Your brain is changing and so is the way you experience ideas. Expect to think differently.
Questions that encourage children to rehearse agentive narratives
  • How did you do that?
  • How did you know that?
  • What are you thinking?
  • Thanks for teaching us that.
  • Ask your partner how he did that.
  • Are you ready to get started? Do you have a plan? You don’t need to tell me your plan. I might be able to figure out your plan from your behavior.
  • Say more about that. 
  • You found a good way to do it, can you think of any other ways that might also work? (this invites children to imagine alternative strategies and develop flexibility)
  • Not “I like the way you,” rather “Look at how you…”
Mistake Making
  • Do you think when Barack Obama was in kindergarten, he ever made mistakes?
  • We all make mistakes, even teachers and presidents, and it doesn’t make us bad people. It makes us people who are trying- taking on challenges In order to change. This is the central anchor that allows children to handle difficulty and change.
  • He made a decision for his own benefit and didn’t consider other people.
  • Do you want to attend to the book (or group activity), or do you want to read by yourself?

Language to promote strong dialogue
  • Say more about that…
  • I think (POSITION) because (REASON)
  • In the story it says (EVIDENCE)
  • If (ACTION) then (BAD CONSEQUENCE)
  • What if (SCENARIO)…
  • (CLASSMATE SAID)_________ but I think                          because …
  • Let (CLASSMATE) talk.
  • What do you think, (CLASSMATE)?
**********
OK, that's enough random rambling from me. Johnston also said, "And of course the teacher’s excellent command of language is shown in her consummate ability to keep her mouth shut while the children engage each other’s views" (80). Or as Tony said so eloquently one day, "I'm going to work at shutting my piehole." Now it's time for me to shut my pinhole and hear what you are thinking. Leave your comments below and I will round them up periodically throughout the day.

*********
6:30 a.m.

Excited that people are already starting to post.

  • Deb Frazier started the conversation. She tweeted me with her link before I was even done writing mine last night. I could soooo identify with many of her comments about classroom community and management!
  • Jill Balen, another literacy coach, synthesized the book into a gorgeous "meditation" that I am going to #1, put on an index card and read every morning, and #2, try to write myself, because then maybe the book really would go deeper inside of my brain. Jill doesn't have her own blog yet (I'm hoping that changes really soon because I'd love to read more of her thinking!) so be sure to read her comments here.
  • Dawn has also managed to distill Johnston's thinking into a short, succinct reflection that she can carry in her head and her heart. She is practicing Johnston's language on her six-year-old daughter's reading. Dawn is assembling a bibliography of "Tools for Growing Minds." She's categorized books into three categories- building community, developing moral agency and teaching civic engagement. Don't miss that link!
  • Jill has organized her takeaways into three professional goals for 2012-2013. I love her what/why/how format, and am thinking that might help me get a better grasp on my thinking. 
  • Be sure to stop by Heart of a Teacher, where LitProf Suz has linked Johnston's work to that of Gail Tompkins. Suz also takes readers on a field trip to a third grade classroom, where we get to "hear" some very thoughtful third graders reflect on their learning. 
  • Michelle integrated Johnston's work with comments from the #cyberpd Twitter conversation, then included some takeaways for her classroom. She hopes that our conversation will continue into this year. I do too, Michelle; I'm feeling like I still have lots to learn from our conversations!

Bill

I've been missing Bill today, the owner of the now defunct 8th Ave Market where I happily shopped for a number of years.  Bill was Old School, which meant he was there 24/7, rain or shine, pick your cliche, etc. etc.  Even when he could barely walk, he was there stocking shelves, cutting meat, and chatting up his loyal customers.

Bill was an interesting mix of friendly and curmudgeonly.  Like, if you told him someone died, he'd say, "Hell, they're lucky to be out of this mess."  And if you pointed out that a brick of cheese had some mold on it, he'd cut it off and say, "Hell, that won't hurt you."  And you knew in his heart he thought you were a big weener baby for even noticing the mold part.

On the other hand, he always laughed at your jokes and asked about your kids.  And when someone died, he donated meat for the funeral luncheon.  Even if he thought they were lucky to be out of this mess.

I miss you, Bill.


Modern Architecture

You don't expect the view of the Centre Pompidou as you come out of Rue Saint Merri onto Rue du Renard.



I am told many Parisians have "trouble" with the architecture from the 70's.


It houses the biggest collection of modern and contemporary art in Europe.


I loved the gallery spaces and the wide hallways.

You have one of the best views of Paris from the top floor.



The main entrance looked like a subway station, in my opinion. My son said it looked like Yorkdale Mall in Toronto!

Their permanent collection is amazing -more on that in later posts. I was so inspired!

I want to go home to create and sew right now!

Jean-Luc Moulène (1955)
 part of his 24 objects of protest

Science Club

I've been thinking about how happy I am that I spent most of my childhood playing outside instead of messing around with electronics--although I freely admit it would be good if I knew a little more about messing around with electronics these days.

Anyhoo.  Kathy and I were talking about this while we ran today, and we agreed that our older kids spent plenty of time playing outside, too.  We remembered with particular fondness the summer that Nikki and Dylan had a "Science Club."  Their plan was to study dinosaurs the way that Great Scientists do.  Also, they needed funding.  So they went around and asked all the neighbors for money (clearly, Kathy and I should have been better helicopter parents so we would have at least known our children were rolling people).  At the end of their fund-raising project, they realized there were no dinosaurs around to buy, because you know.  Dinosaurs were extinct by then.

So they went to Sinclair and bought candy instead.

Science Clubs are awesome!  Don't you agree?

SLICE OF LIFE- THAT DOG THING


I am having coffee with a friend on the patio at Starbucks. I notice the teenagerish golden retriever, past the puppy stage, but not quite a full grown dog, hanging out of the back window when a car drives up, but we are deep in a discussion about aging parents, and I don't pay much attention. Or I don't pay much attention anyway until I feel a wet muzzle under the table, pawing at my hand. The woman tries to drag her dog away, apologizing that her dog, a total stranger, is now licking my hand.

My friend, Terri, just rolls her eyes. She knows me. "She's used to it," she says to the woman. "She's a dog person. Strange dogs come up and lick her all the time."

My new friend, Mavis and I have exchanged pleasantries. I learn that she is seven months old, and has a sister, Mildred, that's a dachshund. I tell her Mavis' mama how much I love golden retrievers, and how much I miss Ramsey, the fifteen-year-old golden I lost about five years ago. She tells me puppy stories of chewed up shoes and neighborhood escapes. All the while, Terri watches in amusement.

Fifteen minutes later, the woman ties my new friends to a table and heads inside to buy her coffee. Terri shakes her head and says to me, "Carol, when the boys are gone, you need to find a volunteer job at a shelter, or with an animal rescue or something. That dog thing…"

I'm not quite sure when this dog thing came into play, but I'm pretty sure Terri's right. Take last night, for instance. I am walking my dog, Star, down 17th Avenue. The houses on 17th are big and stately (nothing like my 1200 square foot bungalow), and many have wrought iron fences around their front yards. Star and I are marching along, minding our own business when a huge black lab, carrying what's left of a blue Nerf football, lopes up to the fence to say hello. I acknowledge him and he hurtles his ball over the fence.

"You want to play?" I ask, stopping my dog to pitch the ball back over the fence. Star and I continue or walk, but we have not gone 25 feet when the blue partial football lands in front of me again. I pick it up  and hurl it back again. And again we continue our walk. And once again, the ball lands in front of me. As I throw it back a third time, I wonder how many times a day this crazy guy finds a playmate. I wonder how many people are stupid enough to stop and play ball with a strange dog, or whether this crazy guy ever encounters someone who leaves his ball on the wrong side of the fence. I can't help throwing it back.  It's that "dog thing."

And then there is my current obsession. Several weeks ago, a friend introduced me to a new website. Www.explore.org has webcams in various habitats and locales all over the world. Right now, one of their cameras is set up in a whelping pen at the Warrior Canine Connection, an organization that raises golden retrievers and labs to become service dogs for veterans with mobility issues. Interestingly, the service dog puppies are actually trained by other veterans  from Walter Reed Hospital, working in conjunction with a certified service dog trainer. Training the service dog puppies is part of the soldiers' therapy to recover from their own injuries.

On June 24th, Holly, a golden retriever mama, gave birth to six puppies. The puppies will eventually go into training to become service dogs (they already know how to sit!), but right now, they are just roly poly bundles of fur, playing jungle gym on top of their mother, biting each other's tails, and ferociously wrestling with a plethora of toys. The camera is on 24/7 and I can't even tell you how many times a day I have to check in with the puppies. It's that dog thing.

Next year, after the boys are both gone, I am thinking I will need a new hobby. Not sure whether I will work at the Dumb Friends League, or foster for the Golden Retriever Rescue, or work with a service puppy, but I'm pretty sure I will do something with dogs.

I just can't help that "dog thing."

Lyrics courtesy of Sting, Photo courtesy of me


"Fields Of Gold"

You'll remember me when the west wind moves
Upon the fields of barley
You'll forget the sun in his jealous sky
As we walk in the fields of gold

So she took her love
For to gaze awhile
Upon the fields of barley
In his arms she fell as her hair came down
Among the fields of gold

Will you stay with me, will you be my love
Among the fields of barley
We'll forget the sun in his jealous sky
As we lie in the fields of gold

See the west wind move like a lover so
Upon the fields of barley
Feel her body rise when you kiss her mouth
Among the fields of gold
I never made promises lightly
And there have been some that I've broken
But I swear in the days still left
We'll walk in the fields of gold
We'll walk in the fields of gold

Many years have passed since those summer days
Among the fields of barley
See the children run as the sun goes down
Among the fields of gold
You'll remember me when the west wind moves
Upon the fields of barley
You can tell the sun in his jealous sky
When we walked in the fields of gold
When we walked in the fields of gold
When we walked in the fields of gold

Yummy Colours

Pierre Hermé is more than a French pastry chef.

Choosing the macarons at Pierre Hermé, Paris.

Vogue magazine has called him the "Picasso of Pastry".


I was immediately struck by the brightness of the coulours of the macarons.



His combination of flavours are inventive. So is his use of colour and texture. They are a treat for all your senses. He is a true food artist.



 We ate them in the Jardin du Luxembourg.



Blissful.

(photo credit: Veronica Gerson)

Featured Vendor - Nevin Fahs


Meet Nevin Fahs, longtime Woodbury resident, ex-carpenter, exquisite mandolin craftsman and official FAF vendor.  Nevin is originally from Ohio drawn to this region as a student at Temple in Philadelphia.    Not unlike many in this little city, the then carpenter found himself at home in Woodbury and in 1993 decided to stay and raise his family in the embrace of this historical town.  Specializing in historic restorations and adaptations, Nevin has a very special connection to the Fall Arts Fest as he worked tirelessly to restore our now glorious Woodbury Train Station at the grand entrance of our festivities.  This September, Nevin returns to the Woodbury Train Station not as a contractor but as an artist with a very special niche.

The collapse of the housing market was a turn of fate building upon a lifelong inspiration from his father who loved to make dulcimers.  This carpenter took his knowledge as a quality contractor to a new love, a new muse in the intricacies of hand made mandolins.  Red Head Mandolins, made right here in Woodbury, are not your run of the mill musical instrument.  Made from the highest quality woods of Sitka spruce, rosewood, padauk, lacewood, bloodwood, ebony and holly, Nevin's mandolins, mandolos and mandocellos are at the highest end of this market more fit to be described as art than instrument.  With inlaid intracacies, soft turns and angles and a signature bright red padauk wood headstock with a classic scrolling detail, these pieces are a far cry from the factory made clones you find elsewhere.  These are masterpieces worth collecting.  

Welcome to the Fall Arts Fest Nevin!







Lajim Ukin relinquished three Umno posts



KOTA KINABALU:  After seven months keeping mum about his future in Umno, Datuk Seri Panglima Lajim Ukin finally took the bold move to relinquish his three positions in the party on July 28, 2012.
  Liken himself as a 'candle, willing to be burned for the good of the people', the Deputy Housing and Local Government Minister announced his resignation as the Umno Supreme Council Member, Beaufort Division Umno chief and Beaufort Barisan Nasional chairman with immediate effect.
  “I did not rush to make this decision, and instead I have given it much thought. This political move is not for my own gain, but the decision was made based on the interest of the people that hungers for change.
  “For now, I have at least cleared the path for those who wish to vote for change, who is hunger for development, and to be at par with other states , who no longer wish to be treated differently … this resignation today (July 28, 2012) is for the people of Sabah, and it is important to strengthen our struggles to ensure the state will continue to be on the right track towards greater heights,” said Lajim, making his special announcement cum breaking of fast before hundreds wellwishers at his residence in Likas, near here.
  However, despite relinquishing the three posts, Lajim, who has been with Umno for 28 years and the Beaufort Member of Parliament, said he would leave it to the party leadership to decide on his fate in Umno, as well as the ministerial post.
  “I have my own principle, and I believe that it is not impossible that Umno would take action against me. It is up to them to decide on my Umno membership and my post in the cabinet, they can sack me anytime, and whatever their decisions are, I am ready,” said Lajim.
  He also claimed that at least 23 other Umno leaders have voiced out their interest to also leave the party.
  Currently in a movement, dubbed the Sabah Reform Front (SRF), Lajim said that he is partyless and was thinking of whether to continue his four decades involvement in politics.
  “If we wish to continue our political struggles, we would discuss with any parties under the Pakatan Rakyat who are willing to accept us. I do not know whether I would be defending my seat as I would leave it to my supporters to decide. If they want me, I would, If not, I will just assist the future candidate” he said.
  He also refuted rumours that he was offered the Chief Minister's post, adding that: “We are in the opposition, not the government.”
  Lajim also said that he was not forced to leave BN as there were rumours that he would be dropped from the coalition.
  “All I know is that I have raised my grouses to the Prime Minister over matters concerning the Sabah leadership, and my action today is to show them that I was not making false accusations,” he told reporters.
  Earlier in his speech, Lajim said it was time for the people to move forward and not be misguided on the myth that only Umno and BN that could bring peace and harmony to them.
  “Realities lie on the leadership in states like Selangor, Kedah, Kelantan and Penang, as they are better off than Sabah today.
  “I have let myself burnt before, when I sacrificed myself and left Parti Bersatu Sabah on Mar 12, 1994. Many has regarded me as 'katak' (frog), but my decision to leave PBS has helped to formation of the BN government till today.
  “But I realise that although Malaysia was formed for almost 50 years now, Sabah is still behind, in terms of development, our voices have fallen to deaf ears in the federal government. Many resolutions and memorandum were forwarded to the top leaderships by the many political parties from sabah and yet, nothing concrete has been done to materialise them.
  “That is why Sabahans are getting tired and we come up with slogans such as 'Ini kalilah' (This is it) and 'Mari tukar' (Lets change), and deep down their heart, they wish that Putrajaya would be toppled by a new government through Pakatan Rakyat.
  “Having said that, we continue to make calls for the setting up of the Royal Commission of Inquiry to overcome issues concerning the illegal immigrants, and many other matters, as we all want a new hope which is more positive, for the good of Sabahans.
  “We should not longer allow ourselves to be treated like a sheep, left in the barn, waiting for instructions from its master and probably one day be slaughtered. We have our morals and pride. In politics, ideology alone is not enough, we need to have a principle, and it is more meaningful. A person who is equipped with an ideology without principle is like a seaman without a compass. Only with compass would we be able to reach our destination,” he said.


(pix source: sinarharian.com.my)

Versailles

Walking around the immense gardens at Chateau Versailles,



and listening to the Baroque music that played everywhere in the garden brought back memories of dancing in Vienna. (my career before motherhood)

ok that's just my daughter and I fooling around!

The costumes we wore during our performances of historical dance were exquisite! The fabrics were elaborate.

Louis XIV
The costumes the boys wore for the performances
were similar- with the wig but without the hat.

The Mirror Fountain had jets 'performing' with some music. It was a water dance!




Last Night's Dinner

Mon entré.
Our dinner at Les Enfants Perdus
was amazing!
Our wine from Vovray, France,
where we stayed many years ago
while on a two week family holiday.

CHOMP- Carl Hiassen


A couple of months ago, I came across CHOMP at Tattereed Cover. I loved HOOT and FLUSH, so of course I picked it up. I put it on my TBR list as soon as I read the first few paragraphs:
Mickey Cray had been out of work ever since a dead iguana feel from a palm tree and hit him on the head.
The iguana, which had died during a hard freeze, was stiff as a board and weighed seven and a half pounds. Mickey's son had measured the lifeless lizard on a fishing scale, then packed it on ice with the turtle veggies, in the cooler behind the garage.
This was after the ambulance had hauled Mickey off to the hospital, where doctors said he had a serious concussion and ordered him to take it easy.
 And then I went on a kind of bibliophilic (is that a word?) overload, like I always do at Tattered Cover, and forgot all about CHOMP. A couple of weeks later, I read Bill's review at LITERATE LIVES, and requested the book from the library.

CHOMP is typical Hiaasen-- a little ecology, a little humor, and a little mystery- rolled together to make a really great story. Mickey McCray, an "animal wrangler" in the Florida Everglades, who provides animals for television shows, photo shoots, etc. His son, Wahoo, has grown up with an alligator named Alice, Beulah- a fourteen foot python, racoons, and all kinds of other wildlife in the back yard.

Mickey's accident has rendered him unable to work and the family is in dire financial straits. Wahoo's mom, a linguist, takes a job in Shanghai to support the family. Shortly after she leaves, Wahoo takes a call from a representative of Expedition Survival! a reality television show. Each week Derek Badger, a "faux survivalist" is placed in a different locale and must "fight" his way out (The show, like most reality television, is a total fake--Derek Badger actually spends his nights in a five star hotel and is brought in by private helicopter every morning). Badger's show is coming to the Everglades and wants to use the McCrays' animals and expertise. The McCrays, desperate for money, accept the job.

CHOMP was a great read. Loved Hiassen's characters- Wahoo, a typical, not totally sure of himself adolescent boy, his classmate and friend, Tuna, a girl living in a trailer in the Walmart parking lot with her abusive, alcoholic father, and Derk Badger- the fake reality naturalist. Derek Badger's encounters with the "natural world" are hilarious-- especially loved the one where he tries to ride Alice, the very real alligator, across a pond,  and another one where he decides to eat a bat, who does not want to be eaten and attaches himself to Badger's lip. And then there's Hiassen's really skillful way of weaving information about animals of the Everglades into the story.

A terrific read for upper intermediate or middle school readers! And adults!

Paris

Today was my second day in Paris.

Not much to report on the textile front but wanted to post something to let you know I am still around.
walking around Paris, rue de Birague
It rained a little but that didn't stop us or anyone else for that matter.

Park across Place des Vosges with two people who found a way to
continue their picnic in the drizzle.


Place des Vosges is the oldest "place" in the city. There are many art galleries down this stretch of arches. My daughter and I discussed exploring a theme to create a series.



We even stopped at the hospital because my son picked up an eye infection of some kind. 

We noticed the colour of his shirt
is the IN colour over here.

New card

Hello everyone.

Just posting a quick little card I made with some left overs on my desk.

I'm also posting this tag I made yesterday after finding something similar on pinterest.

So enjoy and let me know what you think!!

HugS
Sandra

It's raining a little right now

See that picture?  That's how our feet looked a lot of the time that we were tramping across the U.K.  During those long hours of slogging I would fantasize about sitting in the heat on my front porch.

If you had told me then that I'd be sitting here in my office two weeks later with the windows wide open so I can hear and smell a small smattering of rain, I wouldn't have believed you.  But I am.  Because of course I sat on my porch in the blazing heat and went damn!  It sure is hot!

I know.  I'm SO high maintenance.


Broad Street Stage - Jenee Halstead

The Fall Arts Fest would like to welcome singer/songwriter Jenee Halstead.  In her third and most recent album release titled Raised By Wolves, Jenee has gone back in her inspiration in order to move forward in her art and true art she has found.  Embracing the wildness of her childhood, allowing the pureness of the creative spirit to guide her and finding a new level of uninhibited expression, Jenee has wowed the crowds with this latest installment.  The sound is soulful.  The sound is an echo of nature.  The sound weaves together a diverse background in music.

Jenee is from Spokane, Washington but her adventurous nature took her from the deserts to the snows of Alaska and onto the urban landscape of Boston.  Raised by Wolves was written in the Netherlands in an escape, in a journey which brought her further into the writing process.   "I think in some ways it is less precious and at the same time more personal. Less precious because I don't take songs or the writing process as seriously as I did when I started writing in 2006. I know that for a song to become good or great it may really need to be torn about and rewritten and sometimes there is only one phrase that gets taken from the initial writings, but the phrase is the gold nugget from which you build the song. This requires really taking ones ego out of the process or at least putting it aside temporarily in order to serve the song," Jenee explains.  


Welcome to the Fall Arts Fest Jenee!  

POETRY FRIDAY



 Last Friday morning, I got up early, like I usually do, to write my Poetry Friday post. I got online and discovered that the entire world, or at least the world in my town, had changed. There had been a shooting. In a movie theater. Less than ten miles from my house. Twelve people were dead. Fifty-eight others were injured. 

I never wrote a post. Instead, I spent most of the day watching the news. Waiting to hear if I knew anyone. Thanking God that neither of my boys and none of my students had been there. Weeping for the people who had lost family members and friends. 

And for a week now, I have been trying to make sense of a completely senseless situation. Many people are mad at the killer. I'm not. The image of his dad, dressed in a blue plaid shirt and khaki pants, carrying a small tan duffel bag, and boarding a plane to come to Colorado plays in my head, over and over and over again.

 And I just feel horribly, horribly sad that our world has come to this. All week, the line, "Rage, rage, against the dying of the light," memorized many years ago, in high school or college, has played, over and over and over again in my brain. I kept thinking that it was a perfect chorus for this situation and that we as moms and teachers and ordinary people need to come together and rage against the darkness and the evil that seems to be so prevalent in our world.

I decided that I wanted to use it for Poetry Friday. I couldn't remember exactly where the line came from. When I searched online, I discovered that it was from Dylan Thomas' "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night," and that he had actually written it for his father. I guess then, it doesn't really fit this situation exactly, but since that is the line that has danced in my head all week, here is the beginning of that poem.

"Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night"

Do not go gentle into that good night.
Old age should burn and rave at close of day.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Dylan Thomas
 Read the rest of the poem here.

As I was looking for "Rage, rage against the dying of the light," I stumbled across "Blood" by one of my favorite poets, Naomi Shihab Nye. It's actually much more appropriate for this situation.  I include it, here, then, too.
 
"Blood"
 
…I call my father, we talk around the news.
It is too much for him,
neither of his two languages can reach it.
I drive into the country to find sheep, cows,
to plead with the air:
Who calls anyone civilized?
Where can the crying heart graze?
What does a true Arab do now?
Naomi Shihab Nye
 
Read the rest of the poem here.  
Poetry Friday is at Life is at Life is Better With Books.

CYBER PD- OPENING MINDS


This is the third week of our summer Cyber PD around Peter Johnston's book, OPENING MINDS. This week we are looking at Chapters 7-9.

The conversation this week is being hosted by Laura at   OUR CAMP READ A LOT. 

Tomorrow night there will be a conversation on Twitter.

And next Wednesday, you can come back here. I'm going to host a wrap up week for people to share their final thoughts, or tools they have created for their classroom, or their top ten quotes, or ???

***************

It's almost ten o'clock on Wednesday night. My post should have been up this morning. I'd already finished the reading and I'd even typed up my notes  but I'm having trouble pulling  anything coherent together. I think it's partly because I have way too many voices in my head tonight-- all of the voices link to the reading from OPENING MINDS, but none of them quite fit together perfectly. So maybe I won't even try. Maybe I will just touch on each chapter and somehow all of the pieces will come together. 

First, there's Chapter 7- Moral Agency: Moral Development and Civic Development. Johnston says: 
Whether we like it or not, children are acquiring the “character” and dispositions toward civic engagement (or not) as we teach them about history, literacy, math, and science. Their moral development doesn’t just stop because we choose not to think about it.  81
Children in Mary Cowhey’s class are actively on the lookout for injustice. When they see it, they announce it, “That’s not right.” Their thinking quickly proceeds to, “I’d better do something.” They don’t just have a moral compass, they have a moral engine. 82
Routinely raising for discussion issues of fairness in the world and in the classroom establishes a norm: It is something we care about in this community…Students become aware that people will differ on what fairness means in any given case. Even if there is no agreement, as students construct their own view, they will engage multiple perspectives , building their social imaginations and helping them de-center, building the capacity to act for fairness, even when it conflicts with their personal desires.  83
Life in Denver this week, as you might imagine, has been hugely impacted by last Friday's movie theater shooting. As I am reading Johnston, I can't help but think of that shooting. It's absolutely inconceivable to me that someone could feel so, so, so disconnected from humanity that they could commit such a heinous crime, and I wonder what events in James Holmes' life could have caused him to disconnect like that. I wonder what his school years were like. Did he have friends? Was he bullied? Wasn't there anyone around him-- a professor, a classmate, the apartment manager-- that noticed something was wrong? Today, there is new information that Holmes sent some kind of a notebook to a psychologist or psychiatrist at the med center where he was attending school, but somehow it didn't get delivered or didn't get opened until it was too late.

In my mind, there are huge implications for me as a teacher. Moral development does matter, and it matters a lot. Kids have to be able to care for each other, to take the perspective of another, to not bully, and to not allow others to bully. They have to have "moral engines" to know how to stand up for what is right and to notice and reach out to others who are hurting. As Johnston suggests, we can't put kids' academic, social, emotional and moral lives in separate compartments and only address the academic one at school. Humans just aren't wired that way, and as teachers,  we have to  acknowledge that.

*********
There are other completely different voices speaking loudly in my head. I'm in the middle of a district institute with the leadership team from my new school. The district is in the process of implementing the Common Core Standards and we have spent the past three days making ourselves more familiar with the standards and participating in workshops that we will then deliver to our staff. As part of that process, I've also been reading PATHWAYS TO THE COMMON CORE. The Common Core Standards call for children to develop some really complex understandings about texts. I don't think that's bad at all. I do think, however, that for children to really develop those deep understandings. they are going to need to talk to each other A LOT. And they are going to need to listen to each other. And learn to build on each other's ideas, and agree and disagree respectfully. Johnston says,
We conveniently forget that children’s ability to use language as a tool for thinking on their own has its origins in thinking together. We also forget that most problems of any significance require the application of more than one mind. The question is, can children learn to use, say, three minds together to accomplish things that the three minds separately could not accomplish. (97)
I know from experience, that it takes a lot of hard work to get children to have those conversations with each other, without me at the center. And I wonder how, as a coach, especially given that I don't even think I'm all that great at facilitating these conversations, I can support teachers in this endeavor. Even so, I know those conversations have to happen. Johnston quotes  Mary Cowhey, who says, "The real test of a dialogic classroom is to have the least empowered children, the least articulate, take a leading role in that dialog while the more articulate children thoughtfully listen and consider things from their classmates perspectives before they comment or question"  (100). I think Johnston's work is incredibly important to the work that we are going to be doing around implementing the Common Core Standards and I wonder how I can weave his thinking into our conversations and professional development. I'd love to do a book study, and maybe some teachers will be interested, but I also know that they are going to feel overwhelmed with everything that is on our plates this year. 

I'm thinking about collaboration, too, when it comes to working with the adults. My job is to work with teachers individually, in grade level teams, and in larger groups. I've seen the power of collaboration and strong teams, and I want to do all that I can to facilitate that. I think I will share these quotes from Johnston tomorrow, when the leadership team meets at our school to plan out the first five days of professional development.
In the long history of human kind (and animal kind too) those who have learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed. Charles Darwin, as quoted in Johnston 92
 Our main advantage as human beings lies in our ability to think together (92)
Our ability to think alone is substantially dependent on our ability to think together  97
Our main advantage as human beings lies in our ability to think together. Our main threat has become our failure to think and act together on larger scales and to act on the understanding that the sheer existence of our species depends on how we think together—how we experience and treat each other.  114
Finally, we have talked a lot about college and career readiness at the Leadership Institute this week. Peter Johnston speaks loudly on that issue too.

A better concept of a fair education would be to have every child develop as fully as possible. Of course we have no way of knowing what is possible for each child. All we can do is arrange for children to be fully engaged in ways that we know lead to expanded development… When children are fully engaged in an activity, they press into service all of their resources and stretch themselves as necessary. 118

If the “American dream has a lot to do with the pursuit of happiness,” neglecting broader aspects of children’s development will lead neither to happiness nor to economic security. Happiness matters, even if you focus on economics. Happy teenagers ultimately have much higher incomes than those who are less happy, even after accounting for family income and grades. But happiness, it turns out, is made up of three parts: “the pleasant life” (pleasure), “the engaged life,” and the "meaningful life", and pursuit of the latter two, meaning and engagement, are the best predictors of life satisfaction. 114. 
When children grow up they are not only going to be wage earners. They are going to be citizens, parents, spouses, teachers, politicians, artists, managers, and so forth. Do we want them to become successful in these endeavors—citizens who actively work toward a democracy, effective parents and spouses, lifelong learners, effective teachers, creative and collaborative workmates? I think we do. Should we assume these goals will take care of themselves if we just attend to academics? The evidence suggests otherwise.  113  
Lots of voices in my head this week. Hoping I will be able to make some sense out of them and pull together a coherent whole over the next few weeks. 

Review : Vengeance Born oleh Kylie Griffin

Judul : Vengeance Born
Pengarang : Kylie Griffin
Penerbit : Berkley Trade
Tebal : 328 halaman
Diterbitkan pertama kali : 7 Februari 2012
Format : Trade Paperback
Target : Dewasa
Genre : Fantasy Romance
Bahasa : Inggris
Seri : The Light Blade
Buku ke : 1 (satu)
Website Pengarang: Kylie Griffin
Beli buku di : Bookdepository

Sinopsis


There is no mercy in the demon realm. No escape. In this place of desperation and conflict, anyone who is not pure bred is virtually powerless. Until an unlikely champion is born...

Annika, half-blood daughter of the Na'Reish King, longs for more than her tormented life among her father's people. Conceived in hatred and bred as a tool of retribution, she's gifted with a special talent that can heal as well as destroy...

With the Na'Reish vastly outnumbering them, Kalan, a Light Blade warrior, knows the future of humankind depends on him alone. Incursions into human territory and raids for blood-slaves by the Na'Reish Horde have increased. As Chosen-leader, he faces the task of stopping the demons-and convincing the Council of aging Light Blade warriors that change is necessary for survival.

When Annika learns Kalan is a prisoner in her father's dungeon, her dream of escape seems within reach. She agrees to free him in exchange for his protection once they reach human territory. Now, marked for death for helping him, Annika must learn to trust Kalan as they face not only the perilous journey to the border but enemies within the Council-and discover a shocking truth that could throw the human race into civil war...

Review

Fantasy adalah salah satu genre favorite saya, dan fantasy romance itu sangat jarang sekali. Kebanyakan genrenya lebih untuk remaja, dan kalaupun untuk dewasa, kalau ga paranormal romance , ya urban fantasy dimana keduanya bersetting di masa sekarang. Saya pengen sekali - kali baca fantasy ala Lords of The Ring tapi dengan bumbu romance. Selain seri Tairen Soul yang sayangnya ga diterjemahkan disini, saya belum nemu lagi. Sampai akhirnya saya baca Vengeance Born, buku pertama seri The Light Blade.


Di buku ini dikisahkan manusia hidup dalam kewaspadaan dan selalu berperang dengan ras iblis yang dinamakan Na'Reish. Kaum Na'Reish selain keji, mereka juga memperbudak manusia, dan mirip dengan vampir, dimana untuk memuaskan rasa laparnya mereka meminum darah. Annika adalah suatu anomali. Dia adalah Na'Chi, berdarah campuran dari ibu seorang manusia dan ayahnya adalah raja kaum Na'Reish. Sebagai Na'Chi hidup Annika sangat menyengsarakan. Ayahnya membencinya, dan berkata jika kelahiran Annika adalah salah satu balas dendamnya pada manusia yang sudah membunuh putranya. Selain itu di kaum Na'Reish sendiri, Annika dihina. Siksaan dan caci maki adalah makanan sehari - hari Annika, dan itu membuatnya tangguh namun juga rapuh. Walau ayahnya jahat, Annika sendiri diberkahi kemampuan penyembuh yang didapatnya dari dewi di dunianya, yaitu Lady of Light. Annika menggunakan kemampuannya untuk menyembuhkan tahanan manusia di benteng kaum Na'Reish. Sampai akhirnya dia bertemu dengan Kalan.

Kalan adalah Light Blade atau ksatria pelindung dari kaum manusia. Annika menyembuhkan luka Kalan dan berjanji akan membebaskan Kalan, tapi Kalan harus melindunginya ketika dia berada di dunia luar. Kalan yang sudah terlanjur membenci Na'Reish dan tidak peduli Annika adalah Na'Chi yang berada di pihaknya dengan enggan menyanggupinya. Keduanya akhirnya susah payah berhasil kabur dari benteng. Di saat itu juga Annika berusaha menghapus kebencian Kalan padanya, bahwa Annika tidak bersikap kejam seperti ayahnya. Sesampainya di tempat Kalan, Annika terkejut karena Kalan adalah pemimpin para Light Blade dan kaum manusia. Walaupun Kalan sudah percaya pada Annika bahkan mulai jatuh hati, Annika masih harus menghadapi prasangka dari kaum manusia lainnya, terutama dewan mereka yang kolot dan menganggapnya musuh yang harus dibunuh. Sanggupkah Annika hidup di dalam kalangan manusia dan mendapatkan kebebasan yang diimpikannya? Dan mampukan Kalan meyakinkan kaumnya bahwa Annika juga sama seperti mereka, tidak bersalah dan berhak untuk hidup damai?

Vengeance Born adalah karya debut dari Kylie Griffin, dan menurut saya buku ini sudah bagus untuk buku pertama dari suatu seri. Baik dari segi penulisan, karakterisasi, kecepatan alur dan dunia fantasinya yang menakjubkan. Temanya sendiri sudah awam, yaitu prasangka sering mengaburkan penilaian orang terhadap orang tertentu, dan dimana orang cenderung menakuti apa yang tidak mereka pahami. Annika adalah Na'Chi, dan itu membuatnya terhimpit antara dua dunia. Kaum ayahnya Na'Reish melihatnya sebagai kelemahan dan menyiksanya, sementara kaum ibunya yang manusia biasa melihatnya sebagai ancaman dan membencinya. Keberadaannya yang bagaikan legenda akhirnya menggoyahkan pondasi kaum manusia yang ternyata menyembunyikan fakta tentang kaum Na'Chi. Walaupun tersiksa, Annika tetap tegar. Memang ada saat dimana dia menjadi rapuh, dan menangis. Tapi bagi saya tangisan bukanlah tanda Annika lemah, justru ketegarannya yang begitu kuat yang tetap menopangnya untuk tetap berjuang bersama pria yang dicintainya, Kalan.

Untuk Kalan, saya sendiri sempat ga simpatik, karena prasangka butanya pada Annika. Walau tertarik, tipikal hero macam Kalan tentunya menolak habis - habisan dong, tapi juga ga bisa berkutik di akhir. Pada akhirnya Kalan yang berhasil menghapus prasangkanya, berusaha agar Annika juga bisa diterima di kaumnya. Sampai dia rela melepas apa yang penting baginya. Selain Kalan dan Annika, banyak tokoh - tokoh pendukung yang tidak kalah menarik. Seperti Hesia, wanita tua bijaksana yang menyuruh Kalan untuk melihat Annika sesungguhnya, Arek, anak buah Kalan yang membenci Na'Reish tapi tetap patuh pada Kalan, Kymora adik Kalan yang buta tapi menjadi pendeta kaum manusia, lalu Varian, sesama kaum Na'Chi seperti Annika.

Alur ceritanya sendiri cepat di bagian awal, terutama pada saat Annika dan Kalan melarikan diri, lalu perlahan melambat, dan menjadi cepat lagi menjelang akhir cerita. Tapi tidak membuat saya jadi bosan dan ngantuk. Banyak twist - twist yang diberikan oleh pengarang, beberapa sih saya udah bisa nebak, cuma tetep aja menarik saat diungkapkan. Di buku ini juga ada semacam dewi tunggal bernama Lady of The Light atau sering hanya dipanggil "Lady". Tidak seperti entitas pada buku fantasy yang cenderung pasif, Lady ini sangat aktif bahkan sering memberikan teka - teki dan perintah yang nantinya akan berpengaruh pada cerita.

Penggemar fantasy yang juga menyukai romance akan menyukai Vengeance Born ini. Apalagi ditunjang dengan covernya yang sangat mewah dan berasa buku untuk Young Adult (YA). Tapi percayalah, ini buku ga ada aroma YAnya sama sekali, bahkan adegan intimnya sangat sensual ;D. Bagi mereka yang menggemari fantasy dibumbui romance, dengan karakterisasi menarik, plot yang mengaduk - aduk emosi dan penggambaran dunia yang menakjubkan, wajib memasukkan buku ini dalam wishlist!

Favorite Quote :

- Truth has to start somewhere

- "Hesia was right. The real test of person is whether they can see past the names and labels." His gaze was steady."I've seen you. You laugh, you fear, you cry, you love. You're as human as me, Na'Chi"


Rating Cerita :

Sensualitas
Adegan intimnya ada beberapa dan jelas cocok hanya untuk dewasa. Lalu apakah aman dibaca pada saat puasa? Saya sarankan bacalah habis tarawih saja ;D. Kalau yang ga puasa juga boleh dibaca di kantor/kampus/rumah saat siang hari. Tapi awas ke-gap bos atau lupa sama kerjaan :))