Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Can you read the fine print?

Me neither.   Even so, there have been times that I have been bored out of my mind and would have loved to have a chunky dictionary to read for fun.   Seriously.  

That's not what most students want from their dictionary though.   They want to check the spelling of a word or two.   Get in.   Get out.   Get done.

For some kids, the sheer amount of words on a page is overwhelming.   They prefer to look up words on line.   I agree.   I keep at the ready.   The reality is that we don't have enough computers to make this workable for the whole class.

Imagine my delight when I discovered this gem:

Webster's New Explorer Large Print Dictionary

Sure it's large print, and I teach young eyes.   Young eyes still appreciate ease of reading.   Now, if you need a dictionary that is more Oxford Englishy -- this is not for you.   If you need a reference for spelling and short definitions without word histories, this could fit the bill.   The books are blue toes from dropping a hefty tome on your shoe.

Right now the hardback version is about $9 on and eligible for Super Saver Shipping.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Book People

You know who we're talking about.   Perhaps we are even talking about you.

We are about a month away from the first year since our cherished school librarian passed away.   Yes, roughly a month before last year's devastating tornado, we were saddened by the loss of our good friend and ally for books and children.

When I was listening to the live storm coverage in April, I was straining to hear enough details to pinpoint where the destruction was.   They said that our school was in the direct path, but I wanted to know which parts, if any, were spared.   After the danger had passed, we drove by the school in the darkness.   It was difficult to tell just exactly was damaged without seeing an aerial view, but the library looked like it escaped a direct hit.  

We found out later that we were right.   Books bought by our students in memory of Mrs. Sally Demuth were in various phases of cataloging throughout the room, and none were damaged.   Aside from a bit of shattered glass and curious rain, the storm had spared the books we love so much.

With about a couple of months left in the school year, I was anxious to secure items that we would need to finish out this term and start again in September.   The people hired to pack up our belongings were professional and efficient, but once items were in boxes, I was unsure of how or when we would see them again.  

Thank you to Mr. John Hutchinson, Mrs. Shirley Chirch and Mrs. Donna Lassiter for understanding people who love books.   And for understanding that we like to believe that books love people back.

A friend of mine shared this short film with me.   I hope that you will continue to enjoy the magic of reading.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Crooked Letter Crooked Letter

There's no end to what Post-it Notes can do for you.   Why not let them help you teach children how to spell, if that's something that's on your to-do list?  

I'm sure she wasn't the first person to think of the idea, but Liz Sheffield has written a short  article about the simple process.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Chicken Soup

Ug.   Flu, cold, winter funk, general crankiness.   Whatever it is, chicken soup makes it better for many of us.   Here's my new favorite recipe.   It has some of the charm of Pho, but I don't have to drive for miles to pick it up.   I haven't had much luck growing my own cilantro, but Thai basil seems to love living here in the warmer months.   Don't forget the rooster sauce...especially if you are congested.

For some figurative chicken soup, listen to the latest King Biscuit Time radio show from Helena, AK.

Travel the World with the National Endowment for the Humanities

If you're a teacher, you're a lifelong learner with a insatiable curiosity about the world.   If you're a teacher, chances are you spend much of your "vacation" time working to afford your day job.   How are you going to finance the trips of your dreams?   Hooray for the National Endowment for the Humanities!  

Once again they have a list of fascinating summer offerings for teachers through their Landmarks of American History and Culture workshops.  

Application packets must be postmarked by March 1.   Please read the specific requirements for the seminar of your choice.   Scholars who complete the programs are eligible for a $1,200 stipend.   This should help put a dent in your travel expenses.   Recertification/ graduate credit can also be yours for a little extra cash.

Where am I trying to go?  To the most southern place on earth.   You better believe it!   Cleveland, Mississippi.   Go Fightin' Okra!   Will I get chosen to travel to the birthplace of the blues?   Haw, haw, haw, haw.   I sure hope so.  

If you have more time to spare this summer, explore the NEH's summer seminars.   Stipends are based on the length of the coursework, and the deadline for applications is also March 1.