Monthly Archives: February 2014

The great and powerful Oz = The Godfather

OK now before you go say “what are you talking about?” Let me begin by saying that I recently had to quickly re-read the original The Wizard of Oz. In doing so I thought of something….when Dorothy and her friends go to see the wizard they are told that he never grants anyone their wish unless they do something for him first. This reminded me of The Godfather. Only instead of doing a favor before they must do a favor after. The Don always said “I will do this for you, but one day I will come to you asking for favor and you must remember this.” Or something along those lines.

So I ask you what makes Oz so different from Vito?

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Review for LIFE AFTER LIFE by Kate Atkinson

As I stated earlier, I was in the middle of reading Life after Life by Kate Atkinson. I just finished it yesterday and I felt I should share with you my thoughts.   I  must start with saying that I am a Kate Atkinson fan.  My first peek into her writing was Case Histories and I starting reading everything she wrote.  I am a huge Jackson Brodie fan so when I saw she was releasing a new novel it caught my attention. Needless to say it took a while for me to get to it, but I finally was able to read it. And. I. Loved. It.

The concept of a young  British woman, Ursula Todd, born on a snowy night in 1910 only to quickly die; than on that same snowy night in a young British woman, Ursula Todd is born and goes on to live, and live a unique life to say the least, caught me by surprise. It didn’t seem like a concept/genre Ms. Atkinson would gravitate towards.  However, the way she writes, you forget that you are reading a story whose main character is a reincarnation of themselves, several times over.  The way she weaves Ursula’s lives together creates an amazing taparisty of imaginitve and historical stories.  Urusla suffers through some horrific events, and meets a man who’s place in history brings feelings of hatred. It is how Ursula handles each of these moments again and again that truly moves this story.

This is a unique story that I recommend to any reader and one that will have a place in future “Top” lists.

Well done Kate. Well done.

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Some winter reading

So I am in Maine for my schools winter break and I needed to bring some things to read but since I am currently involved in two books I figured that’s enough right. Think again.

Upon getting ready to come up I thought what can a bring. I am reading S by JJ Abrams and and Doug Dorset (more on that later) and Life after Life by Kate Atkinson (brilliant book. Again more on that later) so I thought I could bring those. But those are heavy and S has a lot of parts to it that I am afraid to lose so I wanted something fast and portable.

I decided let’s re-read The One and Only Ivan. I loved it and I was able to give it to my niece for her to take home, ,meaning one less thing for me to pack later. I also have Dark Places and Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn on my iPad. I enjoyed Gone Girl (as did most of America) so I though let’s give them a try. I am starting with Dark Places since they are making a movie of this as well. Than I discovered that my sister in law and niece are reading Divergent so I have been sneaking a few reads here and there and we have all be discussing.

So,basically what I am saying is…My name is Emily and I have a problem. I like to read. I am caught in the middle of three books. Four if count the re-reading of Divergent. To some this might not seem like a big deal. To others my husband included this is an issue. But to me this is what I call a good vacation. With the 6 inches of snow we got last night and my time snowboarding done for the week I have all the time I the world to finish up some reading.

Enjoy readers. Let’s have our support group meet when we all have a spare moment from our books, which might be never.

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Some interesting ways to incorporate technology

Sometimes the technology can get the better than us.  Whether it be an updated system, or the latest installment of an app, or maybe there is a new program that is better than the one you just started using.  It is OK.  You are not alone. So many teachers, parents, and even students experience the same feeling.  It is just too hard to keep up, especially when the school systems are requiring that we (as teachers) use more and more technology in the classroom.  Well here are a few easy tricks to get the technology in there, without having a learn a whole new way to teaching.

1) PowerPoint game/quiz review shows.   Face it, reviewing a lesson before a test can be boring, here is a chance to make it fun.  Teachers have been creating reviews lessons using PowerPoint to mimic popular game shows like Jeopardy, Who Want to Be a Millionaire and Are you Smarter than a Fifth Grader? There are free templates online for you to download and make it your own.  This is a great way for those who are not too tech-savy to use an already established program.  I have done this many times, and have even used Prezi to create a few review games.

2) Just Tweet It! Students mission, to summarize a lesson in 160 characters or less.  Not only does this avoid having students repeat themselves over and over and over again, but it forces them to get at the real core of the lesson and what is being taught. This is good for end of the unit/lesson discussions, but also for a quick book review.  You have came them break up the main points of the standard book review to individual tweets (ex. main character, plot, etc)

3) Blogging from a characters perspective.  This is a fun one.  If you have ever had students write letters from the viewpoint of a character you have multiple options now to incorporate technology.  The most popular choice being Blogging.  Instead of letters, the students will post, and can add images and videos as well to enhance the post.  There are blog sites that can be used specficially for the classroom that protects the students from unwanted attention.

4) Surf the Web. This is an oldie but a goodie.  Webquests have been around for a while, and ultimately what it does is guides students to search the internet for specific information.  An idea is have students become curators for their own museum on a particular topic.  But since it is for a museum the students must determine what artifacts belong in their museum.  This hits many common core areas of study but also touches on technology and digital literacy since they must evaluate the sites for validity.

Again these are just a few options for you to ponder while you try to find ways to get that technology in the classroom.

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