So You Want to be a Writer
Teacher/Book Reviewer
listen to the wind72324379

Listen to the Wind: The Story of Dr. Greg and Three Cups of Tea
Written by Greg Mortenson
Illustrated by Susan L. Roth

Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
ISBN: 0803730586
Ages: 4 to 8

Review and Lessons Plans by Donna O'Donnell Figurski

If folks took time to listen to the wind, imagine what they might hear. When Haji Ali told Greg Mortenson to listen to the wind, Greg was confused. All he wanted to do was help the people of Korphe. After all they helped to heal him when he stumbled off the mountain he was climbing in northeastern Pakistan into their tiny village. Greg didn’t understand how listening to wind could help them. But, he took Haji Ali’s advice anyway and soon he heard the voices of young children.

Greg knew the children of Korphe had no school. Korphe was a small village and could not afford a school or to pay a teacher full time. A teacher came to their village only three times a week.
The children studied outside, under the trees and used sticks to write in the dirt. Hearing the happy, learning voices of the children on the wind gave Greg an idea.

He vowed to build a school for the children of Korphe.

For me, sitting in the canyon surrounded by the Taos, New Mexico mountains and watching clouds flit through the blue sky, the wind brings the sound of swishing leaves, chirping crickets and the hum and the buzz of hummingbirds. I hear the footfalls of my granddaughter as she runs through the gravel - destination unknown. As I sit quietly, I wonder if I truly take the time to listen to the wind what messages it might bring to me.

Many times our busy lives … grocery shopping, carpools, doctor appointments, and everyday errands stop us from appreciating the simple things in life. The shape of a cloud, the smell of a sunflower, the erratic behavior of a lizard can all bring such joy, but too often we don’t even notice them. Haji Ali’s idea was a good one and I’m going to try to do as Greg did. No, I am not going to build fifty-seven schools, but I am going to listen to the wind. Who knows what it may bring!


FROM the MOUTHS of KIDDLE CRITers: a critique group

“There once was a poor village,” said Daisy.

 “Korphe,” said Caden, “… in the mountains of Pakistan.”

“A stranger came,” said Juliana.
“He was cold and thirsty,” said Caden.

“He was sick,” explained Daisy.

“The villagers gave him tea. He was from America,” said Juliana.

“Dr. Greg,” said Tala wanting to tell his name. “He climbed a mountain and almost died - but he didn’t.”

“He looked very, very sick,” said Lucy. “So the people helped him to get better.”

“After he got stronger, he wanted to help the people of Korphe,” said Caden.

“He asked what he could do for them,” said Tala.

Juliana nodded. “He wanted to pay them,” she said.

“Greg found a man named Haji Ali,” said Diego. “Haji Ali said, “Listen to the wind.”

“At first Greg didn’t understand what Haji Ali meant,” said Mikaela.
“Dr. Greg thought Haji Ali was crazy,” said Juliana with a giggle. “But he did listen to the wind.”

“He closed his eyes,” explained Tala.

“Then Greg heard children,” said Diego.

“There were a lot of kids in Korphe,” said Abby.

“And there was no school there,” said Juliana.

 “Korphe needed a school,” exclaimed Lucy.

“Before the school was built,” said Abby, “Children learned by drawing in the dirt.”

Lucy nodded. “They used dirt as paper and sticks as pencils,” she said.

“Can you imagine writing on the ground?” asked Brayden. “It wasn’t fair for the Pakistan kids because they could only learn a little each day. We have five days of school, so we have more time for education,” he added

Lucy’s eyes widened. “It’s a true story!” she said.

“But I can’t believe that the teacher only stayed there for three days a week,” said Brayden.

“I don’t think it was the teacher’s fault,” said Mikaela. “I don’t think it was anybody’s fault. They didn’t have enough money to pay the teacher,” she explained.

“So Dr. Greg went back to America to get tools,” said Juliana.

“And he came with loads of wood,” said Abby.

“Then all the kids helped him to make the school,” said Lucy.

“He built the school for the children to learn,” said Abby.
“It was generous of Dr. Greg to build a school for the people of Korphe. He knew how they felt without a school,” said Lucy.

“If I were a kid in Pakistan and I was writing in the dirt, I would be sad not to have my own school to learn in,” said Callie.

“It would be a really hard way to learn,” interrupted Mikaela.

“… And I really like to learn,” said Callie.

“But now they have a new school and they have paper and pencils,” said Mikaela. “So they can learn much more.”

“Dr. Greg made more than fifty-seven schools,” announced Juliana.

“Can you believe that?” asked Brayden. “That’s amazing – isn’t it?”

“Greg is a person who really cared about the people,” said Mikaela.

Tala agreed. “I think that Greg was really helpful to the Pakistan people,” she said.

“Greg helped all of those people,” said Juliana. “I think the lesson of this story is to be thankful for what you have,” she added.

Abby nodded. “The children in Korphe were really lucky that Greg was climbing a mountain that day.”


TEACHER TALK

It’s Just a Penny: Social Studies/Math

What is a penny worth? Not much in today’s standards unless you live in a country like Pakistan. Then a penny can buy a pencil. A collection of pennies can pay a teacher’s wages. Pennies can provide education for the children of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Dr. Greg Mortenson began a program called Pennies for Peace. He wanted to help children in Central Asia. Some schools in the United States heard of Dr. Mortenson’s project and they wanted to help. You can help too.

  • Read and discuss Listen to the Wind with your class.
  • Tell them about the Pennies for Peace Program.
  • Have children brainstorm how they could earn pennies to donate to the children of Central Asia. (earn money doing chores around the house – setting table, take out trash, baby-sit)
  • Be sure to send home a letter to parents to explain why the children will be attempting to earn money (or breaking into their piggy banks).
  • Then put out a big jug in the classroom and start collecting.
  • When all pennies are collected, have children count the coins in groups of ten.  Then have them make groups of fifty. Next roll the pennies into penny wrappers before taking them to the bank to trade for bills.
  • Write a class letter about what activities the children engaged in to help earn money for the children of Pakistan and Afghanistan.
  • Send the donation and the letter to Dr. Mortenson at the Pennies for Peace organization.
  • Feel good about helping children less fortunate than you.

Dream On: Language Arts

Most people have dreams. They want to help the homeless, find a cure for cancer, or lose five extra pounds. Some may wish to walk on the moon, win an Academy Award, or write a best selling novel. Others may want to get married, have children, and live happily ever after. All are good dreams. All are goals to obtain. Some are harder than others. Greg Mortenson had a dream. He wanted to build a school for the children of Korphe. It was a huge dream. It seemed near impossible, but he put his mind to it and he made it happen.

Most of the time we turn our backs on our dreams because they seem hard and unattainable. But step-by-step and with fortitude, patience, and persistence most dreams can be found.

  • After reading and discussing Listen to the Wind with your class ask the children to identify Greg’s dream.
  • Then have them name all the problems that Greg encountered while trying to build a school.
Examples:
        No money
        No lumber, tool, or building supplies
        Had to build a bridge to bring building supplies to Korphe
        People had to carry the lumber across the bridge
  • Next have children work in small groups to dream up dreams. They can be real or hypothetical. (get an A on the spelling test; hike across America}
  • Have each group make a plan explaining how it can accomplish its dream.
  • Have the children plot their ideas on paper.
  • Give each group time to share their plan with the class.

SUGGESTED WEBSITES:
(Although I examined these websites and found them to be very helpful, please use them at your own discretion.)

Pennies for Peace
NEA - Students Build Schools for Kids in Afghanistan and Pakistan
Listen to the Wind 2 Minute Statement by Greg Mortenson

SUGGESTED BOOKS:

Nasreen's Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan written by Jeanette Winter
Afghan Dreams: Young Voices of Afghanistan written by Tony O'Brien and Mike Sullivan; photographs by Tony O'Brien
P Is for Pakistan written by Shazia Razzak; photographs by Prodeepta Das
Nadia's Hands written by Karen English; illustrated by Jonathan Weiner


 
My Writing Life
BOOKS ABOUT the MECHANICS of WRITING
 
My Family Album
jared-&-salmon
That is one big salmon!
 
 
I knew when Jared was four years old what he was going to be when he grew up. It was pretty apparent on that day at the stream behind my father's house when he caught his first fish. He caught it with a piece of string and a paper clip. His exuberance revealed his deepest dreams. As he grew up he was always near water, usually the resevoir near our home in New Jersey. His bedroom housed about ten fish tanks of varying sizes, and he always had some kind of experiment going. My favorite was the brine shrimp "contraption." Somehow with 2 two liter soda bottles and a lot of tubing he constructed a safe haven for the babies of the brine shrimp. If the babies weren't removed from the mother they would not survive, and he developed a way for them to survive. That was the begnning of his research career.

During high school summers Jared worked at the Maria Mitchell Aquarium in Nantucket. He helped to maintain the aquarium and regularly took the zodiac out into the Atlantic Ocean to gather new specimens to replenish the tanks. He gave tours and taught about the ocean animals to anyone who would listen.

After high school, Jared went to UCSC, the University of California at Santa Cruz. He earned a degree in Marine Biology . . .no surprise there. Jared now works and dives for the University and is the captain of the PARAGON, a research vessel. He holds many diving certificates, including research diver and rescue diver. In additon to working for the University, Jared is also a graduate student. During the summers between terms, Jared has been involved in research projects in Alaska, Ecuador, and Tahiti.


 
?OLE! Mexico ?OLE!
LET'S PARTY
 
*NEW* Strange Happenings
Hummingbird
New York City 
Subway Art
Hummingbird
New York City
Subway Art
 
This hummingbird, made of mosaic tiles, can be found in the subway station under the Museum of Natural History. You can find more "artsy" selections like this on my website under the tab, Streets of New York. Look above.
 
*NEW* WIND RIVER Prokaryotic Biology
Dr. David H. Figurski
Dr. David H. Figurski
Professor - Columbia University
talking about
Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans
or
A. actinomycetemcomitans
("Don't ask me. I haven't a clue.
I can't even pronounce it," said Donna.
"I just call it by its short name -- AA.")
 
Dr. Uldis Streips
Dr. Uldis Streips
Professor - University of Louisville
introducing David.
(He couldn't pronounce it either.)
David and a student 
discussing her poster
David and a student
discussing her poster
 
David and a Professor friend 
talking SCIENCE, of course.
David and a Professor friend
talking SCIENCE, of course.
 
I'm so proud of you, David.
I'm so proud of you, David.
 
In June of 2005, just five months after David
 
*NEW* Treska Trivia - A Slice of Life
Treska eating ice cream
Treska eating ice cream
-- way too much ice cream --
delicious Oreo Mint Blizzard
Yum! Yum!
It was good!
All the way to the very last drop.
 
Then she started to twirl 
as 
the sugar swirled through
Then she started to twirl
as
the sugar swirled through
 
I'm not twirling! 
This is
I'm not twirling!
This is "perfectly" normal.
Slow Down
Slow Down
Yikes! I'm going too fast.
Time for a break.
Don't worry -- I'll be back.
 
How do you like this
How do you like this "DO"?
See what wonderful,
delicious,
wild,
crazy,
ice cream can do?
I suggest you try it too.
:)
 
Maybe we'll get some ice cream
Maybe we'll get some ice cream
again
tomorrow night?
"Ya think"?
 
 
*NEW* TBI Traumatic Brain Injury - A Living Nightmare
SHERYL LLOYD
Summer 2005

This is Sheryl.
This is Sheryl.
 
 

This is Sheryl Lloyd. She has been my teaching assistant off and on for a number of years.
We work side by side in my First Grade classroom. Sheryl was working with me the year of David's trauma.

She's pretty amazing!
She was also there for me when David was in surgery
and
a long time after, too.

Sheryl was my lifeline to my classroom and to my school. She let me know how the Kiddles were doing. She passed my lessons to the substitute teacher for me. She helped pave the way for the children to understand that I wouldn't be in school for awhile and why I had to be away; and she was my liason to my colleagues.
 
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Teacher/Book Reviewer
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That Cat Can’t Stay
Written by Thad Krasnesky
Illustrated by David Parkins

Publisher: Flashlight Press
ISBN: 0979974658
Ages: 5 to 7


Review and Lessons Plans by Donna O'Donnell Figurski

I can totally understand the father in That Cat Can’t Stay. That would be my view too. I am not a cat lover. I do admit, however, that the cats were cute … on paper … within the confines of the pages of this book, but no cats for me … thank you. No dogs for that matter either or rabbits or mice or birds. Well, I did have a bird when I was a child and a turtle, too, but those days are over.

I admired Mom’s wily and crafty ways as she perfected her skill of wrapping Dad around her finger. That mom tugged on his heartstrings. How could Dad possible put a cat out in the rain? And that poor calico – it was going to starve to death, wasn’t it? Surely, Dad couldn’t send it to the hereafter on an empty stomach. And anyone would help a cat that was hit by a car … like the ginger kitty was. Even I would do that.

So what was Dad supposed to do? Of course, he did what any good dad would … he allowed the cats to stay until the rain stopped, until the kitty was properly fed, and until ginger kitty’s leg mended. That Mom … she was a clever one! She sure was! She knew what she was doing. And those cats just stayed and stayed and stayed even though they scratched Dad’s knees, carried fleas, and ate his cheese. Poor Dad!

Thad Krasnesky and David Parkins team up to make a very funny book, which will have children cheering Mom on. Kids will have fun joining in on the repetitive, rhyming parts, too. And they just might learn a little about using reverse psychology … on their own parents.


FROM the MOUTHS of KIDDLE CRITers: a critique group

“There’s a family and Mom found a cat,” said Tala.

“It was a broken cat,” said Caden.
 
“Then she found one cat in the rain,” said Daisy.

“And Dad said, ‘Well, we’ll let that cat stay, but not for long,’” explained Juliana.

“Mom was bringing cats back every single day,” said Caden.

“But Dad did not like cats,” said Abby.

“They carry fleas,” said Caden sticking up for Dad.

“And they scratch his knees,” explained Brayden.

Juliana nodded. “Dad probably got hurt from cats,” she said. “Then Mom would rescue another cat and Dad would say, ‘That cat can’t stay, but Mom brought the cat home anyway,’” said Juliana.

“Maybe she just took the cats because she had no one to talk to,” said Lucy.

Callie shook her head.  “What Mom really wanted was to have a cat – lots of them,” said Callie. “But I bet she was just making Dad crazy for all the cats she was finding and saving,” she added with a giggle.

“Dad always said, “Well, we’ll let that cat stay, but not for long,” said Juliana.

“But … Dad, said, “Well!” said Diego as he drew out the word to sound like this, w-e-e-e-e-l-l-l. (And then the cats always stayed.)

“Mom was trying to trick Dad to keep the cats – as many as she could find. She would give him a reason so she could keep the cat, but he said, ‘No’ and she still kept them,” said Tala.

Brayden nodded, “Mom got all the cats by using psychology,” he said.

“Reverse psychology,” proclaimed Daisy.

“Reverse Psychology is like … you can trick someone,” said Tala.

“To get what you want,” said Juliana. “There was a lot of reverse psychology in this book.”

“I think the Mom was pretty smart,” said Mikaela.  “She kept going with what the father said so he would feel guilty and then she could keep the cat,” she explained.

“Mom was trying to convince Dad,” said Lucy.

Caden shook his head. “But Dad wants the cats outside,” he said.

“I like how the mother uses reverse psychology to get what she wants,” said Juliana. “The mother is really, really good at doing that.”

“I wish my mom would do reverse psychology … on my dad,” said Lucy with a smile and a giggle.


TEACHER TALK

A Cat Is: Language Arts/Science

Cats are cute. They can be loving and mysterious. Their fur, soft and downy, makes you want to tickle them. They can be sneaky, too, and pesky; and they are definitely finicky eaters. There are so many words to describe cats. Make an A to Z list with your class to list all the words they can think of to describe them. I’ve listed a lot below to help you. (Sorry, I couldn’t think of descriptions that begin with X. If you think of any, let me know.)

A    active, affectionate, alert, athletic, almond-shaped eyes,
B    black, brown, bushy-tailed,
C    calm, curly hair, curious, cuddly, claws
D    domestic, downy-coat
E    ears, energetic, even-tempered, eyes, easy-going,
F    furry, friendly, fluffy, feline, fussy, finicky
G    green-eyed, glossy, golden, gentle, graceful,
H    hardy,
I    inquisitive, independent
J    jumpy
K    kitten
L    long-haired, lively, loving, litter box, lazy
M    mellow, mysterious, meow
N    nervous
O    orange eyes,
P    playful, plush, proud, purr, pets, pesky, picky
Q    quiet, queenly
R    ruddy, racy, restless
S    soft, spotted, short-haired, scary, silky, sleek, sweet, slinky, sneaky
T    tail, temperament, tan, tufted ears, tufted toes,
U    ugly, upbeat
V    velvety
W    wild, whiskers, white,
X
Y    yellow, yawning
Z    zesty, zippy, zappy, zany


Name a Cat: Language Arts/Writing/Science

First have children name as many cats as they can think of.  Start with the ones from the book That Cat Can’t Stay. List them on a chart.

Ex.:
Calico
Ginger
Tabby

Add others.

Ex.:
Persian
Siamese
Main Coon
Himalayan
Manx
Burmese

Then have the children use the list from the lesson above to construct Acrostic Poems. Acrostic poems use each letter in the topic word as the beginning letter of a new word to describe the topic. See examples below.

Use this site for more information on writing acrostic poems.
Acrostics for Children

C ats can be
A thletic
L oveable,
I nquisitive, and
C ute with
O range eyes

C ats are
A ffectionate and
L ively. They can be
I ndependent and
C uddly and sometimes
O rnery

P layful
E nergetic
R are
S hort-haired
I nquisitive
A ffectionate
N ervous


SUGGESTED WEBSITES:
(Although I examined these websites and found them to be very helpful, please use them at your own discretion.)

CFA: For Kids About Cats
Math Cats
Cats and Kids
FUN SITE for CAT NAMES
Cat Breed Descriptions


SUGGESTED BOOKS:

I Always, ALWAYS Get My Way written by Thad Krasnesky; illustrated by David Parkins
Dewey: There's a Cat in the Library! written by Vicki Myron and Bret Witter; illustrated by Steve James
How Many Cats? written by Lauren Thompson; illustrated by Robin Eley
The Best Cat written and illustrated by Valeri Gorbachev
If You Give a Cat a Cupcake written and illustrated by Laura Numeroff
 
My Writing Life

The Children's Writer's Reference by Berthe Amoss & Eric Suben
A First Thesaurus by Harriet Wittels and Joan Greisman
Punctuation Plain & Simple by Edgar C. Alward and Jean A. Alward
Putting It In Writing by Steve Otfinoski
Scholastic Rhyming Dictionary by Sue Young
Writing Handbook by Michael P. Kammer, S.J. and Charles W. Mulligan, S.J
The New Oxford Guide to Writing by Thomas S. Kane
1001 Pitfalls in English Grammar by Ruth Parle

 
My Family Album
Free To Be!
Free To Be!

Today we will be cowgirls
with the wind blowing
through our hair.
 
I Can Read the Whole Book!
I Can Read the Whole Book!

I love to read and read and read and read.
Just give me a good book,
Working on her next novel.
Working on Her Next Novel.

I bet she takes after her granny.
She's always working on a new
book, too.
 
Look at MY New Boots.
Want to know how I got them????
Look at MY New Boots.

Want to know how I got them????
Well, you see my Grandpa was visiting.
And, I thought that my little sister would
really like a pair of pink cowboy boots.
And . . . well . . . so did Grandpa!

He's kind of a "pushover." but don't
tell him I said that. ;)
Writing in Her Journal.
Writing in Her Journal.

This is serious business.
I have to get down ALL my thoughts.
Before Sundown!
 
The World is MINE!!!
The World is MINE!!!

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For purple mountain majesties
America the Beautiful!
A Flower Among Flowers
A Flower Among Flowers

Can you tell which is the REAL flower?
. . . the one with the smile on her face.
 
.............Here are some very special people in my life . . . being very SPECIAL!...........
 
?OLE! Mexico ?OLE!
Let's Fiesta!  Kevin, Karina, and Me
Let's Fiesta! Kevin, Karina, and Me
 
Laura's & Carla's Family
Laura's & Carla's Family
with Laura's friend, Alfredo and me
The Music of the Night
The Music of the Night
 
Meet my Mexican Mom, Lupita.
Meet my Mexican Mom, Lupita.
Lupita & her daughter, Veronica
Lupita & her daughter, Veronica
 
IMAGINE Sol and I dancing to John Lennon's IMAGINE.
Sol added a new twist to that song.
IMAGINE Sol and me dancing to John Lennon's IMAGINE.
Sol added a new twist to that song.
Mary and Grace and their Family
Check out the Pinata on the table. 
Now that's festive!
Mary and Grace and their Family
Check out the Pinata on the table.
Now that's festive!
 
Marilyn, John (the professor)
Jennifer & Patricia
Marilyn, John (the professor)
Jennifer & Patricia
Carmen & Her Mexican Family
Carmen & Her Mexican Family
 
Time for Fiesta!
I'm ready! During the last week in Puebla, the English Training Center, my school, hosted a "real" Mexican fiesta for all the students and their host families. Our teachers came, too. The food was amazing and the music was great.

 
*NEW* WIND RIVER Prokaryotic Biology
I met Trish many years ago when she worked in the Micro Biology Department at the University of Rochester in Rochester, NY. We have been best friends ever since. We even lived in San Diego at the same time . . . before she moved to Louisville to marry Uldis. Although Trish still lives in Louisville and we don
 
*NEW* Treska Trivia - A Slice of Life

MAKING DINNER

 
*NEW* TBI Traumatic Brain Injury - A Living Nightmare
JUDY
Summer 2006

This is my friend, Judy. I met Judy around the middle of January 2005 in the waiting room of Columbia Hospital's Neurological Intensive Care Unit. I had already been living David's Traumatic Brain Injury nightmare for about two weeks. Judy was fresh to it . . . to her very own nightmare with her husband, Steve. I saw pain and fear in Judy's eyes, and I hoped I could somehow ease some of her pain by letting her know what I had already learned. And . . . so we talked.

Judy's husband, Steve, was only a few cubicles away from David. Steve was suffering from a Traumatic Brain Injury, too. Judy and I soon discovered that we each met our husbands at a very young age. We were only teenagers. judythaupopovers2006AND, as I did with David, Judy knew immediately, that she was going to marry Steve. A kinship began between Judy and me.

Two weeks after meeting Judy, with a few tears and hugs and a lot of wishes for luck, we said goodbye. David was being transferred to Kessler Institute of Rehabilitation in East Orange, New Jersey. Since Judy and Steve were from New York, it was likely that Steve would be moved to a rehabilitation center in the New York area. I didn't know when Judy and I would see each other again, but we vowed to do so.

So one night, about a month later, when I saw Judy's face through the tiny window of the doors of the Neuro Ward at Kessler, I was so excited. Whenever Judy was not by her husband's side, or I by David's, we had time to talk once again. The therapists were even kind enough to schedule David's and Steve's therapies at the same time so that Judy and I could spend time together, too.

Now we each have our husbands home again and Judy and I talk on the phone or email each other - trading news of our husbands' latest healing accomplishments. We both agree that our lives have desperately changed. They have been turned upside down and inside out. And, although our families and friends are kind and sympathetic to our new lives, and try to understand, it's impossible for them to truly comprehend the depth of how life has changed for us. It's not easy to leave behind our fairytale lives. -- Meet prince! Marry prince! Live happily ever after! -- Okay, so the "happily ever after" part of the story has been altered, but we are both striving to make that happen again -- and we will succeed. We are strong women!

Although Judy and I met under the direst of circumstances, I am so grateful that she is a part of my life and that we have become friends. Lots of hugs, Judy!

(See Popovers Cafe in the background on Amsterdam Avenue in New York City. Judy and I met there for lunch a few months ago and we talked and talked and talked . . . for hours. I love their Eggs Benedict Arnold - black forest ham, fried eggs and lemon hollandaise sauce. YUM! Double YUM!)
 
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Teacher/Book Reviewer
bookbullieshome





Bullies Never Win
Written by Margery Cuyler
Illustrated by Arthur Howard

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
ISBN: 0689861877
Ages: 4 to 8

Review and Lessons Plans by Donna O'Donnell Figurski


You know them. We all do. Those kids who like to boss other kids around. The ones who like to scare little kids and take their toys. The kids who exclude other kids from their games and make them feel unwanted, insecure, and sad. I guess it makes them feel tough. But, really, those kids are the ones who are insecure. They are the ones who are afraid. They are … the bullies.

Bullies may be in your neighborhood. They may try to run your school. You might even have a bully in your classroom. The boy who accidentally-on-purpose knocks into your desk making your books and pencils and crayons scatter along the floor. He’s a bully. Quickly he’ll say, “Sorry,” but you know he doesn’t mean it. And before he turns away, you can see his grin. Or maybe it’s the group of cool-looking girls who giggle every time you walk to the water fountain or get on line or answer in class. They are bullies too. They pretend to be your friend, but whom are they kidding? They think they are so sly. Then there are the kids who won’t let you join in their games or call you names or make fun of the way you look, talk, or dress. They are bullies. They all are!

Brenda Bailey was the bully in Jessica’s life in the book, Bullies Never Win written by Margery Cuyler and illustrated by Arthur Howard. Brenda seemed to be everywhere. For sure, she was in Jessica’s head. Brenda turned Jessica into a constant worrier. Jessica worried about her own knobby knees and her mismatched socks. She worried about making a goal on the kickball team and even doing her homework right. Simply put - Jessica was afraid.

That’s what bullies do! They instill fear in their victims. They want them to be afraid. Jessica was afraid that Brenda would make fun of her, that she would embarrass her. Bullies make you feel insecure. They like to call other kids nasty names too. Somehow that makes them feel better about themselves. Who knows why! Brenda called Jessica – Toothpick. That name made Jessica miserable. Jessica sat in her bedroom. She couldn’t sleep at night. She had a stomachache and didn’t want to go to school. Not good!

Jessica was afraid to tell her parents. She was afraid to tell her teacher, Mr. Martin. Finally, though, Jessica took her teacher’s advice. She tried to ignore Brenda but that didn’t work. Jessica’s friends told her to stand up to Brenda. But would you want to stand up to a bully? Not me! I’d run the other way. In the end, though, Jessica had no choice. She had to face Brenda and that was not easy. One day Jessica looked Brenda in the eye and said, “Bullies never win!” And you know something … Jessica is right! In the end they never do win.

I think Jessica was brave. What would you do?

This review can also be seen on: SmartWriters .
Read more...
 
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PHOTO SHOOT WITH MY ROOMMATE
 
*NEW* WIND RIVER Prokaryotic Biology
Trish
So . . . 
What's so funny?
Trish
So . . .
What's so funny?
 
Best Friends
for  a 
LOT of years
Best Friends
for a
LOT of years
 
Trish 
Another View
Trish
Another View
 
 
*NEW* Treska Trivia - A Slice of Life
Put all the ingredients in.
Stir it up!
Put all the ingredients in.
Stir it up!
 
THIS is going to be GOOD!
THIS is going to be GOOD!
Mmmmmm . . . 
Smells Good!
Mmmmmm . . .
Smells Good!
 
Almost done.
Can't wait.
Almost done.
Can't wait.
 
Now this is what I 
call a good dinner.
Now this is what I
call a good dinner.
 
MAKING DINNER


"I can cook. I really can," said Treska as we walked through the grocery store. "Can I? Can I?" Then she started to list all the ingredients she needed to make Breakfast Burritos . . . potatoes, eggs, onions, tomatoes and lettuce . . . and don't forget cheese and tortillas and sour cream, AND salsa. We tossed all the ingredients into our cart. We had a date in the kitchen the next afternoon. We were going to have Breakfast Burritos for dinner. Sounded like a good plan to me.

She pulled out the skillet and all the ingredients, threw the potatoes into the food processor . . . next went the onions . . . then the cheese. Shred them all. Crack and stir the eggs. Dice the tomatoes and toss them into the egg mixture. Fry up the potatoes into hash browns and fry the eggs. Don
 
My Family Album
kayaglassesfeb2007Kaya with her new glasses.

She says, "Guess what.

I got my glasses!!!!!!!!.

Isn't that great?

It seems like the world's opening up because I can see everything
much
       more
                clearly.

 
*NEW* TBI Traumatic Brain Injury - A Living Nightmare
JUDY & STEVE THAU
Summer 2007

Judy and I are always just an email away--keeping track of how each of us is doing and how our husbands are progressing. Though David and Steve both suffered brain traumas, they were both affected so differently.
judy-&-steve-thau-2007
David and Steve were only cubicles away in Columbia Presbyterian Hospital and only a wall separated them at Kessler. Does that tell you something?  I think these men were destined to meet. Oh, they met in the hallways at Kessler and they shared the same therapy times, but neither David nor Steve remembered each other. So, Judy and I decided it was time for them to meet . . . in "REAL" time.

One sunny Sunday afternoon in August 2007, Judy and Steve came to visit. Judy and I were really looking forward to seeing each other, but I david-&-steve-2007think that David and Steve had some reservations. They shouldn't have. They became instant friends. That Sunday afternoon we all relived our nightmare days at Columbia and Kessler. It was painful. It was humorous. It was cleansing.

It's now three years since David and Steve began the journey of climbing out of the abyss of traumatic brain injury. David's anniversary of re-life is on January 13th. Steve's is January 31st. Both men are strong. Both have a burning desire to become well again. AND . . . they will!

CONGRATULATIONS to both of you! AND . . . thanks for the fight!
 
Teacher/Book Reviewer
bookthekingstaster6






The King's Taster
Written by Kenneth Oppel
Illustrated by Lou Fancher & Steve Johnson
Publisher: HarperCollins

ISBN: 0060753722
Ages: 4 to 8

Review and Lessons Plans by Donna O'Donnell Figurski      

There are so many jobs in the world. Teachers, doctors, lawyers, mail carriers, firefighters and police officers are most common. Ask any six year old child and chances are one of these jobs will pop up. So will nurses, football players, and astronauts. I've never heard of any child, though, aspiring to become the king's taster. Most have never heard of this desirable profession, I'm sure. I know I never had until I read The King's Taster written by Kenneth Oppel and illustrated by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher.

Being the king's taster sounds enticing, though, doesn't it? Everyone knows the king eats the best food - cheese pies and rose puddings and syllabub, whatever that is  - all fit for a king. So being the king's taster seems like a yummy kind of job. Who wouldn't want to get paid to eat?

Max, the chef's dog, was the king's taster and he loved his job. Max ate the best food in the kingdom. But there is a drawback to every good job and the downside to Max's job was life threatening. Max tasted the king's food before the king ate it to be sure that it was not poisoned.

When the new “boy” king was enthroned, something went wrong … terribly wrong! The new king refused to eat the chef's masterpieces. Of course, Max didn't mind; he still ate his share and more. But what if his owner, the chef, lost his job? In desperation Max and the chef searched the world for new recipes - pizza, tacos, French fries. No king could resist those - could he? He could … and he did until his secret was discovered. Peek into the king's crown.

This review can also be seen on: SmartWriters .
Read more...
 
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