Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly -

BROOKLYN: Andi Alpers is on the edge. She’s angry at her father for leaving, angry at her mother for not being able to cope, and heartbroken by the loss of her younger brother, Truman. Rage and grief are destroying her. And she’s about to be expelled from Brooklyn Heights’ most prestigious private school when her father intervenes. Now Andi must accompany him to Paris for winter break.
PARIS: Alexandrine Paradis lived over two centuries ago. She dreamed of making her mark on the Paris stage, but a fateful encounter with a doomed prince of France cast her in a tragic role she didn’t want—and couldn’t escape. Two girls, two centuries apart. One never knowing the other. But when Andi finds Alexandrine’s diary, she recognizes something in her words and is moved to the point of obsession. There’s comfort and distraction for Andi in the journal’s antique pages—until, on a midnight journey through the catacombs of Paris, Alexandrine’s words transcend paper and time, and the past becomes suddenly, terrifyingly present. (from Barnes and Noble)

This is book 1 of my 100 book chalenge for 2011... I was drawn in by the cover and then more by the synopsis... It sounded fascinating! I had to have it but sadly it was not as captivating as I thought it should have been.

For the high points, I thought the main character Andi, finding a diary of Alex's was well-crafted and how Andi was drawn into the diary was good. I was more intrigued by Alex's story than I was Andi's. I felt for Alex...she seemed real, and especially because she was flawed. I love a good flaw on a heronie. And Alex's flaw was she could be selfish and an abundance of ambition...things that are very normal.

I did some research on some of the facts that Donnelly put into the story and she did a great job incorporating the facts and also put in a segment about how history is a Rorschach test which I thought was a wonderful point of view of history and reminds us as readers that she may view things differently than we do when looking at history.

Andi and her father have a strained relationship and I thought the character of the father was well-done! Especially when he tries to talk to an angry, rude, teenager and is unsuccessful.

Some downsides, I think Donnelly tried to push the Posh high school and made it sound unrealistic. I felt that Andi was a very contrived character and though her guilt was very real her character's attributes were not. I had a hard time imagining meeting her or meeting her friends. I have students and I felt that I could like her to no one.

It was a great idea and the history was well-incorporated!
Overall 3/5

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

My book challenge selection so far! Anyone have a good suggestion?

So I have been thinking about the Wordworth Classic Reading Challenge 2011 and what I would pick to read.
I have made the following list
Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf (because it is a favorite of a very dear friend of mine)
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (because I am going to read it with my seniors)
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (Re-reading this one - best love story - so true to how love really is)
Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carrol (Can't believe I have never read this?!)
The Best of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (I do have a slight obsession with the movie so some background might be good)
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Duman (A true story of betrayal and revenge...hoping to read this with my students)
Silas Marner by George Elliot (Read this as a 10th-grader, liked it but can't really remember it)
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne (Oh the scandal, reading with my students)
Macbeth by William Shakespeare (It's one of his best of the best)
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (Plain curiosity)

Monday, December 27, 2010

New Years Book Challenges.

I'm going to take on a challenge or two this year... well with reading. Lord knows I take on enough challenges but these ones are going to be for me (and my sanity). I am first taking on the challenge

Challenge: Wordsworth Classics Reading Challenge 2011!

I have to set my target somewhere in here. I am not going to lie. I am shooting to be a noble. I am opening my students help me out with this. If you want to participate in this challenge look up

Peasant: 1-4 books
Bourgeois: 5-8 books
Knight: 9 – 12 books
Noble: more than 12 books

I'm not sure what my list is going to be yet...

My next challenge, which I have not signed up to do with anyone, (and maybe I will) is to read 100 novels this year. Too often I fall into the "I don't have time to read for my own enjoyment" category and I hate this. If I set myself a goal, I have to follow it. I am starting with Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly. I intend to post the books that I have read like I have been doing. I do think that I will change the format, "Steal" the synopsis from the book and then give my review without giving away any details. I hate it when people ruin books so I will not do it!!!!!

Maybe I will approach some students and other teachers about this idea? It's a thought worth expressing, I think.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Still need a title :(

Done editing, for the third time! I vote to redefine the word editing. I would make it read "never ending process." :) But all very much worth it in the end.
Nadine, edited the book for me this time and I am giving it to a fellow teacher and one of my more advanced students. I think it is time for someone in the group I am targeting (adolescents) should read it. Here's hoping the reviews stay positive!
But, the point of this blog is to talk about title significance. I have been writing this book for over two years now and still am at a loss for a title. It's sad, I have the second book's title picked out but am very hesitant about the one. It sets the tone. It draws people in! What if I pick the wrong one?!
I recently went over title significance in my senior class and how it helps let a reader know what to expect from the text and for the first time, I am feeling the weight of this.

I still need a title!

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead

This is the final chapter of the Vampire Academies series and I have to tell you that I am so sad that it is over! I found Rose Hathaway to be a captivating character. she was not the weak-willed lead. She was tough, mouthy, and reckless. She did not fail me in this novel either.

Rose is on trial for a murder that she did not commit and like the fourth book, Lissa and Rose spend much of this book apart. But through the shadow-kissed bond, we, as the readers, keep up with what is going on in court, because Rose is not there! She was broken out of her cell by some expected and unexpected friends. And what is even more shocking is the "friend" that helps her in solving who really killed the Queen.

A long the way, she continues to battle her love for the handsome Dimitri and her love for the addict loving Adrian. I could not wait until I got to the end to find out who she ended up with!!!!

However, it is sad that after six books, it's over. I wanted to know what happened to each character after the wrap up. It is one of those series that the characters became "alive" to me and they simply cannot end.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Torment by Lauren Kate

I recently received about 12 new books from (LOVE THAT WEBSITE) and got the second book of the Fallen Series by Lauren Kate. IT WAS BETTER THAN THE FIRST! You do have to read the first one to really understand the love between Daniel and Luce, but oh how I loved it.

Daniel and Cam have a truce for 18 days they have joined up against those that want
Luce and basically go around annihilating anyone who is a threat...sick, but romantic and
I am still not positive that Cam isn't in love with her too. They both are hell-bent on protecting her
and Luce seems clueless about the danger that she is in by putting herself in danger often in this novel. It is my issue with the book, I felt that stemming from the first novel's ending, she would have figured out that people were after and would still be...I'm going to chalk it up
to a character flaw

Luce is shipped off to yet another school where she meets Shelby and Miles, two very loyal friends. And though things at school are OK, and she is figurin
g out more about the nephilim world (because the school is for that), she desperately misses Daniel who really shouldn't see her (though he sneaks around and does ...oh romance!). Luce does get restless because she doesn't know what's going on and Daniel stays tight lipped about everything which begins to drive a wedge between the two, and you wonder are hundreds of life times together enough in this one?

This series is a must read!!!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Halo by Alexandra Adornetto

School and National Board have been taking over my life but I did sneak in a read last week, Halo by Alexandra Adornetto. This novel includes three angels, Gabriel the warrior, Ivy the healer, and Bethany the teen. The teen? She is just that and part of the reason that the three of them are on earth. They have come down from heaven to help the shift from evil to good. They reside in a little ocean-coast town and while her older "siblings" are in control of themselves, Bethany finds herself behaving like a human teenager and even falling in love with a boy, Xavier Woods. However, evil forces come into play.

This novel was more centered around the love story of Bethany and Xavier then the fight between good and evil. And though I love a good a love story, I felt the ending was too quick... I wanted more from the "evil". I'm trying not to give it away, the ending.

I do think Adornetto did a great job capturing teenagers. She did not presume
much about them but created characters that I have in my classroom. I think my students would and will relate to this story.

I'm also finding a big draw for my students is the cover. And I get why, it's captivating. Nice job on the marketing whoever designed that one!

Friday, December 3, 2010


I finally moved in!! Yes, its true, after four months of dreaming of sleeping in my house. It has finally happened, well about a week ago it did! Brad and I have 90% of our stuff here! The upstairs is mostly done, minus the master bathroom...don't worry I have a working one!

I just needed to post that... pictures to come later!!!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Bill and Melissa Gates funded the website DonorsChoose in order to help schools get the basic needs and help school enrich their programs. Teachers can create a profile, create different projects (ranging from school trips, books, carpets for reading, computers, etc to anything you want that you can find through the vendors), and then wait for generous people to donate to their projects.
Companies like Build a Bear and Townsend Press go on to this website and make substantial donations toward projects. People who are not teachers make accounts and can donate to any classroom project they choose. They can donate a dollar if they want. As a teacher I know that a dollar can go a long way.
I have been creating projects on for two years. I have received 25 The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, 35 copies of Rachel's Tears, and over 60 independent reading books, including Before I die, Clockwork Angel, Willow, Hate List, Fallen, I am Number Four, and the list goes on. I would say that I have had about $2,000 worth of donations to my classroom. It's an amazing website. During March this year, for any dollar donated, the website would match it. I posted my project on my facebook and several of my friends donated money and project was quickly funded. (I am very grateful for friends!)
This website is a great resource that is probably under-utilized. Please pass on this website to other educators and people who are education enthusiasts!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Classic eBooks for Free

I have an overwhelming need to blog about the site that I have found! For all you, NOOK, Kindle, iPads and other eReader that is out there who love the classics. I mean Hawthorne, Twain, Malory, Joyce, Shakespeare and one else you can imagine, this site, the is for you! Yes, YOU!
Because of copyright laws, all the old classics are up for dibs on this website. It costs NOTHING, unless you want to donate. I just downloaded, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Scarlett Letter, Several Sherlock Holmes books, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, several of Shakespeare's play plus more! Did I mention for free? And that they work?
I have to say that I love the modern reads, but there is something comforting about the classics. Now they are forever part of my NOOK.
If you love the classics, go visit this site!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Second Draft Done and Making a Difference

The second major revision of my book is done. It took all summer and part of fall to do, minus the months of August and September because of the house, but it is finally done! Well, this section, at least. I finally have a full understanding of when people say "A piece of writing is never done." I mean, when I first finished the novel, I really thought it was ready for the editors. Stephanie Meyer, look out, I was going to be on Forbes too! Haha, OK maybe that was bit over-reaching for my first book. But, I really thought, I was in good shape. It is with this second draft, that I know Nadine is going to send it right on back to me with errors and gaps in it, and once I fix that Marie is going to turn right around and do it too! But that is OK. It's the process.

On a side note, I just received a text message from a former student and her college English professor told her she was the best writer in the class, that she was only person who knew how to cite correctly, and to thank me for doing a good job! I am very proud of Christian and also a little proud of myself!

Stemming from that, Christian participated (probably unknowingly) in one of my favorite activities: Make a Difference. It's where a person tells another person how they have made a difference in his/her life. It really does go along way!!!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Indiana Jones - Who has seen it?

I recently got done reading The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown with my seniors. It was a process but it is a rich text that isn't an easy read but current enough. For those of you who don't know this novel is about the search for the notorious Holy Grail. Brown puts an interesting twist on the Grail legend.
My class and I were discussing the different media and literature references to the Holy Grail and I brought up one that I thought was a "gimme," Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade. Do you want to know how many of my students had seen ANY of the Indiana Jones Trilogy? Two. Yes, I wrote two! I was baffled. How could these children know so much about "Old School" and not know Harrison Ford's greatest role!
I have a mind to have my students write a compare and contrast on Grail Legend just so that I can show them this movie! It may be the "Old School" in me, but everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, should watch at least one of these movies (and no not the recent one that came out either).

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Fixing Up a Fixer-Upper

Bradley and I have been in the process of fixing our new home for about three months. It has been, well, a really long process that is not near to being over. It is nice though because things are coming together. My bedroom is painted and only needs touching up in paint and the floor cleaned. My bathroom needs the vanity and toilet and I LOVE THE COLOR OF THIS ROOM. It's a beautiful grey, tint of blue in it. My living room is a light yellow/tan called cozy cottage. One wall needs to be finished, needs some mud. I also have beautiful Maple cabinets that have been sitting in a trailer on my lawn. BUT... I am priming the kitchen today and hopefully within the week, they will be up!

What I have learned so far - i know what is lead paint and what is not, how to do the three layers of mud, how to sand and then finely sand, the patience to paint a room, prime, taping, ceiling, walls, touch-up and little odds and ends about the home... and lets be honest some of the things I have learned are because I have made mistakes.

But I'm getting close!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Clockwork Angel

Magic is dangerous--but love is more dangerous still.

When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.

Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What's more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa's power for his own.

Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by--and torn between--two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm's length...everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world...and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all

I finished the novel Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Claire. This novel is a wonderful supernatural world. Likened to the Harry Potter world, the author creates a world that works with the "mundane" world. I fell in love with the character test and her insecurities. She is a wonderful 16 year old girl trying to save her brother who has disappeared and in the process is forced to become part of the supernatural world. She is rescued by several characters and they take her in. You have a wide range of characters, the female trying be the leader in a man's world, a husband who can only see his inventions, a prissy teenage girl who just wants to be married (the story takes place in London during the 1800's), the wild boy Will with hidden secrets and Jem who carries a hidden addiction.

I am part of Team Will... end of story.

The plot was well-developed and I was intrigued from the very beginning!!! Has anyone read this one? I think what I loved the most about the plot were the twists. Clare had me going, "No way!" a few times.

I loved the book and was very upset when I learned the sequel would not be coming out for awhile!!!

I also did some research on this author's other works and what she has done is written a series for the same world except it takes place in modern day. The Clockwork Angel is a prequel series to the Mortal Instrument series. A friend of mine, Nadine, has started this series and really enjoys it! It is a must for classroom shelf and also for the supernatural reader!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

It's that time of year... my favorite time of year... it's time for the first few weeks of SCHOOL! Yes, I truly enjoy this time of the year. I love getting all my new school supplies, like I was five years old again. There is something about a new notebook with no pages torn, no scribbles in it. And a new pen! How many wonderfully stressful things will I write!?

I'm refreshed and ready to dive into new units and see the familiar faces of my students in
the halls of Ripley. Though high schoolers can be tough, they have an uncanny ability to make me smile a
nd brighten my day!

I did read a few new books in the last week and wanted to take a minute to post about them. The first was a book called Ruined by Paula Morris. This was a great supernatural story that did not have to do with vampires. I thought it captured the "outsider" well and reminded us about New Orleans and the culture that is found there. The ending, though I won't spoil it, was quick. It "vanishes." I would say it was a 31/2 star book.

Another one was Incareron by Catherine Fisher. It's a new Big Brother theme book. It is very imaginative and so well planned the world that Fisher developed. It is most impressive. It does drag at the
end but I needed to know how it ended. The main heroine of the story is bossy, determined, and intelligent. You can't help but want her to succeed against the forces that are trying to control her. And the hero! His identity is predictable but he has a soft, caring heart and you want him to assume his rightful identity.

The last one I am going to mention is my favorite! Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick . This book involves a
new favorite supernatural topic f mine, angels. And Patch, the main character's love interest, oh, he's perfect! Yes, I secretly love him. Fitzpatrick weaves a great story, involves several great twists and left angry that I would have to wait for the sequel! It was very captivating! I mean, LOOK AT THAT COVER! One down side, the main character's best friend is too predictable and very expected. I will say it was the best summer read for me this year. 41/2 star

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Bright Side Project as a teacher's resource

As I start to come down from the "THANK GOD I AM ON VACATION" feeling, I am turning my attention back to school, which is something that I enjoy doing. It is like a fresh canvas (not that I could draw anything) and I can do anything I want on it and know that somewhere in there is going to be a brilliant idea.
I have kept on my educational reading (online and traditional) and have some great ideas however, I took a conference from a brilliant lady on creative writing notebooks and since then I have been looking for daily prompts to put in my notebook for my kids and the best resource for some five minute writing prompts (or longer) has come from a website called The Bright Side Project. On this website, there are designer giveaways and to enter you have to answer a simple question. Today's question was "What makes you feel lucky?" I wrote that I have a good support all around me and this one pair of jeans (in a nutshell at least). But that could easily be turned into a paragraph. They could tell me why that makes them feel lucky or an event that made them feel lucky, and then my mind just spirals into short stories. :)

Monday, July 19, 2010


I am not 100% sure of what is being offered but it sounds like Barnes and Noble is offering a free application called NOOKStudy. This program, at least it says it will, offers organizational and cool tools, get etextbooks with 40% off, over 500,000 books for FREE, and the capability to access the materials whenever and where ever. I did sign up to here more and if you clink on the above link you can too!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Making "the old", "the new"

I have recently become interested in antiques and reupholstering... In my Aunt Becky's attic, I found this! A beautiful rocker that she gave me! Currently, I'm in the process of sanding. Good lord, is that time consuming. I think what I am going to do is sand it down, leave the green in the crevices and put a brown or maroon cushion for the seat... any vote on that? Also, I am going to stain it. Eventually I would like to paint it white, but Brad was right, it does look nice sanded down. It's great knowing that I am doing something for my house! It is going too look beautiful on my stone front porch with the white columns.

Another find was in my upstairs, Uncle Mike and Aunt Amy gave Brad a very comfortable pink chair that doesn't match the decor of my new house. Lauren, my expert, is helping me reupholster. We found a beautiful tan cloth a design of multiple blues. I love it!!! We are currently taking this chair apart. There are tons of staples in it but it is beautifully done! Look at all the detail that went into this chair? And now Lauren and I are ripping it apart!

New hobby? I think so! New side business, maybe? Not right now though :)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A writer as a sketch artist? OK let's not go too far here!

I finished the grammar and mechanic edits that Marie did for me a few days ago. It is amazing how you miss things (like commas) that you know!
I have been talking with Nadine about about a new segment I need to add and I am very excited about it because I think will only expand my manuscript! Sorry to be so vague!
But what I wanted to talk about was how I have moved on to "plumping" up my novel. I have completely re-written the setting of my story, which is a boarding school. I did take some inspiration from a local college campus, Mercyhurst Main in Erie, PA. To fix my setting problem (which it was too vague), I had to draw the layout of the school, name the buildings involved, and come up with textures, colors and details. I have a very non-impressive sketch, but a sketch that helped to guide me writing... who knew that as I wrote, that I would draw!
My next job for the next few days is to develop some crucial characters that got passed over because they are not "main" characters. I have a great twist to add in too! (Again, sorry about being vague).

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Summer vacation is finally here... kind of?

I spend all year keeping my head above water with my classes while trying to incorporate all the new things I am learning and think would benefit my students. Any teacher who is like this know how exhausting this is (but very worth it). This year I was the senior class advisor and that means putting on Class Night and helping with Graduation (again, exhausting). It ended at 12:30 for me and at 4:34, I am already wondering how I will spend my summer.
And, buried deep inside me, I already know. I am going to work on both personal and professional development. I am going to focus on writing and how I can help my students write more and better. I am going to read as many books as I possibly can so that I can suggest and converse with my students. I am going to plan new lessons that hopefully will "ooh" and "ah" my students and administration. I am going to go to several workshops to see what everyone else is doing because I feel that is the number one way to improve, plus I will surf the net to see as well.
Summer vacation is another way to say get ready for next school year. It is a good thing, I know and it will only make me better (right?).
So, the first thing, finish the edits Marie sent me on my book. Second thing expand and condense the book. I imagine something like an accordion when I say that. :)

Sunday, June 20, 2010


For all the new writers (or even experienced writers) this program looks like it would be great for visual people, like myself. As soon as school is out, I am going to test out the 30 day trial and help with the novel that I am currently working on. I am hoping that will help me "fix" the problems Marie, Nadine, and I are finding.
And on the teacher side, what a great program for a Creative Writing class or for the English classroom in general. It looks like it could really help develop student writing (and mine) and it would be great for students who need the visual map to help them (like me).

Friday, June 18, 2010

Could be the funniest email I have ever receievd

A new Priest at his first mass was so nervous he could hardly speak. After mass he asked the Monsignor how he had done. The Monsignor replied, "When I am worried about getting nervous on the pulpit, I put a glass of vodka next to the water glass. If I start to get nervous, I take a sip."
So next Sunday he took the Monsignor's advice. At the beginning of the sermon, he got nervous and took a drink. He proceeded to talk up a storm.
Upon his return to his office after the mass, he found the following note on the door:
1) Sip the vodka, don't gulp.
2) There are 10 commandments, not 12.
3) There are 12 disciples, not 10.
4) Jesus was consecrated, not constipated.
5) Jacob wagered his donkey, he did not bet his ass.
6) We do not refer to Jesus Christ as the late J.C..
7) The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are not referred to as Daddy, Junior and the Spook.
8) David slew Goliath; he did not kick the shit out of him..
9) When David was hit by a rock and was knocked off his donkey, don't say he was stoned off his ass.
10) We do not refer to the cross as the 'Big T.'
11) When Jesus broke the bread at the last supper he said, "Take this and eat it for this is my body." He did not say, "Eat me."
12) The Virgin Mary is not called 'Mary with the Cherry'.
13) The recommended grace before a meal is not: Rub-A-Dub-Dub thanks for the grub, Yeah God.
14) Next Sunday there will be a taffy pulling contest at St. Peter's not a peter pulling contest at St. Taffy's.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


ePublishing is my latest branch of research that I have been exploring. I have read several blogs talking about the success and the downside of ePublishing. This blog was very informative and gave me a more concrete understanding of what is the trend and what one could gain or lose from ePublishing.
An important and old fashioned thought clings to me. I would love for people to read my books and if ePublishing is the way to do it, I will gladly go that route and hope for success. However, there is an old fashion side of me that would like to see my books in hardback on my shelf. There is something very beautiful about that vision and I don’t want to completely let it go.
But from the few blogs I have read about ePublishing, I have discovered there is a lot to learn including the rights on the internet, profit of selling on the internet versus print. There is a SUBSTAINAL difference is percentage, the increase in eReaders, and the self-promoting involved with ePublishing opposed to the promoting you would get with a publisher and/or agent.

Stemming from eBooks, I found this article for those interested in getting either a Nook or Kindle. It is the latest comparison of the two.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Vampire Academy Series

The Vampire Academy Series is a great follow-up to the Twilight Series. Since Stephaine Meyer's series, I have had an abundance of teenage girls looking for vampire style books. They fly off of my shelves before I even know they are back. It is a wonderful sight to behold.

I have had several of my students burn through the four novels that are currently out there and they are all patiently awaiting the next release. Spirit Bound.

The series includes a different twist to vampires, moroi (good vampires) and strigori (bad vampires) with a further twist with dhampirs, who are half-human and half-moroi and sworn guardians to moroi. In the novel you meet a dhampir Rose Hathaway, a reckless, loud-mouth who is devoted to her best friend, Lissa, a moroi.

The current four books that are released encompass the girls' senior year at St. Vladmir's Academy. However, (because I refuse to book spoil), something is not quite right with Lissa. She was supposed to come into an element (air, water, earth, fire) when she matured but hasn't and she always seems angry to Rose and she can use compulsion better than anyone. It isn't normal in the world of Moroi Rose searches into the past of St Vladmir to discover the truth about what is going on with Lissa and then Lissa has to learn to control it.

And then there is poor Rose, the heroine of the story. She desperately tries to do the right thing but always finds herself in a jam. But because of this, she also spends time with the handsome Dimitri (I think he is one of the reasons my girls love these books) who is to be her trainer and mentor and Rose and Dimitri cannot help but fall in love. Throughout the four books, you see this couple come together several times and then ripped apart again and again.

And all the while Lissa is figuring out her powers, and Rose is trying to become better and stronger, Strigori, soulless, murdering vampires attack the student body of St. Vladmir's. Rose always finds herself in the middle of the battle showing how she is growing up throughout the series.

I cannot tell you enough how I enjoyed this young adult piece. If you have a Twilight junkie, I would pass on this title as well. And another series would be The Blue Blood Series, a high-society vampire series with a twist using Roanoke Island.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

St. Peter and English teachers

I found this on one of those daily calenders. It made me laugh and I wanted to share it.

St. Peter hears a knocking at the Gates of Heaven and calls out, "Who's there?"
"It is I," a voice responds.
"Oh no, not another English teacher," sighs St. Peter.

Hope you enjoy it!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Technology in the classroom

For a school grant my colleagues and I have decided to read five mentor texts over the next two months. The first one I have read is "Best Ideas for Teaching with Technology: A Practical Guide for Teachers, by Teachers," by Justin Reich and Thomas Daccord.

My introduction to this text first came from a colleague who works at a college in Erie, PA. She uses it in one of her classes as a way to prep future teachers to use technology. She gave the book rave reviews and with the importance of technology in the classroom, thinks it is a wonderful mentor text.

There were several sections that were the basics in the text, like PowerPoints and the uses, also commands to use in word and identifying plagiarism. I am a high school English teacher and feel that these are fundamentals in a classroom.

A topic that I have been intrigued with for some time is WebQuests. I think the idea of researching, navigating through the web, and having target goals is an innovative way to keep students engaged. The book pointed out education WebQuest sites to help get my barring with the topic. Some of the sites are:, and

Wikis was another section in the book I found I would be able to use in my classroom. I had minimal experience during a conference but thought the idea of being able to work together in whole class and small group would be wonderful. I thought students would be able to create stories together, edit one another's works, and a chance for all students to "speak" on any given topic. The authors suggested as a free site to use for teachers.

Another side to the book that I thought was great was a smaller part of the book. It was when the authors would use examples of how to use Wikis, WebQuests, Online research, note taking, PowerPoints, etc. These examples gave me wonderful ideas of what to do and my mind has been working overtime on how to use those smaller suggestions in my classroom.

The text overall is easy to understand and filled with great ideas and concepts.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Beginning of Blogging

I finally broke down and created a blog. I have been following other people's and know that this is going to be a great avenue to find out more about topics of my interest and help others find information that I can offer.

I am currently an aspiring author who is in the process of editing. It is an overwhelming process and there are tons of tips and pieces of advice out there. I do have wonderful support through my friends Ellen and Nadine. I find it is a huge comfort that I had two friends who were willing to invest their time in my dreams. If I have learned anything yet, I would say that having someone you trust read your book to do some fine tuning, is something you should take advantage of. My book was so clear in my head but these two ladies picked out gaps and made great suggestions to improve my story.

If anyone else has a tip for me to help my book process move along, please let me know.