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.