Dec
2013

For Your Winter Amusement: Amazing Photos of Snowflakes

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Nature is incredible. This is a photo of a snowflake taken earlier this year by photographer Alexey Kljatov. He has a number of other photos on his website, which are equally incredible.

So, this KATU news story sparked curiosity in my mind to understand a little bit more about snowflakes:

Snow is classified into six patterns: needles, columns, plates, columns capped with plates, dendrites, and stars. Each type is the result of different atmospheric and temperature conditions in the cloud (thank you Teachervision.com).

Do I believe that no two snowflakes are the same? No. However, it doesn’t matter. Unless I can see them at this degree of detail, they all look the same to me.

 

Nov
2013

Author of the Week – Barbara Park

Junie B Jones author, Barbara Park, passed away last week at the age of 66 after a fight with ovarian cancer.

As a tomboy – even at 45 years old – I can relate to the gangly, not-a-frilly-girl explorations of Junie B (Beatrice) Jones, who I wish had existed when I was in elementary school and an avid reader. When I was working in an elementary school (and even now that I am working in a middle school), I highly recommended all of the Junie B Jones series of books to struggling readers – and students who could relate to the adventures – and misadventures – of a precocious, rambunctious 6 year old girl.

Junie-B-more

Nov
2013

Cool Writing Goo-Gaa of the Week – Writer’s Toolbox

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I found this writing jump-starter at my local Willamette Writer’s Conference last August: The Writer’s Toolbox by Jamie Cat Callan.

I offered this gift to my writing group when we wrote together last October. We were each responsible for leading a prompt workshop – and this was the hit of the night!

Jamie Cat Callan, a creative writing teacher, created this amazing kit which includes a booklet filled with exercises and instructions that focus on a right-brained approach to writing and other forms of creativity. Sixty exercise popsicle sticks – titled First Sentences, Non Sequiturs, and Last Straws – will jump start any blocked writer. Additionally there are 60 cards to bring forth creative descriptions, and four spinner cards to create exploration of interesting plot foci.

On a scale of 1-10, I would rate this a solid 10. When I am stumped – and without a light at the end of the tunnel – this is my go-to activity.

Nov
2013

Barbara Park – Author of Junie B. Jones – Passed Away

Hi all ~

I don’t know if you knew this – but I just found out. Barbara Park passed away a few days ago. As someone who works with middle school students, I saw a lot of lower-reader students glom onto Junie B Jones books and read them voraciously. I’m not sure how many tomboys CAN’T relate to Junie B. Jones.

Junie B Jones

Nov
2013

Writing Retreat

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I have a group of people that I write with at least once per year in October. We go to Silver Falls Conference Center for a weekend and write like crazy. I get so many GREAT ideas that weekend because I am forced to write. And I do force myself to participate in the prompts – even if they don’t relate to what I think I should be writing. Why? Because I ALWAYS get something awesome out of it. ALWAYS!

Thank you PDX Writers. I hope to write with you again soon. And – see you next year, fer sure!

Nov
2013

Scholastic Warehouse Sale – December 2013

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I have worked the Scholastic Warehouse Sale in Portland for the last 5 years. I help at the large ones (summer and winter) – and occasionally the smaller ones (usually August).

It is a great way to purchase books for your classroom, your child’s bookshelves or, if you are like me, your own bookshelf. I will be working this one December 4 – 12, 2013. I won’t be at the Saturday sale days due to other obligations.