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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Read Aloud

When Ethan was young,
I'd read aloud to him
all the time.
We'd read at bedtime.
We'd read during dinner.
We'd read at the airport.
He loved books
and devoured them.

Then Ethan learnt to read.
And,
as we all know,
children should read everyday.
Slowly, 
my reading to Ethan stopped
as he would read to himself.

It was gradual.
Bedtime readings became him reading to me
most nights,
with me reading to him
some nights.
We would share read.
I'd read a page,
he'd read a page.
It was great seeing him grow as a reader.
I was/am so proud,
I forgot how important it was to read to him.

During Kindergarten and Grade 1,
Ethan began to love non-fiction books.
It was great seeing him
choose a genre on his own.
He then discovered graphic novels.
He loves these,
and cannot get enough.
His friends are reading Harry Potter
and Percy Jackson,
and while Ethan loves these,
he finds the size of the books
and the long chapters daunting.
He prefers his graphic novels.
And I'm ok with that.

Then I discovered Tashi.
Tashi's adventures involve
cheekiness, cleverness, 
a sense of adventure
and a love of storytelling and
tall tales. 
Each Tashi book
contains 2 short,
self-contained stories. 
It's a series I thought Ethan would enjoy.

So I brought the first book home.
Ethan seemed keen.
He looked it over.
And put it on the table.
Where it sat for a few days.
Finally, 
I asked Ethan if he wanted me to take it back to school.
Instead he asked if I would read it to him.

Being the teacher I am,
I took it as an opportunity
to share one book with Ethan,
and then direct him to the library
where he could read the rest on his own.

We loved the first book!
We laughed and talked
and made predictions.
It was fantastic.
Best of all,
Ethan asked if I could bring home the
second book. 

Here's the thing;
on the way home from school,
Ethan started reading the second book
on his own.
But I wanted to know what happened!
That night,
Ethan asked if I could read him the book.

We're on book 3 now.
And I love reading to him. 
Reading aloud to children
of all ages
is important.
But somewhere,
we forget that.
We know our children should be reading
everyday,
and while we make sure they do their reading
we forget to spend time 
reading to them.
Adult-child shared book reading
involves more than just reading. 
It also involves talking
about the books
as well as other topics. 

So,
thank you Tashi,
for reminding me of the importance
of reading to my child
everyday.






Thursday, January 22, 2015

Writer's Workshop - Top Picks

List your top 10 favourite apps currently

Once again,
this year,
I've decided my NY resolution
is about loosing weight.
Getting healthier.
Being fit and healthy.
So,
not surprising,
a few of my top apps
are health and fitness related.

1. Get Running


This is one of those
C25K apps.
I've just started
but am enjoying it so far. 

2. 30 Day Fitness Challenges


You know how you see those
30 day challenges on
Facebook or Pinterest?
And then you save the pic
on your camera roll
and try to recall what day you're on?
Well...
here are loads of those challenges
all in one app!

3. Daily Water


You know how you should drink
8 glasses of water a day?
Well, 
I don't drink nearly enough.
I know I need to drink more
so this app is great.
I feel accountable.
Plus, 
I like seeing the glasses empty
as I drink! 

4. Coach.me


This was pretty cool too.
So you set yourself daily goals,
you choose them,
then you tick if off when you do them.
It goes back to the accountability thing
I so need. 
I want to work out.
Tick.
Drink water.
Tick.
Read every day.
Tick.
It can be anything!

5. Mad Libs


This is a fun one to do with Ethan.
I've always loved using Mad Libs
in my classroom.
And now Ethan is having a blast.
It's great when we go out for lunch,
or are at the airport
waiting for a flight.
He can't stop giggling at his creations!

6. iAllowance


I love, love, love
this app!
Ethan wanted an allowance,
but I tend to forget to give it
every week.
Plus,
depending where we are
I then need to work out the exchange rate.
It's a chore.
But this app,
oh,
this app makes it all so easy!
Ethan has a virtual piggy bank
where every week
the allowance is deposited.
He can also earn more money
with chores.
And,
he can loose money with
a bad attitude!

7. Self Timer Camera


It's a timer!
For your selfies!
Enough said!

8. CamScanner


I discovered this one
when attending a conference.
The group made these charts.
They were really cool,
so a bunch of us grabbed our phones
to take pictures.
We were told that,
not only is the app free,
but the quality is better than taking pics.
Plus,
you can convert them into PDF files
and share them too.

9. TED


TED Talks!
Whenever you want to be inspired.
Awesome!

10. AppsGoneFree


Like apps?
Like free apps?
This one sends you 5 apps
that are free each day.
Great way to find new favorites!






Saturday, January 17, 2015

Girlie Weekend

Back in November,
my mate, Louise,
and I 
planned a girlie trip to Jo'burg.
We planned to go before Christmas
and get some Christmas shopping done.
But then things with my dad happened
and we had to cancel our trip.

Louise decided instead of cancelling
she'd simply move our girlie trip.
Last weekend was a long weekend here.
And Louise and I set off.

We got up early,
wayyyy toooo early,
Saturday morning
and headed on our adventure.

Saturday was spent in the mall
and then the cinema.

Sunday was another day in the mall,
followed by a show.

We saw The Rocky Horror Show.
It was fabulous.
I had seen the film
once,
a long, long time ago.
Seeing it live
is so much better.
While the film has always been interactive
the live performance takes it one step further.
Not only do you get to purchase
a box of props,
but the actors also interact with the audience.

I laughed so hard
my cheeks hurt.
And I got to see the silly side
of Louise.






Sometimes you just need to be silly. 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Battle of the Labyrinth - Rick Riordan

It's been awhile since I've spent some time
with my favourite half-blood.
So I thought it was high time,
I see what Percy Jackson was up to.

This time,
 Percy joins Annabeth,
who is in charge of the quest,
along with Grover and Tyson.
They are off to find Daedalus,
the creator of the Labyrinth
in order to stop Luke and Kronos
from attacking the camp.

Now, this isn't your average maze.
Oh no!
This one shifts and turns and deceives. 
There are monsters and creatures
at each corner and turn. 

Nico makes a return here.
He misses his sister
and a ghost convinces him to trade
a soul for a soul.
But who's soul is he after?

And Rachel Dare makes 
a comeback.
While mortal,
she is able to see beyond the mist
and helps our heroes
on their quest. 

It was good to reunite with these half-bloods!







This Makes Me Happy

So for the last few days,
I've seen links to this video on Facebook,
but haven't had a chance to watch it.
Then today, 
I was early fetching Ethan from school.
While I waited,
I thought I'd watch it.
Well,
I looked like an idiot!

There I am, 
sitting on a picnic table,
earbuds in my ear,
watching on my iPhone,
when suddenly,
I start giggling.
I couldn't stop!
I can only imagine what people walking by thought.

If you haven't seen it,
here it is!



Sunday, January 4, 2015

Seeking - Madeline Freeman

It's a new year. 
Time for a new reading challenge.
And to start the year,
I've read 
Book 2 of The Naturals.
Granted,
I found Awakening
hard to review and felt it was lacking something,
but that doesn't mean I couldn't give
Seeking a try. 

Morgan is now training with the Watchers.
Along with her friends,
and fellow Naturals,
Corbin, Lucas and Lia,
they hope to gain control of their powers.

Morgan has a full plate.
She's busy training.
She wants to find her mother.
She knows Orrick and the Veneret will stop
at nothing to get her.
She learns the prophecy calls for a fourth Natural,
and is determined to find him/her.
And then there's her best friend,
Ris.
Ris and Corbin are sorta, kinda, but not really dating.
Morgan sorta, kinda has feelings for him
And for the first time ever,
she's lying to her best friend
about almost everything.

I was able to get into this one,
a lot better than
Awakening
and am looking forward to the conclusion.


Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Grimm Warning - Chris Colfer

I have thoroughly enjoyed this series.
It's not just the wonderful spin on 
favourite fairy tale characters
but it's also the well crafted characters
and story line.

A Grimm Warning
does not disappoint.

Alex Bailey now lives in The Land of Stories.
She's training to one day become
the Fairy Godmother
and taking over for her grandmother. 

Meanwhile, 
her twin, Connor,
goes on a school trip to Germany
to hear the unpublished story
by the Brother's Grimm
that was found in a time capsule.

Soon the twins find themselves on another adventure.
This time, 
they are trying to protect the land
from a 200 year old French Revolution Army.

Now, 
the last two books
have that lovely fairy tale ending.
You know,
happily ever after.
And when you pick up the next book
you feel like you're back with some old friends
and hearing their latest adventure.
But this time,
this time,
oh my!
Colfer leaves you hanging!
Yes, he leaves us with a cliffhanger.
An OMG-did-that-just-happen
cliffhanger.
And I have no idea
when he'll publish the next installment!
Yikes!!!