Showing posts from February, 2014

Solid Amidst the Noise

I have made some big changes in my on-line reading, posting, and social media activity.  I identified with this piece by Charlie Brooker when he describes the noise of the media in our world and even with his realization that such a post was "Olympic naval-gazing":

Yes, there's just too much noise for me, too.   There is too much clever strategy in creating and advancing images, making contacts and connections.   My friends on Facebook really don't need (or want) to hear my thoughts on daily events or news events.   At times, in the blogger world, it seems there are people in little circles getting all worked up over something that is going on in those little circles while the vast majority of the world isn't even aware of the situation or the people talking about it.   I didn't want to be permanently sucked into the orbits of those little worlds.   Plus, any on-line reading tak…

Happy St. Valentine's Day 2014


I'm not sure why Mama made a big deal out of Valentine's Day for me.   In elementary school, she and I would make sugar cookies the night before.   During my senior year of high school, I worked in the child development lab of our Home Economics department.   It was a working preschool for children of teachers and others in the community.   Mama felt like she knew each child from the stories I brought home.   She and I decided to make special cookie stacks for each child on Valentine's Day.   They were a huge hit and I like to make them for my children, too.   Sometimes we share them with friends and neighbors, but this year, I did well just to make them for us.   The recipe and instructions are here.

I love the simple sweetness of Valentine's Day in the elementary years.   I have fond memories of addressing my valentines the night before and of class parties with red punch, sugar cookies, and obscene amounts of candy.   In fourth grade, we had a mailbox contest …

Yo, ho, Mateys: A Pirate Birthday

 About a year and a half ago, our then next-door-neighbor showed up on my doorstep with a huge bag in her hands.  "Could you use this?   I'm just going to throw it away if you don't want it."   A big bag of free?   Always.   "Sure," I said.   Then, I stuffed it in the closet, without looking at its contents, just knowing it was pirate stuff left over from a birthday party.   Every time it was in my way, I considered, for the briefest of moments, throwing the whole lot out.   But then I remembered it was free and I shoved it aside as I looked for the latest lost item. Last fall, Netflix added Disney's Jake and the Neverland Pirates to their line-up and Thomas was an instant fan.   At Halloween, he wanted to be Jake, specifically.   I nudged him toward a cheaper costume so he was a pirate, generally.    For the next two months, he told us all about his Jake and the Neverland Pirates (you have to say the whole thing, not just Jake or just Pirate) party …

Curtains: Not Just Window Dressing

If you've watched much PBS Kids programming lately, you'll notice there are quite a few programs whose focus is vocabulary development.   I have a story from my teaching days to give you an idea of why that emphasis is so heavy in educational television.   One day, when reading to my fourth graders, one of my students raised his hand.   When I called upon him, he said, "What does that mean?"   I had just read a description of a curtain being drawn across a stage.   My first thought was that he had never seen a stage or any production performed upon one.   So, I began to explain what a stage was.   "No, not that," he said.  "The "C" word.  What's that?"  

Curtains?   I started to explain what curtains were.   Some of the children spoke up and began to give their own descriptions, but many of them were describing blinds or shades.   After I described fabric to cover windows and how some people sew them or buy them ready-made, my stude…