I have visited California several times in my life. From San Diego in my early 20s to visit my grandparents, San Francisco multiple times, wine country and the redwoods, Orange County, and Disneyland. Michael and I usually don’t revisit destinations as we have so many that we want to visit. Wine Country is an exception. We returned in 2015 as empty nesters. We stayed in Calistoga and found some of our favorite wines. But this isn’t about the wine. During this visit, we flew down to Irvine to visit a friend and see southern California. Michael rented a motorcycle so he could ride with Leo. While I joined them one day, that was enough for me. I rented a car and headed up to LA for a day.  I hit the major sites, Hollywood sign, Walk of Fame, Rodeo Boulevard. My favorite spot being the Tar Pits.  Thus my Starbucks dilemma. I could have gotten a mug for almost every city. I love the mugs, but I don’t need hundreds. In this case, I settled on the state mug.  Whe...
Boston   As a teacher, I had the ubiquitous collection of coffee mugs given as presents over the years. But for the longest time I didn’t drink a hot beverage in the morning. So many relegated to the duty of pen and pencil holders on my desk. And many were donated and given away.   Then I started drinking hot tea and I had a few mugs. But my friends all enjoyed Starbucks. So when visiting friends I would go into Starbucks. And I noticed the travel collection. It seemed the perfect souvenir, portable, useful, and still  reminder of the places visited. These are the mugs I’ve collected over the years. Most days they do stay on display in the china cabinet. Mainly because they don’t hold as much as my Bellatrix mug. So hard to pick today’s mug., each one is a memory! I think I’ll start with Boston. While it was the most recently acquired, it has the strongest ties to me.  M y daughter Amelia and her husband James now live in Boston. As I enjoy my tea this morning I’ll...
Welcome to Tea With Me. Over the next few weeks I’m going to be sharing my morning tea with you. Since I am at home, I can enjoy my tea is a real mug, not the stainless steel insulated model I use at school. I will be featuring the mugs I have collected on my various travels. Most come with the story. Today’s mug is my favorite. It is Bellatrix Lestrange. I admit she is probably my favorite villain. Maybe it’s the actress. Maybe it’s the storyline. Maybe it’s because I can relate to the wild and untamed curly hair! This is the mug I use every day when I have time to sit at home and enjoy my tea. It is oversized, so no need for a refill. It is a think ceramic, so it keeps my tea warm for a long enough time. It is just perfect. I promised a story.  I originally bought this while visiting Universal Studios in Orlando. I had it for a couple of years when we had a hurricane in Florida. The short story is my friends were stuck on a cruise and their two daughters were here....
shhh... Don't tell my administrator, I don't always plan my lessons two weeks in advance. Sometimes I look for a book and that is what I read for the next week. So..... I was looking at the Sunshine State Young Readers Award Jr . book display to determine what books I haven't read yet.  Inky the Octopus  by  Erin Guendelsberger  caught my eye. I have shown my students videos of an octopus escaping a tank; this book is the perfect addition to that lesson. Inky escaped from the National Aquarium in New Zealand. This book is a fictional account of what might have happened on his journey to the ocean. I started with a third grade class. They were full of skepticism, commenting that the story cannot be real. Cue the YouTube videos. Fact: if you start watching animal videos with 8/9 year olds, they don't want to stop.  Later that day, I needed to pull books for Kindergarten to choose from for check out. I let them choose from a book cart with about 50 books so i...
Last year I was given a great opportunity. I was able to transition from the classroom to the library. Me, a librarian, media specialist, teacher librarian... whatever title you want to use. It was a career move I had been interested in for a few years. The position allows me to teach all the students. I see students from each grade level daily for library lessons, book check out, and digital literacy skills. This is my time to instill a love of books to the students. I love seeing a student when they make a connection to a book.  I also get to use Maker Space activities and computers to build thinking, problem solving skills, imagination, and creativity in the students. This time lets me connect to the students during nonacademic activities. I enjoy seeing the creativity they have with blocks, legos, or play dough. I also have office responsibilities. I have book and technology budgets. I plan and run two books fairs. I produce a daily news show with the students. This ...
Raise your hand if you use iPods or iPads in your classroom. They are wonderful devices and there are more than enough apps to support and engage students in learning. Most of our students come to school with plenty of experience with some type of device; Apple or Android.  That can be a good thing or a bad thing.  It's good because they know how to turn on the device, open the app,  and they know the finger gestures to work the apps. It's bad because they know how to work the device. They know how to open apps, close apps, they accidentally delete apps,  they know the symbol for the camera and how to use it.  There is a time and place for them to use the camera or the video and the microphone. But when they are in the center it is nice to know they're working on what you want them to. Apple devices have a restriction that allow you to do this. It's called guided access. It is easy to set up. On any Apple device go to Settings (the photos are from an i...