Friday, July 27, 2007

It's getting to be that time again...

Last night I read this post from Graycie at Today's Homework. Maybe that put me in the back-to-school mode, because last night I had my own back-to-school nightmare. I was standing in front of a class trying to teach a lesson, but I couldn't find what I needed, and I was going through box after box on my desk. I think I even went through the trash. The kids were getting restless and I was getting frustrated, but I didn't give up - oh, no, I kept hunting that handout.

I'm still in the States but I'll be headed back home soon. I've been thinking about school and buying stuff for my classroom, but soon I'll be dealing with the real thing again.

Meanwhile, to get me in the mood, here's this week's Education Carnival.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Reading Update

Book #49 was the new one by Nancie Atwell, The Reading Zone. As expected, I liked it very much. Mostly, I got plenty of encouragement to keep doing what I'm already doing, but I also got some new ideas, mostly about how to handle things in the classroom and with parents. Atwell goes to bookstores every weekend, she says, and buys books for her classroom library, with particular kids in mind. She doesn't buy basals, and she apparently has quite a large budget for books. (It helps that she has her own school.) I don't have the luxury of going to bookstores every weekend (don't I wish!), mainly because we don't really have bookstores with English books where I live. I have, however, been able to acquire quite a few books for my classroom library on this trip to the US.

Book #50 was Second Honeymoon, by Joanna Trollope. Nancie Atwell categorizes the books her students read as Challenges, Holidays, or Just Rights. This book was a Holiday for me. Some of Joanna Trollope's books seem that way - just brain candy - and then turn out to have much more to them. I don't think this had any more to it than appeared at first glance, but it was still a fun read. Trollope is very good on vagaries of emotion in all kinds of characters.

Book #51 was The Double Bind, by Chris Bohjalian. Here's a book that's more than meets the eye. I don't recommend finishing it, as I did, right before you want to go to sleep. You'll be awake another hour mulling it over in your mind, trying to figure out what clues you missed and what was really going on at different points in the story. Warning - the violence is quite upsetting.

And book #52, ta-da, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows! It's a rather unusual experience for me to be reading what everybody is reading! I got my copy on Saturday morning at Wal Mart. There was no hoop-la, just a pallet of books on the floor in the middle of an aisle. They were selling them for $17.99 - did anyone charge full price? Of course, I'm not going to give anything away, but I loved the ending. Rowling wrapped up all the loose ends in a highly satisfying way. In my opinion, each book has been better-written than the one before. This one was mostly fairly grim, but there were some wonderful comic lines as well. I haven't had a chance to talk to anyone else who's read it yet, but I look forward to some good conversations.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Seven Types of Food

Amy tagged me over two weeks ago for that meme where you're supposed to tell seven random facts about yourself. Since I just recently revealed eight random facts to my adoring readers, I have had a bit of trouble coming up with seven more. I finally decided to write about seven kinds of food I like. Of course, there are more than seven, and the ones I'm including here aren't in any order.

1. Ethiopian food. If you haven't tried it, you should. It's delicious - very spicy.

2. Indian food. I think this is my favorite - that was one of my eight random facts, so it may be cheating to bring it up again. If so, I apologize to the meme police.

3. Caribbean food. Beans and rice, delicious ingredients like plantains, mangoes, avocados. Yum.

4. Japanese food. Both my children mention yaki soba when asked what their favorite food is. We also really like katsu don, tempura, and many other dishes. And, of course, sushi. Nothing like the combination of smooth fish and the way the wasabi blows off the top of your head.

5. British food. I realize the British aren't really known for their food, but I still appreciate boarding school favorites like toad in the hole, bubble and squeak, everything on toast. It has nostalgia value, anyway.

6. Italian food. I love pasta in all its forms, and practically any kind of sauce on it.

7. Thai food. Wonderful mixture of savory and sweet (lemongrass and coconut milk).

As I said, I like many more kinds of food. In fact, I've hardly met a food I don't like.

I'm not tagging anyone specifically, but if you'd like to do this meme, please feel free to do so, and let me know in a comment so that I can come and read.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Saturday, July 14, 2007


I'm really going in for the inspiring titles lately.

Here's today's Saturday Review of Books. Hope everybody had a happy quatorze juillet (Bastille Day). Here's the parade in Paris.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


Today we went to the zoo, zoo, zoo. We all had a lot of fun. It was a beautiful drive, too. They have been working on the roads around where we're staying, though they looked fine - OK, wonderful - to us before they fixed them. Not a pothole in sight. No goats in the road. Boring, in fact, according to my husband, who really prefers third-world driving, he says. Also, there's supposedly a drought going on but everything is wonderfully green. It's never this green in Tecwil even when we've been having lots of rain.

Here's today's carnival.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

International Book Project

It's time for my yearly plug for the International Book Project. (Here's last year's.)

This is a wonderful organization that promotes literacy around the world. We were able to visit again today and I got many books for my classroom library.

The IBP gets many gifts of books - and they are always grateful for them - but few donations of money, which is needed just as badly. They use financial donations mostly for shipping, though as you can see on their site, they have some needs at their facility as well. If you're looking for a good organization to give your money to, I recommend this one highly.

Snow in Buenos Aires

It snowed in Buenos Aires! This is the first time that's happened since 1918. The BBC posted some photos sent in by readers. Here's an article about it.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy Fourth of July

Would you believe there's an Education Carnival today? Teachers are so dedicated, aren't they? They don't even take time off for parades and fireworks!

We had a wonderful small-town Fourth, with the fireworks still to come this evening. I hope my American readers enjoy the celebration.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


I'm fascinated by people who migrate, who move from one country to another, for whatever reason. Today, the BBC is featuring stories about some African migrants.


Clearly I'm not good at being on vacation and blogging. I missed another Saturday Review of Books and I even missed a Daily Photo blog theme day, and this one was an especially cool one, too. The theme this month was Red.

We spent a few days in Nashville and visited Cheekwood. I highly recommend a visit if you're in the area. Gorgeous botanical gardens, a sculpture trail, a small art museum (with the Fabergé display right now). There's a whimsical "Once Upon a Garden" exhibit for kids going on through the beginning of September, and after that there will be scarecrows. It's so wonderful to go to a place that someone has had the time, money, and forethought to create just for people's pleasure. That's the kind of thing you rarely see in Tecwil. People are mostly spending their time and money just surviving, forethought is a luxury the poor don't have, and you don't see many places that are purely devoted to being beautiful. Not that Tecwil isn't beautiful - it is, but not in that kind of lush, green, over-the-top way that requires a huge team of gardeners. It's often difficult to imagine that here exists on the same planet as there.