I have just signed up for this program to earn rewards, items, and possibly cash for offering reviews on items available through Amazon. It was fairly painless to fill out the form and choose some free items to review. A couple I was looking at getting on my own and a couple I could use. I did not choose items just because they were free; I wanted to try things I felt I could actually use.

I will post a follow-up after the items come in, I use and review them, and get the points, cash, whatever. I will be posting my reviews here and the link to the Amazon review.

Let’s give it a go and see if it is worth my time and effort.


Why I’ve Stopped Doing Interviews for Yale

Math with Bad Drawings

Last year, I conducted alumni interviews for Yale applicants. It’s an easy gig. You take a smart, ambitious 17-year-old out for hot chocolate, ask them about their life, and then report back to the university, “Yup, this is another great kid.”

I recently got an email asking me to re-enlist. Was I ready for another admissions season?

I checked “No,” mostly because “Aw, hell no” wasn’t an option.

Why my reluctance? No grudge, no beef, no axe to grind. It’s just that the whole admissions process is so spectacularly crazy that participating in it— even in the peripheral role of “alumni interviewer”—feels like having spiders crawling out of my eyeballs.

In the last 15 to 20 years, Yale’s applicant pool has gone from “hypercompetitive” to “a Darwinian dystopia so cutthroat you’d feel guilty even simulating it on a computer, just in case the simulations had emotions.”

I don’t fault the admissions office. For every…

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First Grade Wizard of Oz Meteorologists

Expect the Miraculous

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Our amazing 1st grade team and students have been working on their Wizard of Oz unit.  I love this unit because they weave in so many content standards with Wizard of Oz as their guiding text. A part of this unit is the weather standards from science.  Students have to know various kinds of weather as well as how to dress in that weather.  Since this is a part of what meteorologists do, we decided to try something new this year by looking closely at the role of meteorologists.  The goal was for students to write a weather report for the Wizard of Oz regarding the cyclone and to record the forecast in front of our green screen.

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Students came to the library and we looked at a few videos of meteorologists reporting on severe weather. As we watched, students noticed things about the posture and speech of the meteorologist…

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Library Orientation for Kindergarten through Second Grade

Love, live, love what I am seeing on this blog! Great ideas for library classes. Thanks!

Expect the Miraculous


Each year I ponder what to do for the first of the year library orientation.  Once again, it’s a time where you want to talk about procedures, expectations, etc, but I think more and more about what message I really want students to take away.

This year we are fortunate to have author and illustrator Mike Curato coming to visit our school in October.  His book Little Elliot, Big City has so many positive messages for students to start off their year.  I decided to use this book as a conversation starter about problem solving, helping one another, being a good friend, and feeling welcome in such a big place.

As students entered the library, I played the book trailer.

Then, we opened with the story. Little Elliot, Big City has very few words on a page, but the discussions that can blossom from those simple words and powerful illustrations…

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So good I plan to read it again!

So good I plan to read it again! Violet Parker, real estate agent to the departed, cannot get a break. Not only does her boss treat her like a Barbie doll to get sales he pimps her out to the next reality show with Ray along for the ride. As usual, Nat, Doc, and Old Man Harvey are by her side as she rides into another crazy predicament as Coop keeps a cautious eye on her. Perfect in its silliness, amazing in its sultriness, and just enough creepy mystery keeps me coming back for more. Ann Charles is a wonderfully witty writer who makes me laugh out loud and giggle to myself as I turn each page wanting more.

Am I Turning Into An Old Fart?

I read somewhere that if you were conservative young you get more liberal older and vice versa. I think it is true because my husband of seventeen years has become much more conservative. He admits to minor conservatism in certain areas but even our 23 year old has noticed the change. Is he, at 54 and two days, turning into an old fart? No, not really. He has retained his twelve year old self and it was very apparent as I watched him with his eleven year old nephew last night. He has always been the one who wants to go out partying or just OUT anywhere at the week’s end. He is also the one who works from home 24/7 and does not always see or speak to another person until I come home from work so I do get that he wants some extraneous stimuli.

So maybe, just maybe, I AM the old fart. I was a liberal-ish conservative in my youth. My very conservative brothers have always assumed I was very liberal and even called me a Democrat once. In all my years of voting I have only once voted on the left and all others right. So, not very liberal. As I have matured, now the mother of a 23 year old career woman with a master’s degree in interactive journalism working for a print and online magazine, I find that I have become even more conservative. I believe we all have our opinions and even though I do not agree with some and thing they are wrong, I believe we all have the right to have our opinions and even share them. I do not have to listen to them. I have turned off notifications and even unfriended or blocked individuals on social media because they are so righteous in their quest to convert me and anyone else around them or they have the righteous anger to let me know I am wrong, a hater, a racist, a … whatever because I do not agree with their points of view. Honestly, I just don’t want the drama or angst these people thrive on. I don’t even watch reality TV because I cannot stand the constant fake drama they try to pass as reality.

I am just tired of the fake drama out there. I am tired of the glorifying of the weird as something we should all embrace. I like normal. I like traditional. I live with the consequences of my actions and I believe you should too. I pay for my insurance and I pay for the extras not covered by my employers. I cover my kids expenses she cannot cover and don’t ask for someone else to do it for me.

I think the old fart comes in because, like many, I travel an hour to work and an hour from work each day. I work two jobs most of the time. When I get home at the end of the day, I want to stay home and not talk to anyone. As a teacher-librarian I get plenty stimuli daily. Hubby comes across as the fun loving ready to go “kid” in our relationship and I get the role of “grown-up” because I am usually exhausted at week end. That is another reason not to invite the drama from Facebook, Twitter, TV, or anything else.

Another way I have decided to calm my life it to not allow posts that are abusive in language or low moral character on my wall or feeds. If you swear a lot or post pictures of, what I consider, degrading sexually explicit material I will block you. I just don’t want or need it in my life.

Am I an old fart? No, I am not. I’m just trying to chill as I get older.