Monthly Archives: April 2012

Busy weekend

My weekend started dinner on Friday night with a friend! Since my 11 year anniversary was the next day my friend took me out to Olive Garden! It was  great dinner then we did a little browsing at Charming Charlies!

Then Saturday Kaitlyn and I went to do a 5K with Girls on the run! She did a great job and it was a big accomplishment for her!


This is the New Berlin Elementary Girls on the run team and Champ the mascot showed up to support the girl We were all sweating, I can only imagine how hot he or she was!


Me and my mini-me waiting for the race to start!




Right after the race we went home to pick up the rest of our family and head to the beach to meet a whole big group of friends! Grandpa buried Abby and we turned her into a mermaid!



Then Sunday, after cleaning and laundry we played outside with neighbors who brought out their slip n’ slide!




And I just had to add a garden update! I picked these last night!


My bell peppers and Jalapeno’s are getting big! I also have cucumbers coming in but forgot to take a picture! I need to do something about the cucumber plants though, they are overtaking the whole garden! I over planted becuase I assumed some of the plants would not make it since there is no soil back there, just sand. I was wrong, not a single plant has died yet!  So I am going to need to learn how to can vegetables because we are going to have a ton!



This is how I ended my weekend; fighting for a spot in my own bed! These two are snoring, bed hogs!



This is my final week at Ridgeview!  After today I will only have two more days!  I am sad but excited at the same time! I am ready to do this full-time, but also get paid for doing it!  I have had such a great experience here and am very thankful to Mrs. Mullen and all of the students that I have had the pleasure of working with! Wednesday will be a sad day for sure.


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Book Review: The Things They Carried

The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien

First I have to say that if I did not know that Tim O’Brien was coming to my local library I might not have picked up his book at Barnes & Noble  last week.  But, I am extremely glad that I did. I found his book to be a great and very quick read.  His tales of Vietnam really get you thinking and at the same time are entertaining and heart wrenching.  On Thursday night I went to see O’Brien speak at a library event here in Jacksonville.  He is quite a humorous guy.  He made a lot of great points and one that he really wanted the audience to walk away with was that there is not always a big difference between a made up story and one that really happened.  He stated that those stories that are made up always come from what has actually happened but are not always true.  He wanted to make it clear that the story that is told may be better than the one that actually happened and that there is nothing wrong with that.  You can still feel the same emotions whether it be from a real or made up story.  All in all Tim O’Brien was great and I have always wanted to see an author in the flesh and I finally accomplished it! I hope to see many more!

Go pick up The Things They carried for yourself, you will enjoy it!  I plan on picking up more of O’Brien’s books to read over the summer!

Tim O’Brien signed my book!! Review

“They carried all the emotional baggage of men who might die. Grief, terror, love, longing–these were intangibles, but the intangibles had their own mass and specific gravity, they had tangible weight. They carried shameful memories. They carried the common secret of cowardice…. Men killed, and died, because they were embarrassed not to.”A finalist for both the 1990 Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award, The Things They Carried marks a subtle but definitive line of demarcation between Tim O’Brien’s earlier works about Vietnam, the memoir If I Die in a Combat Zone and the fictional Going After Cacciato, and this sly, almost hallucinatory book that is neither memoir nor novel nor collection of short stories but rather an artful combination of all three. Vietnam is still O’Brien’s theme, but in this book he seems less interested in the war itself than in the myriad different perspectives from which he depicts it. WhereasGoing After Cacciato played with reality, The Things They Carried plays with truth. The narrator of most of these stories is “Tim”; yet O’Brien freely admits that many of the events he chronicles in this collection never really happened. He never killed a man as “Tim” does in “The Man I Killed,” and unlike Tim in “Ambush,” he has no daughter named Kathleen. But just because a thing never happened doesn’t make it any less true. In “On the Rainy River,” the character Tim O’Brien responds to his draft notice by driving north, to the Canadian border where he spends six days in a deserted lodge in the company of an old man named Elroy while he wrestles with the choice between dodging the draft or going to war. The real Tim O’Brien never drove north, never found himself in a fishing boat 20 yards off the Canadian shore with a decision to make. The real Tim O’Brien quietly boarded the bus to Sioux Falls and was inducted into the United States Army. But the truth of “On the Rainy River” lies not in facts but in the genuineness of the experience it depicts: both Tims went to a war they didn’t believe in; both considered themselves cowards for doing so. Every story in The Things They Carried speaks another truth that Tim O’Brien learned in Vietnam; it is this blurred line between truth and reality, fact and fiction, that makes his book unforgettable. –Alix Wilber –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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A few weeks ago I wrote an article about doing 6 word memoirs in the classroom. Today we were featured in the editorial blog over at the 6 Word memoir site!  Classroom of the Week: Ridgeview High School

If you do not know what a 6 word memoir is  or how fun they are to write and read, go check out the SMITH magazine website now!  I love all the memoirs that they show and I want to order some books to keep in the classroom. I really think that I am going to get the desk calendar so I can read a new memoir every day!  My new goal is to write the best 6 word memoir so that I can get an awesome shirt made!  Head over to check out the article that we are featured in, I am pretty excited about it!

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An Evening With Tim O’Brien!!

One thing on my bucket list has always been to go to an author reading/book signing. I have seen many events that I have wanted to go to over the years, but when you are working or strapped with kids it is hard to do. But I am lucky and my dad is staying with me right now and I am going to see Tim O’Brien at the Jacksonville Public Library (main library) this Thursday!  I was at the book store with friends last night (yes, we are lame, we have a girls night and end up at the bookstore) and I saw O’Brien’s book on the shelf and that made me remember that he was coming to the library. So I mentioned it to my friend Sarah and she said that he was a great writer, so I purchased his book and I plan on reading it today so I am ready for Thursday! One of my tenth grade students has been reading it for awhile now so I plan on mentioning it to him on Monday! I am so excited!

Event Type: Library Event
Age Group(s): Adult, Teen, All Ages
Date: 4/26/2012
Start Time: 6:30 PM
End Time: 8:00 PM

 The Jacksonville Public Library and WJCT bring author Tim O’Brien to the Main Library for an evening to discuss “The Things They Carried.” This free event is sponsored by the Friends of the Jacksonville Public Library.

Library: Main Library
Location: Hicks Auditorium
Contact: Lisa Buggs
Contact Number: (904) 630-4655
Presenter: Tim O’Brien

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Book Review: Lay That Trumpet in Our Hands

Lay That Trumpet In Our Hands by Susan Carol McCarthy

Author’s website/reviews/summary found Here.

 “[A] noteworthy debut…[and] richly detailed portrait of life in the racist South. McCarthy gives voice to the individuals whose ‘time in the fire’ was Florida in the early 50’s… appropriate for all who wish to reexamine this dark chapter in American history.”

 In the orange-blossom scented spring of 1951, Reesa McMahon is awakened at dawn to learn that the local Klan has brutally murdered her closest friend and mentor, nineteen-year-old Marvin Cully. The killing of this gentle black man, who worked in the McMahons’ orange grove, will turn the genteel town of Mayflower, Florida, into a battleground. 

As violence erupts across the state, and Thurgood Marshall and Harry T. Moore of the NAACP join the McMahons to unmask Marvin’s killers, Reesa’s younger brother becomes the target of a Klansman’s bullet. Reesa’s search to make sense of her town’s soul-killing bigotry will pave the way for our country’s painful steps toward justice, equality, and guaranteed civil rights.
This book was something that I most likely would not have found on my own. There are millions of books out there, I am sure that I miss tons and tons that I should read every year! My mentor teacher is going to start reading this with her tenth grade class this coming week, so I went and picked it up so I could read ahead.  It is a story based around events that had actually happened here in Florida and is a great read along with a mini history lesson about what life was like here in FL in the early fifties.  I am really hoping that the students read along with this book, it is not as action packed as they like, but it is a great story that all should know.  This book has been compared to To Kill A Mockingbird and I can say that it is very comparable.  

I give this book ****

* Wish I never read this book.

** Okay read.

***This was  a good book

****Great book, recommend to all!

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Book Review: Life As We Knew It

Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

We are currently reading this in our 10th grade class. For some the book is extremely easy and they finished it a few days after it was assigned. For others, getting them to read (any book) is like pulling teeth!  It is an easy, quick read (when they actually get around to reading it) and many enjoy the story and how life could possibly be one day if there were some major disaster, like the one encountered in Life As We Knew it.  I plan on using this book again in classroom, it would be perfect for the ninth grade classes as well and would consider for some middle grades.

There are two more books in this series.  The Dead and Gone, tells of the same disaster from a boy who lives in New York’s point of view.  The World We Live In, goes back to Miranda’s story and what has happened a year since the first book.  I have not read either but plan on checking those out from the library in the next few weeks!

Summary from

I guess I always felt even if the world came to an end, McDonald’s still would be open.
High school sophomore Miranda’s disbelief turns to fear in a split second when an asteroid knocks the moon closer to Earth, the way “one marble hits another.” The result is catastrophic. How can her family prepare for the future when worldwide tsunamis are wiping out the coasts, earthquakes are rocking the continents, and volcanic ash is blocking out the sun? As August turns dark and wintry in northeastern Pennsylvania, Miranda, her two brothers, and their mother retreat to the unexpected safe haven of their sunroom, where they subsist on stockpiled food and limited water in the warmth of a wood-burning stove.
Told in a year’s worth of journal entries, this heart-pounding story chronicles Miranda’s struggle to hold on to the most important resource of all—hope—in an increasingly desperate and unfamiliar world. An extraordinary series debut!

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Found Poems

I follow the NY Times on WordPress or Facebook or twitter…one of those and I came across a great idea for the classroom, their Found poem contest! The gist of the contest is that you take articles from the New York times, use only their words and phrases and make it into your own poem.

Found Poem Instructions

• Find a couple random paragraph from a newspaper, magazine,
book, etc. The selection should contain 100-200 words. You can
also try recipe instructions, legal notices, and horoscopes.
• Read through your selection.
• Highlight or underline words, lines, etc that seem promising to
• Use what you selected to write a poem.
• You may add your own words, but no more than 50% of final
poem may include new words.
• Your poem may be of any length, but it must focus on a single
idea and be meaningful to you.
• Your does not need to be about the original topic.
• Each line does not need to be a complete sentence;
experiment with ending lines in mid sentence and continuing
on next line.
• Pay attention to how the poem looks on the page, the length
of lines, how line are grouped, etc.
• Have a single idea in mind to help your poem come together.
• Try repeating lines or single words throughout poem.
• It is possible to create a poem without adding new words.

For the NY Times we followed the set contest instructions so the students were not allowed to use more than 2 o f their own words in the poem.

This was a fun activity that a majority of students enjoyed and it gave them a little more leeway in their poem writing, the less structure that is set out for  them the more fun they seem to have with it.

For our class we asked that they keep in mind what the article was saying instead of changing the meaning of what the author had in mind.

Here is a quick example that I wrote to show the students as they got started:

Help Us

Syria, Arab spring began.

Residents protested torture, government responded with force.

Assad sent tanks into cities, opened fire on demonstrators.

Killed, 8,500 Syrians, so far.

Destroyed, entire neighborhoods.

The dead pile up, diplomacy fails.

Hope and fear.

Hope days are numbered for the regime.

Fear, what will take its place.

If you do not help us, we will be killed.

Crisis in Syria, New York Times Upfront, April 2, 2012

Mrs. Schwander

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