The Book of Stella....finally....

So, while we were all celebrating Bitchy's wedding last weekend, I forgot to mention one tiny little thing.


Now available on Amazon, if you are so inclined, is The Book of Stella. I worked on this during my last year of teaching (I retired in JUNE!!) and it is, in fact, a love letter to all of the Stella's I've had over my career. They are the reason that teaching is the BEST job ever.  Well, except for the meetings. And maybe the paperwork....and a few administrators that perhaps should have found another career...other than THOSE things, it truly is the best job ever.

I've been working on this for years, and like every other author, I have finally decided that I can't keep checking it and simply have to pull the trigger.   MANY thanks to Sara Henry (the amazing author and editor) for her unwavering patience.

So, without further ado, here is the link:

The Book of Stella....

and one final request.  If you DO read the book and you DO like it, please leave a review on Amazon. That is very important. If you DO read the book and you HATE it, then we will never speak of it again.


Forgotten Beasts...what a great surprise!

One of the fantastic perks of being a writer (in addition to a teacher) is that many publishing houses are eager to send me advance copies of amazing books. I am careful about choosing to review books that seem to fit what I feel I would use in the classroom, or books I think some of my friends would love.  

I was so excited to receive the book Forgotten Beasts by Matt Sewell.  I have learned over the years that children have a huge fascination with dinosaurs, monsters, mythical creatures and the like.  Frankly, so do many adults I know! I know that I do. 

This book is larger than your typical book, which immediately lets you know that you are about to enter a larger than life world. The book’s actual title is Forgotten Beasts, Amazing Creatures that Once Roamed the Earth. The title alone lures you in. 

I was immediately intrigued by the beautiful illustrations that are colorful and beautifully done. 

The author uses almost all of the space on the pages to bring the creatures alive- and the size is a nod to the larger than life theme of the book.  The text is just long enough to engage readers of many ages, and yet packed full of fascinating information about each creature. He provides information such as size and weight of each creature, but also compares each to the current animal that it is in close relation to. This helps the reader make important connections which is what we as teachers are always trying to help the children with. 

I particularly love the 8 foot turtle called the Meiolania, the Pygmy Mammoth and the 9 ft. Diprotodon.  Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of this online. It will not disappoint. 


Beware the buzz at the pool....

Sniff.  Sniff. Can you smell it? You know what I mean. That smell is here; the smell of new pencils, new books, new crayons and markers, the smell of new shoes, new clothes, and a new backpack and you know what that means. School is in the air!   Perhaps the biggest sign that school is right around the corner is the buzz that is flying around the pool, in the supermarket and at your local fall sporting practices.  Who will get the Best Teacher of All?  Who will be the lucky kids to get in the Best Teacher of All’s class?

Remember on Mary Poppins, when Jane and Michael wrote a letter and asked for the perfect nanny?  The father was stunned when Mary Poppins handed him the list that he had thrown into the fire.   It went something like this: 

(Start humming…) “If you want this choice position, have a cheery disposition; rosy cheeks, no warts; play games, all sorts.  You must be kind, you must be witty, very sweet and very pretty; take us on outings, give us treats, sing songs, bring sweets.”    

That’swhat keeps going through my mind at this time of year. That super duper wish list.   The wish list each parent and child has.  Here’s what I think the wish list is for the perfect teacher.  Wanted:  teacher; must be sweet, even-tempered, hip, funny, pretty, smart, young, experienced and energetic.  Must never yell, get mad, throw things or lose her temper.  Must be very patient, wear stylish clothes, have a lovely laugh and smell like fresh baked cookies.   

So, basically, that would count me out.  (And, perhaps, everyone I know.)
While we teachers may not all be young or hip or very tall, there are some things we have in common.  We are committed to our jobs and to your kids.  These are some of the things we can promise you.    We will get to know your child inside and out; we will learn about his pets, his siblings, his likes and dislikes and will always notice when he gets a hair cut.  We will push him to be independent, self-sufficient, confident and responsible.  We will help guide him when things don’t go his way and will laugh with him (and applaud) when they do. We will push him until he reaches the potential that we know he has, and we will be there when he falls, to pick him back up, dust him off and start him back up that hill. That’s our job, and that’s what we love to do.  

Contrary to what my kindergarteners recommended to our student intern, we will not be teaching kickboxing, having cinema time every day; they cannot ride mechanical bulls in class, skateboard off the roof (with kneepads, of course) and we will not buy them happy meals for lunch once a week. (I gotta give them credit for trying, however.)

As a mom, I’ve learned that often the teachers who work with my child every day know more about what is a good match for him than I do.  I have learned that it is important for me to keep my mouth shut on some occasions and it is equally important to voice my concerns at others.  I have learned that a teacher that was not the best match for Mrs. Jones’ son (that darned Mrs. Jones—always so hard to keep up with), was the perfect teacher for my son.

Yeah, we teachers don’t all look alike.  Some of us are tall, short, skinny, chunky, old, young, and black and white. However, we all love kids and want what is best for these young souls.  So please; trust us, respect us and join us in making this the Best Year Ever for your child.   One more thing - beware the buzz at the pool.  Sometimes that bee will come right back and sting ya.