Monday, June 25, 2007

Another way to waste time while I should be working...

This was fun to make and you can make one at I ran across this while seeking blogging tools to share with my students in Marietta next week. Not sure how I got here....

Get a Voki now!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Summer Reading Updates

I recently ran across two interesting links to add to my summer reading programs.
Over at Lectitans you can participate in a Pirate Reading Challenge until September 19th and the Today Show has announced their 3rd book in their summer book club, Swordbird. I had read the first two books before they were announced, but I have not read Swordbird which was written by Nancy Yi Fan when she was 12 years old. Sounds interesting (a bit like Redwall) and I will be off to the bookstore or library to find it.
Coming next week:
Following my kids interests: Robots, Butterflies, and Puppies! Oh my!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Personal Policies Meme

I've been tagged for a Personal Policies Meme by HipWriterMama who always comments on my new blog and makes me feel a genuine part of the blogging community. This is also my first meme and as some others have mentioned it is one that requires some thought especially since many policies have been thrown out the window since having three kids in four years. Here it goes:
1. My kids go with me everywhere. I have always thought that if I take my kids to a variety of places they will be better behaved and learn more. My friends have always marvelled at my ability to go out to eat on a Friday night with three small ones or going on a 2.5 hour trip to the Eric Carle Museum for the day. If I want to do it I don't let the ages of my kids hold me back. We just go!
2. On the other side, I like to make sure my kids have time to play at home and are not overbooked. My kids are allowed one sport at a time. I love to look out my back door and watch them playing independently and doing things kids should be doing. My six year old climbs trees. My four year old makes mud buckets and my three year old does just about everything he can think of.
3. I must exercise three times a week for my health and well-being.
4. Although I love the library, I make a monthly trip to the bookstore with my kids so they can browse and pick out one book "to keep" as they say.
5. I allow myself lots of chocolate.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Final Late Check-in

Well, I read as much as I could considering I was visiting with family in Maine this weekend and watching three kids as my husband flew home from Australia where they just had one of the biggest storms in 30 years! Oh, and I also caught a nasty cold from my two year old and wanted to sleep for two days.
It's not much but here are my statistics. Sorry, MotherReader for not posting them sooner.
I finished a book! For me this rarely happens in a weekend since my reading is so broken up.
I also started three other books. (I had a hard time making decisions.)
Book Finished: The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan
This was a total page turner. I loved it possibly more than the first and I am very excited to get to the library and check out the third in the series. I love these book for many reasons, but here are some:
1.)Exciting, fast-paced adventure
2.)Mythological creatures and Gods with contemporary twists. It is so much fun figuring out who is who and who belongs to who and how the myths are related.
3. I never get lost in my reading. If I have an interruption I just pick up the book and find my place so easily.

I also started Pond Scum, The Sisters Grimm, and Physik.
Total Books Finished:1 (Books read from-4)
Total Pages Read:503
Total Hours Spent:6 hours 30 minutes

Not award winning for sure, but not bad considering I did spend a great weekend with my family and got sick. Maybe next time I might take a needed vacation and spend a couple days in a spa with my books!

Friday, June 08, 2007

48 Hour Book Challenge

Although I am watching three kids and visiting with my parents this weekend I will read as much as I can.

My list of hopeful reads:
A Hat Full of Sky by Terry Pratchett
Physik by Angie Sage
The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan
The Sisters Grimm by Michael Buckley
I, Coriander by Sally Gardner
Pond Scum by Alan Silberberg

Happy Reading and thanks for the motivating challenge MotherReader!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Summer Reading Programs-Motivate me, please!

I remember growing up in Gardiner, Maine and making frequent visits to our local library. The children's section was up a long spiral staircase and I gravitated towards the series books like Nancy Drew, The Five Little Peppers, and Encyclopedia Brown. We always participated in the summer reading program and the most memorable item was a recording sheet with a large picture of an Indian headdress with feathers. (I realize this probably would not be considered appropriate today.) For each book you read, you were able to add a colorful feather sticker to the edge of the headdress. This was so concrete and rewarding. I forget what the prize was, but there was definite motivation to read and to complete your headdress.
I am reminded of the positiveness of this experience and want the same for my children. Yet, at our local library the experience is not the same. For each book that the children read, they enter it on a log kept in a file box and receive a tiny sticker that they can adhere to a wall. For every five books that they read they receive a large sticker to adhere to the same wall. They also fill out a raffle ticket and add it into a large jar with many, many other tickets. If they are lucky, their ticket is drawn at the end of the week and they receive a prize pre-selected by the librarian. If they are very unlucky their name never gets drawn and they continue adding stickers to the wall for the rest of the summer. For the past two summers my children have read countless books and each received one prize over the duration of the summer program. These prizes were a beach ball, kite, t-shirt and puzzle. They were excited to win, yet every time we visited the library I was the one entering book titles, sticking stickers, and filling out raffle tickets. The motivation was not immediate enough and since they were not even guaranteed a prize they let mom do the work.

I have puzzled over this for two years and then yesterday while visiting our local Barnes and Noble I stumbled upon their very clever, concise, and motivating summer program. To receive a prize you read 8 books, write about what you liked and submit your reading log for a free book. Even the prize makes perfect sense and inspires further reading. I love it!! The icing on the cake is that the promotional materials surrounding the program are related to the Magic Treehouse series which my two older children love. They sell Jack and Annie book journals and are giving away "Passports" to log which Magic Treehouse books you have read. We instantly hopped online and have been taking quizzes to earn our passport stamps. I realize this a a big bookstore chain, but no one says you have to buy the books you read from them. Buy them at your local bookseller or better yet, borrow them from your local library.

In a search for other great programs and reading lists, here is what I found:

  • The Brooklyn Public Library has an adult program with fun prizes!
  • Showcase Cinemas presents Bookworm Wednesdays and free admission for parents and sibling of a child who submits a book report at the entrance.
  • For an online reading incentive program with prizes redeemable by points earned (kind of like Chuck E. Cheese) check out Book Adventure sponsored by the Sylvan Learning Center.
  • Check out this post at Chicken Spaghetti on following your child's interests with books this summer!
  • Create your own book-related incentives! Book lights, more books, bookmarks, a little cheesecake and coffee with mommy at the bookstore cafe....Can you tell I really like visiting the bookstore?

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Blog Hiatus

I have been gone for a couple weeks. I hate to apologize for this but I notice many other bloggers do. I am not sure of how many frequent readers I have gathered since I started a couple months ago, but thanks to everyone who has been reading my blog during these months. There will be much more to come in the way of reviews and my reading experiences with my kids. So here is my excuse: My husband's impacted wisdom tooth and numerous complications. After five days he was still not well, yet being the good husband that he is, he urged me to go on a planned trip to NYC (May 19-21) with my mom. I am very jealous of all you fellow bloggers who are enjoying NYC and Book Expo! I did visit a couple bookstores in the city and picked up some fun gifts for my kids. On Sunday, May 20th we visited Books of Wonder, the largest children's bookstore in New York City. As I was browsing the beautiful shelves of books (the majority facing out!) I saw a small group in the back having an interesting discussion about books. I so wanted to join, but remained a fly on the shelves. As they got up to go I knew one of the participants looked familiar and it turned out to be Holly Black promoting her new book, Ironside: A Modern Faery's Tale. The bookstore was much smaller than I had imagined but it seemed like such a cozy place to have intelligent and inspiring book discussions. If we had only been there a bit earlier! The bookstore also has many signed books from, I assume, their many author visits. What did I buy? Not one book. Check out Adrienne's blog post to see what I also now own! Actually, I am saving it for my youngest's birthday in July. He will be three and loves the pigeon. My mom and I also shared a very large and beautiful cupcake at the Cupcake Cafe which is in the bookstore. I have to admit it was not my favorite cupcake but very pretty.

Things I will be blogging about soon:
-Our visit to North Hampton School to meet Judy Schachner, author of our favorite SkippyJon Jones books.
-What we are reading/listening to in our house. This includes an audio version of The Last Dragon and Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nihm.
-Summer Reading Programs-My thoughts and recommendations for pre-schoolers.
-Lastly, my Manga reading experiences!

Oh, and during my hiatus, I also did not read blogs. It took me five days to catch up on all my reading and I found so many great recommendations and suggestions that I am currently overwhelmed with possibilities and need to find a better way to organize my blog clippings. Any suggestions?