Monday, March 22, 2010

Good Reads

In the last few months, I've been up to my eyeballs in independent study coursework.

One of my goals for 2010 is to earn 15 more units of continuing education credit.

Why, you ask?!

Well, so far, I've earned 75 units beyond a Bachelor's degree, but if I earn 15 more units, then I can move over one more column on the pay scale.

In other words, I'll earn some more dough next year if I can make it to the magic number 90 before October. (But I'm hoping to be done by the end of June! Just had to put that in print, so I hold myself accountable. And you can hold me accountable, too!)

But in order to earn units, I have to read. (Thank goodness I {love} to read!)

And write.

Each time I finish a book, I write a 4-page paper (part summary and part reflection), which I submit to USD (along with some money) for one unit of credit.

Not too shabby, eh? (No, I'm not Canadian. Ha-ha!)

In case you are curious as to what I've been reading, here are the books that have taken up residence on my nightstand recently:

Always Looking Up
(I enjoyed listening to this audio book during our vacation in January. Michael J. Fox has such an optimistic outlook on life. In this book, he's incredibly candid about his struggles living life with PD. My sister is currently borrowing Always Looking Up, but if anyone else is interested in listening to it, let me know. I'd be happy to lend it out!)

Setting Limits in the Classroom
This is a great read for teachers, but Robert MacKenzie has two other Setting Limits book geared more toward parents. Check them out HERE and HERE.

Garbage Pizza, Patchwork Quilts and Math Magic
I'm not a huge fan of this book.
Having said that, though, the author Susan Ohanian compiled a list of great math ideas to use while riding in the car.

Here are a few activities she mentions:
1) Count from 0 to 9 using digits seen on license plates.

2) Add all the digits on license plates and record each sum. Find as great a sum as possible.

3) Compute mileage for a trip. Estimate beforehand from a highway map. Also, estimate the amount of fuel needed.

4) Add points for the things the children see. Children collect points for different animals they see: birds count 1 point each; dogs, cows and cats, 5 points; horses, 10 points; a cat in a window of a car, 100 points, etc.

5) Other versions: establish a point system for make of cars, different vehicles on the road, signs seen, or types of buildings.

Educating Esme
This is the diary of a feisty first-year teacher who at the age of 24 was assigned to teach thirty-one fifth graders in an inner-city Chicago school. It's a quick read at just 200 pages and was both entertaining and inspiring in many ways. Being in the midst of teaching fourth grade, I could wholeheartedly relate to many of her thoughts and feelings. In fact, I was laughing out loud reading several of the scenes in this no holds barred collection of diary entries. (If any fellow teachers need a good laugh, I'd be happy to lend you my copy!)

Currently, I'm reading this book:

Reviving Ophelia
With only about 30 pages left, I'm finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I've started reading this book three times and stopped reading it twice now.


Well, this book was written by a psychologist who provided therapy for hundreds of teenage girls in the 1980s and 1990s.

Consequently, it's chock-full of stories of rape, incest, bulimia, anorexia, alcohol and drug addiction, self-mutilation, etc.

You get the picture.

Anyway, some of these stories scare the H-E-double-hockey-sticks-out-of-me.

And I don't even have kids of my own!

That helps explain why I set it aside about a month ago and read Garbage Pizza, Patchwork Quilts and Math Magic instead. Then, I came back to it, but because too much time had elapsed, I had to reread (okay, okay, skimmed) most of what I had read before. (See, I did learn something in college!)

Then, my interest started to wane again and let's be honest, the case studies got too crazy, so I closed it up for a week or so while I read Educating Esme.

Now, I'm bound and determined to finish it.

It's been an interesting, if not intense, read.

And even though Reviving Ophelia is a bit outdated having been published in 1994, I'd definitely recommend it to parents out there who have pre-teenage and teenage daughters.

Okay, enough about what I've been reading.

What books have you had your nose in recently?!

I'm starting a summer reading list, so please recommend away. :-)

Happy reading,

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