Category Archives: 2014 reads

Tomorrow Comes

Tomorrow Comes by Donna Mebane

Tomorrow Comes by Donna Mebane

In the afterward to this novel, Donna Mebane writes,

I’m not a theologian or a psychologist or a philosopher. I’m not even a writer. I’m just a mom who loves my kids and assumed, like every mom does, that they’d be a part of my life for all my life. But in July 2011, after an evening during which she laughed for hours with her family and helped her best friend prepare for a long-anticipated trip to New York, my beloved daughter, Emma went to sleep and never woke up.

That was the impetus for this novel, a work of fiction where her daughter gets to wake up. As such, this is sort of a ghost story. Emma finds herself in a world much like the one she left behind but one that is populated by those who have passed away. She meets her grandparents, and her deceased dog.

There are rules to the way this new world works, and Emma, in typical teenage fashion, figures a way to work around them. She tries to reach out to her family to let them know that she is okay. She navigates her new reality and tries to make peace with her new reality.

Win a Free Copy of this Novel

If you would like to read this book, please contact me and I will mail you my copy for free. The Mebane family would love to have this story spread. It was suggested for me to do this on the very last page of the book. If you want to read it, I encourage you to pass it along when you are done with it as well.

My List of 2014 Reads – the complete list with links to each title I read this year

Happy Reading! 

 

A Interactive and Tangled Commonplace Book

Daily Zen Doodles

Daily Zen Doodles: 365 Tangle Creations for Inspiration, Relaxation, and Mindfulness by Meera Lee Patel

This is a commonplace book with a twist. Or maybe it’s a sketch book with quotations. Or it could be a individualized puzzle for you to complete every single day for a year.

Whatever it is, it is pretty cool!

Here is an example of what you will find in this book.

Zen Original

I love the quotation here . . .

“We are like children building a sand castle. We’re willing to attack if others threaten to hurt it. Yet…we know that the tide will inevitable come in and sweep the sand castle away. The trick is to enjoy it fully without clinging, and when the time comes, let it dissolve back into the sea.”

– Pema Chodron

But this book is not merely a commonplace book. It is meant to “isnpire you to lose yourself in the contemplative act of drawing. Each page is an invitation to sketch, relax, focus, and reach toward inner peace.”

Here is my first attempt at it . . .

Zen Chase March

That was kind of fun. I bet you can tell a lot about me from that simple sketch as well. I let my mind wander as I thought about the quotation.

There are a few other pages I am eager to complete. It is a nice kind of meditation to do this exercise. I have never been much of a doodler. I often write poetry when my mind wanders and I have a pencil and paper in my hand. In fact, it could be cool to write words inside of the shapes and images that are provided as a starting point. Hmm, maybe I will try that tomorrow.

My 2014 Reading Log – with links to every title (over 70 books so far)

How to Use a Reward System in the Classroom

I have never been a fan of using rewards systems in the classroom. I’ve tried them out but have found that they are just simply too much work. It’s difficult to keep tabs on every student in the class and assign points effectively.

This year, I changed my stance a little. I started a reward system for three students in my class who could really use the extra motivation. And so far, it is working wonders. I like the fact that I don’t have to track every student. It makes it much more manageable for me and meaningful for the few students who need it.

I am currently reading

Will-My-Kid-Grow-Out-of-It-Book

Will My Kid Grow Out of It? by Bonny J. Forrest.

This is what she has to say about using reward systems.

It works for some students

Children with ADHD tend to respond well to reward systems, but only if they are well designed in the ways I will describe.

The reward can be anything

The reward can be anything—within reason—that will motivate her in the short term, such as allowing an extra half hour of TV or playing a video game.

Tailor the reward to the student

Rewards should always be keyed to what your child likes. Be creative. You can rotate different types of rewards and tailor them to your child.

Here are some other tips for designing a rewards system:

  • Give points for simple behaviors, even if other children don’t need rewards to behave in those ways. Good examples are responding happily to a change in plans or asking for something in a respectful tone as opposed to having a meltdown.
  • Try to avoid rewards of food or expensive items. Food should be less about comfort and more about nutrition.
  • Small rewards earned in the short term tend to work better than large rewards offered in the long term. I often give a small reward for three point of a possible total of five in a day. In addition, you can give the child cumulative point for specific behaviors. As a child accumulates the points, she can use them for larger tangible rewards, such as a special book or more daily time on the computer.
  • Be consistent and follow through with rules and expectations. Children with ADHD respond to disappointment with much greater frustration than others. That response is part of their makeup, not something they should be blamed for—though they can learn to control it.

How parents can help . . .

Parents should also be on the lookout for physical activities—such as tennis or swimming or martial arts—that hold their attention and don’t provide downtime for the mind to wander.

What I am doing this year

I am using a reward system with three of my students. They earn stars in their planner for each block of the day. They can earn two stars in each block for a total of six stars a day. The parents are being supportive and offering rewards and consequences at home. These are keyed to the specific interests of the child too. It is working quite well so far.

What reward system do you use? 

Please leave a comment below. Thanks for visiting!

Teaching Tip Tuesday – free resources for teachers every week!

The Walking Dead – At War Again

Walking Dead Vol18

The Walking Dead: Volume 18 – What Comes Next

Rick had high hopes that society was starting to rebuild in a way that could actually work. But Negan is not a fair or kind ruler. We already knew that from the past volume, but things get even more intense and unbearable this issue.

Walking Dead Vol19

The Walking Dead: Volume 19 – March to War

An unlikely alliance starts to come together and training for war begins. But Negan seems to be two steps ahead of them. It looks like they have quite the battle on their hands.

I am trying not to give away much of the plot with these reviews. I know several people that are at different stages in the series, whether they are reading them or watching them on TV.

No matter what medium you consume these stories in, there is do doubt that it is a compelling story that is very well done.

My 2014 Reading Log (over 70 titles and counting)

Marvel Knights – Dark Reign – Shadowland

Marvel_Knights_Vol_1_15

Marvel Knights # 1 – 15 (2000)

I am counting this one as a graphic novel when it comes to my reading log even though it was never collected as such.

In fact, much like this title, these heroes were probably not meant to come together either. They certainly aren’t the X-men, Avengers, or Justice League. They are an unlikely combination but they manage to make the team work. For a little while anyway.

The Marvel Knights team consists of my favourite super-hero, Daredevil, along with Dagger, Black Widow, Shang Chi, and the Punisher.

They are several story arcs in this collection. Some are better than others. But there is something about this team that has me yearning for more. I was disappointed when I came to the end of this limited series.

Dark Reign Elektra

Dark Reign: Elektra

Elektra returns after the Secret Invasion and people aren’t too happy to have her back. There is a price or her head even though she is innocent of the wrong-doings committed in her name and image by the Skrulls.

This was a great book and I enjoyed it more so than any of the other titles in the Marvel Event. Elektra is a really interesting character. I haven’t read much of her journeys outside of the Daredevil title, however. Maybe I should rectify that.

Shadowland_Daughters_of_the_Shadow_Vol_1_2

It’s always great to see female super-heroes. I especially love the idea of an all-female team. Even though I knew very little about these characters, I really enjoyed this read. It ties into the Shadowland story but it also manages to stand on its own.

At three single comic issues however, the story comes to an end too quickly. I would love to see more from these ladies.

My 2014 Reading Log – I’m smashing records this year!

The Car Thief

The Car Thief

The Car Thief by Theodore Weesner

Publishers offer to send me books every single week since I have this great platform in which to share them with you. This story sounded like it would be right up my alley. I love literary fiction and I like classics. This one seemed like it combined both of those.

I have to admit that I trudged my way through this one. It simply didn’t work for me on a few different levels. I didn’t identify the main character and the story moved a little too slowly for me.

Maybe it has something to do with the fact it was written forty years ago. It came out before I was born and apparently was quite popular. I’ve read heaps of praise for Weesner’s debut novel, but it looks like I won’t be adding to that pile.

It’s not that it’s a bad story or that it’s poorly written. It just didn’t grab my attention the way I wanted it to. I put it down and never felt like picking it back up. I managed to finish it, however, but it was a chore.

I’ve been told by several people that it’s okay to abandon a book. I pretty much never do that. I like to see things through to their conclusion. Maybe that’s a character fault.

If you’ve ever wanted to read this book, if you’d like to have it on your bookshelf, please email me, contact me on Twitter, or leave a comment below and I will gladly send you my copy for free. 

Happy Reading! 

My 2014 Reading Log – it’s getting down to the wire. I wonder what the final total will be.

Spider-Woman: Origin

Spider-Woman Origin

Spider-Woman: Origin

I came into this story knowing nothing about this character. I had heard her name before and even seen her in some of The Avenger books I have read, but I didn’t have a grasp on who she was prior to picking up this book.

Brian Michael Bendis is one of my all-time favourite authors. He has penned another great tale, and along with the help of Brian Reed and Luna Brothers, they have created a great book.

It even ties into what is happened in Marvel: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. right now as it shows a family within the Hydra organization. Jessica Drew’s father was very committed to the terrorist group. He was so committed to it that even his family wasn’t safe from his experiments.

The book follows Jessica Drew’s tragic childhood through to her brainwashing by Hydra to her joining S.H.I.E.L.D. and then eventually becoming an Avenger.

I have a new respect and admiration for the character after reading this. I am looking forward to the Netflix television series that will be focusing on her as well. We are in a golden-age of comic book film, television, and books. I’m glad to experience great stories in all three mediums.

My 2014 Reading Log – 70 books and counting!

How Successful Teachers Lead

How_Successful_People_Lead_Cover

How Successful People Lead by John C. Maxwell

Teachers are a special kind of leader. We have to lead a classroom full of students who have very diverse needs and attitudes.

I thought reading this book might help me develop further as a leader in education. While it wasn’t written with teachers in mind, I think we can still learn a lot from the wisdom of leaders in business settings too.

Maxwell believes that there are 5 levels of leadership and that successful leaders work their way up to the top echelon.

5 Levels of Leadership

First Level – Position

Every leader starts in a position that relies solely on their job title. Every time, we start over in a new school, we start all over again on this bottom rung.

Second Level – Permission

After you have proved yourself somewhat, people will follow you because they like who you are and what you do. You have gained respect and earned their permission to lead.

Third Level – Production

People follow you because of what you have been able to accomplish at your school. This is a great one for coaches, music teachers, and anyone who runs an extra-curricular club. These accomplishments are quite visible in the school and people take notice.

Fourth Level – People Development

People follow you because of what you have done for them. Teaching is all about building relationships with students and parents. It is a tough job to get to this level as it takes time and personal attention to the student body (and not just the kids in your own class)

Fifth Level – The Pinnacle

According to the author, some people never reach this level. You can fall down at any level because of poor decisions, moving locations, and small failures. It is a constant building process to make your way up this ladder.

Assessment, Feedback, and Communication

Here’s a quote from the book about relates to feedback and purposeful assessment in the classroom. I have paraphrased it slightly to fit educational purposes.

“Our students should understand their mission. Good teacher never assume that their students understand the mission. Don’t take for granted that they know what you know or believe what you believe. Don’t assume they understand how their talents and efforts are supposed to contribute to the mission of the class and their own learning. Communicate it often.

Students, and their parents, should receive feedback about their performance. People always want to know how they are doing. If they are not succeeding, most of the time, they want to know how to make adjustments to improve and are willing to change if they are convinced it will help them win.”

I love the wording “win” here. Students of all ages want to win. What a great way to think about learning!

Learn All the Time

I constantly learn how to improve my own teaching by trying new methods, reading professional books, and even from books outside of education practice. I hope you have found this post useful. Come back next Tuesday for another dose of inspiration.

Teaching Tip Tuesday Archive – Over 200 great idea, tips, tricks, lessons, and inspiration for classroom teachers.

Daredevil – One Shots

Dardevil x Captain America

This one-off story was originally published in Italy and has never been presented to North American audiences until now.

DD x Cap

The villain in this one is Death Stalker, who first appeared in Frank Miller’s legendary run on the Daredevil title. The story was translated into English for this edition but it seems to work just fine. It’s standard super-hero team-up fair but a nice read nonetheless.

DD Black and White

Matt Murdock was blinded as a young boy. The rest of his senses became so acute that he can function perfectly fine without sight. He has a radar sense that basically allows him to see in 360 degrees. He uses these powers for good and fights crime as Daredevil.

So, when given the chance to actually see with real eyes again, will it change his life for the better, or is it better to remain as he is. It’s a tough decision considering that Bullseye is back in town and a gang war seems to be wreaking havoc in the city as well.

This one-shot title is in black and white and tells a great story!

DD Blood of Tarantula

Carlos LaMuerto is the Black Tarantula and he has gone through a lot in his lifetime. He is trying to do the right thing by fighting crime with the powers that have been en-gifted to him. His cousin tries to steal this power. Daredevil helps foil the plans but doesn’t like Tarantula’s methods that often go a tad overboard.

I didn’t know much about this character but did enjoy this short tale featuring my favourite super-hero, Daredevil.

DD Cage Match

This is an origin story of the relationship between Luke Cage and Daredevil. Typical guys who are not above knocking each other around to prove something to themselves and one another.

DD Cage Match descrip

I don’t often seek out these one-offs to read but couldn’t help myself since I had the Marvel Unlimited App on my phone for a trial subscription. I really enjoyed reading all of the comics I have been posting about for the past two months. This app is a great tool to have. It’s so nice being able to carry around digital comic books that live in my phone. I can read whenever I get a spare moment. It’s awesome!

My 2014 Reading Log – pretty impressive list so far too!

Superior Spider-Man Teams Up with Villains and Heroes

Superior Spider-Man Team Up - Vol 1

Superior Spider-Man Team Up: Volume 1 – Versus

No one in the Marvel Universe realizes that Doc Ock has taken over Peter Parker’s life. Not even when he battles them all. There are some pretty good fights here and an interesting way to kick off the new on-going team-up series.

It looks like, perhaps, Doc Ock is back to his evil ways. But ever since he rededicated himself to be an even better Spider-Man than Parker ever was, he has been fighting crime in his own way. And of course, this time it is no different.

Superior Spider-Man Team Up - Vol 2

Superior Spider-Man Team Up: Volume 2 – Superior Six

The Superior Spider-Man is on probation with The Avengers because of his peculiar actions as of late. He decides that he needs his own team and uses technology to control the Sinister Six. He uses them like puppets to form his new hero team, The Superior Six. But not everything goes according to plan.

Also, in this collection is a team-up with my favourite super-hero, Daredevil. he knows that something is off with Peter Parker as well. He doesn’t bring it full circle to discover the true secret, however.

A Great Companion Title

So far, this title has been a great addition to the on-going Superior Spider-Man title. It’s an amazing series and I highly recommend it.

In fact, I would love to see the new movie franchise go down this route in the next few movies. I couldn’t help but thinking that as I watched The Amazing Spider-Man 2. It feels like it would be a natural progression.

My List of 2014 Reads – My detailed reading log for the year