Friday, September 28, 2012

Favourite Teacher Blog

It is Friday. I am trying to stick to the plan or at least follow the "tags" and get back in the habit of posting daily.  We will see how it goes.  Friday is Favourite day and so, today is FAVOURITE BLOG DAY. 

I follow lots of blogs.  There are 62 blogs that I follow through Google/ Blogger and then there are three or four Word Press blogs that I have subscribed to via email.  This adds up to quite a bit of blog reading.  I gave up trying to keep up with this every day and now I clear a couple of hours once a week to skim through the blog roll and I pop in to the ones that have something new or particularly interesting to me.  I have noticed that while I have many blogs on the reading list, there are only a few that I visit often. 

Today I want to share one of my FAVOURITE TEACHER BLOGS. 

The Clutter-free Classroom (CFC) is a high traffic blog favoured and followed by every edu-blogger I know.  CFC is mentioned often when I read about classroom make-overs, back to school set ups and organisation of students/ furniture/resources. Jodi at CFC is a great inspiration and it doesn’t matter if she has shared a clever idea, a thrifty tip, a flash freebie, a teacher time saver or whatever, I click the link every time!  I also have to clear some time during my reading to explore the older posts on this blog.  CFC has been around for a few years and I always learn something when I take the time to check it out.

If you are not a teacher, you can also pop in to CFC because the tips for organising and de-cluttering work for the home as well as the classroom. 

Next Week: another favourite (but not a teacher) blog.  

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Thankful for...

Today is exactly one week since Dad came home from hospital.  I’m thankful that he is still at home.  I’m thankful that he is doing okay.  I’m thankful for the people who have called us, sent cards and visited Dad.  I’m thankful for the people who prayed for Dad’s healing and I’m thankful for their prayers. 

I’m thankful that I’m on holidays.  I’m not so thankful that I am still catching up from school work last term, but that’s life.  

I'm also thankful for the internet, and and Pinterest.  Can you imagine having to get up and walk away from the computer to look up the meaning of a word in the dictionary?!  It would be like living in the stone ages.  LOL.  Can you imagine having to create something from scratch without getting inspiration from other like minded people all over the world?  It would be so lonely.... remember when we were so lonely girls?!

I'm thankful that today, my niece is coming to my house for a "sleepover" just for the big girls.    She is my eldest niece and for a long time, she was the only "little girl" in the house.  We have had a few goes at this sleepover and a few different things got in our way.  So, finally, it is on!  I'm so excited.  I can't wait to play with doll, draw and paint and read and twirl to music and watch chick flicks together.  I will tell you what we get up to after we get up to it.  
Happy Thursday :)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Another Word Wednesday

I always wanted Wednesday to be a day to explore new words.  Sharing words that I have learned or encountered was a part of it.  I also wanted to explore the idea that language is a universe in itself.  The universe of language evolves over time.  Every word and sentence is a species in the ecosystem of a text and how these species interact with each other is ever changing.  The world of language develops and grows as it always has, but now, in this century of technology, language grows in fast forward.  Every day brings new words.  Every day changes the meaning of words.  Language is so much more flexible than it has been in the past.  When a word is changed or played with the result is shared across the world within the day.  So, when a word might have made such a journey over years; now it takes mere hours. 

Today, I share two words with you.  Then I will go on a bit of a rant, but I will try to keep it short. 
According to 


 [men-tawr, -ter]  Show IPA
a wise and trusted counselor or teacher.
an influential senior sponsor or supporter.



  [men-tee]  Show IPA
a person who is guided by a mentor.

The word mentor is probably well known to most.  It seemed to be a bit of a buzz word during the late 1990s and has recently come back to buzz again.  Apparently, everyone needs a mentor and if we ever come alongside a colleague and a friend we are then their mentor.  I have many reasons for scoffing at this, but I will spare you.  My main issue with words today is the new buzz word MENTEE.  

This word is the stupidest word I have ever heard. May I add, that as a teacher of teenagers, I have heard some very stupid words!!! This is one word that I wish would evolve to become something a little more sensible.  Mentee! Mentee tell me this doesnt sound like a chewable mint.  Really people, we have come up with words that describe our state when driving and texting (an illegal act).  We have altered words and joined words and morphed words into brand new entities that become delicious descriptions and vivacious verbs in our new world.  Why cant we create a new word to describe the one who is be mentored?  

Who on earth came up with Mentee?  What were they thinking? I hope they are happy.  A person who was probably quite obscure on the world stage is now thought of as a great big stupid head because they chose to create such a ridiculous noun. 

So, I propose that this Wednesday we create a new word.  It needs to mean the same thing as mentee (or at least have a basis in this meaning) and not sound like a candy brand name, a new age baby name or a difficult tongue twister.  The challenge is out there people.  What word can we use instead? 

Quite frankly, if my Boss uses the word MENTEE in a meeting again, I dont think I will be able to contain myself. 
That's That Then! Rant over. Now I leave you with a poem I have written because I can't sleep and it just came to me.  

Words of wisdom to fare thee well 
I have none that I can tell.
Take my hope that you will be,
Always well and friends with me.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

10 Things... Compilation Books

As I was writing up this book list of 10 Compilation books for the Reading Rough Patch, I realised that most of the titles fell squarely in the "chick-lit" category.  There are a few which do not and I will highlight them of course.  It should be noted that every genre would have some kind of "compilation" and most successful authors publish some type of collection during their career.  So, while my list is more chick friendly than any other, it would not be difficult to find a blokey alternative.  Each title is hyperlinked so you can just click on it to get more info or see the listing on  

Without further adieu, I give no particular order.

10 Compilation books for the Reading Rough Patch

1.    Kid’s Night In (1,2and 3).  I have book 2, but I would like to have them all.  Each book stands alone, so it doesn’t matter which one you choose to purchase first. For the KID in all of us. 

   2.  Pieces for the Left Hand by J. Robert Lennon: I mentioned this one yesterday.  This one is a collection of 100 anecdotes, the longest of which covers three pages, the shortest is not more than a paragraph.  It is certainly an interesting read. This one is for adult BLOKES and CHICKS

3.  Handbag Heaven by Maggie Alderson, is a compilation of articles/ opinion pieces that the author has written for fashion magazines and newspapers.  I bought this one at the airport and chuckled for most of the flight.  Aimed at the CHICKS. 

4. Shoe Money by Maggie Alderson, is another compilation of Maggie’s.  I also bought this one at an airport and I can’t remember if Handbag Heaven or Shoe Money was first, but they are both great.  A bit of light hearted reading that can be dipped into wherever, whenever.  Aimed at the CHICKS. 
  5.  I Feel Bad About My Neck by Nora Ephron is the first book of this kind that I read.  I became aware of Norah Ephron through her films and was so excited to find this book among the shelves at a local Borders (book) store.  I love how this book makes me feel like I’m reading letters from a best friend, rather than essays from a stranger.  It is easy going and funny with a touch of reality. Definitely aimed at CHICKS but I think it could be enjoyed by anyone. 

6.  Scribble Scribble Notes on the Media by Nora Ephron was first published in 1978 and is now available in a combined volume with Crazy Salad (see below).  This one is for BLOKES and CHICKS.
7.  Crazy Salad Some things about Women by Nora Ephron is difficult to purchase as a single volume.  This one is a collection of articles that Nora wrote during the 1970’s and is an interesting read about the feminist movement.  Written for both BLOKES and CHICKS.
8.  Under the Duvet by Marian Keyes also has the lovely, ‘letter from your bestie” mood, which makes for an easy read and quite a bit of stifled giggling.  It is noteworthy that I also bought this one at an airport. 

9.  Further Under the Duvet by Marian Keyes is another compilation but includes articles and essays about beauty, fashion, family and life in general.  As a special treat for the fiction fans, Marian has included all 9 of her short stories written mostly at the beginning of her writing career. 

   10. The Tales of Beedle the Bard  by JK Rowling.  No reading list would be complete without something from the World of Harry Potter. 

Happy Reading! :D

Monday, September 24, 2012

Short Story Shuffle

I love Short Stories.  I love Compilations of short stories.  I love observational essays and feature articles and I love Compilations of essays and feature articles.  Anyone who knows me well knows how much I love Nora Ephron.  I was quite sad when I heard she had passed away earlier this year, never to observe again.  I enjoy reading compilations and I have quite a few of them on my bookshelves. 

Compiled features, articles, stories, poems etc. are wonderful.  
"When the going gets tough, the Compilations get got."  

The beauty of a compilation lies in the immediacy, rapidity and simplicity.  You can pick up one book and have humour, drama, fact, fiction, thrill and escape.  When you read a short story (or feature article), you can usually do it in single sitting.  Our school library calls them "rapid reads" and they are often checked out by our reluctant readers.  When life is so busy/ crazy reading is a must for me (you know the need to escape), but it is almost impossible (the pesky need to be present by the hospital bed or at the desk).  Novel reading (and worse, educational reading) requires remembering.  Novels (well, good ones) create a world in your head and entice you to live there for a while; to make friends with the characters and become involved in the plot.  Short stories can do this too, but they don't do it for as long.  When life is making me crazy and I want to escape, but know that I shouldn't, I go to the compilation shelf.  

Compilations are not too taxing.  Short Stories allow their readers to escape, but just for a little while.  Feature Articles are interesting and easy to relate to without being heavier than a newspaper.  The world feels a little smaller when you read a feature and you realise that people are people and you are not alone.  Can you see why I would head towards the compilations when things are rough?  It is the ease. 

I have a medical condition which sometimes makes it difficult for me to concentrate.  My dad was recently in hospital; lots of waiting interrupted, often, by doctors, nurses, physios and visitors.  It is next to impossible to get into anything requiring thought. So, a compilation is great.  You can dip into it quickly and easily, wherever and whenever.  Interruptions are not such a big deal and you still get to escape albeit for a short time.  
Can you see it now?  

The three compilation books I headed for in the last three weeks were, Pieces for the Left Hand by J. Robert Lennon, Shoe Money by Maggie Alderson and Under the Duvet by Marian Keyes.  

Drop by tomorrow for 10 things Tuesday when I will give you a list of 10 compilation books that are “must haves” for the reading rough patch. 

Happy Monday and Happy Reading!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Daddy's Home!

I am not going to comment on the stupidity of the particular phrase when guys say this to chicks.  "Daddy's Home"  I mean, really?! But I'm not commenting.

Anyway, this time it is true... literally. 

My Dad is HOME! 

He can walk and talk and breathe and eat and sleep all by himself.  He still has quite a bit of pain and isn't very hungry and he is really really really tired.  BUT, he is home.  He is sleeping in the chair.  Mum cried when she picked him up from hospital in the morning, because she was so happy to be bringing him home.

We are all very happy. 

So, now I get to hang out at home with him, which I think he is very happy about.

He told me I didn't have to sit in the same room with him, which means... "go away, but not too far."

I never thought watching my Dad walk from the car to the front door and fall into the chair would seem like such a big deal, but it was.  We filmed it. 

What am I thankful for this Thursday?
Daddy's Home!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Getting On the Grid?

I don't know if "getting on the grid" is the correct turn of phrase, but it will do.

Dad is better.  He is not ALL better, but he is certainly better than he was.  Dad has had a very difficult few weeks.  Our family is tired.  But we will survive.

On the day that Dad went to hospital, my sister sent me a text message to tell me that #2 had the chicken pox.  Now the count is three children: #1, #2 and #7.  #6 had a few spots but he has not developed anymore and the spots he did have are fading.  So, that's that then.  The other three children have unstable temperatures so Sis is just waiting for the spots to appear on them too. 

So, now that Dad is on the mend (I mean he has a long way to go), and the kids are off limits ( I can't afford to get sick), I might just have a bit of time to revisit the blogosphere.  Did I mention I claimed all of my remaining leave so that I could spend the last week of term with Dad, at the hospital? He may be hoe before the end of next week... fingers crossed.  If he is at home, we can sit on the couch together with our laptops and have a marvellous time. 

I might not be on everyday just yet, but I will try to pop in as often as possible.  I do have a few stories I have been holding onto the last few weeks.  You know how it is... Dad has been under the influence of some strong prescription medication and has said some interesting things.  The children have had a bit to say about their Grandfather being in hospital too.  Also, when one spends more time with one's mother, one inevitably comes away with a story to tell. 

Hang in there people... we can all breathe by ourselves!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

10 things I’ve learned about ATTITUDE

  1.  My attitude is my choice.  My attitude is one of the few things I   have complete control over.
  2. The attitude of the people around me is their choice.  I can’t control it or change it.
  3. I do not have to be influenced by the attitude of those around me.  Their attitude certainly affects mine, but I am in control.
  4. If each letter of the alphabet was given a numerical value according to order (e.g. a=1, b=2 z=26) then the only word in the English language that equals 100 is ATTITUDE.  Go and try it.
  5. When an adult is having a bad day, it is not an excuse for having a bad attitude.  For example: I have been having a few bad days and as a result there have been certain “actions” of a certain “deputy principal” that have been bugging me.  But, I don’t go and yell at him or swear at him or call him names.  I am not rude to him when we converse. 
  6. If I did choose to use my “bad day/s” and his “irritating actions” as an excuse for poor behaviour, I would probably lose my job.  At the very least, I would be burning bridges between myself and a friend (as well as a respected colleague).  A bad attitude is very unprofessional.
  7. When students have a bad attitude, the teacher can’t change it.
  8. When students have a bad attitude, their teacher has a responsibility to HELP them turn it around.  Teachers can model the behaviour that goes with a positive attitude.
  9. Attitude is directly related to respect.
  10. Having a positive attitude is hard work but is certainly worth the effort.  

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Going off the Grid

To My Blog Faithful
(and anyone else who pops in)
I am going off the grid, so to speak, for a while. Probably for about a week.  My Dad went in to hospital last week for surgery.  We knew it was going to happen and although it was sooner than expected, we had a plan.  Dad being Dad, and life being life, the plan was promptly thrown out the window.  To say there are "complications" would be a bit of an understatement.  Dad will be in the Intensive Care Unit until indefinitely.  This could mean that tomorrow he will turn the right corner (rather than the wrong one) and will be back on the usual hospital ward in a few days.  Then we continue with physiotherapy and start looking towards getting him home and well.  But he could turn "left" (hehehe) and then we don't know what will happen.

The doctors have no idea why it is happening this way.  My sister and I kind of expected that this might happen, because Dad tends to heal "differently" to other people and often perplexes his medical teams. We have been here before.

So, who knows what tomorrow will bring.  God does, that's who.  I am placing my trust in the most High God who is bigger than all this mess.  I am so grateful that my earthly father taught me about my heavenly one.  I am a little frustrated.  But I am not worried.  I am not stressed or even very sad.  I am just tired, because watching my Dad (who is my superhero) be so vulnerable, is exhausting.

There are so many scripture verses flying through my mind at the moment and I hear the words of songs that I have sung in Sunday School and at Church.  I am constantly reminded that God is on my side.  He is on Dad's side.  He knows the plan (even if I don't) and whatever happens it will be okay.

I dearly want to share the scripture verses with you, so you can see how I claim my hope and God's promises.  But, it is too hard.  You could visit my Pinterest board where I pin the bible verses and encouraging words that I find on the net and on other people's boards.  CLICK HERE to have a sticky beak.