Thursday, August 29, 2013

Book Review - The Boy Who Wouldn't Read

 A fellow Chautauqua conferee asked me to do a book review.  After reading the book, I was glad to oblige.  It will be published in September 2013.  
 The Boy Who Wouldn't Read
 The Boy Who Wouldn't Read by Denise McConduit

Robbie doesn't like reading.  With the sweep of a sorcerer's magical wand, he no longer has to worry about this dreaded activity.  In this rhyming book, his expression goes from boredom to glee to horror as he gets a glimpse of a world without words.  Colorful lively illustrations make readers realize that reading doesn't only take place in the pages of a book.  This story has the potential to open up a whole avenue of discussion about where we read and why reading is an important skill.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Rose of Sharon, a hibiscus
For most of the past month, I've been hunkered down in my writing cave, digging up ideas, drafting letters, and developing stories. Ever since I finished my class, I've been sprinkling seeds, lots and lots of seeds.  The diversity reminds me of a wildflower mixture.  With luck, something lovely will sprout.

My approach has changed.  Usually, the story comes first, then I find the market. Lately, I've started with the market and gone hunting for the story.  For my effort, I've uncovered entertaining, amusing and wildly exciting subjects.

I've backed away from the social media writing community because, right now, I don't feel a need to divulge these sparks of activity.  I've cut back on blogging too.  I'm particularly satisfied that I finally wrote and sent out a cute story I've been wanting to write since 2009.

When the weather cooperates, my writing group meets at this picnic table for plein air critiquing.
I signed up for New Media Day despite it falling on my birthday.  Groan.  It's all about technology and the digital age, which is my background.  I decided if I don't go, I might miss out.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Birds and The Bees

Bee with its proboscis sticking out
After debating whether I wanted to commit to a summer course, then debating how much effort I wanted to put in, I'm mighty pleased with the grade I received today.

Some people wrote on the discussion forum that they thought the quiz questions were tricky and meant to deliberately trip up a student.  I disagreed because I thought they went beyond the material, challenging the student to think deeper about the subject matter.

Other problems on the discussion forum with some students (climate skeptics) showing general disrespect to all of those who disagree with one's position were corrected.  "A small number of students have resorted to outright abuse, rather than simply expressing alternative or unpopular views. This has now been remedied: students who are regularly abusive will be banned from the forum."

Male cardinals are striking.
Class Statistics:
24,303 registered to take the course
2,600 were active in the last few weeks of the course
750 earned certificates (a mere 3% of those who registered)

Alumni have since started groups on LinkedIn, Facebook and on Google.  I joined all three. 

Male cardinal
I've decided that my mid-range camera takes great macro shots, but the photographs aren't so crisp from far away despite resting the camera on the deck railing.        

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Enders State Forest, Granby

For a sense of scale, take a look at the umbrella on top of the falls.  Someone was under it.
I try to take advantage of conferences when they're in my area.  So, when I found out the AASL (American Association for School Librarians) was planning a November conference in Hartford, a mere twenty minutes away, I was delighted and so were my writing friends.  I think I can get by with a one-day, exhibits-only pass.  Excited!!!

The first view of the water.
The Northeast region of the American Chemical Society is also having a conference in New Haven at the end of October.  I will be checking back on that one to see if there is anything of interest.

Walt and Lola look dwarfed by the water.  Here you get a sense for how slippery it was.
One of the most interesting aspects of the Climate Literacy class that I just finished was the world map.  It had numbered pointers that corresponded to other students' written classwork.  The impacts of climate change could be seen from Kiribati to Crete to Croatia, from Bangladesh to Belgium to Bulgaria, from the Southwest to South Carolina to South Africa.  It was an eye-opening global view of how climate change is affecting the planet.  Many students wrote of drought, rising sea level and fires.

It is shameful that while we haggle here in the United States over whether climate change is manmade (it is) or natural (don't be a moron), there are other people on the planet that are suffering the very real consequences of inaction.

Another waterfall
These photographs were taken at Enders State Forest, a place where roaring waterfalls cascaded from the rocks.  The hike was short and more like a walk with an incline.  On a hot humid day, the only rain shower in the state dumped a bucket of precipitation on Enders while we were there.  We were soaked, which made the trek along the edge all that more treacherous.  Since someone had recently slipped at the park, a couple of news teams were in the parking lot.  I practiced my speaking skills by agreeing to be interviewed, dripping as I was.  They aired footage of kids doing flips in the water instead of one soggy hiker pretending she was at Toastmasters.  What a shame!