Friday, May 18, 2012

My Top 20 Book List

I'm a reader. Not much of a TV watcher, but I love reading!

Before I get to my top 20 book list, I'd like to make note of something that made me really happy this week. I discovered that one of our favorite family sayings has its origin in Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice." My dad is fond of saying, "It was so good I almost wet my pants."  In fact, the very first time my parents bought a brand new vehicle, Dad drove it home. When my mom asked him how he liked it, he said something like, "It's great, except for the seats."  My mom, wondering what's wrong with the seats, asked for clarification. "They're wet," he said. "I couldn't help myself. It was just so nice that I wet my pants." Of course he was joking, but now you know the "gold standard" for my family.

So this week as I'm reading in "The Merchant of Venice" Act IV, Scene I, lines 50 thru 53:

"And others, when the bagpipe sings i' th' nose,
Cannot contain their urine; for affection,
Master of passion, sways it to the mood
Of what it likes or loathes. . . ."

There you have it. Unable to contain urine because of affection. ("It was so good, I wet my pants.")

Christie's Top 20 Book List (20 fave books, not in exact order)
  1. The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes - and Why, by Amanda Ripley
  2. The Killer Angels, by Michael Shaara
  3. Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte
  4. I Am a Mother, by Jane Clayson Johnson
  5. Exodus, by Leon Uris
  6. 32 Third Graders and One Class Bunny, by Phillip Done
  7. The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency (series), by Alexander McCall Smith
  8. Maisie Dobbs (series), by Jacqueline Winspear
  9. Team of Rivals: The political genius of Abraham Lincoln, by Dorris Kearns Goodwin
  10. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer
  11. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl
  12. The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy, by Jeanne Birdsall
  13. Anne of Green Gables (series), by L. M. Montgomery
  14. A Long Way from Chicago and A Year Down Yonder, by Richard Peck
  15. Moonraker's Bride, by Madeleine Brent
  16. The Story of My Life, by Helen Keller
  17. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
  18. Gift from the Sea, by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
  19. The Adams-Jefferson Letters: The Complete Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson and Abigail and John Adams, by Lester J. Cappon
  20. Stargirl, by Jerry Spinelli
Keep in mind that I'm always reading a book. This list ebbs and flows.

Friday, May 11, 2012

This and That

Hey. I'm actually posting something. Wonders never cease.

Actually, I've been posting stuff, just not on this blog. I now have two other blogs. They are: -- where I post stuff from school -- where I post stuff about finding happiness in my own skin.

If you're looking for a list of books to keep your tween or teen reading this summer, check out my students' recommendations for this year. Every year I ask them to write down their five favorite books of all time. These are the results:

Favorite Books for Girls

Favorite Books for Boys

I'm always reading books too. One of these days I need to post my own top 20 book list. But I have to compile it first. That may take a while.

Happiness is . . .

Here's what made me happy today:

In my Monday Update email to parents of my 7th grade language arts students I asked parents who were interested to donate items in 3s for each class's Reading Reward Drawing. The response has been terrific! Today alone I had three students bring in motivating donations for the drawing.

While my students in 5th hour were working on their fast fiction assignment, I was reading some of the turned-in assignments from 2nd hour. There were a series of questions that they were answering as their own created fictional character. Question #2 asked, "What makes you laugh so hard that soda comes shooting out your nose?" A student in 2nd hour wrote: farts. This caused me to laugh out loud, which caused the students in 5th hour to ask what had made me laugh. So I told them. And then someone mentioned the time earlier in the year that the class clown had accidentally sneezed and farted at the same time for all to hear. I laughed 'til I cried just remembering the incident.

Playing volleyball for our 7th grade grade-level PLC meeting after school. Mike Hylton's ability to cover the entire court despite his slippery dress shoes. Jan's imitation of the quarter walk. Floyd's solid serving. Colette's skill! (I want to grow up to be as active as Colette when I'm her age.) My belly flop dive onto the floor -- glasses go flying.

Getting an afternoon nap.

Letting my outdoor dog into the house while I put my shoes on. Hubby and son are at the Father's and Son's campout, oldest daughter drove to a friends house for a party, and youngest daughter is at a neighbor's playing night games. Giving the dog a very small slice of banana bread.

Taking the dog for an evening stroll around the block. Enjoying the robins chirping and flitting about. Stopping to smell the last of the current berry blossoms on the Allred's bushes. Looking at the cute chalk drawings on the Higbee's driveway. The smell of Karma Lee's white lilacs. Heaven!

Friday, May 04, 2012

May the 4th Be With You . . . Cape Capers

In honor of May the 4th be with you . . . I brought my Sith Lord cape to school today. (It's really the witch cape I made a couple years ago.) I drew a student's name from the pit-of-despair each hour to determine who got to wear it.
In first hour it was Austin's birthday. He asked if he could wear it, because it was his birthday. I said, "Yes. If I draw your name." And then I drew his name. Really. And it was announced over the intercom for all the birthday people (Austin's name was read) to come to the principal's office for their birthday treat. So he went to the principal's office wearing the cape. Sigh.
We were already reading The Wednesday Wars when Austin returned, so it wasn't until after the quiz that we heard how it went in the principal's office.
Me:  Did the principal say anything about the cape?
Austin:  Yeah. He asked me why I was wearing it.
Me:  And you said?
Austin: I told him that I was trying to make my family proud.
Me:  That's it? That's all you told him.
Austin:  Yeah.
Me:  Austin! He's going to wonder which teacher sent a student to the office wearing a cape! And he'll look up your schedule and find out it was me. And he'll have no idea why I really sent you to his office wearing a cape. Aagh! I'd better call him and clear this up.
Me: (after dialing the principal's number) Hi, This is Mrs. Hansen. I understand you had a student in your office this morning wearing a cape.
Principal:  Yes, I did.
Me:  I thought you'd want to know that we're commemorating "May the 4th Be With You" by drawing students' names from the pit-of-despair and letting them wear my Sith Lord cape.
Principal:  A-ha. I did ask about it, but all I got was that he was trying to make his family proud.
Me:  Well, now you know the rest of the story!
Actually, it made for a pretty memorable May the 4th! I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

P.S. The principal came down during another hour to deliver something. My students were quietly reading The Wednesday Wars like model students. And he saw yet another student wearing the cape -- while being perfectly on-task!

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Bliss on a Bike . . .

Today I enjoyed an activity that never fails to bring me happiness -- riding my bike with my dog running along on  leash. About a year ago I posted another post about it on my Belly Acre Farm blog.

There are a couple things about this activity that make it so enjoyable. The first is that I'm doing it with my dog. She's awesome! She wears a harness and pulls and pulls. My first stop today was at my pharmacy drive-up window. As they filled my prescriptions, I asked if they still give out dog treats. (I'd been in there a few months ago when another customer pulled in with a dog in their car and received a dog treat.) "Sure!" they said, and gave Annie a doggie biscuit. Annie seems to enjoy these bike rides almost as much as I do.

The second thing that great about these rides is that I get to ride a fun bike. It's a lot like this bike, but with a red seat, red handle bars, and a white metal basket on the front. And, yes, it has a bell!

My bike is a joy to ride because it has a wide, tractor-like seat. In other words, when I sit on the seat, you can still see it beneath my butt. And I don't have gluteus maximus pain for days afterwards either. Plus the basket and the bell are a kick! I can ride my bike to my local grocery store, buy two gallons of milk, and they will both fit in my basket for the return trip home. Oh, and the basket is easily detachable, so I can use it in the store like a mini-shopping basket and not even need plastic bags. Yeah!

I'm so glad that warmer weather is here so that I can get out on my bike with my dog more often!