Do Something Nice…For World Teacher’s Day.

Today is DO SOMETHING NICE DAY  and  WORLD TEACHER’S DAY.  I thought it might be special to combine the two and do something nice for a teacher.  We sometimes take our children’s teachers for granted, forgetting the dedication and hard work they put in each day to make learning possible.  We often read stories in the media about the “bad” teachers  – the ones who do little for, or maybe even harm, those in their care.  For every one of those teachers, there are hundreds who nurture and lead children on a path of success and accomplishment.

When was the last time you thanked a teacher?  A verbal thanks is good.  A letter or phone call is better.  A small token is great.  Home baked cookies, a bouquet of flowers, a cup of tea or coffee and a bagel.  A gift card for a treat at a local coffee shop or Staples..  Volunteering to help in the classroom is also great.  With tight budgets and staff cuts, many classrooms no longer have aides to assist teachers with their many jobs.  An extra pair of hands in the classroom now and then is always welcome and much appreciated by the teachers I know.  You don’t need special training to cut, paste, laminate, or assist with lesson preparations.   

If you’re artistic, volunteer to teach an art lesson in a Kindergarten class without an art program.  Many schools no longer have libraries.  Offer to read and do storytime activities with kids.  Have musical talent?  Bring it to school.  Offer to put up a bulletin board, paint a bookshelf, make curtains for a classroom window, or teach kids to bake soft pretzels.  Share your own time and talent with your children’s teachers.  Your life and their life will be richer for it.

 

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Thank You Mrs. Andre’s Class!

Last Friday I had the pleasure of visiting Darlene Andre’s fifth grade class in Illinois via SKYPE.   They were in the middle of reading WHEELS OF CHANGE  and had a lot of questions about the story, characters, setting and issues presented in the book.  There are so many wonderful writers in the class and ALL the students were interested in learning about how to write and get books published.  Many shared some of their own writer’s notebooks as well.

We discussed gender roles, when it’s okay to “break rules”, how to develop characters and setting, and many more topics based on the students thoughtful questions.

Mrs. Andre's Fifth Grade Class.

Mrs. Andre’ and her Fifth Grade Class.

Thank you boys and girls for a wonderful visit to your classroom. And thank you for being interested in WHEELS OF CHANGE.  Keep on writing so one day I can read YOUR books! ♥

Three Cheers For Birches School: A Fantastic Welcome From Some Great Students.

This morning I had the absolute pleasure of visiting the fifth grade classes at the Birches Elementary School in Washington Township, Gloucester Co.  NJ for an Author Visit.  Their Social Studies teacher, Mary Byatt, had read WHEELS OF CHANGE and thought it was a great segway into her unit on the Civil War, reconstruction and the Industrial Revolution.  We had some great discussions about gender roles, civil rights, technology, and fun and games.

What an amazing group of students!  They were attentive, engaging, and really interested in what life was like in 1908.   Here are the photo highlights of  one of the best author visits so far.  THANK YOU MRS. BYATT AND THE FIFTH GRADERS AT BIRCHES!  YOU ROCK!

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Happy Birthday WHEELS OF CHANGE:Join the Celebration With Free Books, Gift Card and More!

It’s hard to believe it’s been nearly a year since the launch of my first MG Historical WHEELS OF CHANGE (Creston Books).  My heartfelt thanks to all who have been so supportive and enthusiastic through the whole process.  I couldn’t have done it without your support!

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To celebrate the event, I’m offering TWO signed copies – along with TWO AUTHOR SKYPE VISITS to a classroom or school.  The book is perfect for the 3rd to 6th grade population and can be used as a tie in to units on the Industrial Revolution, racism, the rights of women, or study about changes in Washington DC over the last 100 years.

I have Curriculum Guides, study questions, vocabulary lists, and activity sheets, as well as sheets on Etiquette and Manners at the turn of the Twentieth Century.  The book has been recognized as a Notable Social Studies Trade Book for 2015 by the National Council of Social Studies and the Children’s Book Council.       NCSS_NotableSealRP

I am also giving away ONE $25.00 GIFT CERTIFICATE to Target to a teacher or viewer who passes on an information packet about the book to their local school.  I’ll put your name in a hat and pick it out.  Once you’ve won, you can send me your contact information and name of the school and I’ll forward the packet to you to pass on.

To enter, please leave your comment below for one entry.  Tweet or share this post of FB or other social media for another entry.  Let me know how many entries I should count for you. You have until Sunday, 9-27-2015 to enter.  I’ll announce the winners on Monday 9-28-2015.

The Wheels on the Bus and Other Ways Kids Travel to School. by Shiela Fuller

Darlene here: I don’t know about you, but I found this post fascinating!  It seems that some children will do just about anything to get to school.  Here’s Shiela Fuller with an around-the-world look at how children travel to and from school.

In the United States, children are required by law, called compulsory education, to be educated between the ages of six and  sixteen (The Amish community is not bound by this law). Around the world, compulsory ages range from: six through eighteen in Belgium, six to twelve in Iran, six to fourteen in Uruguay, seven to twelve in Singapore, etc. A complete chart can be found here:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compulsory_education .

Think about how you get to school. Do you carpool? Ride a bus? Walk? How far is school from where you live? Next time you leave home for school, think about these kids and the determination that drives them, despite the treacherous journeys they travel to school.
In Indonesia, schoolchildren must cross a frail suspension bridge that hangs low over the Ciberang River. It became damaged after a flood and the children risk crossing it because it is the shortest distance. In other parts of the country, students travel to school by canoe, bamboo raft, and some ride on the tops of wooden boats. In Sumatra, students are willing and daring, to cross a tightrope above a river and then walk an additional seven miles to school.

In rural China some children climb ladders that rest along the mountainside to reach their school and others travel along narrow paths carved into the cliffs. When “school season” begins in yet another region of China, the teachers chaperon the boarding school students on a two day journey along cliffs, gravel, and rapids, and “wade through four freezing cold rivers and slide across a 200 m chain bridge on four single plank bridges” http://www.chinahush.com/2011/11/14/treacherous-road-to-school/ .

A quarter of a mile above the Rio Negro River in Columbia, South America, zip wiring is the way to go. Kids fly through the air at 40 mph on steel cables that connects their home to the other side of the valley. This is the only way in and out of the village.
In the Rizel Province, Manilla, Philippines, kids carry inflated tire tubes to school an hour each way so they can float across the river that separates them from school. If the river is flooded, they have to find shelter and wait until the river is safe to cross.

As a new school year begins, and you line up to get on the school bus, or hop in the car pool, remember these kids and the hardships they endure as they make their commute to school. Education is so important, they are willing to risk their lives for it! And just in case, perhaps put a tire tube in your back pack!

Pictures and more information about the ways kids get to school around the world can be found in these links:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1259691/The-children-ride-40mph-zip-wire-quarter-mile-high-to-school.html
http://photoblog.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/10/12/14390958-risky-river-crossing-filipino-kids-tube-to-get-to-school?lite
http://www.amusingplanet.com/2013/03/kids-risking-their-lives-to-reach-school.html
http://www.chinahush.com/2011/11/14/treacherous-road-to-school/

http://www.boredpanda.com/dangerous-journey-to-school/

http://www.travelchannel.com/interests/family/photos/back-to-school-around-the-world/page/18

Shiela Fuller has been a Cornell University Project Feeder Watch participant for many years and an avid birder since 1988. Currently, she enjoys writing picture books, yoga, chicken raising, wildlife photography, and is the legacy keeper for her family.

Thank You Sussex Ave. School

Yesterday I had the joy and privilege to do a SKYPE visit with the Sussex Ave. School in Morristown, NJ.  I spent some time with Antoinette Lubrano’s fourth grade class who read and discussed WHEELS OF CHANGE.  They asked wonderful questions about the writing process, how I did research for the book and who my favorite characters were.  posterThe students also did some amazing projects about the book that they shared with me. Here’s the link to a glogster post: http://antoinetteg2.edu.glogster.com/wheels-of-change-9252/   Emma made this Animoto video about Emily and Henry…the man Papa hired to be his blacksmith in the story.   https://animoto.com/play/PiDfy0DIji4AVO1dyGPxrw?autostart=1    Catherine Gaynor made a poster about how she and Emily were alike and different.   Many thanks to all the students in Ms. Lubrano;s class for making my visit such a memorable one. You boys and girls ROCK!

Ms. Lubrano's 4th grade class, Sussex Ave. School, Morris, NJ

Ms. Lubrano’s 4th grade class, Sussex Ave. School, Morris, NJ

Catherine Gaynor's poster.

Catherine Gaynor’s poster.

Kindle School Rocks!

On Wednesday, 2-25-2015, I had the pleasure of an author visit at the Elwood Kindle School in Pitman, NJ.  While there, I met some amazing fourth and fifth graders who shared some of their knowledge of what life was like 100 years ago.  I read passages of WHEELS OF CHANGE, shared the origins of the story and then asked students to share some photos of their grandparents and great grandparents as children and young adults. 

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We had a great time talking about fun and games at the turn of the Twentieth Century, how chores have changed, and what it might be like living during that time period. The students were very knowledgeable about what takes place in a forge, as well as how to care for the many animals that lived side-by-side in those days gone by.  Everyone was excited to know that Tootsie Rolls and Hershey Kisses were popular candies in 1908!       Bookmarks were handed out, hands stamped with lucky horseshoes, and books signed as well.      pitman2

It was a delightful group of children, and I was thrilled to be able to share a bit of my story with them.    BIG THANKS to all the great students at Kindle for a delightful morning!      pitman 1

Fourth Graders at Kindle School.

Fourth Graders at Kindle School.

Fifth graders at Kindle School

Fifth graders at Kindle School