Well Done Newbery Committee!!

I was so thrilled today to find out that The One and Only Ivan was awarded the Newbery Medal for 2013!!!  Well deserved.  I have not always agreed with the top choices of the Newbery committee, but this novel, by K.A. Applegate, was the best novel I have read in years!  It’s simplicity (written in short chapters) only adds to the power of it’s message.  I was so moved by this novel and the story of Ivan that when I found out about Ivan’s death this past summer I cried (like sobbing-cried).


My husband didn’t know what I was crying about and probably thought I was losing my mind.  But I felt such a deep connection with Ivan from his story that his death left a hole in my heart.

I am so proud of the Newbery committee for choosing Ivan.  I had only to convince one student in my class to read Ivan this fall, and now both copies in my library and my school library have been checked out with wait lists since!  Ivan’s story reiterates all that is good and sadly, missing, from our world today: compassion, empathy, helping and caring for others, and what it takes to be a true friend (sometimes sacrificing what you want/need to help others).  The fact that Applegate was able to show all of this through the story of Ivan, the gorilla, makes it almost more understandable and relatable than if it was from the human perspective.

Now I can’t wait to get a copy with that beautiful, gold medal on it!  I think I’ll keep that one at home, proudly displayed on my own library shelf.

On a final note, kudos as well to awarding Katherine Patterson the Laura Ingalls Wilder prize for lifetime achievement.  Well deserved as well!!

Aprons, Salt Water, and oh yeah…93 Persuasive Essays

This week I have been working on several things a little at a time.  It has been a busy week.  I got a lot of packing and cleaning done for our move next month!  Holy cow I can’t believe it is a month away (actually less than a month now), but I am super excited to move to our new place and have a new start.  As some of you may know, I am a Pinterest addict (who isn’t right?) and I am constantly pinning ideas on there.  I love Pinterest!  I have a lot of boards, although not nearly as many as some people have.  One quilter that I follow, Lori Holt, has over 200!  I don’t know how she even keeps track, but I love to see what she is pinning.

As I was browsing my recent pins, I noticed a pattern within my pins.  A lot of them have triangles in them, more specifically HST’s (half square triangles).  For some reason I have been drawn recently to these simple, geometric designs.  Like this great quilt and pillow, which gave me some great inspiration for my yellow and gray stash that I have been hoarding for a while now.  I just love the cleanness and freshness of these colors.

I am loving HST's right now.Flying Geese Pillow Cover

Another trend that I have been obsessed with is color palettes.  I am trying to decide on a new palette for our new place and I have drawn to the combination of coral, navy and gold with a touch of Tiffany blue.  See what I mean.

confetti wallstudio bon textiles @Schumachercoral_bells wallpaper by holli_zollinger on Spoonflower - removableColor Palette

So, what have I actually been crafting this week?  Well, Rebecca, a friend of mine saw a pin that I put on Pinterest of a super cute craft apron and asked me if I might be able to make one like it for her.  She is a Stampin Up demonstrator (visit her demonstrator page here and check out their awesome products!) and does craft fairs and such, and she wanted an apron with the Stampin Up fabric.  So, always up for a challenge, I said sure!  I had a pattern already for a craft apron that I thought would work with a few tweaks, so first I made a mock up apron using the pattern to see what I wanted to change.  I’m glad I made the mock up, because there were definitely some things that I wanted to change, most specifically the pockets and fabric placement.  The original had 9 pockets but the middle pockets are so shallow, they don’t really hold a lot, so on the second one, I made only two rows of pockets that are deeper and will hold more.  I also made more skinny pockets for pens and pencils in the front.  The second apron isn’t finished, yet.  I”m hoping to get it done later today, but first I must finish grading Persuasive Essay.  Any of you who are teachers, know how long that can take!  Ugh!

mock up apron

mock up apron

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in progress apron

I also got some new fabric for my stash!  I am so excited about these because I have been waiting for them to be released.  My mom and dad gave me a gift certificate to Fat Quarter Shop for Christmas and I knew exactly what I wanted to get.  These beauties are patiently waiting to become something fabulous, if can muster up the courage to cut into them.  I was lucky enough to get both colorways: ripple and waves.  So yummy!

Well, as much as I’d love to stay and chat, I better get going and get working on those essays.   Wish me luck that I get them done today!  Have a great last week of January!!


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Classroom Update

Welcome to my classroom.  I went in on Friday and finished up most of my room.  All of my borders are up, I’ve put up a poster (I’m making some more because I can’t find any that I like that my middle schoolers will relate to), and I’ve set up my supply station in the back of the room.   I have a bunch of supplies that I put out for my students, because I’d rather they come into class and get what they need than just sit at their desk for 40 minutes doing nothing because they don’t have a pencil or some paper.  I also provide a lot of other things too that my students can use during workshop.  I have sticky notes, highlighters, colored pencils, crayons, pens, colored paper, glue sticks, staplers, tape, hole punches, etc.  I don’t believe that the only way students can do work is with a pencil and lined paper. My supply center has taken up residence on top of my laptop carts in the back of the room.

I love this bulletin board.  The banner says “Reading takes you places” and under it I have a world map.  Then I’m going to have push pins, string, and labels where kids can put a push pin into the map to show the main setting of books they have read and then they can take a string and link it to a label with the name of the book, author, and exact place.  I think it will be a fun way to have an interactive bulletin board.

Here is the poster I bought.  I really like the message and the colors.  Also, don’t you love that border.  It’s new from Susan Winget.

And finally, the view.  Need I say more??