Crunchy, Crispy Apples are for you!

October feast is when all the baskets are full of apples red, yellow-green, light green, dark red ones, oozy apples ready to be eaten with caramel and chocolate! Apple pies are so yummy and  kids seem to prefer appla jam, too! Trying to find out books on apples and apple trees I got fascinated by the number of books written but mostly for the unique illustrations.Enjoy my “trip” to the apple fields and do reead as many Apple books you can during the weekend!

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” Ten Apples Up On Top” written by Dr. Seuss, is used in class by the majority  of teachers. The themed learning activities are so valuable for young kids because make learning so much extra fun.

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If you really Love your dog then you can walk out in the woods, along with the ” Apple Pie A B C”written by Alison Murray. I am sure your faithful doggie will relax and enjoy the reading! It’s an ideal book for 4 and 5 year olds with great words to  anticipate what is going to happen. Super Vintage illustrations to spend time looking at!

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Here’s a whimsical and very useful look at the life cycle of the apple tree. “Our Apple Tree” written by Gorel Kristina Naslund , with two helpful tree sprites as guides, readers travel from spring, when the apple tree blossoms, through summer, when the fruit grows, to fall and the harvest. Along the way, you’ll learn about the life of the tree and the animals that visit – from insects that pollinate the flowers to deer that eat the fallen fruit.

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“How to Make an Apple Pie” written by Marjorie Priceman,  is a perfect book  for older preschoolers who are getting a sense of the world since this book takes you on a ride around the world! You follow the little girl to Italy, France , Sri Lanka, England, Jamaica and back to Vermont! It must be fun teaching Geography while tasting crunchy apples!

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O.K! I know, it’s all about apples! “Apples” by Jacqueline Farmer is a wonderful resource book. It’s packed full of details about how apples are grown, where they came from originally, varieties and much  more! I urge teachers or even  parents who homeschool their kids to have this book in mind!

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Yes, you remember well, there is always a “Bad Apple” like the Tale of a Friendship written by Edward Hemingway. When Mac, an apple, meets Will, a worm, they become fast friends, teaching each other games and even finishing each other’s sentences. But apples aren’t supposed to like worms, and Mac gets called “rotten” and “bad apple.”It’s never easy standing up to bullies–but after a lonely day without Will, Mac decides he’d rather be a bad apple with Will than a sad apple without.

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I hope you enjoy finding these Apple Books in your local library, read them while tasting a crispy piece of homemade applepie! Till next week’s Rock Post, enjoy and don’t forget the whipped cream! Apple pie, apple pie, I think I am gonna sigh!

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“To Survive you must tell stories” Umberto Eco.

The last month’s weekends and this first one of month October have been really busy with nonstop issues, happenings and  too much teaching. But what made this particular weekend exceptional was my participation in a Writing Creative Course dealing with Literature’s great Writers who continue to function as the Mentors for any writer to be. I am lucky for having this course taking place every month,  here in Patras and I feel even luckier for having as  an instructor the  Greek writer, Dimitris Stefanakis, whose deep knowledge in Literature and Poetry will help all the participants to open our parachutes and fly. The place where the writing course is going to take place is called “Bright Side.” When thinking of writing no matter what you write, think of the bright side of writing and how your inner intuition is going to be unleashed.

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Writers  need to read a lot , every day and discover which writing style speaks to your heart. Reading and writing is not an obligatory task is the task if you want to go on as writers. I was reminded that today and I know I have to start reading the books I brought back from Arizona two months ago!

A Mentor can help too, since the word in its origin  related to Greek μενος (menos) means “mind, purpose, strength, courage”. In Greek legend Mentor was the son of Alkimos. When Odysseus left to fight in the Trojan War he entrusted Mentor with the care of his palace and the guardianship of his son Telemachos. When the goddess Athena visited Telemachos she took the guise of Mentor.Is it easy to trace the right Mentor or is it better to rely simply on mentor texts?

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Receiving valuable advice and develop your personal style while experimenting new writing styles is absolutely crucial.Reading in depth, exploring Literature while analysing important pieces of advice seems to be the best offer for any writer to go on and develop. Here is an article on suggesting how to find a good Mentor: http://www.writersdigest.com/uncategorized/on-finding-your-mentor

But the use of Mentor texts in class seems to be  the best way to guide students through the process of writing.  Writers using  mentor texts are able to emulate strategies and skills to follow. We all need mentors. They help us learn and grow in many different aspects of our lives; but using authors to show and demonstrate powerful writing, helps  writers to unfold strategies and skills.

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Till next week’s Rock Post, read, study and write, choose a new Mentor or a Mentor text to help you and explore the beautiful world of Literature!

Once in a Rainy day , Play in the Puddles!

Every school year seems to be totally different than the last one.what if kids seem to compromise with the idea of studying, summer time is still in the corner for them.Noone is ready to adapt to the new reality, there is a slow pace reaction from students to fully cooperate and get used to daily schedule. That’s a stormy situation, too much fuss for nothing you may say, winter is coming so every little fellow will have to be enclosed inside his house, quarelling for more time to use his/her laptop or watch cartoons and films! What a life! I recall my village autumn days surrounded by the orange golden leaves that came as a shower on my head from the farm’s trees. The most beautiful time was to watch the rain’s dance outside  in  my yard, counting the rain droplets and their dance in the puddles. The morning rain forced me to stay in and miss my morning class at the village’s school but i enjoyed the rain’s dance and mine while walking past the fields to get to my school. If you haven’t smelled the rain or danced in the rain, then you don’t know what real rain is.

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Rain is the best medium to travel and explore yourself, when watching the water falling either as showers or when it rains cats and dogs you do travel through shapes and images. It’s been days now raining nonstop then being  sunny and then raining again! If this is the case in yout little town or city then grab a book, a picture book and start enjoying the text and the illustrations.

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I wa surprised by the number of books old and new ones having rain as a theme. Here are some “rain books”  that I like and I wish you love them  as I do.

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If you think of dancing as these girls did with their mother, Come On, Rain! is  such a beautifully illustrated book by Jon J. Muth and written by Karen Hesse.
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Splish! Slpash! While investigating rain, learn about the water cycle and problems with rain, including droughts and floods. Splish! Splash!A Book About Rain (Amazing Science: Weather) written by Josepha Sherman(Author), Jeff Yesh (Illustrator)

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Rain, Rain, GO Away! is already a well-loved preschool favorite. Now this board book with a full-foil cover will catch everyone’s eye (rain or shine!) as Church’s toddlers and stuffed animals are as adorable as ever in colorful rain gear.Written by Caroline Jayne Church.

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Raindrop, Plop! One little raindrop, dark, dark sky. Two little raindrops, clouds go by… How many ways can you have fun on a rainy day?  From one little raindrop to ten toes soaking in a warm bubble bath, there are lots of things to see and count until the sun comes out again.  In between, there are silly boots to pull on and puddles to splash in and a rainy backyard just waiting to be explored.  A spirited rhyming text that’s ideal for reading unexpected pleasures that a little wet weather can bring to a young child’s day.Written by Wendy Cheyette Lewison and illustrated by Pam Paparone.

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Split! Splat! by Amy Gibson is a silly, messy, rhyming tale of a girl with her dog and friends playing in the rain. I loved the colorful and messy illustrations that make you want to find a puddle to go jump in.

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 Over the Rainbow is a whimsical book that features the song “Over the Rainbow” by Judy Collins. The illustrations show a magical and dream like world that is just over the rainbow.

Don’t miss the chance to make a wish and fly over the rainbow after the rain but DO dance and feel the rain on your face, screaming out loud! Yes, it’s raining and it’s fun! Till next week’s Rock Post have a nice weekend!

 

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Hard Goodbyes are the new Hellos!

Robin: You get scared?
Nightwing: Sure. Mostly of failing. Sometimes of dying. I’m human.
Robin: And Batman?
Nightwing: I’m not sure what scares him. Maybe he’s driven by his fears.Fear is a teacher, the first one you ever had. – “Scarecrow”

This Week’s Rock Post is dedicated to a Teacher, a very dear friend who has to be away for a year. A unique person that spread around in  the best way Dr. Seuss’s message:

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A caring person, unselfish and altruistic. He possesses rare qualities. That’s him.A talented Teacher with full of inspiration and serenity in class, a mesmerizing Teacher.

“I am like Batman, I come, help and vanish,” he uses to say from time to time to excuse his presence in people’s life and struggles. So, I thought of having Batman’s quotes from  comic books written for Batman to  say Farewell to him in this way. Our students wait with impatience for this post, it’s been two days now trying to find the time to finish it. So, here I am trying to say goodbye with a big smile and encourage this Special  Person during his new adventure in life in serving the Greek Army.

When the unknown unfolds in front of us we are definitely scared and we feel the same doubts that little kids have for anything new. Fear factor controls our thoughts and we wonder about the dangers  of the unknown, or feel blessed for the “power of ignorance” as the dear friend is used in repeating when plans A,B,C don’t seem to work. Changes involve all the mystery and the unknown to the direction you are destined to reach.

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You believe you can change the way of things, Batman. It is why you are  who you are. “The Phantom Stranger.”

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Sometimes people influence you not so much by what they mean to you – as  by what they allow you to mean to them. “Gotham Knights.”

When students are indentified  with their Teacher  that’s a win-win situation. Their performance ameliorates, they find common ground with the Teacher and are self-motivated to develop competence. Mastering students’ fears in class is a mastery goal orientation itsself. This Teacher’s learning method was seemingly a “Quiet” one but what it really was had to do with:

  • Students’ evaluation on how to gain time to really explore and understand new ideas.
  • Students’ realising their mistakes are okay as long as  they are learning.
  • Students’ recognition  by responding to them with feedback, praise
  • Being affective : Teacher-Student interactions including caring, support, conflict, respect, humor.

“Hush” is considered to be one of the best comic stories written on  Batman as the great Blog:  http://www.complex.com/pop-culture/2014/05/the-25-best-batman-comics-of-all-time/  ,   refers.

“One of the best-selling Batman stories of all time, Jeph Loeb’s “Hush” is a globetrotting mystery that packs in sprawling fight scenes and some of the best work of Jim Lee’s career.”

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I chose this comic story to Farewell my friend.I encourage you to visit  the blog and get ideas for your writing. In fact I got one while writing my post! If reading comics is something you have never tried then here is another link to intoduce yourselves to “Batmania ” and discover what makes this extraordinary hero so Unique! Enjoy your weekend with  a Batman’s movie, I will definitely watch”The Dark Knight Rises.”

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When I’d finally mastered my fear, I went to take another look at the   world. No, that’s inaccurate. I went out to learn how to be strong enough   to face it. To defend it. To gaze into it and accept it for what it   was… without flinching. “Batman, Secret Origins of the JLA.”

                                                    “Keep Calm & Rise!”

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Precious tears for “The Tear Thief.”

I am late in posting on my blog trying to find my usual rythms combining  teaching, writing, reading, thinking of how to farewell a friend whose presense was short in my  life. Deirdre Sheridan Englehart’s  kindness and  approach can’t be fogotten, I met her at the WOW RETREAT in Georgia this July and I admired her calmness and analytical suggestions. While trying to find out what it would be appropriate way for saying goodbye I had this unexpected encounter with this great book “The Tear Thief” written by Carol Ann Duffy and illustrated by Nicoletta Ceccoli. I am sure you will love it either reading it on pdf form https://vk.com/doc269415_319788486hash=7bf53369411d86ea69&dl=81e7ff5b7a14eb2915 or enjoying it on youtube,https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXWo0e4vZw4.

The tear thief collects the children’s tears, throws them in a silver bag and then pours them into the moon to keep it glowing.    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXWo0e4vZw4

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Coping with a loss is a significant issue especially for children whose tears for their mother’s loss can’t be counted. We are used in saying , time heals but, we forget that precious lovable people leave their mark for ever in our heart and a sort of legacy to go on.

 

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I was suprised to find out so many books written for children, sharing positivity for a beloved one’s loss. Death is a transformation and can take many forms if we stop and ponder for a minute  thinking and relating myths, cultural beliefs.

Firstly it can be the  4451bf7269b08851071687b399783714that unites the people on earth wih those up in the sky. The people that we are missing aren’t really gone as long as we remember them and talk about them.

Then, there iscc3502581f7ede1ceed86d97e2ec954e Lifetimes that tells us about beginnings. And about endings. And about living in between.

But the question remains on :sub-whatisdeathChildren and adults try to get a better undestanding each time it happens. Who can tell us? Anyone can give his own explanation based on his cultural context and personal beliefs.

w204As in “Always and Forever” good friends recall their friend’s wisdom and support.This brings more joy in their life and offers courage to them to go on.

The powerful message 51tlmjg6jpl of Samantha Jane’s Missing mile is that “Crying can be a very good way to wash some of your sad feelings out, so there’s more room for happy feelings to get in.”

I Miss You: A First Look at Death 51sedegenxl-_sx258_bo1204203200_will help girls and boys realize that dying is really a natural balance to life, and also that sadness along with  a feeling of loss are common emotions for a child to have after a cherished one’s death.

We tend to forget that      life-is-like-the-wind-7 and blows in different ways. This beautiful book acknowledges the range of feelings associated with losing a loved one whether human or non-human. This book aims to help children not to be frightened of their reactions, but to explore their beliefs, acknowledge that others may have different ideas and then work out the ways they want to acknowledge their loss and their feelings.

And if you still wonder then  in this book:god-gave-us-angels-lisa-tawn-bergren-hardcover-cover-artIn one of the most tender moments of the book, Papa Bear admits that, as a grown up, he doesn’t have all the answers: “I’m not sure Little Cub. But no matter what happens, we can trust that he is near and watching. He loves us, even more than the angels do.”

His Angels are here on Earth, we shouln’t forget that. Till next week’s Rock  Post don’t forget to show how much you care about the people around you!

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Deirdre Sheridan Engleheart, an Angel of pure heart!

Letter ‘D’ is for Delight Retreat and Dogs’ National Day!

Having my mind focused on School’s work and extra appointments I finally got the time to continue writing about the fantastic time I had at WowRetreat in Atlanta this July. So I thought of starting with Barb Rosenstock, that great writer who talked about the essentials of writing process. But then I had a day ALERT, because it is Dogs’ National Day today and I couldn’t leave them, since I LOVE doggies like crazy!

006-1_2_3_3  Barb with whom I had  hilarious moments at the Retreat will like the fact that I followed her initial saying on how to Find the Process of Writing; which was to “Read & Talk to others” so that every writer traces easier the target of its story.I chose to combine this post with Barb’s exceptional info about the “Delight” of writing which I personally find equal to  the “Delight” Dogs offer to our life.

Barb’s strongest advice  about Writing was to:

  • WRITE and use your strengths in order to make the difference
  • RESEARCH , Curiosity when it’s true it will drive your story and then Tight its focus
  • You need Action Oriented Pictures when writing NonFiction, Every single spread needs ACTION
  • ALWAYS LOOK FOR STORIES, Ideas have alittle bit of building stories so don’t overlook that fact or consider it as unimportant

Regarding your STORY well that’s HOOKS Barb says!

  • Your Character has to be compelling he either wants or needs something desperately
  • He has to keep the Reader’s ATTENTION as Struggles and Obstacles are faced
  • He has to Satisfy the Reader with a RESOLUTION
  • Take the Pixar Story Map as an example that worked for Brb in aterrific way for her story “Noisy Paint Box”

But the most important part for Barb is “WHAT IS universal FOR YOUR STORY?”

  • You will only be sure for that if you LEARN how to judge your own story meaning to CREATE as many Potentials as possible

If you wonder on how to FInd  STORY IDEAS, well Barb suggests to:

  • Have Files and Lists on your computer and access them often, you never know
  • Siteson numerous Topics and Interests even if you don’t write about the topics
  • Pursue People and Interests because this is how you Learn
  • READ kids NonFiction to see what’s NOT THERE!
  • LIVE CREATIVELY! SHAKE IT UP!
  • Travel, Take Classes, SEW, READ,DISCOVER new WORDS, DO anything and find IDEAS out of your Comfort Zone!
  • TRUST YOUR INSTICT!

Barb’s passion for writing still echoes in my ears, her flamboyant personality offered great delight to all the participants at the Retreat. As a writer I remind to myself how important is to sew, read and discover constantly. I try to combine all these activities when writing or not and especially when I am surrounded with my dogs or friends’ dogs then that makes the adventure unforgettable. Writing is a healing process and a walk to unknown territories.If you do want to unleash your hidden Passion then SHAKE IT UP! LIVE CREATIVELY with a dog or more around you!

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Summer travelling adventure & writing magic!

Writing  is an addiction that  is difficult to describe you see its symptoms vary according to your mood and the circumstances. I could never imagine in my life that my travelling to U.S on 16 of  July would be so adventurous starting with  a military coup in Turkey but ending up to be one of the most surprising travels I have ever made!

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Attending the WOW RETREAT 2016, especially for  non-fiction, historical fiction, picture book writers  in Helen, Georgia -Atlanta; meeting extraordinary people, writers, editors, agents, getting to know how valuable   Facebook Friendships are , when formed on the other side of the world (yes!here Facebook gets the credit); left me simply speechless.Kristen Fulton was the person who spread Love, Peace and  Joy!

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Loving books and writing stories is the best way to keep memories alive and promote so many ideas, customs and traditions that unite the world and show how similar we all are in reallity. Travelling is the only way to open your eyes and have the experiences that will definitely  help you to make your writing shine! Except for Atlanta I had the opportunity to spend almost two weeks with family members in Mesa Arizona, explore the area, check on bookstores two days from noon to late evening, reading books, enjoying every page, having new stories in mind and thinking of how books reunite people and bring PEACE OF MIND! Once I got to Grand Canyon another WOW Miracle, i got excited and trully amazed but the serenity, and the beauty of the wonderfully shaped Rocks, their colour and strength, emitted power and got eme mesmerized. Visiting such a huge National Park in U.S having thousands visitors around you whom you ignore when the beauty of the surroundings captivates your being!20160801_143443_resized

Arizona is my beloved State not because I link it to beloved people but the wild and original beauty make it exceptional. Before my visit to Grand Canyon a fortune cookie at a chinese restaurant reminded to me to “Embrace Music in my life” so my friend Amalia Balch, chose to visit the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix,  http://mim.org/, being a teacher I had a free pass and the three hours I spent there  were a real bliss! Instruments from every corner of the world, even exotic islands, my country Greece, costumes and singers’ personal items, strange and unknown  instruments and so much info to process.

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Thinking of how my travel ended? Visiting New York, enjoying the lights and the huge scryscrapers and the MOMA Museum, spending two days there with my friend Roula Stefanaki, feeling the Cosmopolitan air of the Big Apple State, admiring the beautiful bridges and different architecture, the greenery of Central Park,  walking the busy streets, enjoying the view of Astoria Bridge by night!

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It’s difficult which pics to choose when I have seen so much for twenty days, I now started focusing again on my writing,  trying to email all the new friends, prioritizing  the School obligations, recalling beautiful memories and unforgettable incidents. In my following posts I will have info on certain gold advice that Mentor writers,  Agents and Editors shared at the WOW RETREAT.It’s summer time and it’s dream, vacation time so I am excused, I guess!

Till next week’s Rock Post, write from the heart, Love writing  stories and be ready for what life brings to you. I couldn’t think of any other way for saying goodbye than having Root Beet Float! Enjoy!

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