Small moments with a great impact!

Snow here, snow there, snow everywhere! This snowy month I enjoyed snow more than ever before and what I asked for was fireflies in the snow! I know that’s a crazy idea and what would be crazier If I had seen some of them! I got curious to start searching while writing the post but I am so busy checking on what scientists declare on the matter or what people have experienced. What makes life different is the means we use to make it brighter, minute by minute. Challenges and deadlines don’t leave us a spare moment to ponder about what makes life so challenging itself.

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Today some of my students were experiencing for once more the shock of having a test. Especially one of them, Panos was even afraid to call his mom and tell her the torture(meaning the test) was officially over! Watching him how stressed he felt I reminded him how FEAR can only generate false ideas of what reality is; that any kind of test shouldn’t be for him the end of the world, as speaking for today’s lesson, the end of a beautiful but rainy day!I am not a scientist, but  I dare to say that overanalysis takes place in a kid’s mind more than ten times a day! I watch my students being so deep in thoughts for trivial or really important issues that I do wonder how difficult seems to them to be joyful and enjoy life. I have set a goal of reading to them excerpts from popular books or those they love. I think they must learn to separate anxiety, sudden fear from the pleasure to have fun.

 

Once starting my list on reading aloud books I spotted a funny and enticing book to have fun in class and offer the chance to my students to let their mind travel, by reading the first two words I got in action right away:

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Roller Coaster by Marla Frazee, 

Clickity, clackity.
Clickity, clackity.
The roller coaster car is going up, up, up to the highest spot. And at least one of the people in the car has never ridden on a roller coaster before . . . ever. Wheeeeeeee!
Get ready to experience the thrill of riding a coaster for the very first time in this vibrant new adventure.

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Samantha on a Roll, by Linda Ashman

 Samantha can’t wait to try out her new roller skates, but Mama’s too busy too help her. What’s a girl to do? Well, this girl isn’t waiting. While Mama tends to other things, Sammy straps on the skates. First, she glides down the hallway. Then she tries the sidewalk. Next, she ventures a bit farther down the street. She’s doing great! But when she finds herself cresting Hawthorn Hill, it’s too late to stop– Samantha is on a roll!

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My Brave Year of Firsts: Tries, Sighs, and High Fives by Jamie Lee Curtis.

This beautiful book celebrates the extraordinary, everyday bravery of trying new things for the very first time. Whether Frankie’s learning to ride a bike, love her first dog, make new friends (her very first twins), or help out her dad, she discovers that trying new things is how she grows—and that being brave enough to do so is what growing up is all about.

Little things can be enjoyable only if we try to think of them as the only way to avoid monotony or boredom, Have fun, be smiley till next Rock Post and remember that what it counts is:

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It’s the Light of Kindness Shining a Happy 2017!

I have always believed in the magic of Kindness and the random acts that follow. Last year 2016 was a Phenomenal year for me from many  aspects, and included loads of goodness. I have to say a huge Thank you to  Beth Anderson, the last person to talk to half an hour before the New Year came in Greece! There are so many people who left their trace on my heart and life this past year here in Greece and  USA writers  meeting them online or in person in the July WOW Retreat in Atlanta. These people are the SUNSHINE in my life and changed my way of thinking regarding writing and life in general. My students are included, they all are part of my writing journey because they worry about working so many hours, that makes caring a real challenge for me . I owe to my students. I admit I have a blast for some of them, they continue to inspire me and their positivity is the force that enhances my productivity.

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I am Thankful for having  participated in great writing courses and contests, I got valuable info and encouragement to promote my manuscripts to the next level, thru the help of generous, benevolent, writers. If I was asked what I have to recall for being the most important thing for 2016, well that would be the moment when writers bought and sent to me precious children’s books as a present. THANK you my beloved friend and extended family memebers Amalia Balch and you  Adam Balch, from Arizona, for choosing  beautiful books for me, I am lucky, grateful  for having certain people’s  friendship and understanding, since  we share the same  LOVE  for books. Special Gratitude to Patricia Miller, Sharon Lee Cassano-Lochman, and Dee Engle for being the book fairies for me! Whooaha! 

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Thank you my friends, you  are there for me, on Facebook or send emails when I stay sleepless and you offer valuable help and encouragement!

Going back in 2016:

  • November 1-30: I participated in the Online International Writing Program offered by the University of IOWA,    How Writers Write Fiction 2016: Storied Women. So many writers from all over the world,group discussions and a vast number of texts and stories to be studied. 
  • July 18-july 22: I attended Kristen Fulton’s WOW RETREAT,  especially for  non-fiction, in Helen, Georgia -Atlanta; meeting extraordinary people, writers, editors, agents; this WOW spread Love, Peace and  Joy!
  • July: I joined the Online, Kidlit Summer School 2016: Heart and Humor spread by  authors who are smart, inspirational, and generous. They graciously shared their time and their knowledge. 
  • July 4: I had my 500 words of a MG story critiqued, as  apart of a webinar participation,  by a well-known Editor, she encouraged me continue writing it and  provided great suggestions!
  • July 6: THE BEST THING TO HAPPEN !!! I was so lucky to win a partial edit for my first 30 pages of a modern Romance with the Incredible Deborah Halverson, check on her site: http://deareditor.com/ .My Romance takes place in Scotland, don’t ask me who is to blame, Jamie Fraser is the culprit!!!
  • June4-May 9: “The Craft and Business of writing  Children’s Picture Books” with Dr. Mira Reisberg , Editor Kelly Delaney, I got so much help by Mira the Guru of Children’s books. I am grateful to both Mira Reisberg and  my Greek friend and writer Jenny Koutsodimitropoulos for urging me to participate because:
    Writing is absolutely CRAFT which means that it comprises the following:
    Creativity
    Responsibility
    Amusement
    Felicity &
    Thrill
  • Mayday was a great day since I was the winner of Maritza Mejia’s Poetry collection,  “Poems, Thoughts and More” Award-winning VCBA Poetry 2015!
  • MAY 1-7: I participated for the first time in 7 PICTURE BOOKS IN SEVEN DAYS, hosted by children’s book author PAULA YOO. Don’t miss NaPiBoWriWee this year! I got thrilled!!!
  • April 2: I interviewed Maritza M. Mejia, on my blog on   Friday’s Rock Post!  Read about her writing path thru Poetry,wonderful people always find ways to touch our hearts!
  • April 1-30: Susanna Hill’s Making Picture Book Magic! Great encouragement by the formed critique group, beautiful people to meet, Melissa Stoller, Rowena Rae, Sandy Brown Lowe.
  • April 1-30: Angie Karcher’s RhyPiBoMo challenge(what an experience!) RhyPiBoMo challenge, my students of A,B Junior classes participated with drawings, we had a lot of readings of many books plus I worked on new rhyming stories.
  • March 1-31:The ReFoReMo Challenge, was developed to help picture book writers reform writing by reading and researching picture books. THANK YOU Carrie Charley Brown, you are fantastic! I got new friends and now I have so strong relationships with them! The Facebook group is so supportive!
  •  March  10: I contributed to the 50 Precious Words writing contest  as a part of celebrating Theodore Geisel’s birthday better known as Dr. Seuss. That was Vivian  Kirkfield’s  superb idea,  https://viviankirkfield.com/2016/03/04/ppbf-brave-girl-plus-50-precious-words-contest/. I feel so blessed for knowing Vivian, our paths crossed the right moment. 
  • March 10: BEING OVER THE MOON!!! I was chosen to be interviewed about my e-book “Amelie Gets Busy”, my beloved yiayia, and  the Greek Reality that every Greek citizen experiences the last years; by   Jonathan Kemmerer-Scovner and  PictureBooksReview, interview included the Conversations with Storytellers series! http://www.picturebooksreview.com/search/label/Agatha%20Rodi.
  • February 11: I contributed to Susanna Leonard Hill’s writing contest on  Valen-tiny writing Contest.
  • February 9: Being  interviewed by Author Maritza M  Mejia  as part of her January 2016 LuzDelMes Spotlight interview.  Gracias para todo, Maritza!
  • January 10: I reviewed Vanilla and Chocolate written by Maritza Martinez Mejia and illustrated by Estella Mejia, as part of the Multicultural Children’s Book Day (MCCBD)  which fell on January 27, 2016
  • January 4-31: Nonfiction Archaeology class January 2016, hosted by the unique Kristen Fulton, a four week class to dig deeper and discover nonfiction.THANK YOU FABULOUS KRISTEN, you simply Rock!
  • January 2:My e-book :” Amelie Gets Busy” was reviewed by Picture Book Review,http://www.picturebooksreview.com/2016/01/amelie-gets-busy-2015.html . “Amelie” was happy all year round!

Thank you for the Cheer and Care my friends, you made a big difference in my life! Being my first Rock Post for 2017, I wish to all of you Joy, Laughter and remember the Beauty of Life is to meet the challenges that puts us fate and be happy with the people who Love us!

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I was made for another planet altogether I mistook the way.” ― Simone de Beauvoir.

Earth seems a strange planet when changes take place faster than usual and time seems not to be enough to do the usual things especially the ones you like. Too many hours teaching my beloved students, those little 2nd grade students who have grown up, sat the exams for the certificates and diplomas every weekend since the last week of november. Thinking the year that goes by and what has happened to me I can only  think of my students and their influence on my life and way of thinking. Many times I have been thinking that I may belong to another planet and not Earth, and probably I mistook the way; but instantly I change my mind feeling that sense of belonging to this tiny part of the world, called Greece!

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But then thinking how many travels I have made and under which circumstances I realise, that the way I mistook is because I was made for that faraway Planet and I still have to find my way there. I f you got puzzled my friends well I know where I am but I wish I had the chance to visit that far away planet,the one my friends and students believe I come from. I don’t know who is going to discover that first, while waiting for that momentous thing to happen, I thought of suggesting space books  for  the lovers of Space and explorations. Althought the list is endless I hope you like my short list and you choose to buy one as a holiday present. Till the next post(being soon to catch up with the lost time) enjoy every minute and in case you mistook the way , don’t worry all roads lead home.

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It concerns an imaginary trip to the Moon taken by a young boy and his adult friend. I came across that title and got in love with it! A very old and rare book which you can enjoy, once visiting the link below you will find incredible info for nonfiction books on science from 1945-1975! http://dreamsofspace.blogspot.gr/2016_06_01_archive.html

 

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In 1783, Englishman John Jeffries and his pilot, Frenchman Jean-Pierre Blanchard, propose to do the impossible: sail a hot-air balloon from England to France. The problem? They can’t stand each other.

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Bears aren’t meant to fly: They “don’t have wings for a reason,” says Ursa’s father. “Ab.Surd.” say her friends. She invents a flying suit, a rocket, a batsuit—all fail. But cast in the school play as a shooting star, Ursa shines. A sweet tale of perseverance.

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A stargazing mouse is determined to prove the moon isn’t made of cheese, and with a little help from the Smithsonian Institution, he constructs a spacesuit and rocket sled. But the FBI has labeled him a Rodent Saboteur; will they stop his journey, or will the tiny astronaut be the first to walk on the moon

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Young Chris is an astronaut. A very busy astronaut. Saving the planet from aliens is much more important than taking baths or going to bed. Because at bedtime the worst sort of alien appears – darkness. But when Chris watches the first televised moon landing, he discovers that there is a dark out in Space that is much darker than he’s used to.

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‘If the Sun were the size of a grapefruit, Earth would be the size of a grain of salt. Even the largest planet, Jupiter, would be only as big as a large pea.’ Some things are so big or so old that it’s hard to wrap your mind around them. In If, we look at these hard-to-imagine objects and events and compare them to things we can instantly see, feel and touch. It is wonderful new way of seeing the world and is a fascinating way of understanding numbers and big ideas for children aged 8 and upwards.

 

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The planetarium is closed for repairs, so the Magic School Bus blasts off on a real tour of the solar system. After their previous field trips, the children in Ms. Frizzle’s class are rather blasé about landing on the Moon, Venus, and Mars. A first-class introduction to the planets, fine for pleasure or purpose reading.

 

 

 

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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