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Practically Paradise
Inside Practically Paradise

Personal Learning Networks

Jim Lerman wrote a lengthy blogpost on Personal Learning Networks. I desire stronger organization of my own Personal Learning Networks so I have joined his PLN ning and intend to spend some time gathering my thoughts, activities, and searches for meaning on my PLN. Interested? Please join us. View my page on Personal Learning Networks :: […]

Scary Places Insane Asylums

Abandoned Insane Asylums by Dinah Williams. Bearport Publishing, 2008. Part of the Scary Stories series, this is the one title that I recommend waiting until sixth grade and up to share with students. I believe this book should be part of high school sociology classes and English classes where they discuss various viewpoints. I do […]

Scary Places

Scare these kids and they love it. They rush in with the scary books and relish telling me they had nightmares. My students can’t get enough of scary stuff so I welcomed Bearport Publishing company’s new Scary Places series.  Sarah Parvis has written Haunted Hotels, Ghost Towns, and Creepy Castles, while Dinah Williams wrote Haunted […]

Stars, Heroes, and Audie Murphy

Audie Murphy: War Hero and Movie Star by Judy Alter. Illustrated by Patrick Messersmith.  Audie Murphy was the most decorated solider in WWII and in American history. He received every decoration for valor that this country had to offer (some more than once) including the Congressional Medal of Honor given for "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity […]

Stars Interview with Judy Alter

Judy Alter is the author of five books currently in the Stars of Texas series illustrated by Patrick Messersmith and published by State House Press. She writes fiction and nonfiction for readers of all ages. In 2005, she received the Owen Wister Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Western Writers of America. She is the […]

Yours for Justice, Ida B. Wells

Yours for Justice, Ida B. Wells: The Daring Life of a Crusading Journalist by Philip Dray and illustrated by Stephen Alcorn. Peachtree, 2008. "The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them." – Ida B. Wells Ida B. Wells is a complex character who is often overlooked when teaching American history. Philip […]

Nonfiction Peas, Nests, & Hives

Monday has arrived. Time for a few nonfiction titles that you might overlook from Weekly Reader Publishing. When someone says Weekly Reader, what’s the first image to pop into your mind? Did you say those little classroom newsletters delivered each week? Sure, that’s what I recall from being a student and from teaching. I counted […]

Nick of Time

Wow! Some books sweep you away. Ted Bell’s Nick of Time amazed me, dazzled me, and swept my imagination off to sea. The interweaving of pirate adventures at sea with the threat of German U-boats pre-WWII was accomplished so skillfully that I yearned to join them traveling through time. Ted Bell’s descriptions were so vivid, […]

Podcasting FOR YOU

Stop feeling guilty. I know you have been WANTING to podcast, but you hesitate. What would you say? How can you convince a teacher to let you try this with his/her students? How can this impact your students’ achievement? How do you get started? Couldn’t somebody just come up with a simple book of ideas […]


Primavera by Mary Jane Beaufrand will be released this March by Little, Brown and Co. I can’t wait to hold the hardcover edition in my hands. Set in the Italian Renaissance, this novel incorporates much of history and the intrigue surrounding the Medici’s and the Pazzi’s. Art lovers will find Botticelli and many references to […]