Showing posts from January, 2015


I’ve finished the second book in the spirit series Reckoning by K.M. Riley, and just like the first one…I’m hooked on Adele, Harper, and Llaine.

Just like I mentioned in my blog on the first in the series, Awakening,this new author has the right formula for making a fantasy story come to life. You meet the main characters in the first book and learn how Adele comes to acquire her Powers of the Trinity.
Adele is a reluctant heroine, but after a bloody battle with the evil wizard, Locian, Adele realizes that she must use her new found powers for the good of everyone, not just those who live in her kingdom. Adele, Harper, and Llaine travel to Seqhad, Llaine’s kingdom, to place Llaine back on the throne as the rightful heir. But, of course, others in the kingdom have no desire to see this happen. Llaine is accused of murder, and it’s up to Adele and Harper to help set him free.
Once again, the trio must battle the forces of evil, only this time one of them will not survive.

The imagery and lan…


Today, I finished the fantasy novel LIBELLUS DE NUMEROS by Jim West, and I'm thrilled to share my review with my readers and students.

Alex, a reluctant heroine, finds herself in a strange land after being pushed in the janitor's closet by the school bully and his gang. She stumbles upon Archimedes, a mathematician, while wandering lost in this strange land. Archimedes helps Alex get to The City where most of the inhabitants are also lost.

Archimedes is convinced that Alex is gifted at mathematics, and takes her under his wing as his apprentice. Alex learns that mathematics is at the root of all we do in our daily lives.

Two evil wizards plot to destroy The City, and Alex and Archimedes must work together using mathematics and magic to protect those who live within its walls.

I love this story because the protagonist is a spunky girl who uses math everyday. This new author places little clues within the story to let you know that Alex is in a parallel world. The story weaves histo…


Today, I finished a fast-paced fantasy novel called The Spirit: Awakening by K.M. Riley. 

I'm always on the lookout for books that my students will read; they tend to stick with the same ones all of the know, the movie of the month kind. So, I was so excited to come across this fantastic fantasy story by K.M. Riley. It's one that will capture even my reluctant readers with the characters and their exploits.

Heroic Quest
In the tradition of the quest stories, Adele, the princess of Iden, must go in search of the the Trinity, age-old powers that will help her destroy Locian, the evil magician who has taken over her kingdom.
Adele is a reluctant heroine as she lacks confidence in her new-found powers, but in true heroic spirit (no pun intended), Adele goes off in search of the Trinity with the help of her Guardian, Harper, and her new friend, Llaine.

Action and Magic
With the help of new friends found in remote regions of the kingdom, Adele and her friends gain the knowl…

Book Review: Ireland by Frank Delaney

This is my own photo taken by me. I wish I could remember exactly where this is, but all I can remember is that it's some fiord in West Ireland (perhaps near Connemara).

Just the other evening I finished the lengthy novel Ireland by Frank Delaney. Of course, I chose to read this novel because I adore and worship all things Irish, and the author's name seemed familiar. Perhaps, it's just one of those common Irish names that I've come across so many times.

Anyway, back to my book review: it is well worth the time spent on this magnificent tome (I've been looking for a reason to use that word.). It took me about five days to read, which is a long time for me as I usually finish books in just a couple of days.

The novel is breathtaking in prose and imagery. The author layers multiple stories within this novel. Ronan is just a boy when an itinerant storyteller shows up at his family's home to dazzle the village with tales of old. Ronan is entranced from the moment he …


My sixth graders were busy working on their January research topics. One of their choices is to research Snowflake Bentley.
Snowflake Bentley was the first person to photograph snowflakes. His technique was revolutionary for his time.
There is an attractive picture book that one of my students brought to me today. It is a great way to learn about this interesting man and his works.


When I was growing up in the fortress, there was no such thing as "snow days." We went to school in spite of the weather. As a public school teacher, I appreciate snow days. They are truly gifts from God.

I'm not sure where this modern idea of getting out of school for a snow day came from. I didn't know of them until I became a teacher.

Now, I hope and dream for them. My hopes for snow days are what keep me going through the long month of January.

We don't have a snow day tomorrow, but we are going in two hours late, which means that I get to stay in my Jimmy jams a bit longer. Yippee!

Even though I will get up at the same time tomorrow, I'm looking forward to a little more relaxed time.

There was a movie that came out several years ago called "Snow Day." Of course there was a fabulous snow, but the road crew makes an earnest attempt to clear the roads by the next day. The kids attempt to sabotage their efforts. It seems like we all thought it was …


Teachers work very hectic days, but we do get time off for good behavior. It's to compensate for good behavior. Golden rule days...great school days.

Today,the students began their countdown to testing. It's really not that far away. In fact, we administer the writing test in February.

But, back to my point. I'm glad to be back in the routine of changing classes and teaching each day. I'm a better person when I'm teaching.

Tomorrow, the students will watch a presentation on capitalization. Doesn't that sound thrilling?

I've never enjoyed teaching mechanics. They are the nuts and bolts of our language. There is really no creative way to teach mechanics.

Does anyone have anything good to offer on the teaching of the rules of capitalization?

Pork Chop Skillet Dinner

This was last year's post on this date. I do like to cook for my family, and I have plenty of recipes to share. I have ideas to share more recipes on this blog, but there are only so many hours in a day.

Ingredients: 4 pork chops 1/4 cup beef broth 4 potatoes cut into fourths 4 carrots cut into 1-inch pieces 4 medium onions cut into fourths salt and pepper to taste

Cook the pork in a skillet for about 5 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients; heat to boiling; lower heat and simmer for about 30 minutes. 

This is easily done ahead of time. Serve with cornbread and baked apples.
I am revisiting this post from a year ago. I like to think that I have more to say on a subject. I do not believe that I have anymore to say about this one. 
I go back to school tomorrow after being off for the winter holiday. It is an inservice day. I hope that the day is productive. I need to check my emails to see what the agenda for the day is. I really do hope that there is time for meaningful…

The Call to Write

The call to write may come from a teacher who assigns a paper, someone who wants to friend you on Facebook, or a supervisor at work. Maybe you keep a journal or write short stories. Maybe, like me, you write a blog. Perhaps you have to urge to write a letter to the editor or respond to one. People write because they feel a need to express themselves in writing. This feeling is your "call to write." It is the urge to put your thoughts, feelings, and emotions on paper (or in some digital media).

Analyze your reasons for writing, and you can deepen your understanding of your writing and other's writing. When you analyze writing and your reasons for doing so, you expand your writing toolbox. You might also develop a flexible range of genres in which to write on a daily basis.

Try it:

Choose a piece of writing that you've written in the past (try to think of something other than a school assignment). Now, write what called you to write that piece in the first place. How did …

Writers Are the Signal Callers

Long before football season opened, players and coaches labored over the hundreds of pages that make up the team's playbook. The big play didn't begin on the field. Someone planned it. Someone wrote it down. And then, at long last, the players put all that writing into action on the playing field.

It's this way with almost everything that happens in life, from the simplest things to the most complicated. Writers call many of the signals.

Movie actors and television stars act out what someone else has first written. Singers sing notes and lyrics that are scored out on paper. Scientists record the results of their experiments on paper. Politicians are elected because they make convincing speeches, speeches that are often written by someone else. And the laws they help pass after they're elected are all written down. Even most of the world's religions are based on the written word.

Is writing calling your signals? Probably. Have ever bought anything after seeing it adve…

Who’s Calling the Shots?

The quarterback looks up at the game clock. Nine seconds to go. An anxious buzz fills the stands as the fans desperately hope for a last-minute miracle. "22!" the quarterback calls out, quickly glancing around to make sure that the team is in place. "Red—44—Hup!" The defensive line digs in, pawing the ground like a herd of raging bulls. A running back moves quickly across the field behind the line. "Hup! Hup!" the quarterback yells. He takes the ball from the center. Helmets and pads crash as both teams struggle for precious ground.
The quarterback set the play in motion. But he was just the instrument. Where did it all really begin? Who was really calling the shots?

Melissa Reese Etheridge

Write On in the New Year!

Ring in the new year by making a commitment to writing. Here's a silly and fun prompt to get you started.

Melissa Reese Etheridge