Three April Reads

What did you read in April? I will be honest, I have not read as much during this quarantine/stay-at-home period as I originally anticipated. Still working full-time is part of that, I suppose. However, I did get several books read in April, and here are three of the ones I enjoyed more.

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens was my book club's choice for April. Although that meeting has been pushed back to June now, I'm really glad I had the chance to read this novel. The author did a great job of sliding between the two timelines. Sometimes it was frustrating to get pulled away from one timeline just as new information was revealed or deeper connections were beginning to build, but that's one way of knowing you're becoming invested in the story. I will say that I did not connect personally to the main character Kya, but for this book that worked. Normally if I can't relate to the main character in some way, I don't care as much what happens to them. Kya's …

Three Language Learning Resources

Being a Spanish teacher, I am always looking for online resources to support my students especially these past two months when all instruction has been done virtually.

Here are three sites that have been helpful for language practice. They are all free (or have large portions that are free) and the first two address multiple languages. Plus, they aren't just written vocabulary or grammar practice; there are also opportunities for reading and listening practice too.

I've used these sources for both myself and my students. Hope you enjoy!
Duolingo: available through a web browser or as an app, this free website has dozens of languages to practice from the most popular Spanish to less-studied Dutch, Hebrew, and Swahili and even the fictional Klingon. Each lesson is short, most little segments taking me less than five minutes. Lessons focus on specific topics although will pull from previous vocabulary (also sometimes unexpected like when the word "duck" popped up in the c…

The Lost Season

It wasn’t supposed to be like this. When the virus first appeared on the West Coast, the cases seemed far away. Northeast Ohio was insulated, safe from any major problems. Even the first patients diagnosed in the state didn’t raise huge alarm. Then like dominoes everything fell. In less than a week schools went from normal functioning to shut down, access shut off not just to the buildings but also all activities. My heart aches for all the students who are losing a season no matter the sport. My senior year I watched the first two track meets from the sidelines after injuring myself at the first practice—completely self-inflicted from pushing far too hard after a winter of inactivity. I worked hard that spring to rebuild and get back to where I had been at the end of my junior year. The week of districts I was on track to finish my season with my best time ever. Tuesday night prelims ended up being cancelled; we didn’t have the numbers to necessitate the qualifying race and everyone …

Museum Monday: Virtual Tours

I am a teacher in Ohio who is now one of many teachers facing several weeks of teaching online instead of being in my classroom. I'll be honest, Friday was the most surreal day of my 16-year career. I feel off-kilter but have started working on developing ways to help my students continue developing their Spanish skills.

One resource that I've seen appearing on social media several times is this entry from Travel and Leisure about museums with virtual tours. My Cultures class has visited the main art museum in Havana, Cuba, but I am looking forward to giving my students the opportunity to explore other famous sites.

I have visited some of the twelve featured museums from this list in real-life too :)

British Museum (London)National Gallery of Art (Washington DC)Musee d'Orsay (Paris)I walked past the Uffizi Gallery but that is a museum visit for a return trip to Florence
So which one of the museums from the article do you plan on virtually visiting in the next few weeks?

February Reads

Four more books made it to my finished list this month. Unfortunately my read for my book club did not make this list. I have stalled out about halfway through it at the moment but am determined to finish it some time in March...

My first completed read for February then was Tricky Twenty-Two by Janet Evanovich. I'm really enjoying this part of the series and Stephanie's adventures. I'm not a huge fan of love triangles, so I like that things with Morelli seem to be settling.

Hidden Love by Cara Putnam. With geocaching as the background, this novella mixed elements of romance and suspense. While it did feel too short and not as fully-fleshed out as I would have liked, it is the best geocaching story I've read so far.

Sweetly Seeking by Sarah Dickey is a physically gorgeous book. The pages were gorgeous with their mixing of photographs and design elements. The message was inspirational but at times began to feel repetitive.

And Then You Die of Dysentery by Lauren Reeves wa…

Children's Books: February Second Half

The second part of February had several good children's books reads as I continue on my quest for 2020.

Baby Bedtime by Mem Fox & Emma Quay made my five-star list and received its own blog entry. Just a heartfelt story.

Zoo Day: A My First Experience Book by Anne Rockwell was an easy read about a young boy and his sister's first trip to the zoo. While the words and illustrations were decent, I am more excited about the options for enrichment activities related to this book. Only a few pages in is a map of the zoo. Ask the young reader where he or she wants to go first. After reading, have them draw their own maps (buy animal stickers ahead of time for a different creative approach). The boy says that he is a little afraid of the lion's roar. Find out which animal makes your reader nervous. Wrap up the reading by asking what souvenir he or she would like to take home to remember a day at the zoo (I love how the book adds in the reminder that the animals have to stay at th…

Five Star Friday: Baby Bedtime

A very touching children's book. This tale about a mother elephant and her baby is told in a delightful rhyme pattern that is perfect for a read-aloud. Each action is one that a young child can relate to, loving gestures of a parent. The illustrations created with pencil, acrylic, and Photoshop pull their design from knitting and other objects such as doilies and baskets. The visuals are lovely.