Monday, June 29, 2015

Teaching Moments

Here’s a great movie from Hallmark: A Smile as Big as the Moon (2012) with John Corbett as a Special Education Teacher who takes his class to the NASA Space Camp in 1988.

The students have a host of disabilities ranging from Autism to Bipolar Disorder, but they push themselves to succeed.

It really is an exemplar movie about perseverance and what a little believing in yourself can do for both students and teachers.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Short Stories & Such 19: Secret Passageway

Secret Passageway

Moving isn’t my favorite thing in the world to do, especially when I’ve done it since I was a kid. The one thing I hate most of all is moving is that there’s always something that needs fixing or other. Okay, so I’m a glutton with my wife, but this time I didn’t need my arm twisted. We were going to be far FAR away from her mother.

Now, let’s see. I think Honey said to use one coat of paint for the beams and two coats for the wall. I forget. If only this crack would paint itself, I would be in the home stretch. Wait a minute. This painting is just seeping through this crack. What’s going on? There’s a light emanating from the crack.

“Unbelievable.”

I’ll need to explore further… Oh, oh, the crack widened with my touch. It seems to be a secret passageway… or just my doom. Just kidding. I have no idea where it could lead. I’ll just break through and sure enough, spider webs and the smell of ancient wood are doing a flip flop on my nose.

Just when I sneezed my last, the light grew brighter and my arms felt the sting of its rays. I reach for the wall closest to me on my left and fall into a manhole. Could this house have been built on a sinkhole? My heart raced as the twister I was in continued. I missed my wife and my car… Then, my insides did a somersault and my legs hit something hard like wood.

“What are you doing Noe?”

I sensed the end of a mop poking me, so I opened my eyes.

“Welcome back to earth, dear.”

 

If you’re interested in the comments or the first draft, check out the Writing Prompt at:

(see under April 10-11, 2012)

Monday, June 15, 2015

Pet News 16: Seven Key Dog Training Steps

I watched a video with trainer Cindi Tringali. She provides step-by-step guidance in dealing with your pet. It’s a simple video, but I liked that she covers the main training points to getting your dog to comply “100 percent of the time.”

The order she suggests in training your dog starts with

1) Look

2) Come

3) Sit

4) Stay

5) Down

6) Walk on a Loose Leash and

7) Stay before Going outside.

Throughout, she provides guidelines on the use of treats, verbal praise, and tactile praise.

The Look command asks the trainer to teach your dog to focus on you. The Come involves the dog trained on a leash first to come when called. The Sit is the easiest to teach while the Stay might take a while longer. Once those are completed, the Down (and Down-Stay) can be taught. Walking on a Loose Leash involves the ‘heel’ command.

You can view a trailer of the DVD here:


 

Some websites she recommends include:





Monday, June 8, 2015

Books I’m Reading 16

Teaching is an Art: An A-Z Handbook for Successful Teaching in Middle Schools and High Schools by Leon Spreyer. This book has lots of ideas such as how to talk to students and preparing lessons.
 

The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton 1965-2010, edited by Kevin young and Michael S. Glaser. This is a great collection of Clifton’s poetry. Her themes vary from historical accounts where she takes the perspective of people to the personal, including about life. Her poetry is formatted in different ways; interesting line breaks and enjambment. It is heartfelt poetry that reaches the soul.
 

The Ogre’s Wife by Ron Koertge is a collection of poetry. There are some poems that were written in the point of view of the ogre’s wife, recall ‘Jack in the Beanstalk’ and there is another one about what ever happened to Jack and the golden eggs. There’s also one on the reason the woman made the Gingerbread Man. A very interesting but unusual collection.
 

A Pain Doctor’s Guide to Relief: Confronting Chronic Pain by Steven H. Richeimer, M.D. with Kathy Steligo. This book is a great resource on pain. Richeimer includes a lot of research to support his examples. He also provides definitions of different forms of pain and suggestions of how to deal with them. The important thing is that pain is felt different from person to person and the way we think about our pain is crucial for our recovery (living with it).

Monday, June 1, 2015

Death as Metaphor 18: Oh, Inevitable Life and Death!

The development of our concepts of death becomes a life-long process of change during our lives. We not only use art to deal with death, but to understand it, thus, creating metaphors to aid in the understanding of the poem.

Human beings will continue to tackle with the meaning of both life and death. Of course, cultures differ in their interpretation of death, as is seen in various art, poetry, and writing.

Literally and non-literally, poems convey messages about loss, pain, uncertainty, real-life scenes, and death. The dialogue with the mystery of death is an on-going process in which we can remember those who died, go searching beyond mortality, and learn to structure our world around the inevitable.

The use of these concepts leads to a creative way to express the meaning of life and death as inevitable parts in a wheel without end.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day Holiday

Due to the Memorial Day Weekend, I will post until the following Monday.

Thank you to all the readers out there for joining me. Please feel free to browse through previous posts.

I send salutations to all the Veterans out there!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Short Stories & Such 18: Best Friends Need your Help

Back in 2012, I wrote a piece on Writer’s Digest with the title’s prompt. I revised some parts. Hope you enjoy!

 
Best Friends Need your Help

 
"Hey, we've done something terribly wrong and need your help. We can't talk about it over the phone. Please meet us at the spot where we made our pact back in high school. You know the place."

The call ended just as soon as it started. I didn’t quite understand what my two best friends were up to. It had always been that way since High School. I would be the one who cleaned up their mess, and sometimes, it wasn’t pretty. In a way, I was glad our friendship lasted the way it did. They were the popular ones everybody wanted to hang out with. Growing up allowed me ample opportunities to distance myself from them, especially after what they did at prom night.

Just hearing their shrill voices brought back memories of how they would talk behind the teacher’s back and when confronted, they turned to me so I could bail them out on some lame excuse like, “They were discussing the reasons Hitler considered getting rid of the Jews…” or “They were going over the formula for the assignment…” something like that.

All I knew now was that I had to go help them in any way I could. That’s the awful part. There was always a pull to get them out. Even though, I had nothing to do with that boy’s fall at prom night, I took the blame and they made sure to visit me in prison.  

I grabbed my coat and car keys. I had trouble turning the car ignition and fumbled through my purse for a tissue to clean the blob of bird poop that just happened to fly down on my window. Not to mention I almost drove over the rose garden in my haste.

That old building a few blocks from the school was still standing after all these years. That’s where we made our pact to stay true to each other, love the quarterback Andrew Lacey, and be best friends for ever, ‘til the end.

There it was and there they were, wrapped in their fluffy coats and skinny jeans, wearing knee high boots. Painful was the word for this picture until I got a look at their faces. Their heavy makeup covered the bruises and made them look like porcelain dolls.

“My goodness! What happened?”

“Never mind that. Do you still have it?”

“Have what?”

“You know: the necklace?”

“No. I pawned it last year.”

“You what!?!”

“I sold it. I never did like the thing...”

Their eyes filled with horror. “We can’t trust you.”

“What?”

“You were supposed to hold on to it forever.”

“It was just a trinket Andrew gave us. It had no sentimental value whatsoever.”

“That’s what you think.”

My two best friends from High School. My two best friends who would stick with me ‘til the end. My two best friends took hold of my arms and dragged me to the edge of the second story building. My two best friends…

 

If you’re interested in reading the first draft and the comments left, check out March 13, 2012 at
http://www.writersdigest.com/prompts/best-friends-need-your-help