Posts tagged ‘journaling’

MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE

Blank Space: A story about reading for 7-10 year old reluctant readers

Written and Illustrated by Beth Bacon

What a refreshing way to address the feelings of reluctant readers! For children with reading disabilities this book demonstrates the empathy their teachers and fellow students should display.

The protagonist is a student who has been asked to write in a journal about his favorite part of a book. All the other students have their notebooks filled with words and ideas. This student has a journal with blank pages because his favorite part of a book is the blank space. Why? He uses the spaces to imagine, design, and recreate the meaning of the words in his mind. When he gets a chance to explain this to the class, they finally realize the import of his message.

The concrete poetry and unique design of the pages within this book are a visual treat. Its message is one that needs to be heard. While very young students may not fully comprehend the message, I feel this book is an effective tool for middle-grade students, teachers, and parents of reluctant readers.

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SOMEDAY…

A Farm Called Someday: A Novel of 1950s Montana

Written by Penelope Merrell

This middle-grade novel provides a fascinating glimpse into one family’s growth and evolution. The narrator is one of four sisters who describes her coming of age within a family that matures along with her.

Valene loves to write. The reader is treated to her reminiscences through her journal. It describes the struggles of a family who are fiercely devoted to each other yet defined by distinct differences. Valene loves horses and dreams of owning one Her family needs to make many sacrifices before they can buy their own farm. The word someday always seems far off. That is why Valene thinks it is the perfect name for their farm.

Readers learn what life is like growing up on a farm. How does one feed and care for animals, and live without conveniences like central heat and running water? Merrell’s drawings help readers visualize what a 50s washing machine and iron look like. She describes the stringing of lines for telephones, and the Sears Wish Book Catalog.

Many of the trials and tribulations of growing up have not changed. Teasing, bullying, and jockeying for power among siblings are still present. Merrell brings her characters to life. Today’s youth learn a lot about the past and how to appreciate modern conveniences, while getting a good flavor of living on a 1950s Montana farm.

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COVID19 WE CAN #WORKTOGETHER WHILE STAYING APART

FEELING OVERWHELMED AND ISOLATED?

DON’T KNOW HOW TO ORGANIZE FAMILY SCHEDULES WHILE WE ARE ALL WORKING FROM HOME?

Here are a few ideas to keep things running smoothly and making everyone in the family more productive.

Create a To-Do List the Night Before

Instead of waking up in the morning to make your to-do list, make your list the night before. This way you can go to bed relaxed and confident for the next day. You also wake up in the morning knowing exactly what you have planned for the day. You might also consider planning on Sunday night for the upcoming week. Then when you wake on Monday you have a plan in place.

Prioritize

Take a look at the tasks on your list. What tasks offer the largest return? What tasks offer the most value and achievement? For example, answering email or paying bills isn’t a task that offers a large return. However, making a sale or meeting with a client is a very productive task. Put your most profitable or results-oriented tasks first on your list.

Get a Good Night’s Sleep

The quality of your sleep is important to sustain your energy levels throughout your day. Good sleep means you’ll be fresh and energetic all day long. Creating a to-do list is a good way to help you get a good night’s sleep because you can put the day’s stresses to rest.

Also consider adding soothing nighttime rituals to your routine. For example, meditate, stretch or read before you go to bed. Keep a gratitude journal and write before you sleep. Go to bed and wake at the same time to help your body know what to expect.

Eat Healthy

The food you eat has a direct correlation to how energetic and productive you are. Junk food will make you sluggish. Healthy food will help you stay energized all day long. Feed your body well and it will respond by keeping you alert and energetic.

Get Organized      

If you spend half your time searching for files, names and numbers, you are wasting time. Make sure any items that you use on a regular basis are easy to grab from your desk chair or find in your computer. They should be easy to find and use.

Take Breaks

Productivity doesn’t mean working from sun-up to sundown. In fact, if you work without stopping, you’re likely to burn out. Instead, commit to taking a break every hour. Walk around or get some air to get the blood moving throughout your body.

Focus

Do you multi-task hoping it’ll make you more productive? Do you manage one task while your mind is already onto the next task? Both habits are unproductive. When you focus on what you’re doing, not only is the task more enjoyable, it also gets done faster and better.

Productivity is possible. With a little planning, attention, and self-care you can get more done in half the time. These tools are simple but effective. Try just one of these steps and watch your own personal productivity improve.

WHAT TO DO?

Hermione Granger’s Unofficial Life Lessons and Words of Wisdom: What would Hermione (from the Harry Potter series) Say?

Written by Euphemia Pinkerton Noble

This is an interesting read for fans of the Harry Potter series of all ages. The author presents questions written in a journal format. Noble chooses situations that pop up in our everyday lives and then poses the question of how Hermione would answer.

Hermione Granger is the smartest witch at Hogwarts. She is a hard worker, who places a high value on loyalty, friendship and love. Hermione often chooses the more difficult path because she knows it is the right, if not easy, thing to do. At first, the boys ignore or resist her, but eventually come to know she is the one who holds things together.

Noble urges her readers to first read through the book quickly and make a few notes about the questions they find most relevant to themselves. I particularly enjoyed the section on facing challenges and chasing dreams in which so many middle-grade and teen readers will find much to think about. The last section on believing in yourself probably sums up Hermione’s philosophy on life best.

This book could become an asset for preteens and teens who are struggling to develop their own views. Parents, grandparents, and teachers might find this book a good way to open family discussions.

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