Which Punctuation Marks You?!

October 24, 2010 by  
Filed under Mini-Lessons, Writing Practice

You know the line from Coldplay’s “Every Teardrop is a Waterfall?” – “I’d rather be a comma than a full stop.” Which punctuation mark below would you rather be?! . . . .

.                    !                    ?                    ,                    ;

:                    –                   (   )                *                    #

@                 /                    ?!                 &                   =

”                  {   }                ^                  < >                ‘

~               . . .

  • Why did you choose the one you did?  How does this represent and symbolize you?

This was one of the opening activities at an AP conference I attended.  I circled the exclamation point without hesitation because I tend to overuse this mark – both in written and oral expression! In my work emails, for instance, I find myself hitting the back button to delete some to not sound overzealous.  In person, I’m known to exclaim my excitement wholeheartedly and randomly.  I walk into class telling my students how wonderful they are; I clap at the gym; I jump around at home.  True story.  As another example, my colleague claimed the % because she feels her life is divided into percentages:  as teacher, mother, wife, club sponser, etc.  Another example, a friend claimed he’s a semi-colon because he’s misunderstood as the semi-colon seems to be.  🙂  Which one are you?

Finally . . . Seasons 52!

October 17, 2010 by  
Filed under Restaurants, Reviews

Yes, finally . . . there is a new restaurant in the Midwest that boasts healthful eating on its entire menu!  Seasons 52 maintains that every item they serve is 475 calories or less.  Consequently, you will not eye many people leaving the eatery with environmentally-unfriendly doggy bags nor will you exclaim how large that mound of food is on your plate.  But make no mistake, you will walk away satisfied; the difference is that you will be eating only the freshest, in-season foods cooked naturally via wood-fire grilling and brick oven cooking.

Seasons 52 offers weekly selections (a new selection of appetizer, soup, salad, flatbread, sushi, fresh market fish, entree, and dessert) – hence “Seasons 52” – to ensure freshness along with a guaranteed different experience for the regular patrons.  Additionally, they change their entire menu four times a year, during the winter, spring, summer and fall.

I’ve personally eaten at the restaurant on five occasions (and counting!!) since the middle of the summer and have been completely satisfied with each.  The Spicy Chipotle Shrimp Flatbread is great to share with the table or eat as an entree (I’ve done both!).  The Carmelized Sea Scallops melt in my mouth.  The Maui Tuna Crunch Salad is fresh and delicious.  I’ve tried the bison burger – sinfully good!! They even offer gluten free, vegan, or low sodium menu varieties.  Finally!!!!!  Whether its lunch or dinner, that place is always filled with happy people.

I looked around during my latest visit this weekend and noticed there is a nice mixture of both the younger and older crowd.  A piano player in the middle of the bar – yes, smack dab in the middle, right there with the bartender – plays pleasing background music.  It makes for quite the inviting ambience.

Wait, there’s more . . . we can’t forget my favorite part – dessert!!  The mini-indulgences are too cute too resist!  It’s indulgence in smaller proportion. Their desserts are designed to feature high-impact flavors and top quality ingredients, such as Belgian Callibut chocolate.  In other words, you get all of the pleasure and none of the guilt.  Chocolate Peanut Butter Mouse, Blueberry Cheesecake, Key Lime Pie, Rocky Road are examples.  I want to buy these little glasses and make my own versions of these at home.  How fun!!

Anyone can afford to indulge in one of these!

Luckily, new Seasons 52 restaurants are popping up all over the nation – Texas, Arizona, Indiana, Virginia are just a sampling of the numerous locations.  I am certain these places will be welcomed with open arms (and mouths!).  Grading Girl gives Seasons 52 an A+ for healthful eating, sumptuous signature foods, and all-around pleasant customer service. They know my name already!!  🙂  Stop in; you will not leave unsatisfied!  This is my new favorite restaurant, can you tell?!

Technology Tools to Try

October 9, 2010 by  
Filed under Favorites

This week, I attended a workshop on practical ways to incorporate my school’s new net books into our Title 1 classes.  Besides training on the net books, my colleagues conducting this shared some great online tools they use in the classroom.  Here are the new tools I’d like to try in all of my classes – Title 1, accelerated, and college-bound.  

To my followers who are not educators, these sites offer great resources for you as well.  Create a Photostory with your family photos, utilize BrainFlips to help your child memorize terms, turn to Diigo if you’re taking college courses and want to bookmark and organize your online research, peruse TedTalks when you’re looking for videos from credible speakers, etc.

Diigo – a great way for students (and teachers) to organize, store and share research.  This can be a convenient method to move toward paperless research that can be available on-the-go.   I would like to try this with my senior expository writing class.

Photostory – I’ve heard so much about how much the most reluctant reader enjoys this.  I watched some powerful examples from students who normally never turn in homework (I was told).  I’m definitely using this VERY SOON with my reading students!   It’s a user-friendly way for students to create slide shows that go beyond the average PowerPoint with voice narration, fun effects, etc.

Brain Flips – I may try these with both my reading students and my accelerated freshmen.  Another method for internalizing vocabulary is always welcome.

Voice Thread – This could be an interesting motivator as a personable way to comment on blogs, videos, artwork, etc.  Besides the usual typed comments, one can leave voice messages. Perhaps I’ll use this with online book talks.

Ted Talks – Use these video resources here to supplement discussions and units of study.  More organized and less commercial than YouTube, these credible, educational speakers and presentations are categorized by theme.

TeacherTube – I’ve already been using this, but I felt the need to add it here.  You will find videos specifically recorded for classroom use.    (Search for “Too Late to Apologize: A Declaration” for a ‘rocking’ take on the Declaration of Independence.  I never thought I’d see Ben Franklin play the electric guitar! 🙂 )

Edmodo – this social network for teachers & students looks like Facebook once you log in.  I’m not sure what I’ll use this for.  I’m having my students each create their own blogs (via WordPress) and the discussion threads on those blogs should be sufficient for sharing comments.  We’ll see . . . there’s so much great stuff out there!!