Summer Adventure Packets

Tonight, I finally finished the summer adventure packets for my kids! It was definitely a labor of love, but I feel like they are finally perfect. Jen Barney shared the packet she uses in her class, and I used Stacey‘s as a mentor/template and then added in my own activities. I can’t wait to see if any of my students take advantage of this….

You see, my students move on to the middle school next year, so they will be responsible for emailing or snail mailing their completed packets to me. That’s a hefty amount of responsibility in the summer! But I have some truly awesome 7th grade survival packs planned, so hopefully someone completes it!

I will also be handing out my list of amazing books, places to get books, and blogs to check out. This is the first year I will be doing this, too. This way,my kids will have a list of books I love and think they will love, even if I can’t booktalk them!

Summer Literacy Packet (6th grade)

Must-reads 2008

Memoir Monday- Stuff Yer Face

“I’ll have a baby boli combo, Corbett boli, with a salad and Italian on the side”.

This order is usually followed by a groan from whoever I happen to be eating with at the time.  Yes, I place the same order every time I go to Stuff Yer Face in New Brunswick, NJ.  The corbett boli, similar to a stromboli, is full of broccoli and mozzarella cheese, with a touch of honey mustard sauce.  The baby boli combo is a small boli with a side salad.  In other words, complete nirvana.  Delicious, warm, melt-in-your mouth heaven in a basket.  And it’s always served with a side of nostalgia.

Biting into my corbett boli immediately takes me back to college.  I began eating at Stuff Yer Face during my freshman year, when going out to eat meant it had to be a special occasion.  College students never have a lot of spare change, so going out to eat it a rare event.  Stuff Yer Face isn’t a fancy, hoity-toity restaurant.  It’s a college bar, a family restaurant, and the first place celebrity chef Mario Batali worked!  My girlfriends and I, known amongst ourselves as the Douglass girls, ate at the eatery sporadically during school, as we rarely had money.  When we did have money, we usually ended up splitting a plate of potachos (“like nachos, made out of potatoes!” as my friends say).  We would count out our singles, probably driving the servers nuts.  But it was always a great night out.

As we began to lead separate lives due to graduations, new jobs, and new families, we started meeting up at Stuff Yer Face a few times each year.  It’s centrally located in NJ, a 45 minute drive for most of us.  More importantly, it has a million memories inside the wood-paneled walls.  It’s where I celebrated my 21st birthday, where Erin and I “rushed” a sorority, where we talked through relationships and eventual weddings.  It’s where bachelorette parties started and ended.  Where the Rutgers bowl games were watched.  Where homecomings were celebrated. It’s where we are always comfortable- the food and conversation flowing like wine.  It’s home.

It’s funny how a restaurant can be so much to one group of people, and so little to another.  Stuff Yer Face will always be my special eatery.  Not because of its food or stellar service, but because of the memories that lie within the crowded rooms and the scratched and dented tables.


*Ironically, Stuff Yer Face is located 3 doors down from Stacey’s memorable eatery,Thomas Sweets! Thomas Sweets is another special place for me, and I am now craving a Thomas Sweet’s milkshake.  :)

Eco-art

Today, after a morning of standardized testing, I took my students outside to create eco-art.  In the tradition of Andy Goldsworthy we created art from the natural materials readily available around our schoolyard.  My kids were so amazing in this project!

After spending a good amount of time wandering the schoolyard, the students broke into small groups.  For the first time all year, there was no whining or fighting over working together.  Students seemed to naturally gravitate towards working alone or with a small group of friends.  They gathered materials together, brainstormed ideas, and even claimed their area without an ounce of anger or annoyance.  They quickly got to work and produced some amazing art.

Tomorrow, I will print out their artwork and we will use the pieces to inspire poetry and prose.  The words they write will then be combined with the photos before becoming a book on Shutterfly.  Through the Voices…From the Land project, we will share our book with another school and will receive one from another school.  We are very excited!

Slice of Life Challenge #21

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Sliding

in and out of lanes

like a first time ice-skater.

Horns honk t

he driver ignores them,

continuing his cell phone conversation,

oblivious to the slamming brakes

and angry shouts.

I count down the blocks as we pass them by-

58th, 57th, 56th….

how many more til Penn Station?  Will we make it?

Gripping the door handle,

I hold on for dear life,

hoping no one cuts us off

and that we stop cutting off everyone else.

The light up ahead turns amber, then red.

The oblivious driver continues forward,

not seeing the light.

Stop, stop, stop, I pray.

At the very last moment

he slams on the brakes.

We are safe at the red light.

I look up-

10 more blocks to go.

Slice of Life #20

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I love reading. If you told me I could do absolutely anything I want for an entire day, I would choose reading. I love sitting on my couch, with its chaise lounge, stretching out with a good book.

I have spent the majority of today reading the conclusion to my favorite trilogy, The Sweet Far Thing (The Gemma Doyle Trilogy), by Libba Bray. Hours have flown by as I have delved deeper into this almost-800 page tome. I have had it on my nightstand for over a month, but I held off on reading it until spring break, when I knew I would be able to give it the attention it deserved. How right I was! I have been pulled into Gemma’s world and am almost done with the book.

Granted, I haven’t left my house yet today. But who needs to leave when you have a good book?

Slice of Life Challenge #19

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“Excuse me, do you know where I could find a mystery book?”

The little old woman jerked me out my book-seeking haze. As I struggled to balance the mammoth pile of books in my arms, I glanced around the bookstore.

“Umm, I think there is a mystery section. I don’t work here, but I think it’s somewhere over the-“

The little old woman interrupted, “Oh my goodness! I am so sorry! I thought you worked here! It’s just you had that big pile of books and I thought you were putting them away……I am so sorry. I will go find an employee and ask them. Excuse me.” She looked embarrassed and quickly made her way towards the information desk at the back of the store.

Looking down at my arms, where I was trying to juggle approximately 15 new books that I needed, I laughed to myself. I definitely looked like an employee. Because seriously, who in their right mind carries that many books around a bookstore unless they are cleaning up and putting them away?

- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -

A list of the books I needed (aka purchased) today:

1) How to Read Literature Like a Professor
2) 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus
3) Size 14 Is Not Fat Either (Heather Wells Mysteries)
4)Birds & Blooms
5) Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder
6) A Northern Light

Slice of Life Challenge #18

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Back in January, we purchased tickets to see Michael Buble at the Borgata in Atlantic City.  Growing up, I used to listen to Sinatra, Dean Martin, and the rest of the Rat Pack.  Over the last few years I have become a huge fan of Michael Buble. He has a gorgeous voice and balances his own ballads with the beautiful music of the past.  He also has a wicked sense of humor and keeps me in stitches whenever I see an interview he gives.  Thus, when I saw he would be in AC, I purchased us tickets without a second thought.  Buble is music my boyfriend and I can actually agree on- as a music-minded person, he appreciates the full band and classic songs.  We both love his jokes and sense of humor.

After watching most of the NCAA games last night, we packed into the car and drove the 1.5 hours to Atlantic City.  Once we got there, we were happy to see that the parking deck had a lot of empty spaces and we would have no trouble parking.  We parked on the 4th level  and attempted to get into the Borgata.  We ended up taking the stairs to what we thought would be the entrance.  Instead we ended up in a dead end.  We backtracked and eventually found the elevators to the casino floor.

Once inside we made our way to the Event Center.  We arrived about 20 minutes before Michael came out.  We caught the end of the opening act, Naturally 7, an acoustic group that used their voices as instruments.  Very cool!  Then, right before 9pm the lights suddenly went out. It was pitch black…until these amazing lights came on, forming an MB. The crowd, full of men and women ages 5-95, went insane with excitement!   Suddenly, the opening to “I’m Your Man” began to play.  The music played a long intro, drawing the crowd to their feet in search of Michael.  And then, there he was!  Clad in a classic suit and tie, his voice filled the theater.

Michael sang and entertained for about an hour and half.  His interactions with the audience kept everyone laughing and his voice kept everyone swooning!  It was an amazing night!

On top of everything else, Michael’s girlfriend was in the audience, only about 15 feet from our seats.  For those who don’t know, his girlfriend is Emily Blunt- the actress who was in The Devil Wears Prada.  She walked out of the concert with us and was absolutely stunning.  She was also incredibly sweet and down-to-earth.  I was star-struck!  She wasn’t as tall as I expected.  Nor was she wearing any make-up.  Yet she looked incredible.  It was amazing!

The entire night was a dream….I can’t wait to go to my next concert!

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