A Doll Comes To Visit

You are a fifth-grade girl who comes home from school to find a doll on your front porch. The doll looks like you, is dressed like you, and there is something about the eyes. Who left it? Why is it here? And what makes this doll so special?

With a Little Help From My Friend

Jim Jenkins is an ace detective who solves the most difficult crimes. Yet he always works alone. Or does he?

The Boy Who Could Wiggle His Ears

Learning how to wiggle your ears is really hard. But you can do it if you keep trying. And if you learn to keep trying, no problem is too big. So if you can wiggle your ears, you can do anything!

Happy Pi Day!

March 14 is always a special day for math geeks. The numeric date — the third month, 14th day, matches pi to two decimal places: 3.14.  (The Greek letter pi being the symbol for the ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a circle). This year’s pi day is very special. If you add

Happy Friday the 13th

This is an unfortunate year for people who suffer from triskaidekaphobia (fear of the number 13).  We have two Friday the 13ths this year. Recently I found an interesting book, An Uncommon History of Common Things. It claims up to \$900 million is lost every Friday the 13th because of people who refuse to fly

Why Many Disney Characters Don’t Have Moms

Two essential ingredients of any good movie are a tightly written, compelling story and believable, empathetic characters. Many of the Disney animated classics are perfect examples. But one glaring omission in many of these is the lack of one or both parents, usually the mother. How could this be? Creative arts don’t normally beget statistical

Another Reminder of How Women’s Roles Have Changed

I have been reading The Bully Pulpit by Doris Kearns Goodwin about Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft.  I’ve still got a ways to go (and will have more comments later), but during my last reading session I ran across another example of how women’s roles have changed (as if we needed any more examples).

One Day in Dance Class

Being a substitute teacher has given me the chance to see how others teach.  One of my favorite memories was escorting a special-needs student to his dance class.  He was taking dance as an enrichment and they were working him into one of their routines.  Of course, he really stood out in a room full

“Every Child Deserves a Quality Education”

I’ve been doing a lot of substitute teaching lately, which has led to some reflection.  Everyone is in favor of a quality education for all our children, but what exactly does that mean? It means a deaf child gets a sign-language interpreter, a child with a seizure disorder has an aide, and a child  confined

How to Get a Reader’s Attention

What’s the most eye-catching opening line of anything you have ever read?  I like to pick a work at random and just read the first line to see how interesting it sounds.  “Once upon a time…” just doesn’t cut it anymore. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was