Tuesday, April 29, 2014

If You Give a Teen a Book


Reading is magic. Reading transports us from our humdrum, everyday life to places we’ve never been before: some places that we long to visit and other  places that exist only in the fairy castles of our imaginations. In the reading of nonfiction, knowledge miraculously jumps from the mind of the author into our waiting crania.

W. Somerset Maugham said, “To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life.” Sadly, some of the people most in need of this refuge never develop that habit.

Here at Commonplace Crazy I sometimes often generally grouse about my students and their lack of study habits and their atrocious behavior. I trust that my readers understand that this is not because I don’t care about my students. It’s precisely because I do care about the children entrusted to my care that I find the difficulties in teaching them to be so exasperating.

One of my greatest areas of dismay is getting them to develop a habit of reading. I know that if I could just find the right book, I could hook Antonio so that he wouldn’t fall asleep on the second page of every book. Antonio’s problem is not a lack of ability; it’s a lack of interest. No one has shown him the right book that will unlock its magic for him, turning him into a lifelong reader.

So why don’t I just show Antonio the right book, along with Destiny, Gurpreet, Levi, Chelsea, and Alyssa? Because it takes searching through piles of books to find just the right book for each child, and access to books is a problem.

I teach in a school with 1300 students. Our library was built when the student population was much smaller, and it struggles just to have enough books for each student check one out. Due to budget cuts, many of our books are old and not relevant to today’s student.

Over the years I have used my own money to keep my classroom library full, but students lose books, or the books just wear out. Right now, my library looks like this. 


The books on the top shelf are what I have available for my students to check out. This after I have spent several hundred dollars in the last two months.

On top of everything else, our school library has already closed for the year due to various causes. This row of books is the only resource many of my students have now. This has to serve as literary food for my gluttonous readers as well as those who don’t know they’re starving to death.

By now I’m hoping some of you are wondering how you can help. If you’re not already wondering, I’m begging you to please consider helping. Here’s how.

I have set up a wishlist at Amazon. If you could purchase just one book from the list for my classroom, my students and I would greatly appreciate it. Just follow this link to make your purchase, and the book will come directly to me. You don’t even have to worry about a trip to the post office!

The link is:

Thank you from Mrs. Meents and her junior high students.

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Monday, April 28, 2014

An Easter Recap

The weather was glorious Easter Sunday, and the company was perfect. We started the day, just as we do every Sunday, by celebrating the death and resurrection of our Lord. As always, the worship service was uplifting.

After worship, we all assembled at my mama's house for a wonderful dinner. There was ham, potato salad, fruit salad, broccoli salad, and green salad, along with hot, delicious bread. For dessert we had strawberry shortcake. To celebrate the Hillbilly's birthday, we had the teeniest cake I had ever seen.


Of course we had an Easter egg hunt for the grandchildren. Miss Sunshine didn't gather as many eggs as she could have because every time she found a plastic egg, she had to open it and eat the candy before searching for another egg.

Miss Sunshine with a slightly chocolate face

The girls all looked lovely in their Easter best.
The Athlete, Miss Sunshine, and The Princess
And The Monster posed for pictures too.

This reminds me of my brother. There's not one picture of him from age 3 to 18 where he's not making a face.

Every year on Easter we take family pictures in my mother's beautiful garden.

The Hillbilly and I with our little gang

My mama and her girls
We were missing two of our grandchildren, The New One and The Model
We wish they could have been with us!

Once all of the formalities were over, the children were left to their own devices. They chose to hunt snails in the garden. They found plenty. Then The Athlete decided to invite one out to play. As in she tried to pull it out of its shell. Forcefully.

I'll just leave you with that little image to occupy your mind until my next blog post.

How was your Easter? What funny things did the children do? Leave a comment!

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Monday, April 7, 2014

A Toddler in the Tub

There's not much cuter than a toddler in the bathtub; I'm sure you'd agree. Here's one now!
Sesame Street Bathtub Bumper

That particular toddler happens to be my second granddaughter, The Model, in an ad for the Sesame Street Bath Tub Bumper, available at Amazon (affiliate link above).

Toddlers in the tub are adorable with their cheery smiles, their playful giggles, their hair full of bubbles...their noisy splashes, the water everywhere except in the tub. Well, Grandma still thinks they're cute!

If you think water all over the bathroom is not the cutest thing in the world, then you need this latest gizmo of which I've recently become aware! It's the Tubby Table bathtub toy.

This nifty bathtub table let's your child play in the tub while increasing the likelihood that the water will stay in the tub where it belongs! You know how little ones play, running their toys along the edge of the tub, especially boys like my grandson, The Monster, who turns any toy into a car to be driven along the most convenient road.

I recently received a Tubby Table to try, so I invited The Monster over to give it a trial run. Here's what happened: 


 All in all, the Tubby Table was a huge success. The water stayed in the tub, and The Monster had fun. In fact, every time he comes over now, he wants to take a bath!

The Tubby Table engages children ages one & up with 5 multi-colored, numbered and shaped cups, and a surface to play on for hours of endless fun. The table is height-adjustable to grow with your little one. The Tubby Table sells on the website (tubbytabletoys.com) for $39.99 (including shipping), and on Amazon for $29.99 + $10.00 shipping.

I assembled the Tubby Table myself, and it went together easily. 

 Tubby Table is currently hosting a Facebook sweeps (through 4/20) and giving away an $80 Amazon gift card—the perfect amount to purchase two Tubby Tables! You can enter here: https://www.facebook.com/TubbyTable/app_194975693850063

( I received a free Tubby Table for review. All opinions are my own.)

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