Friday, November 23, 2012

Free Cotton Learning Online

Saturday, November 3, 2012

free cotton on free rice

MY Favorite Addiction for ALL ages - Free Rice - Check the Link!  Use for MANY disciplines! 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Cotton Writing Tip - Exploit Universal Fears?

"Exploit universal fears." - Mike Arnzen

My mentor asked me to study voice in characters that live long after the book is finished. She suggested that I read Sharon Creech's Walk Two Moons. I collect Newberry Medal books so I happened to have one on the shelf, although I had not yet read it. I took out a highlighter and started to mark things that I found interesting about Sal, the main character's, voice.

Certain words and phrases indicated to the reader which personality was talking. 'Huzza, huzza' let the reader know that Gram was talking. 'That's what I am trying to tell you' was one of Phoebe's favorite expressions. Ms. Partridge, the blind neighbor made up words. And Sal always prefaced sentences with 'peculiar'. Sal's voice was the most distinct.

Duh, character building 101, you might say. I did. Surely that was not the variable that would make a character's voice live on forever. I continued to search.

I read to the eleventh chapter, (Is that like the eleventh hour?) Flinching. A conversation takes place between Ben and Sal:

"Don't people touch each other at your house?" (Ben)
"What's that supposed to mean?" (Sal)
"I just wondered," he said. "You flinch every time someone touches you." (Ben)

In the middle of the chapter, on the middle of the page, I froze. I became incredibly sad. I haven't cried while reading a book since I read Bridge to Terabithia ten years ago. There I sat with tears filling my eyes.

When was the last time I had touched my own children? When was the last time someone had touched me? Those checked out okay. But when was the last time someone had touched my Aunt Marie in the nursing home? Or war vets in the VA hospital? It made me remember that one project of the infant monkey that died from lack of contact.

It was actually a universal fear displayed within a frame of twenty-five words. This would be the sole reason I would remember the resilient Sal and her peculiar voice forever.

Arnzen was right!

Homework- List Universal Fears


Thursday, September 13, 2012

MDFM Local Author Day

I will be at Midland Downtown Farmers' Market this Saturday from nine to one. Stop by, if you are in the neighborhood. Let's chat education, food and books! #realtime



the flame
the fire
the love to read anything - ANYWHERE

The Kindle. Gosh, for us, not just a device, a way of invigorating a whole audience, a whole new world! And the Kindle does not limit itself, something we wholeheartedly support. Our treasures can be downloaded to the Kindle itself, but also the Kindle app can be downloaded to just about any device… PC, MAC, iPhone, iTouch, iPod, iPad, Blackerry and for FREE! Amazing! Gooooo Kindle! We appreciate you!

Try it for free W is for Walnut.


Early College High School

Near the end of his eighth grade year my son expressed his plan to apply to our local Early College High School program.

My feelings were mixed. I wished to support him, but I wasn’t ready. Were all of the homecoming rituals and basketball games over? What about traditional coming of age high school fun? Would he as an adult ultimately feel cheated? At least I have another phenomenal child to play ‘prepare for U.I.L. events’, and relive high school through vicariously.

Bigger thought- county orange is not my color. Not one of those college hussies better try and holla at my beautiful baby boy.

Q: Hotep, why?

A: Mom, I plan to get a Ph.D. and should probably get started now.

He applied. 
ECHS accepted him. 

Today, he is a Junior in high school, and a Freshman in college. I believe it was the best thing for him… and probably for my pocket book. Do they still have pocket books?

For people who have not heard of this initiative, it’s pretty stellar. Students participate in H.S. and college classes (with college students) simultaneously usually at a local junior / community college.  It’s kind of a backward dual credit. Instead of taking some classes in high school for college credit these students take some college classes for high school credit.

Check it out:

P.S. Now, my second is considering this route as well. What? Booooooo! No H.S. Homecomings.


Friday, January 27, 2012

I will be at the Border Learning Conference!

So excited!  Can't wait to share what I learn!  Promise to tweet the event @teffanie.  Check it out!