Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday 4.30.14

NF PB 2014

We know that a big part of the CCSS is to include more informational texts into our students' reading.  I quickly discovered I had a "gap" in my reading diet - the genre of informational texts!  To help me fill the gap this year, I am going to participate in Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesdays!  This is a great link-up hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy.  Please visit this website to see other educator's link-ups.  My goal is to read at least one informational text each week and post information on the blog.  The more books and subjects I read, the more I can encourage (my #OLW for 2014) other teachers to use in their classroom! 

Earth Day has come and gone, but it's important to celebrate and protect our home everyday.  
I paired 2 very different texts together to educate students about our valuable resource - the water on our planet.

One Well: The Story of Water on Earth
The first book is One Well:  The Story of Water on Earth by Rochelle Strauss.  This book is a wealth of information.  The author did a fantastic job organizing information so that it's categorized in an accessible way for children.  They can read the book cover to cover and learn a vast amount of information, or they can read particular sections to gain specific information.  The author covers topics about the importance of water for people and animals, how water is home for plants and animals, recycling water, freshwater vs. salt water, how water is disappearing, not staying clean, and finally, what we can do to help sustain this invaluable resource.  The author refers to water as "the well", which gives an image of something needed, not something overlooked.  There is also an amazing index at the back of the book.  Informational text specialist, Sunday Cummins, shares some great ideas on her blog on how to use this book in an intermediate classroom.

Water Can Be...
After reading this book of incredible information, sharing the amazing prose from the book Water Can Be... by Laura P. Salas will be a welcome treat for students.  This book demands to be read multiple times.  Once to enjoy the language, another time to soak in the beautiful illustrations, another time to think about what they learn on each page, and a final time to read the information the author includes in the back of the book about how water is used on each page.  There is a fabulous Nerdy Book Club post the author wrote that gives amazing background information about the author's journey when writing the book.

Enjoy these non-fiction picture books.  What did you read this week?

SoL I Knew I Was a Book Nerd When... 4.29.14

Slice of Life is a weekly event hosted by Two Writing Teachers.

All of us Nerdies know we're Book Nerds.  We're proud of it, and we'll tell everyone!  You'll hear us frequently ask each other "what are you reading?" and "oh, I have to put that on my TBR pile" and "what did you think about that part?"

But there are a few moments in my reading life that when I look back on them, prove I am a Book Nerd...

- When I was a kid, I didn't only read books, I played with them.  Sometimes it was when I played "school".  Sometimes I played "library".  Sometimes my sister and I played this boarding school game that had something to do with a book called "Ghost Host".  It was a library book and not one I still have but I remember it played prominently in this game.

- Books always went on vacation with me.  I remember bringing them to Texas and New Mexico in 3rd grade.  I remember bringing them to Arizona in 8th grade.  I've always had to make room in my suitcase for books.  And unlike the clothes I pack, I usually read all the books!

- I don't only own books, I horde books.  I may have a bigger TBR pile than books read pile.  I can't help it.  I have no self-control when it comes to being in a bookstore.

- I had to be on bed rest when I was pregnant with my daughter.  2 1/2 months long bed rest.  I barely watched TV.  But I read over 60 books.  Back then I hadn't rediscovered my love for children's literature.  I was reading some young adult books, but most of those books were full-length adult books.  I also didn't miss a single White Sox game during that time.  World Champions that year.  Just sayin'.  

- But I think the biggest way I have always known I was a Book Nerd was when I could finally admit to the fact that I'm a book sniffer.  Yup.  Totally addicted to certain smelling books.  I love the smell when you walk into a bookstore.  I love the smell of some old library books.  But the best smell comes from certain books.  It's usually a paperback.  I sniff pretty much every book I read.  At least once.  It's a habit.  I'll admit to it.  Hi.  My name is Michele.  I'm a book sniffer.

So, what was your moment?  The one where you knew you were a Book Nerd?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday 4.23.14

NF PB 2014

We know that a big part of the CCSS is to include more informational texts into our students' reading.  I quickly discovered I had a "gap" in my reading diet - the genre of informational texts!  To help me fill the gap this year, I am going to participate in Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesdays!  This is a great link-up hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy.  Please visit this website to see other educator's link-ups.  My goal is to read at least one informational text each week and post information on the blog.  The more books and subjects I read, the more I can encourage (my #OLW for 2014) other teachers to use in their classroom! 

This year I have come across a science series, "Scientists in the Field".  Several other people have blogged about this series and I was intrigued.  I was surprised to find out that this is actually not a new series.  I was also surprised to see that the books in the series were not all about animals - most of the book do concentrate on an animal but there are some on other science categories like deep sea volcanoes or space.  
The books are complicated, both in topic and the writing.  It is written in a narrative informative style.  It reads like fiction, but is full of information.  The series has incredible photographs and additional information included in cut-aways or other full pages.  The books are divided into chapters, which helped me be able to segment the book into parts when reading.  The writing is full of information, uses content appropriate vocabulary, but it does make the reader have to focus in and use different strategies to read and understand the information.  Because of the chapters, a reader does not have to read the book cover to cover like I did, but can just research the information that may be needed.  The authors also include different information in the end papers, including but not limited to:  glossary, index, additional websites and books, acknowledgements and additional information pertinent to the subject.

Sea Turtle Scientist

The first book I read in the series was Sea Turtle Scientist by Stephen R. Swinburne.  This was a fascinating account of Dr. Kimberly Stewart's work with the sea turtles in St. Kitts.  The book goes into detail about the egg-laying and nesting habits of sea turtles, along with the conservation efforts to save these beautiful creatures.  It was amazing to learn what a mother sea turtle does to lay and protect her eggs, yet also see the many dangers that can endanger this process.  I think it would be amazing to see the egg laying and hatching occur!  

This book can be used in a variety of ways - read for information, looking at author's craft, or used for looking at narrative or informative writing.  If read cover to cover, I think there would be a fantastic classroom discussion on the process the sea turtles go through as well as what we can do to conserve these incredible creatures.  

The Dolphins of Shark Bay
The second book I read was The Dolphins of Shark Bay by Pamela S. Turner.  I learned countless facts about dolphins.  Facts that were fascinating.  Facts that amazed.  And facts that I was shocked to learn.  Janet, the main scientist, was looking specifically at the relationships between mother dolphin and calf.  The relationships between these mothers and their children were fascinating.  They are a social animal and form playgroups and other social cliques.  There are dolphins that are fantastic mothers, and dolphins that aren't as interested in their calves.  The dolphin young also come together to play and practice other dolphin rituals.  We learn about how dolphins are starting to use "tools", in this case sponges, to help them find food.  This ability to use tools, show that dolphins are intelligent creatures who are using higher level thinking that other animals are not able to do.  The part that shocked me, was learning about the male herding process.  When it comes time to mate, males will herd a female dolphin.  During this process, 3 males will herd 1 female.  Two male dolphins will swim alongside a female, while the other male will "do his thing", then they take turns!  The author compares them to "pirates" getting their "wench"!  I was shocked to learn this about male dolphins, whole new view of them!  Because of this section, I would recommend this book for a mature reader.

This book is a great mentor text for the scientific procedure.  The main scientist that studies these animals details her procedure for coming up with a hypotheses and then her process for data collection.  This would be perfect for a close reading looking at scientific procedures.

The author did a great job adding humor into this story.  There were several times I stopped to chuckle at her "take" on certain habits and rituals.

At the end of the book, there is a little bit of information about controversy of studying dolphins.  While we know we learn a lot of information about these fascinating creatures while in captivity, is this the best way to research these creatures?  A lot of unanswered questions are presented and are left to the reader's mind to contemplate.  The subject of swimming with the dolphins is also brought up.  While it was not debated in this book, it was placed in the end of the book after learning about these creatures in their natural habitat.  It is up to the reader to make a decision.

These are just 2 examples of the books in this fascinating series.  I think the authors in this series seem to be taking interesting topics and writing about them in a way that makes it accessible to middle grade readers.  Kudos.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

SoL 2014 What if everyone showed that kind of sportsmanship? 4.22.14

Slice of Life is a weekly event hosted by Two Writing Teachers.

Last week, my daughter had her first long course meet of the season.  It was actually the first time the kids swam long course for months, some since last year and for some kids it was their first time ever!  For those of you who don't know, long course is when a pool is set up in a 50m length - it's usually the distance you see in the Olympics.

As many of you know, my daughter has a right leg limb length discrepancy.  She was born with the femur and tibia bones in her right leg being shorter than the left.  She does not have a fibula or a right hip.  Her right ankle is fused into a flexed position.  She does not have the same range of motion in her right knee that she has in her left.  But, she swims with her able bodied peers and does a great job keeping up.  What she lacks in speed, she makes up for in endurance and enthusiasm.  

My daughter had a pretty intense meet line-up.  She was racing about 500m - she had a 200 medley (50m each of fly, back, breast, free), 50 back, 200 free and then she swam a 50m leg of a 200m relay.  Did I mention she is only 8 years old?  The rest of the 8 year olds were racing about 200m. 

After warm-up, she raced her 200m medley and 50m back.  Then came the 200m free.  It's her favorite event.  She doesn't win this event.  Not even close.  In fact, usually she swims against 10 and unders.  But she loves getting out there and just swimming.  When we look at her splits, she's usually swimming fairly steady.  I've asked her what she thinks about and she said she just thinks keep going.  As she was getting ready to line up, I took a look at the heat sheet.  Now, this was an intersquad meet, meaning, we were just swimming against other kids on our team (we're a very large team) and it also meant it was mixed genders.  The heat sheet told me that my 8 year old daughter was swimming against two 12 year old boys.  The boys had never raced this event before so they did not have a previous time (NT) which meant they would swim in an earlier heat.  I could see my daughter and she was bouncing around behind her block talking to the timers and other swimmers.  I don't think she knew what she was about to go up against.

Time for her event.  She gets up on the block and it's almost comical.  She's so petite, it made the two boys on either side of her look like giants!  The timer goes off and they're in the pool.  The two boys take off.  They are way ahead of her in no time.  But my daughter's stroke stays strong and she just swims.  After her first 50m, she does her flip turn and heads back.  About halfway back, I hear one of the senior swimmers start cheering for her.  He stays on the side but tracks where she is, shouting words of encouragement and telling her to "go, go".  Her first 100m complete, she does her flip turn and heads back out.  The senior swimmer looks up in the stands and I stand and make eye contact and give him thumbs up - "keep it going" I tried to convey to him!  I quick get my phone out to record this.  Next thing I know, he has most of the seniors lined up on the side of the pool shouting for my daughter.  The boy continues to track her and runs down to the block on the other side, pounding on it, and encouraging her.  Not she's on her last 50m.  I can see that she picks it up a little bit more and then the crowd starts to yell for her.  Swimmers around the pool deck are yelling for her and the adults in the stand are yelling for her.  She touches the wall and the senior's arms go up in victory!  The sportsmanship of the seniors just floored me.

We were using fly over starts, which means the swimmers that just raced stay in the water until the next race starts and the swimmers dive off the blocks.  Next thing I know, one of the twelve year old boys that my daughter raced against reached over the lane lines and gives her a high five.  One of the waiting swimmers reaches down and gives my daughter a high five.  The other twelve year old she raced call her over and he gives her a high five.  Tears are in my eyes.  I'm proud of my daughter, but I'm also proud of her team.

On our way home I asked my daughter if she could hear everything and she said yes, but she was a little baffled why everyone was rooting for her.  I told her the story and she thought it was pretty cool.  In fact she asked me to tell her the story again.

What if everyone showed that kind of sportsmanship?  Just wondering...

Monday, April 21, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 4.21.14

This weekly post comes from Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers.  It's a great source to find new books to use with your students.

Yea, I got back in my reading groove this week.  I somehow had a ton of picture books pile up but I started making sure I read one/day and I'm getting through them!

Picture Books

Aviary Wonders Inc. Spring Catalog and Instruction Manual
Aviary Wonders, Inc. by Kate Samworth
5/5 stars
This book was so cool and weird, but really cool!  Check out my review HERE

Duck & Goose Go to the Beach
Duck and Goose Go To The Beach by Tad Hills
4/5 stars
I love these sweet friends!  And the ball makes a cameo!  Great for a friendship unit or characters - do you use Notice and Note for young readers?  This would be a good one for contradictions!

Flight School
Flight School by Lita Judge
5/5 stars
Loved this story, loved the things that Penguin says - he has the soul of an eagle".  The best line was "He'd just needed some help with the technical parts."  Don't we all???

Peanut Butter and Jellyfish
Peanut Butter and Jellyfish by Jarrett Krosoczka
5/5 stars
This one surprised me, I had not expected it to be this good.  Use it to teach so many central messages!  This is one I must have in my library now!

Following Papa's Song
Following Papa's Song by Gianna Marino
4/5 stars
Sweet story that introduces young readers to how whales migrate and how they communicate.

Please, Louise
Please Louise by Toni Morrison and Slade Morrison
3/5 stars

Have You Seen My Dragon?
Have You Seen My Dragon? by Steve Light
4/5 stars
Cute counting book with amazing drawings.

Informational Texts

How Big Were Dinosaurs?
How Big Were Dinosaurs? by Lita Judge
3/5 stars

On Kiki's Reef
On Kiki's Reef by Carol Malnor
4/5 stars

Handle with Care: An Unusual Butterfly Journey
Handle with Care by Loree Griffin Burns
5/5 stars
Fantastic account of the life cycle of a butterfly.  The photographs are amazing.  A lot of nonfiction features are added into this book.  

Eye to Eye: How Animals See The World
Eye to Eye How Animals See the World by Steve Jenkins
4/5 stars
Great to use for animal adaptations.

The Dolphins of Shark Bay
The Dolphins of Shark Bay by Pamela S. Turner
5/5 stars
This series is amazing.  The factual information that is presented in such a fascinating way. I appreciated the way this author added humor into the story.  Great mentor text for the scientific procedure.  

If You Find a Rock
If You Find a Rock by Peggy Christian
4/5 stars
I was very surprised with this book.  It wasn't a scientific account of the 3 different rocks.  It was about the way we see rocks - for skipping rocks, for a worry stone, for a hiding place for insects.  Go outside and find a rock - how would you classify it?

I am Amelia Earhart
I Am Amelia Earhart by Brad Meltzer
3/5 stars

Geisel Award
from 2008:

There is a Bird on Your Head!
There Is a Bird On Your Head by Mo Willems (2008 winner)
5/5 stars - this is my favorite Elephant and Piggie!  Favorite line, "They're love birds!"

First the Egg
First the Egg by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
4/5 stars

Hello, Bumblebee Bat
Hello, Bumblebee Bat by Darrin Lunde
4/5 stars

Jazz Baby
Jazz Baby by Lisa Wheeler
3/5 stars

Vulture View
Vulture View by April Pulley Sayre
4/5 stars

from 2009:

Middle Grade

Sky Raiders (Five Kingdoms, #1)
Five Kingdoms:  Sky Raiders by Brandon Mull
4/5 stars
This was the first book I ever listened to on audio that I had never previously read.  I found myself really having to focus, I'm so used to zoning out when I'm driving (yikes, that doesn't sound good...).  I loved the first Fablehaven, so it's always hard to meet the same expectation.  Sky Raiders was good, but still not the same quality.  It seemed like the book took a really long time to set up to the ending.  It had constant action throughout the book, which should keep most readers interested.  I know I'll continue the series.

Continuing to Read

The Summer I Saved the World . . . in 65 Days
The Summer I Saved the World in 65 Days by Michele Weber Hurwitz
Fun so far!

Be Careful What You Wish Fo...
Be Careful What You Wish For by Jeffrey Archer
My adult choice!
This is the 4th book in the series and I've enjoyed all of them so far.  This one has been slower to start, but I love following this family drama.  Great for historical fiction and family saga fans.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Celebrate This Week! 4.19.14

It's always good to end the week on a positive note.  Sometimes we concentrate on the negatives.  We have a choice.  Choose positive.  Choose to celebrate.  I will be joining Ruth Ayres and her weekly link-up, Celebrate This Week.  Check out all the other celebrations HERE

This week I am going to take the time to celebrate authors and when they come out to travel the country and see us.  It's been a couple of weeks since I've Celebrated and during that time my daughter and I were fortunate enough to meet two authors.  For me, it's like meeting a celebrity.  I'm so in awe of them, I don't think a lot of them even realize the pedestal we put them on!

A couple of weeks ago, my daughter and I went to a local library to meet Liesl Shurtliff, author of Rump.  Her presentation was geared towards middle grade students and she talked to them about publishing and the writing process she goes through.  Liesl was extremely patient with the kids and answered all of their questions.  I think many of them left dreaming of writing the next bestseller!  My daughter at least said she would let me have the first copy of her published book :)  This was my daughter's first author visit, and she is very excited to see Liesl at NerdCamp Jr. this summer!

A few days after that my school district brought in the author, Tim Green.  His book Unstoppable is on the Caudill list this year and I really enjoyed it.  I like that his books touch on hard subjects that make kids think and be aware of what is going on around them.  The short chapters make for a quick read and I was always surprised how even though it was not a suspenseful novel, I always felt the need to read "just a little more".  I also liked that although his novels revolve around sports, they do not center around sports.  This makes the books readable for a girl audience as well.
Tim was an excellent speaker for both parents and kids.  I loved how he talked about reading books on the team bus.  He made a big point of saying education is first with him, then sports.  I loved that he talked about how important it was for kids to choose what they are reading.  I was sitting by some of my 4th grade students and one turned around at that part and smiled at me... he knows that I believe in choice!
Tim answered so many questions the kids had and took the time to really chat with every child that had a book signed.  I was impressed with how personable and genuine he was with everyone.

Thank you authors everywhere for taking time and meeting with us!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday 4.16.14

NF PB 2014

We know that a big part of the CCSS is to include more informational texts into our students' reading.  I quickly discovered I had a "gap" in my reading diet - the genre of informational texts!  To help me fill the gap this year, I am going to participate in Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesdays!  This is a great link-up hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy.  Please visit this website to see other educator's link-ups.  My goal is to read at least one informational text each week and post information on the blog.  The more books and subjects I read, the more I can encourage (my #OLW for 2014) other teachers to use in their classroom! 

There seem to be an abundance of bird books that have been published in the past year or so.  I'm linking a bunch of them together that could be used on a science unit on adaptation.

Mama Built a Little Nest
Mama Built a Little Nest by Jennifer Ward
Rhyming text that introduces a bird species and how they build a nest.  Additional information is given on each page that gives more specifics.  This book could be used to compare/contrast the nests - what features make it the best nest?  Thinking of the environment of each bird, how are the nests adaptable?

Have You Heard the Nesting Bird?
Have You Heard the Nesting Bird? by Rita Gray
After learning about nests, this would be the next logical book to read about birds.  This book details bird calls, but also the habits of particular birds when nesting.  I had many questions left unanswered by the time I finished the text, but the last pages of the book had a "Q&A" session with the nesting bird.  I liked the idea of the author "interviewing" the subject (bird)

Feathers: Not Just for Flying
Feathers Not Just for Flying by Melissa Stewart
When you think of birds, you often think flying and feathers.  This book does a fantastic job of explaining the many purposes of feather and connecting it to something known for the young readers of this book.  For example, when it talks about feathers being like a blanket, there is a picture of an afghan.  When it talks about feathers being used like an umbrella, there are little paper umbrellas on the page.  Perfect book to use for talking about where the bird lives and the feathers that are used for adapting to that environment.

Aviary Wonders Inc. Spring Catalog and Instruction Manual
Aviary Wonders Inc. by Kate Samworth
My Goodreads review:  Oh, this book is so so neat because of its originality! I can see how it has been taken in a couple of different directions. Most people admire the idea and illustrations and thought behind this book. Some people think it's a little creepy. I can see that. Some of the illustrations of the birds without the beaks are a little weird. I didn't love the illustrations in the back that detail how to "assemble your bird". But the rest of the book is sheer genius, in my opinion. The illustrations are amazing, detailed and very carefully planned out. I love the organization of this book. The idea of the true information part, put together with the fiction (this is a catalog) part, makes this book so fun to pour over. 
If you haven't seen the book trailer for this book, watch that first, and then take a look at this amazing book!I think this book would be an excellent conclusion to a bird adaptation unit.  In the Next Generation Science Standards, the first grade standards discuss animal adaptations - how animals use external parts to help them survive.  I think this book would be fantastic to use after learning facts about birds.  Then have groups of students use this "catalog" to put together their own bird, keeping in mind adaptation and survival.  They would need to discuss why they choose particular feathers, beaks, body types to create their bird.  This would be such a fun culmination project!!

One more book that many people reviewed this past year that would go perfectly with this unit is Look Up!: Bird-Watching in Your Own Backyard by Annette LeBlanc Cate

Any other bird-themed books you would use for this unit?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

SoL Lessons From My Dad 4.15.14

Slice of Life is a weekly event hosted by Two Writing Teachers.

As teachers, we frequently let parents know that they are their child's first teacher.  As I think back on my own childhood, my dad taught me so much about being a reader, a writer, and speaker.  Wisdom from my dad:

* Use different voices when you read out loud.  It makes the story more interesting, and usually will result in repeated readings.

* Having neat things to write with encourages more writing.  As a kid, I remember him bringing home ball pens that made writing much more interesting.  Today, my daughter benefits from him as she often receives new notebooks, pens and the all important highlighter (the best one being the kind that has little sticky notes you pull from the side).

* Word choice.  My dad always told us to think about how using certain words make us sound.  The words might be cool to say, but what kind of person am I being when I use them?

* More word choice.  Along with the above statement, I was taught the hard way not to say words like "screwed" or "suck".  My dad knew they didn't sound nice, especially coming from a young person.  So I was charged $1 every time I used one.  I learned quickly to stop saying those words!  I won't lie, they do slip out every so often nowadays, but I try to be conscious of my audience.  Usually, it's my husband now :) And my dad wasn't that tough, he did give me the money back once I broke the habit.

* He also taught me grammar.  I still get picked on for starting a sentence with a pronoun instead of the proper noun.  But, I know when to use your vs. you're and its vs. it's.  

* Both my parents took us to the library as kids but it was often my dad reading to us at night.  The library has always been a part of my life thanks to my dad.

I guess it's no wonder I'm a reading specialist today.  Thanks for the lessons, Dad.

Monday, April 14, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 4.14.14

This weekly post comes from Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers.  It's a great source to find new books to use with your students.

Busy week this week.  Will have a lot more for next week!

Picture Books

Found by Salina Yoon
5/5 stars
How I love this book!  I love her Penguin books, but this one is even better.  Short, sweet and with a lovely message.  And a fabulous "tip of the hat" (no pun intended, well, maybe a little bit), to the red, pointy hat from I Want My Hat Back.  Love it love it!

Informational Texts

Helen's Big World: The Life of Helen Keller
Helen's Big World:  The Life of Helen Keller by Doreen Rappaport
5/5 stars
Fantastic biography on Helen Keller.  Author included so many important details and I loved her endpapers, the cover, her notes and her use of quotes on every page!

Middle Grade

The 13-Storey Treehouse
The 13-Story Treehouse by Andy Griffiths and illustrated by Terry Denton
4/5 stars
Great for the Wimpy Kid crowd.  Loved the idea of living in this tree house.  It was a quick sell for kids to try this series!

Unstoppable by Tim Green
4/5 stars
Post coming soon!

Still Reading

Sky Raiders (Five Kingdoms, #1)
We are so close to being done!  Can't wait to see how it ends.  I'm sure it will be a cliffhanger since it's book 1 of the series!

Rethinking Intervention: Supporting Struggling Readers and Writers in Grades 3-6 Classrooms

* No Geisel update this week.  I forgot to bring the books home from school!  They are sitting on my desk.  Next week I'll have 2 years of Geisels to add!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

SoL What's in Your Wallet? 4.08.14

Slice of Life is a weekly event hosted by Two Writing Teachers.

What's in your wallet?  It's not a Capital One credit card if that's what you're thinking.  But, that little advertising slogan does make you think.  Because as I found out one morning, what's in your wallet is important and says a lot about you.

I have a daily routine that I follow pretty much every Monday-Friday morning.  I wake up at the crack of dawn, go through emails, twitter, weather info and then leave the house for the day.  I first go to the gym for a workout.  I get ready for the day there then head to school.  As I leave the gym, I put my cell phone in one coat pocket and my mini-wallet in the other.  But before I get to school, I first stop at my local Starbucks.  

Picture this scene:  it's a morning in January in the Chicago suburbs (of course, remember it's this winter which means it's about 50 below...), snow on the ground which means semi-permanent slush on the ground.  I'm walking into Starbucks, and the way this one is designed, you park far out from the store and I have to pass through a lane of cars to get to the street to cross to get to the store (really, this has a place in the story).  In my pockets are my gloves, aforementioned phone and mini-wallet and car keys.  Because of the nasty freezing weather, I'm frantically putting my gloves on for this little excursion.  Fast forward a little, I have my coffee, I'm back in the car and I've pulled away.  Now I continue with my routine and get my mini-wallet out of my pocket to put back in my purse.  And it's gone....


Turn around, park again and start to retrace my steps.  This could be a long morning.  Going through my mind is I'll have to call my school and let them know I'll be late.  I mentally retrace my steps wondering at what point did I lose it.  Was it in the parking lot - it is a walk to the store... Maybe in Starbucks... Maybe in the gym parking lot... Maybe somewhere between the gym parking lot and the locker room...  Maybe in the locker room...  Luckily, I don't have to go far.  I find it tucked under another car waiting for me to get it.  It must have fallen out of my pocket when I took my gloves out of the pocket.  Or maybe when I pulled my keys out of the pocket.  (please note since this incident I put my wallet in my purse as soon as I get back into my car upon leaving the gym) Wipe the slush off, run back to my car and start to school again.

I get to school and tell the story to a colleague.  We somehow get on the subject of the fact it's my mini-wallet - kind of like my ID holder.  While I would never want to lose my real wallet, this is the one I use on an everyday basis.  She asked why it's so important.  I let her know I keep the things I use all the time in it.  My drivers license and insurance card.  My gym card.  My library card.

At that point, my colleague paused, looked at me, and said, "That's very interesting."  I asked why, it seemed so common.  She said, "I think that's very telling that among the things you feel are so important is your gym ID and your library card."

That made me think.  I guess not everyone would count those things as being important.  But to me, those are the cards I use weekly, if not daily.  They are both completely worn out, you can't read most of the writing.  I think that's important to know about me.  I'm a gym card, library card carrying gal.

So, what's in your wallet?

* I am going to admit to this in very small print because I need to let this go.  This event happened this past January.  After, I thought, this would be a good Nerdy Book Club post.  I submitted the form on the website saying I would like to write an article.  No response.  There was a call for posts last month.  Submitted another response.  Heard nothing.  So, here's the article I wanted to write.  I still feel snubbed.  Especially since I really don't have any future posts that are as interesting as this one so even if I get the call I have nothing to write.  Oh well.  I'll move on.  Eventually ;)