Dare to Care

create, communicate, collaborate, and think critically

18/Jul/2017
by Denise Krebs
8 Comments

Slice of Life – Interviewing My “Expert”

Yesterday I was considering doing some research about how to make a Mars Curiosity model for my Teachers Write Monday assignment. The assignment, by Sarah Albee, was to do nonfiction research, particularly to talk to an expert. However, I am spending my writing time this summer working on a children’s fiction story. Plus, since I’m hanging out at home with my husband after his eye surgery, he became my “expert.”

My Mr. Fix-it husband would know what kind of motor I needed and how to make the Mars model. I wanted it to be made of cardboard for a shout out of sorts to making, to Caine Monroe, Nirvan Mullick, and the subsequent Cardboard Challenge and Imagination Foundation.

Keith suggested I would need a base to hold the motor. He said you’d want to make a base out of plastic or something.

I argued. “It doesn’t have to be perfect. I’m not really making it. No one who reads it is going to know if it’s really feasible,” I said.

He acted like he didn’t hear me.

He found a rubber band car on YouTube. After watching the first minute, he said, “OK, here’s what Bailey needs to do. Make the base with straws and toothpicks, like in the video. You can use the bottle caps for wheels. This will be strong enough to hold the motor from the broken RC car he’s going to find abandoned at the thrift shop.”

“OK, maybe,” I said when I woke up this morning.

It was also after the part last night, when I snatched my Chromebook from him and gave the I-said-I’m-not-really-going-to-make-it-!-don’t-you-get-that-? speech.

So here’s a short scene from my story after my “expert” interview:

“Hey, Bailey, look what I found at work today!” Dad came bolting into the kitchen through the back door, the wooden-framed screen door bouncing behind him. Bailey was sitting at the round yellow Formica table–what Bailey used to call “our sunshine table”–munching Oreos dipped in milk. “Some gals ordered smoothies for lunch and they came with these jumbo straws. Perfect, right?” He held up two shiny straws, one peachy cream color and one lavender.

“Perfect?” Bailey said. “Dad, the Curiosity is like white, gray and black. How can these be perfect?”

“Oh, but look how strong they are. You can’t even bend ‘em. They must be close to a half inch in diameter. And heck, we can spray paint them black.”

“Black would be good. Won’t we need more?”

“I asked the women to save more for us. They said they order a few times a week. I had never even noticed them until I saw them in the garbage today. You know, after we watched that YouTube video yesterday.”

“Yeah, I didn’t think that was going to work,” Bailey was still suspicious about it.

“Let’s give ‘er a try after supper. What do you think? And, hey, why are you eating Oreos now?”

11/Jul/2017
by Denise Krebs
4 Comments

My Husband

My husband talks a lot and makes me laugh. Here are some snippets from our Friday afternoon.

While I started the car in the stifling ground level garage, Keith carried the hefty, plastic shopping bag overflowing with garbage toward the dumpster. When he came back to the car, he noticed I had opened my sunglasses case and had it sitting on the center console, ready to grab when we pulled out of the dark garage. He started in, “Now, what am I going to do? You know that’s my job. Are you taking my sunglasses job? Now, I guess I’ll just have to do my other side car driving tasks.” I began driving through the cramped garage. “Watch out…Don’t hit that wall…Careful, there’s a car…Ooh, that was close.”

“OK, wise guy, you can keep your job.” When I got to the door of the garage, I handed him my regular eyeglasses and waited for him to pass me the sunglasses. I put them on and pulled into the narrow alleyway, into the 110-degree heat. (It feels like 113, so the humidity isn’t that bad today.) “So, which mall should we go to?” I asked my husband, who is exponentially more opinionated than I about such things.

“Let’s go to the little fancy mall in the Seef district,” my husband said, “It won’t be so crowded on the weekend.” I turned the car toward the mall of our Friday afternoon walk.

As we rode along, I said, “OK, I have some advice I could give you about church today, if you are interested. About prayer.”

“Yeah, go ahead.”

“Well, when all the pastors and elders were in front praying for individuals, you were the only one I could hear.”

“Oh, no, did I leave my mic on?”

“No, the mic wasn’t on. I think you just need to work on your whisper.”

“Ah, I was projecting! I learned that in seminary.”

“Yeah,” I laughed, “but you shouldn’t broadcast the person’s prayer request. ‘God, help this sister get over her drug addiction.’ Just kidding. I didn’t really hear that.”

“You maybe just heard my voice above all the others because you are so in love.” I could sense him staring and batting his eyes.

“Oh, yes, that’s it.”

Lots more side car driving, “50…50…50…the speed limit is 50!” And later, “I would have gotten off at this exit.” That sort of thing until we arrived at the upscale mall.

“Oh, look, Denise. This place was named after us!” It was a chocolate fountain restaurant called Dip N Dip. We had to stop for a selfie:

At this point, I remembered my little writer’s notebook I was planning to carry this month for Teachers Write. I said, “Hey, I need to write down some of those things you’ve been saying that made me laugh today, but I’ve already forgotten on the way here. Maybe I’ll write about you today, funny guy. Can you remind me what made me laugh today?”

“Just write everything I say. You can actually record it. Keep the audio going all day long. That way when I die you can listen and laugh anytime, or cry maybe.”

“Oh, never mind!”

We took a lovely walk around this high-end mall. High-end, yes: For instance, I walked into one small shop with an “up-to-90%-off” sign in the window. I was curious. The first thing I saw on the rack was a long, single-knit teal dress with some embroidery through the middle. It looked like a prom dress. BD1780 was the original price, and the marked down price was BD178 (What? Almost $500!)

“Thank you,” I said, as someone came up to see if they could help me. “I just wanted to take a quick look.” I slipped out after looking at only one price tag. This place was out of my price range, even with 90% off.

When I told Keith about it, he said, “We’ll come back when it’s 99% off.”

It’s a good thing I don’t need a prom dress.

     *      *      *      *     *

On the way home, we enjoyed listening to music on a playlist that Keith created.

It has Beatles, Kansas, and lots of his other favorites–pop, rock and roll, and gospel. I’m not really big on music, but one day, I did say, “How about Gordon Lightfoot and Simon and Garfunkel?” My old time favorites. The next time we went in the car, he had a new playlist including some of my favorites.

Today, when “Rainy Day Lovers” came on, I asked him if he even likes Gordon Lightfoot.

“He’s OK,” he said. We talked about rainy days and loving.

     *      *      *      *     *

When we came back, I baked chocolate-dipped peanut butter cookies to bring to a dinner tonight.

Keith exercised and then came into the kitchen to drink water. Afterwards, he dug into the dish drainer looking for his coffee pots for tomorrow morning. “I’ve never seen anyone who can stack dishes like you. You are super talented in that area! No one else can stack like you, Denise!” He began putting some dishes away. He finally made it down to one of his coffee pots. (I think he has a half dozen). He shook the water out of the pot and gave me some advice, “You know, for dishes to dry, it’s best not to use the super burial method of stacking.”

     *      *      *      *     *

It’s a work day for him tomorrow, so he was ready for bed before me. “Good night,” I said. I wanted to stay up and finish this blog post before I went to bed. “I love you.”

“Yeah, that’s what she says now.”

“Thanks for making me laugh.”

“Yes, I am a Dad joke.”

That you are, but I wouldn’t want you any other way.

“Rainy day lovers don’t hide love inside, they just pass it on.”

08/Jul/2017
by Denise Krebs
2 Comments

Teachers Write is Here

Yay, I’ve been looking forward to this!

#TeachersWrite with Kate Messner, Jo Knowles, Gae Polisner, Jen Vincent, and other professional authors is coming right up. It officially starts on Monday, 10 July 2017. Gae started Friday Feedback yesterday, with guest author Nora Raleigh Baskin.

On Fridays, Gae and her guest authors, share one excerpt of their writing and elicit feedback from the Teachers Write participants. It not only gives them feedback, but it helps us learn to give feedback–What works? What doesn’t work? Do you want to keep reading?–they start with what works to honor the risk the author takes in sharing their work. This Friday, they were so timely. In 24 hours they have read and responded to scores of comments on their post, even though they are also participating in the Nerdy Book Club’s nErDCamp in Michigan. Here is a link to my comment, and you can scroll down to see their fabulous feedback on yesterday’s post.

This summer, I will try to act like an author and be disciplined to write for this significant writing teachers’ summer camp. I’ll post my attempts here at my student portfolio sample blog at this link: http://testblogscs.edublogs.org (NOTE ABOUT THAT NAME: This was the very first blog I ever made, almost 8 years ago–thus the name, it was a test blog for my school at the time, SCS. And that is why I hang in there with it–sentimental value to me, but it also reminds me to choose names carefully.)

Did you know this great writer’s camp is all free to participate? The authors only ask that, if possible, you add four books to your library this summer–one each from Kate, Gae, Jo, and one of their guests. We are buying books anyway, so why not? Read more about this, and to see the many books they have written here or here.

Here is a quote from Gae Polisner about MAKING time to do what you want and need to do.  (Read more inspiration at her 2015 Feedback post here.)

Have you heard of Teachers Write? Have you participated?
Are you planning to? Will you make time? It’s not too late to join.

09/Jul/2012
by Denise Krebs
21 Comments

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

Thanks to the #TeachersWrite Summer Writing Camp, I’m following Maria’s Mélange blog, so I noticed this “What are you Reading?” meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. And the children’s literature version, hosted by Jen and Kellee at Teach Mentor Texts.

I thought I would give it a try today. This summer I decided to get serious about using GoodReads.com. Good decision! It’s a success. I’ve read more and faster, I’ve had many good books recommended through great reviews and suggestions, and my two children’s lit students have joined and log their books on GoodReads too.

Here’s what I’ve read this week.

Professional Book – I have to revamp my literacy classes next year because I am sad I’m going from two periods (English and Literature) to one period (just English). I’m reading lots of books about reading and writing. I must take advantage of every minute I have with my students.

Children’s Fiction – I liked the book Ivan the One and Only. After I read it I noticed it is the intermediate book pick for the Global Read Aloud 2012 (#glread12). I was curious about the Benjamin Pratt book, so I read that one too.



Children’s Non-fiction – I like Jean Fritz, and I teach U.S. history and government, so I read two of hers. Then I also checked out all the Diane Stanley books in my library.

 

Short Stories – This one has taken me a while to finish. The stories are old, written about the Civil War by women in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

For this Week – I’ve been plugging away at John Adams, but I have two children’s books handy for when I need a break.

Skip to toolbar