Surviving Sandy

At this time one year ago, a freak snowstorm caused massive damage to Western Massachusetts, resulting in the loss of power for an entire week. We've been much more fortunate this time around, maintaining electricity (and Internet) during the brunt of Sandy's blow.

Strong winds downed trees and sent debris everywhere, yet the electricity still flowed even as gusts approached 60 mph. Well-deserved props to the folks at National Grid for keeping the juice on during the turbulence.

The jury's still out on if we'll have school tomorrow. A handful of districts have cancelled, while a number of others have signaled it's all systems go. With college recommendation letters, an upcoming workshop at the New England Association of Teachers of English conference this Friday, and pieces to still pick up after being out two days last week to attend the 30th Massachusetts Computer Using Educators conference, I could certainly use another day "off" to make headway.

In addition, on Tuesday (or Wednesday) I'll resume control of my three ninth grade college prep English classes, as my practicum student from a nearby university concluded her placement in my classroom last Friday. She did a wonderful job introducing the students to PVLEGS, the acronym developed by educator Eric Palmer to help students remember the keys to speaking effectively: poise, voice, life, eye contact, gestures, and speed. After reading Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak, the students gave speeches where they made connections between events in their lives and the book. My practicum student was able to explicitly show the students how the PVLEGS skills can really make a difference when it comes to speaking effectively, and the students bought in.

The image at the top of this post was obviously not taken today; it was snapped up at The Flume in Lincoln, NH, over Columbus Day weekend. Rather than post an image of destruction, I prefer to remember this month for the gorgeous foliage and temperate afternoons, not the carnage from Sandy.

My studies through Boise State University's EDTECH program have kept me quite busy as I've made progress on my Master of Educational Technology degree. The coursework requires reflection and journal writing, much of which I've done on a separate blog just for graduate school. I am halfway through one of the two final classes I need to complete before I earn my degree this May. Once my coursework concludes, I look forward to bringing my voice back to the blogosphere. In the meantime, I've still been active on my Twitter account, although I don't read nearly as many tweets from the folks I'm following as I'd like to. For my friends on the East Coast, I hope you stayed safe during Sandy's passing.

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