Thursday, February 27, 2014

Let's Talk Sports

I'll start first, beginning with sports I participated in and watched as a kid. 

Then, I will speak about sports I got into later on.

1. Sports as a Kid

A. Sports I Participated In

  • Water Sports
I grew up on an island, so boating, water skiing, and surfing were big sports.

I had to learn how to swim before I could walk because I lived across the street from the beach. Swimming was a required sport once I started school. I tried surfing, but was better at water-skiing, and my father was big into boats, so I learned to sail, and we also did lots of water-skiing off the back of our motor boats.

My niece took this picture on our beach. It's winter, so there's not much surfing, but because
biking and the beach were a big part of my childhood, decided to include the photo. Plus, I think it's an interesting photo.
  • Sports Off the Beach
Biking was a big time sport. We biked all over the island, and we did not hurry to get driver's licenses because we could get to most anywhere by bike. I also played lots of tennis, and my father encouraged me in this sport. I guess other than tennis, biking, swimming, and tennis, I did not do many sports as a kid, and now I realize most of these were not team sports. We had a great ice skating rink near the port side of the island, and when I was in the 8th grade, I went several times  a week to the rink. I started to get good at figure skating, but never kept up with it when I got into high school and got busy with other activities.

B. Sports I Watched

My small island has lots of rough waves and is right off the Atlantic Ocean. It's a barrier island, which is a small island that blocks a larger island. So we face the Atlantic directly on, with no protection.

Every day, surfers are on the beach, riding the waves. One of the most famous surfing competitions worldwide came to my hometown: QuickSilver. You can find information about the event when it came to my hometown here: "Quicksilver: Pro New." It is worth clicking just to see the surfing champ from my town.

Surfing for all of us was a big spectator sport. As kids, we would go to the beach any time and watch the surfers. They were amazing, and they still are.

Basketball and football were the biggest sports in high school. When I was a junior in high school, I dated the captain of the basketball team, so went to all the games.  Football was a seasonal sport, in the fall, and lots of people liked to show up for the games and to enjoy the outdoors. Lacrosse was a big sport in the spring, probably more so than baseball, but baseball was also popular. Several big professional baseball teams were close by, and so we had both Mets and Yankee fans, and going to games was a big deal.

In college, I got more into soccer. My boyfriend in college was captain of the soccer team. It is only now that I realize the guys I dated in both high school and college were captains of their teams. This was not planned. It just worked out that way.

2. Sports I Do Now

A. Sports I Participate In Now

I am big into running and have completed five marathons, including the New York City Marathon.

One of the hardest things about the NYC marathon is the number of runners, which exceeds 30,00
Photo credit:

I also completed one mini triathlon and came in first in my category. Before I started running, I was swimming two miles three times a week, and biking was an easy sport, so doing a triathlon was the next big step. Now, I just enjoy running for relaxation.

Given I now live in New England, it is only natural that I ski. We have lots of ski resorts. I did not get into this sport seriously until I went out West to the Rockies, but came back East as a big fan of the sport. Unfortunately, our ski conditions are packed powder instead of the real powder out West, but still the slopes are advanced, and there are lots of moguls.

Occasionally, I play tennis, but not in a competitive sense. I still like to water ski and sail, but don't get a chance to do these as often as I did as a kid because I no longer live right across the street from the ocean, and my family no longer owns boats. However, when I travel, I like to sail, as well as snorkel. And beaches are really not that far from where I live. The Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Maine coastlines are great for swimming and water sports, and have great beaches.

B. Sports I Watch Now

Soccer is a big sport in New England, and I watch lots of games. Several of my relatives are on teams so I go to their games,

This is my all-time favorite player. He retired this year--do you know who it is?
I also enjoy going to national baseball games and spend lots of time at Yankee Stadium. We have a season's pass, and our seats are just a few rows behind home plate. I don't enjoy watching baseball on television, but do watch basketball on television. The major university in my state, The University of Connecticut, is known for its men's and women's teams. We are the Connecticut Huskies, and if you follow college basketball, you have probably heard of the teams.

I live near an ice skating rink where some of the Olympic skaters train. Sometimes, I go to the rink to watch the skaters and ice hockey.

cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) photo by Razvan Marescu: http:/

What Sports Do You Do, and What Sports Do You Like to Watch? 

Or If You're Not Into Sports, Why Not?

I know from your blog posts many of you play a sport, but others have not mentioned doing so, but maybe you enjoy watching a sport. What sports do you play, which do you watch, and which sports do you wish you did? If you don't do sports and are not a fan, why not? Do you think sports are a waste of time? Do you consider activities such as dance and gymnastics sports? People talk about sports a lot, but maybe you find the talk boring. Some people memorize sports statistics. Do you think there is a point in knowing sport statistics, facts, and trivia? Do you think Americans are obsessed with sports? Do you think football is dangerous, and should be banned in high schools because of the risk of serious head injuries? What about other sports? Are they too risky, or do you enjoy the thrill?

Sunday, February 9, 2014

What's Your Favorite Season?

I live in New England, where we have four distinct seasons, weather-wise. I think you do, too. What are the seasons like where you live in Iowa?

To give you an idea of the seasons here in New England, I am including some photos I have taken during each of the seasons.

I am starting with winter. As you can see we get lots of snow.

This is a picture from my back deck showing the snow as I was shoveling it off. Originally, the snow was as high as the top of the deck railing. We got 3 feet in this storm

New England is famous for its fall foliage. People come from all over the world to see it. Here are some pictures I took near my house this fall as the foliage was changing.

Many people like when spring comes because it means the end of the rough winter. The first signs of spring are the bulbs popping out.

These are from my front yard, and the photos sure are more colorful than the ones of snow on the back deck.

Summer is a time to be outside. Here where I live in Connecticut, which is between Massachusetts and New York, baseball is a big summer pastime. Because of where we are located, the state is split between the Boston Red Sox fans and the New York Yankees. Most of my friends are Red Sox fans, and many originally came from the Boston area. My husband is a big Yankee fan, and he has a season pass, with seats just 18 rows behind home plate. I am also including a photo of Mario Rivera, known as Mo, for short. As you might know, he retired this year after playing with the Yanks for many years, and he is known as one of the best pitchers of all times. I got to see him pitch at the second to last game of his career.

I should add about summer that a good part of New England is on the Atlantic Ocean coast. People here like to go to Cape Cod in Massachusetts or to the Maine or Rhode Island coasts. The ocean in Maine is known for being cold in the summer. Maine is one of the most northern states in the US. The water on Cape Cod is much warmer.

So what is your favorite season, and how do you like to spend it? Do you do outdoor sports? Do you travel during the summer or other times of the year to enjoy seasonal sports? 

Where We Live

Hi Iowa Students,

Thought we would share some information about where we live, so I will start.

I live in Connecticut, as you know by now. Here are some important information about my state and why someone would want to live here.

1) Connecticut is one of the smallest states in the country. That means you can easily get from one corner to the next. You can be on the beach one day, and the next day, you need travel by only about an hour, and you will be in the mountains.

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo by JOHN LLOYD:

2) Connecticut is a very scenic state. We have loads of trees. If you were flying over Connecticut in a plane coming into the airport, you would see green trees and winding rivers in the summer months. In the fall, the scenery would be exquisite, with all the changes of color.

3) Connecticut offers varied opportunities. If you like cities, they are nearby in the state, but we are also very close to New York City and Boston, and people like the fact that you can easily commute to these cities for a day's adventure.

4) Many people who work in the New York City area have chosen to have their homes in Connecticut. They can enjoy the beauty of nature and even live on a farm, and get to their hectic workplace by bus, train, or car. This way, they have the best of two worlds. During the day, they can enjoy the excitement of the big city, but at night, they can come home to peace and quiet.

5) Many people like the shoreline of Connecticut. There are fun things to do there in the summer, including going to the beaches, visiting Mystic Aquarium, and seeing Mystic Seaport. Mystic was once the whaling capital of the world, and not that long ago, the Connecticut shoreline was known for catching lobster. Today, the lobster industry is no longer popular in Connecticut, but in the summers, people like to go to the shore, and eat out at the many seafood restaurants.

cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo by Elf Pvke:

6) For those who like to ski in the winter, we have several ski resorts. This winter, with all the snowstorms, people can find skiing right close to where they live. Often, people from Connecticut drive to Vermont, where there are many world-famous ski resorts. It is not a long trip to get to Vermont.

7) For kids who like sports, we have lots of outdoor playing fields for soccer and baseball. We also have a world-famous ice skating rink, which is right near my house. This rink is used for training for the Olympics. We also can use the rinks for recreational ice skating. Ice hockey is a bit sport in the winter, but basketball is even bigger. Because we border the ocean and have many lakes and streams, fishing is also a big sport.

I am including some more pictures to help you understand our state.

Connecticut River

cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo by Tom Walsh:

Ski Sundown

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo by WalkingGeek:

Mystic Seaport

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo by Ken Mist:
Mystic Aquarium

cc licensed ( BY NC ) flickr photo by Daniel:

cc licensed ( BY NC ) flickr photo by Daniel:

Lighthouse Along the Shore

cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo by Derek Fidler:
University of Connecticut, Basketball

Sunday, April 14, 2013 -- Governor Malloy and Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman welcome UConn Huskies Women's Basketball team to the State Capitol for a victory parade and rally, celebrating the team's 2013 NCAA National Championship win.2013 UConn Huskies Women's Basketball victory parade & rally

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo by Dannel Malloy:
Both the women's and men's UConn basketball teams are famous. Maybe, you have heard of them.

Here is a shot of the women's team playing at our state capital arena in Hartford, CT.

cc licensed ( BY NC ) flickr photo by Patrick:

Now, that you know a little bit more about Connecticut, tell me about Iowa. If I traveled to your state, what might I want to see and do? Also, let me know if you have questions about my state.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

What Do You Like to Read?

Because I teach teachers, I thought you could help me. I am interested in what recommendations you would have for books that students would enjoy.

I am also sharing with you two presentations that students in my classes did about books.

The first one is about Young Adult Literature. It was produced on an iPhone using the iMovie app. The student collected the images, wrote the script, and had her husband narrate the video. Do you agree with her that Young Adult Literature should be read more often? Have you read any of the books she mentions?

Young Adult Literature

This second video was produced by a school librarian. She made it to use on Parents Nights to convince parents that graphic novels are valuable literature. To access the presentation and to watch it from the Animoto site, click on the image below. After you watch her presentation, consider if you agree with her that graphic novels are valuable literature.

Graphic Novels

The Benefits of Graphic Novels

So, now I am hoping you can help me make recommendations to teachers about what books you think their students should be reading and at what grade level. Many thanks for posting replies. 

Where I Live: A Story of Seasons

Thought I would tell you about where I live using the seasons. The weather and surroundings change here in New England each season, same as you find in Iowa.


It's winter here now so I am starting with that. Our winter brings cold temperatures and usually lots of snow. This winter we have already had several school closings, school delays, and early release days related to snow and ice. Here are some pictures from a recent snow storm. 

I took this one from inside the house because it was too cold to go out, so the picture might look blurred. It is of the horse barn next to the house.


Summer is a fun time because those of us in New England get to do a lot of things outside. Going to the beach is popular. Connecticut, the state, where I live is on the shore, and we have the Atlantic Ocean. At one time, Connecticut was the whaling capital of the world, but that is no longer the case. People still go whale watching, but they usually go to Cape Cod, in Massachusetts, or up to Maine, to see whales. Connecticut used to also be famous for lobster fishing, but now most of the lobster we eat comes from Maine. Maine is famous for lobster, and lobster from Maine is shipped all over the world. It is best to eat lobster when it is fresh off the boat, so I am lucky to live near where the lobster fishing occurs.

We also go to pools in the summer. This is a picture of my nephew Jack showing off, as he dives off the board at our local swimming pool.


People come from all over the world to visit New England in the fall. We are famous for our fall foliage. I am including some pictures I took of the foliage right near where I live.

I took this photo while walking along a ridge near where I live. You can see there are farmlands below.

This is a shot near a reservoir. This reservoir supplies water to many surrounding towns.

There are lots of brooks around.


We look for the first signs of spring when the bulbs start to pop up. These photos are of bulbs shooting up in my front yard. They certainly are more colorful than the white snow we see in the winter.

Now Your Turn:

  • What are the seasons like where you live? 
  • Do you have special activities that you like to do in each season? 

  • It has been a snowy winter, and I was wondering how students in your state have reacted to all the storms? Do you get as much snow as we do? 

  • What do your spring and summer seasons look like? 
  • Are your summers very hot? Do you have favorite summer activities? 

  • What is your favorite season?

Welcome Post: A Little Bit About Me and How I Got to Know about Your Class

I  am so happy to meet you online. I created this blog so the students in your class have an opportunity to read a teacher's blog and write responses.

As you will learn from my posts, I live in Connecticut, which is in the northeast part of the United States. It is a small state, and you might not know much about Connecticut.

On the other hand, I hope to learn about Iowa from you. I once stayed in Iowa, but it was only for a few days and a long time ago, so I don't remember much other than seeing lots of farms.

I used to teach English to students in grades 7 through 12. I now teach in a college in Connecticut, The University of Saint Joseph. I teach different courses, but I know your teacher, Mr. Boylen, because students in my graduate education courses, who are teachers, have been blogging back and forth with students in Mr. Boylen's classes. They read the students' posts and write replies.

Mr. Boylen and I decided it would be fun for me to keep a blog and for you to read it and write replies. But I need your help, so want to know what kinds of topics interest you. I am hoping you leave a reply.

For now, I am including a picture of the University where I teach and some pictures from one of the classroom where I teach.

This is one of the main buildings on the University campus. We have about another 15 buildings, including dorms where students live and a big athletic center, and lots of playing fields.

Here are students in my one of my classes composing their first blog posts.

Here is a close up of one of the students working on finding pictures to put in one of her blog posts.

If you want me to post more pictures of the students at work or my university campus, just let me know. I posted just these few so you can picture where I teach.

Most of all, let me know what topics you think it would be good for me to blog about that would be of interest to students in your class.

Great meeting. Look forward to your replies.