Thursday, October 12, 2017

Book Tour: Color of Evil Series Boxed Set by Connie Corcoran Wilson with Interview, My Thoughts, Excerpt and Giveaway!


Welcome to my book blog and my day on the tour, it is my pleasure to present:

Color Of Evil Series Boxed Set by Connie Corcoran Wilson


Publisher:  Quad Cities’ Press (Aug, 2017)
Category: YA, Psychological Paranormal Thriller
Tour Dates: Oct/Nov, 2017
Available in: E-book, 725 Pages

THE COLOR OF EVIL series presents you with characters who live, breathe and die in small town Cedar Falls, Iowa. Tad McGreevy, the focus of the series, has a paranormal power, Tetrachromatic Super Vision, that allows him to see auras that tell him whether a person is good or evil. At night, in horrifying nightmares, Tad relives the crimes of the evil-doers. Eventually, becomes the target of a particularly lethal antagonist, Michael Clay (aka Pogo the Clown) who wants to eliminate the teen-aged boy. In three books, we witness the power of evil faced off against a good-hearted young boy who just wants to protect those he loves. Beginning with the first manifestations of this supernatural power at the age of 8, the book quickly takes us forward to the high school years of Tad and the band of friends we come to know well. We follow their progress from their junior year of high school through graduation with danger always lurking in the background. As others have said, it’s quite a ride.

Begin the journey today with this specially-priced trilogy: THE COLOR OF EVIL; RED IS FOR RAGE; and KHAKI=KILLER.. "THE COLOR OF EVIL series is old-school psychological horror, artfully blended with new-school shocks and twists. Bravo!" --Jonathan Maberry, New York Times best-selling author, multiple Bram Stoker winner.


Praise for Color Of Evil Series Boxed Set by Connie Corcoran Wilson

‘The book has all the elements of a compelling mystery and an inventive paranormal twist. One must credit Wilson for treating her teenage protagonists with respect, as they face adult dilemmas and resolve them with maturity and grace."- Kirkus

"Connie Corcoran Wilson weaves a deftly fine scalpel in an age where a crude blade is more the norm. Her work is a smooth, subtle hybrid mix of science fiction, thriller, and horror that realizes a unique and pointed vision in the great tradition of Phillip K. Dick and Ray Bradbury. Her voice is a wonder to behold, at once dark and somber while maintaining a glimmer of hope that shines in the hearts of her heroes, who cling to the light. Like Stephen King, nothing escapes her discerning eye, the result of which is tale after tale that bleed life onto the page, both literally and figuratively."--Jon Land, bestselling author of the Caitlin Strong Series

 "Wilson's characters come alive on the page. Comparisons to Stephen King, Dean Koontz and Philip K. Dick aside, Wilson has spent 33 years teaching students in this age range. She knows what she is talking about."--Gary Braver, author of "Flashback" and 8 other thrillers.


About Connie Corcoran Wilson

Connie (Corcoran) Wilson (MS + 30) graduated from the University of Iowa and Western Illinois University, with additional study at Northern Illinois, the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Chicago.

She taught writing at six Iowa/Illinois colleges and has written for five newspapers and seven blogs, including Yahoo, which named her its 2008 Content Producer of the Year.  She covers politics and entertainment and writes for The Movie Blog, QuadCities.com and her own blog, WeeklyWilson.com.

 She is a member of ITW (International Thriller Writers) and a member of IWPA (Illinois Women’s Press Association, Chicago chapter), which awarded her its Silver Feather Award in 2012 and 2014, MWA (Midwest Writers Association), AWP (American Writing Program) and MWC (Midwest Writing Center), which named her its Writer of the Year in 2010. She has won numerous E-Lit awards, a NABE Pinnacle award, an ALMA (American Literary Merit Award),  Lucky Cinda competition and two IWPA Silver Feather Awards (2012, 2014).

Her stories and interviews with writers like David Morrell, Joe Hill, Kurt Vonnegut, Frederik Pohl, William F. Nolan,  Anne Perry, r. Barri Flowers, Valerie Plame, Allen Zadoff and Jon Land have appeared online and in numerous journals.

Her work has won prizes from “Whim’s Place Flash Fiction,” “Writer’s Digest” (Screenplay) and she has 30 published works. Connie reviewed film and books for the Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa) for 12 years, wrote humor columns and conducted interviews for the (Moline, Illinois)  Dispatch. Connie has three ongoing series: THE COLOR OF EVIL, HELLFIRE & DAMNATION (short stories organized around the crimes or sins punished at each of the levels of Hell in Dante’s Inferno) and THE CHRISTMAS CATS, which she writes for her granddaughters. (www.TheColorOfEvil.com; www.RedIsforRage.com; www.KhakiEqualsKiller.com; www.HellfireAndDamnationTheBook.com; www.TheXmasCats.com)

Connie lives in East Moline, Illinois with husband Craig and in Chicago, Illinois and Austin, Texas. Son Scott and wife Jessica and granddaughters Ava and Elise live in Austin and her daughter, Stacey, currently flies for Southwest Airlines and flies from Denver, Colorado.

Connie on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ConnieCWilson 
Connie on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Connie-Corcoran-Wilson/275020829241869 Connie on Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/conniecwilson/

Interview with Beverly

Why did you choose the color Khaki for Khaki=Killer (Color of Evil, Book 3)?

A:  I felt that the normal, average color thought to be “evil” would be black, and, in the interests of not doing the normal, ordinary, predictable thing, I chose khaki both because it was alliterative and because I didn’t want to do what everybody else has done.  Also, there was/is a possibility that khaki, the color associated with the military, might, some day, somehow, enter as a plot point. (If you knew of a young person who could sort of “see” the future, don’t you think the military would eventually enter to find out if that individual could be weaponized or used to their advantage?) And, lastly, there was a funny story involving the years when people were “having their colors” done and a girlfriend said she had her colors “done” at some make-up place for a cut-rate price. I asked her what color she got, and she said,”Khaki.”  I believe my response, knowing how cheap this joint had been, was, “Well, you get what you pay for.”

Where do you get the names for your characters?

A: Sometimes, the characters in my books have actual names that are similar to people I have met and/or know, or I have had a student who had a close-but-no-cigar name and I am thinking of that person when I write. It has been pointed out to me that I should not select names that are too similar for main characters (example: Shannon and Sharon) and I agree totally, since it is sometimes the case that I mistakenly type in the wrong name. I have even gone so far as to put a list of characters in the back of the third book---sort of a scorecard to help readers keep the people straight.

You quote from movies quite a bit, if the series were to be made into a movie what actors would you like to play the main characters?

A:  I envision Tom Holland (the newest “Spiderman”) as Tad. Stevie would be a harder cast, but the minute I saw Tom Holland in the tsumani movie with Naomi Watts, I knew he was Tad. Jenny would resemble a younger Reese Witherspoon and Reese has a young look-alike daughter, so this would be perfect for her. As for the girls, they are pretty well described and I did think of one particular television actress who played an Italian character on a series that ran some years ago about “American Bandstand,” but, otherwise, the casting people could have fun with it. Some of the young actors who appear in “Stranger Things” might be interesting for Chris Turgasen, the clarinet-playing dweeb. I think the cast could be mainly young up-and-coming actors and actresses who are trying to gain a foothold in the business, and, therefore, this would make a thrilling film, but not an expensive one from the standpoint of paying big bucks for a lot of special effects or star power. (Directors: take note).

What draws you to the paranormal thriller genre?

A:  I initially wrote a short story that appeared in my short story series “Hellfire & Damnation” involving Tad and I had left poor Tad McGreevy in a very bad way. I felt guilt about how he ended up in the short story and I vowed to write him out of the corner I had written him IN to, and that was how the entire series began. The first 3 chapters of the book are that short story, revisited. The rest is me imagining how we could get Tad back to normal. I have read a fair number of authors considered “paranormal,”--- mainly the ones I am compared to the most (i.e., Stephen King, Philip K. Dick and Dean Koontz). I feel that the “paranormal” things I have written about are generally much more “real” and could really happen in real life, whereas I don’t feel that way about some of Dean Koontz’s books. I would repeat that there really IS an affliction like the one that Tad has, where colors are extremely vivid, etc. It’s just the “reliving in nightmares” part that is different from the real life affliction.
 
There are some very frightening scenes in the book, what is the most frightening to you?  Have you had nightmares about the book?

A:  I think the scenes at Old Man Isham’s cabin are among the most frightening in Book One, but the scene on the bridge depicted on the cover of Book Three certainly qualifies as scary. The only book that ever gave me nightmares was “Pet Semetary.” Also, the first book is much more “horror” because, at that time, I was an active voting member of HWA. I later moved to ITW (International Thriller Writers) and I think the last two books are far more suspenseful New YA thriller than horror. I fit in better with the thriller crowd, as I wasn’t overly gory, even in Book One, and the writers in ITW are more like me in terms of age, education, writing ability and interests.

Describe the room you are sitting in as though it was a scene in one of your books.

A:  “The light from the fake Tiffany lamp shone over a scene of disarray. Books, papers, Kleenexes, empty wine glasses: all contributed to the feeling that this room had been occupied for a very long time. In the distance, the bones of the fake dinosaur skeleton positioned outside the Field Museum, dimly lit, provided a ghoulish touch.  A spider was making his way skittishly up the outside of the window. The black hair thing seemed to be judging the writer seated in the swivel chair, assessing whether or not the spider could gain access to the writer’s lair. A large poster of Janet Leigh in “Psycho” dominated the wall opposite the computer and desk. “Back to Black” played in the background, bringing to mind the tragic life and death of Amy Winehouse. This was obviously a place where someone had been hard at work, but what had that person been doing?”

Imagine you have entered the 'Twilight Zone', and you travel into the book.  Write about that experience.

A:  “The Twilight Zone” featured some interesting and weird settings (and characters). My books feature a seemingly normal small Iowa town.  From the outside and on the surface, all is well. God’s in his heaven and all’s right with the world. It is only when you scratch that surface that all hell breaks loose.

What are you currently working on?

A:  I have about 150 pages written of a 4th book in this series. I am going to be paying attention to the comments of the tour hosts, like you, to see if anyone is interested in reading more about the students of  Sky High who graduate at the end of Book #3.. In Book #4, they either go off to college or enter the work force and real life. Maybe nobody really cares about these characters any more and thinks the series should end here. I recently read a post on David Morrell’s writer’s blog where he said he hadn’t written a line in over 14 months because he just didn’t know what his readers wanted to read any more, so I’m not alone in wondering if anyone else has enjoyed reading about Tad and Stevie and Jenny and the rest of the gang. I also have been bringing the female characters more to the fore in Book #4, which could be considered bad or could be considered good. I’m here in Chicago to cover the Chicago International Film Festival for three blogs (www.TheMovieBlog.com, www.QuadCities.com, www.WeeklyWilson.com) and the Big News is that so many of the films are now from female directors. Part of the time, I feel that the female characters in “The Color of Evil” series deserve bigger and better roles and exposure, and part of the time I remind myself that it is Tad McGreevy who is “the hero” and has the paranormal extraordinary power, so I then try to put the focus back on  Tad and his visions. If nobody thinks the boxed set is worth reading or feels that they’ve had enough (of this series), perhaps I will simply shelve the half book I currently have written and THE COLOR OF EVIL  will remain a trilogy for all time.

Is there a question that you would have liked me to ask you?

A:  Well, this is really part of the last question, but I’m working hard to write about the new films and documentaries from all over the world that I’m seeing at 2 back-to-back film festivals (Chicago’s and Austin’s), so I’d like my readers to go FIRST to www.WeeklyWilson.com to read my thoughts about those films. After that, by all means hit up the much bigger www.TheMovieBlog.com, but that blog gets 4 million hits a day and has beaucoup readers, so try mine first, because mine will be longer and more in-depth than what I am allowed to write for The Movie Blog. I’ve been reviewing film continuously since 1970, which is 47 years, so you will also be getting a good guide to what you might like and what to avoid.
Thank you so much for your thoughtful questions and participating in THE COLOR OF EVIL blog tour.

Follow Color Of Evil Series by Connie Corcoran Wilson Tour

Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus Sept 29 Review & Giveaway 
Gayle Books Reviews Etc Oct 3 Review
Beverly's Book Blog Oct 13 Review, Excerpt, Interview, & Giveaway 
Dawn Bound 2 Escape Oct 10 Excerpt & Giveaway
Angélica Amazon Review Nov 1 Review
Jessica JBronder Book Reviews Nov 8 Review
Shannon The Pulp and Mystery Shelf Nov 13 Excerpt & Interview
Donna Amazon Review Nov 15 Review
Cheryl's Book Nook Nov 21 Review, Excerpt, & Giveaway 
Dawn Bound 2 Escape Nov 28 Review
Dr. Jacques Coulardeau Amazon Review Nov 28 Review
Lisa Lisa's Writopia Nov 29 Review
Erica Bassgiraffe's Thoughts Nov 30 Review
Lorna Amazon Review Nov 30 Review
*This schedule is subject to change.
My Thoughts:

My first scary clown story was Stephen King's IT and I never thought I would read another clown story.  When I saw the cover of The Color of Evil, I almost emailed and said I couldn't read the book; but I decided that after years and years, I could handle another clown story. I was pleased that I took a chance on it.  When offered the opportunity to read Red is for Rage, I didn't hesitate and was very excited to be included in the tour for Khaki=Killer. With that being said, I was just as excited when I found out about the boxed set tour and am so glad to have the opportunity to participate in sharing information about these books.

My thoughts:
I enjoyed revisiting Connie's books!  I was right back in again and as frightened and horrified as if I had never read the books before.  Connie is a master storyteller and creates characters that grab on and hold you throughout the telling of the story.

The opportunity to read all the books without awaiting the next installment of the story was a huge plus!  Read them in a well-lit room!

Read my thoughts of book one below the image.
My thoughts:
This is a chilling, gruesome tale.  Not a read for the faint of heart.  There is no end to the sick and twisted nature of some of the characters in this story.  

I need to begin my review with a side note:  I read for the happy ending.  Always.  Regardless of the type of story - romance, paranormal, thriller, horror, fantasy... 
I am always waiting for that moment at the end where it all comes together.  That moment where the bad guy gets caught, love is finally found, you know - THAT moment.  Closure.
Some books hang at the end and you know that there will be another to come.  This is that kind of ending.  You get a little bit of loose end tying, but for the most part we will all be awaiting the next book to find THAT moment.

The characters in this book stand out because they garnered such a dramatic reaction.  

They are mostly all evil or at least bad.  (With the exception of a few).  The author has created characters that got an immediate response from me; some of those responses being, "Shame on them!" or "Wow, what a yucky person."   

I was repulsed by Pogo the Clown.  I have an aversion to clowns in stories - well, because they are always the worst of the worst as bad guys and the author has created the ultimate bad guy in Pogo the Clown. 

As a person and a parent, I found myself automatically emotionally attached to Stevie and Tad.  I am that person who always picks the runt, the left out, and the unwanted.
As a teacher, my heart cried out for them being bullied and abused by students and I was outraged and sickened by the bullying and abuse at the hands of the school staff.  

The setting is local for me, which I think is great.  But the town is filled with unhappiness, resentment, jealousy and despair.  The author does a nice job of describing the people in the story and their lives.  The overall mood of the book is dark, overshadowed by the darkness of unsavory people.  

One repeating theme to the story was how small the world is and how things happen and the number of people affected by those things.  Another theme, to me, was choices.  How a person could choose to walk away from their life, but that sometimes because of the choices that are made sometimes their life walks away from them.  

The plot twists around itself and you wonder who will be caught, who is going to get away with what, and who gets to "win" in the end.  

A rollercoaster ride of terror.  I am sure that I will be looking for the next book so that I can find out what happens at the end of this road.


Click HERE for my review of Red is for Rage

Click HERE for my review of Khaki=Killer

Excerpt from Red Is for Rage

By Connie (Corcoran) Wilson

Chapter One:  CherryWood Lane, Cedar Falls, Iowa, August 28, 2004


     She stood there, white dress covered in blood, clutching the 38-caliber revolver, body shaking uncontrollably. Some of the viscous, red liquid dripped from the handle of the small silver gun. Drop by grisly drop, the blood splattered the pavement of the driveway below. Sarah Eisenstadt, still clutching the gun tightly, did not notice. She seemed to be in an entirely different dimension---somewhere not of this Earth.
     Andrea SanGiovanni was at home. It was 4:30 p.m. It was not Andrea’s normal routine to stop by her new house on CherryWood Lane, next door to the Eisenstadts. She had promised Jenny she’d pick up her new tennis shoes for cheerleader tryouts and take them to her at school. School was to start in three days. Jenny’s senior year. The Olympics were underway in Greece. Andrea had a good feeling about this, Jenny’s senior year. She had barely seen her daughter, save for the Christmas crush. She was anxious to make the new house on CherryWood Lane into a new start for both of them.
    The report of Sarah’s revolver within the SanGiovannis’ house was muffled. At first, Andrea thought it was a car backfiring. It wasn’t until Sarah emerged from the house and, half-tottered, half-stumbled down the driveway that Andrea looked out her kitchen window, saw her next-door neighbor and murmured, “Oh, my God!”
    Sarah Eisenstadt looked like she was having some sort of fit. Although she was still on her feet, Sarah’s slender frame was shaking violently. Her gray hair, usually pulled back in a tidy bun, was disheveled. Her eyes were wide and wild, staring into space.
    Although, later, Andrea would question why she had quickly approached the obviously distraught woman---why she had not feared for her own safety---Andrea always reacted with courage under fire. She seemed to have total disregard for her own safety if the occasion warranted it. Andrea had saved Belinda Chandler’s life by remaining “calm, cool and collected” on another occasion in the Heights, in the face of a convicted killer with a knife who had then taken them both hostage. She hadn’t hesitated then. Andrea SanGiovanni didn’t hesitate now. She quickly ran outside.
     “Sarah! Sarah! What is it? What’s the matter?”
     “I killed them. I killed them both.” Sarah seemed to be talking to herself. Her words were just barely audible.
    “Killed who? Who did you kill? Should I call 911? Is there an intruder?” Andrea was taken so off-guard that she was still clutching Jenny’s pink Reeboks in her hands, her fingers clutching the white laces tightly.
     “They were disobedient. They were mouthy. They didn’t listen to me. They didn’t do as they were told.” Sarah still seemed to be in some sort of fog. Her comments were not explaining the situation.
     “Who are you talking about? Who did you shoot?” Andrea was becoming more and more agitated, but Sarah seemed calmer but less lucid each moment.
   “The children…”

Monday, September 4, 2017

My thoughts: The Blue Curtain by L.G. Metcalf

Amazon product description:
EXTRAORDINARILY SUSPENSEFUL, THE BLUE CURTAIN IS AN EPIC TALE OF LOVE, DESTINY, MAGIC AND SEDUCTION Devastated by her father’s brutal murder, seventeen-year-old Emily Bliss is determined to find his killers, even after everyone else has given up. As Emily attempts to follow their trail, she encounters a mysterious stranger at a party. Beneath his handsome looks, physical prowess, vast wealth, intimidating presence and hypnotizing eyes, she can sense that he is tormented by demons that she cannot yet fathom. Soon Emily is shocked yet thrilled to realize that she is falling uncontrollably in love with him to the point of obsession and that she is willing say or do anything to make him stay. But an early birthday gift Emily’s father left for her has revealed secrets about her life, buried centuries ago, that will hurl her into a dark underworld that she never dreamed existed and point to a great destiny awaiting her, if only she can survive long enough to seize it...

My thoughts:  The Blue Curtain is a book about the power of love.  What would you do for love?  
In this story, the main characters (Emily and Mitchell) are both driven by love; Emily by the love of her father and her desire to bring his killer to justice, and Mitchell at the start of the book, by the love of his people and then throughout the rest of the book by his love for Marigold and his desire to be reunited with her at all cost, no matter what or where that might be.  All the characters in the story are driven by desire; some for power, money, or glory and some are driven by more noble desires such as loyalty, love, faith, friendship and the goal of a better world.  This book holds true to the classic idea of good versus evil, but spins it in a suspensful tale of magical creatures, mysterious pasts and unknown futures.  
Emily is a present day high school student, from Maine, who is not popular at school and leads a fairly ordinary life until her father is murdered and she decides that she needs to find the killer and bring him to justice.  Mitchell is from England in the 1500's, but has become a vampire and is searching for a way to be reunited with the love of his life.  
The book unfolds in alternating chapters featuring each of these main characters, until chapter sixteen when their stories collide and they meet.  The story swifty takes the reader on a journey through their lives, all the while planting seeds of wonder with coincidence, mystery and similarities.  
The reader is left wondering how these two people are connected when they different on so many levels and how the story will unfold, thus turning the pages faster and faster to find out the answer and see where the author will take the story.  I don't want to add any spoilers or tell any secrects, so I will not say anything further about the story...
The book does not end in a cliffhanger, but some of the mysteries are revealed and others are left for the next phase of the story in book two.  I enjoyed the book and will be looking for Stars Hide Your Fires when it comes out.
  
I was given this book in exchange for an honest review.

Buy Link:  Amazon

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The Wormhole Book Blog is now Beverly's Book Blog!

I took a break from reviewing books - sometimes life takes a turn we least expect... but alas, now I am back and reading and reviewing books again - hooray!

There is a link on the side of the blog that will take you to The Wormhole and the reviews and posts there.

I am looking forward to getting back to being a participating member of the bookblogging world!

Stay tuned for more...

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

My thoughts: The Innovator's Mindset by George Couros


Amazon product description: 
Kids walk into schools full of wonder and questions. How you, as an educator, respond to students’ natural curiosity can help further their own exploration and shape the way they learn today and in the future.

The traditional system of education requires students to hold their questions and compliantly stick to the scheduled curriculum. But our job as educators is to provide new and better opportunities for our students. It’s time to recognize that compliance doesn’t foster innovation, encourage critical thinking, or inspire creativity—and those are the skills our students need to succeed.

In THE INNOVATOR'S MINDSET, George Couros encourages teachers and administrators to empower their learners to wonder, to explore—and to become forward-thinking leaders. 

If we want innovative students, we need innovative educators. In other words, innovation begins with you. Ultimately, innovation is not about a skill set but about mindset.

THE INNOVATOR'S MINDSET is for you if: 
•You are a superintendent, district administrator, or principal who wants to empower your staff to create a culture of innovation.
•You are a school leader—at any level—and want help students and educators become their personal best.
•You are a teacher who wants to create relevant learning experiences and help students develop the skills they need to be successful.

THE INNOVATOR'S MINDSET includes practical suggestions for unleashing your students’ and teachers’ talent. You’ll also read encouraging accounts of leaders and learners who are innovating “inside the box.” 

You'll be inspired to:
•Connect with other innovative educators
•Support teachers and leaders as learners 
•Tap into the strengths of your learning community
•Create ongoing opportunities for innovation
•Seek more effective methods for measuring progress 
•And, most importantly, embrace change and use it to do something amazing


My thoughts: 
I was excited when I found a class that was a book discussion about this book!  I was fortunate enough to have attended a presentation by George Couros and was able to meet him and purchase his book.  I liked the idea of reading it with a group of other educators.  

I found the book to be inspirational and encouraging.  I love teaching and was thrilled to find a book that carried such a great message.  I believe that innovation is essential to the success of the learners in our world and I believe that it must start with those who educate them.

In this book, the author has offered practical strategies to motivate educators and create within those educators an innovative mindset.  The book is an easy read, the pages seem to blend together as his refreshing, compelling ideas open your eyes and makes you want to get on board and be innovative.  

I truly feel that if all educators had the innovator's mindset, our students would thrive in, enjoy, participate and value the education system they spend so many years involved in.





Saturday, May 20, 2017

Innovator's Mindset by George Couros (Part 4: Task)

Unleashing Talent
Driving Question(s)?
Your Answers
Strengths – Based Leadership
Do I know and build upon the strengths of those I serve?
I do take the time to learn and build upon the strengths of the learners in my room. 

Powerful Learning First, Technology Second
Are we embracing new (and better) learning, and making decisions based on supporting these new realities?
I feel that I could improve on embracing new and better learning.  I try to embrace new learning ideas, but find myself falling back on tried and true methods. I have taken two classes this year on ways to bring new technologies into the classroom, but I have implemented only a couple of the ideas in my class and I don’t use them to their full potential.
So, realistically, I must also improve on making decisions to support these new realities.

Less Is More
What are the few purposeful areas that we are focused on? How might we align our resources to support ongoing learning and development in these areas?
I am planning to focus of two technologies for the upcoming school year – Seesaw and Twitter.
I am currently working on utilizing a digital portfolio program.  I use it now, but would like to take the time to learn more and begin using more of its options for next year.
I am on Twitter, but I am a Twitter browser and not a Tweeter.   

Embracing an Open Culture
How do we share openly and regularly to further our own learning and development?
This is an area that I feel I am on track. I take continuing education classes often (on my own and with other teachers) and attempt to implement the things I learn in my classroom.  I am always eager to hear ideas from others.  I collaborate with the other grade level teacher in my building to develop our weekly lesson plans.
I meet with the teachers in my building weekly and belong to several groups that generate ideas. 

Creating Meaningful Learning Experiences for Educators
Do our professional learning opportunities mirror the learning we want to create for our students?
I believe that some of the seminars I have attended do attempt to mirror the learning we want to create.  There is a lot of role play interaction where we are hoping to gain insight on how we can best serve the students.  The presenters at most of the staff development events I have attended recently seem to make an effort to limit the amount of lecture and impress the importance of keeping the learners engaged.  I feel that many of the learning opportunities I have had were working on making connections and relating to real world experiences.
I have seen a change over the years in professional learning environments to reflect the desire to mirror what we want to create. 

Friday, May 19, 2017

Innovator's Mindset by George Couros (Part 3 Task)

Task: Compare Dr. Ruben Puentedura’s SAMR model (http://bit.do/SAMRtl) with Bernajean Porter’s idea of moving from literate, to adaptive, to transformative (157).


The SAMR model utilizes a very clever pool analogy that captures your attention because the the simple graphics and colors.  If you go to the link (above) the information is given in text boxes that pop up when you hover over the main idea spots.  There are these extra information spots for each area of the pool, the diving board, support person, and there are also additional spots along the edges of the pool where you are able to access other resources.  There is a blog spot, a spot for feedback, a spot on the line linked to a video, and two spots that link to the creator of the model.  There is also a link in the bottom, right corner to the program used, Thinglink.

The SAMR image/resource is different in almost every way from Porter's idea listed on page 157 of George Couros' book.  It is interactive, visually stimulating, connected to various other resources, and easy for the average person to connect with.  The graphic simplifies the idea into small, but powerful pieces and then offers ideas on how to support the learner and the teacher as well as offering opportunities for the ability to achieve exponential growth.

If we stick with the "Pool analogy" and Porter's idea, the class featuring 50 tools is the kiddy pool or the shallow end (Literate).  By limiting the options, you move into deeper water (Adaptive). By providing time for exploration and collaboration you have been allowed in the deep end (Transformative).

Porter's idea is presented in print with no graphics and at first I thought that it was limited by the lack of visual aid, but then realized that the lack was in the extras.  The extras that are missing from Porter's idea completely and shown in the SAMR model are: the supports (the person standing by the pool with floatation devices), content and pedagogy (the diving board), and most important, the rope (the line that divides the pool).

These "extras" are the difference between stagnating or capping off learning and the ability to reach for unimagined possibilities.  It is the extra pieces of the SAMR model that are the key to unlimited potential.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Innovator's Mindset - Part One by George Couros

The Innovator’s Mindset by George Couros
(Part One)
My Thoughts:  From the first part of the book, I have learned that there is more to being innovative and having an innovator’s mindset than just wanting to change.  The desire and inspiration to facilitate change must be coupled with the characteristics of the innovator’s mindset.  I see that these characteristics are crucial, and that we all may struggle with one or more of them.  This is where desire will come to play.  With the desire to be a leader and an innovator, a person can work to be empathetic, a problem finder/solver, a risk taker, networked, observant, a creator, resilient and reflective. 
I learned that the old adage of “try, try again” isn’t always the right approach and that “work smarter” is a reality.  I believe that everyone has the ability to want to be a lifelong learner, given the right circumstances and that the innovator’s mindset is a key to providing students that opportunity.

So far the book is both inspirational and useful.  The mantra of an innovative educator at the end of part one is fantastic.  I found myself re-reading the mantra and thinking, “This is it! Truly, what could education become, how bright could our children shine if educators embraced this mindset.”


After reading the first part of the book, I feel motivated to get out there and start.  I realize, as the author says, that you don’t have to change everything and I am excited to look at my class and find at least one way in which I can begin.