So You Want to be a Writer
*NEW* WIND RIVER Prokaryotic Biology
Small lakes dot the area with names like Lily Lake and Mary Lake. I have to wonder who these women are who are so special to have a lake named after them. I think Donna Lake or Lake Donna has a nice ring to it. Don
 
*NEW* Treska Trivia - A Slice of Life

HANGING in DUMONT

 
Home
As a 1st and 3rd grade teacher, Donna has an enthusiastic audience for her stories, and she draws many story ideas from her students. Donna’s passion for writing parallels her enthusiasm for teaching and she feels very fortunate that each complements the other.
 
Flowers Around the World
c0054

Hope you liked all of my brothers and sisters!

 
Fotos of Phrends
AARON MITCHELL and  DAVID
              March 2006

Here is David with a professor friend of his, Dr. Aaron Mitchell. Aaron is the Department Chairman for the Microbiology Department at Columbia University.

This picture was taken on March 7, 2006, which was David's first day back to work after the Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) he suffered on January 13, 2005. It was a long-awaited day. It was a happy day!
 
David and Aaron are outside the office of Dr. Gerald D. Fischbach, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine for the College of Physicians and Surgeons. David was officially welcomed back by both Aaron and the Dean. An article and a picture can be seen at IN VIVO The Newsletter of Columbia University Medical Center. (scroll down)
david-&-aaron-mitchell-2006
When David was an inpatient at Kessler Institute of Rehabilitation, Aaron visited David at least once a week, but more often twice, or three times. He was a welcome face at the door. I loved his quirky sense of humor and his quick smile. David and Aaron discussed scientific research and the goings-on in the labs at Columbia, but mostly Aaron kept David apprised of his students' progress. Aaron's visits continued at our home after David was released from Kessler until his return to his lab.

Before David's trauma, I hadn't know Aaron well. Sure, we met at dinners to honor retirees or at parties to celebrate a student's successful thesis defense. I was occasionally invited to a dinner in Manhattan with other professors and their spouses when the department was hosting a speaker, but at the end of the day, the professors scattered to the edges of the tri-state area. Columbia's position in the northwest corner of Manhattan did not make socializing easy. Though the circumstances were unfortunate through which I got to know Aaron, I am very glad I did. He is an intelligent, kind, and sensitive man and I am so glad that he has become a good friend to both David and me.


 
Random Stuff
yes-we-did


 History was made that night on November 4th, 2008.


American voices were heard and change is on the way. Obama, with more than 349 electoral votes to McCain's 163 electoral-mapovertook the vote early in the evening.


Florida, New Mexico, Virginia and my home state of Pennsylvania who, usually, vote Republican . . . went blue.



                            Victory is Sweet!

I'll take . . .
that-one
obama-acceptance-speech-ch
 
On Teaching
KIDS COMMENT in 2007-2008

Mrs. Figurski's class is the best class in the whole wide world. My favorite game is Race for a Flat.
Michael

My teacher is a nice teacher. You can have fun in 1st grade.
Devi

First grade can be difficult. My teacher is fun. My teacher makes projects. My teacher likes me. She is the best teacher. My teacher can do anything.
Barry

I like first grade because we write a lot. I like projects. I like when Mrs. Figurski reads Meish Goldish.
Matty

First grade is fun. I play games. I made a book, too. Mrs. Figurski is a nice teacher. Mrs. Figurski made first grade fun.
Carlo

It was fun in first grade, but it's time for an end. Mrs. Figurski made a lot of fun things like Alpha Dice and Alpha Patterns. Mrs. Figurski likes frogs. Mrs. Figurski is the best teacher in the whole wide world.
Kev

I love first grade. First grade is not like kindergarten. Our favorite teacher is Mrs. Figurski.
Cait

I like my teacher. My teacher is cool. My teacher teaches. My teacher likes kids.
Jeremy

In first grade you learn how to read.
Chris

You need a backpack in first grade.
Nicky

First grade is fun. You do projects. You play games. You do stuff and you don't know that you are learning. If you are in Mrs. Figurski's class, you are in the right class. When you are done with first grade, you go to second grade.
Jen


 
My Family Album
toy-train kiersten-weighing-a-baby







Here's Kiersten -- weighing in a brand new baby who she just delivered. Kiersten is a home birth midwife and she loves it!
February 2009
 
My Writing Life
BOOKS ABOUT the CRAFT of WRITING
 
Children\'s Writers Workshop

Vision for the Children's Writers Workshop

 
Student Memories
 
"I think I can! I think I can! I think I can!" said my little engine, Nicole. And I knew she could. And she did!
 
KINDLING WORDS: the RETREAT 2005
MEMORIES of KINDLING WORDS 2004
 
Teacher/Book Reviewer
SOME of MY FAVORITE BOOKS
 
?OLE! Mexico ?OLE!
GRADUATION
 
*NEW* TBI Traumatic Brain Injury - A Living Nightmare
Terryn & David
									Always trying new things.
Terryn & David
Always trying new things.
 
Terryn & David
Terryn & David
TA-DA!!!!!
Showing Off Again
I Love It!
Terryn and David working on the computer.
									Looking at scientific slides 
									and practic
Terryn and David working on the computer.
Looking at scientific slides
and practicing giving a talk.
 

This is TERRYN!


She is AMAZING!


His Occupational Therapist, Terryn Davis’, dynamic personality and her passion and exuberance for her profession was so apparent as she worked with David. She went above and beyond and her laughter is a medicine all its own. She is AMAZING. We couldn't stop laughing. Her giggles resounded from the walls of the gym as she coaxed David through some pretty difficult and sometimes funny contortions, while trying to improve his fine motor skills and balance. Terryn made coming to the gym so much fun and I very rarely missed a session.
 
*NEW* Strange Happenings
Donna's
Donna's
Starter
Bead
 
Monique 
with 
Diamond Gem
Donna 
with 
Stainless Steel 
Starter Bead
Monique
with
Diamond Gem
Donna
with
Stainless Steel
Starter Bead
 
Monique's
Monique's
Sparkly
Gem
 
So, of course, I wanted one, too. If you look closely, you can see the little bead that rests on my teeth. Monique has a tiny diamond, which tips the top of her teeth, too. Unfortunately, as a starter, I can only get the stainless steel bead, until the piercing heals, but at least it matches my nose bead. Oh, the nose bead is another story . . .
 
Fotos of Phrends
RON and LIZ LEAVITT
            June 2006

Liz and Ron Leavitt have been our friends for many, many years. David and Ron were both in Dr. Donald Helinski’s laboratory during the mid 1970s at the University of California at San Diego. UCSD
lizleavittcardiff2006  ronleavittcardiff2006
ronleavittdavidcardiff2006
Though the years have passed, and though we don’t see each other often, our friendship has endured. So, that when we all got together in San Diego in June of 2006 to honor Dr. Donald Helinski (David's and Ron's mentor) in his retirement, it was just like yesterday. So many things have changed in all of our lives, but our friendship remains the same.
 
*NEW* WIND RIVER Prokaryotic Biology
Lily Lake 
nestled between the mountains
Lily Lake
nestled between the mountains
 
Donna & Trish
nestled between views of 
LilyLake
We strolled around this mile roun
Donna & Trish
nestled between views of
LilyLake
We strolled around this mile round lake
talking talking talking
 
Lily Lake tucked between 
Longs Peak 
and 
Twin Sisters Peaks
Lily Lake tucked between
Longs Peak
and
Twin Sisters Peaks
Bare Naked Tree
Silent Inhabitant of Lily Lake
Bare Naked Tree
Silent Inhabitant of Lily Lake
 
Rather Noisy
Inhabitant of Lily Lake
He came right up to be photographed.
No shyne
Rather Noisy
Inhabitant of Lily Lake
He came right up to be photographed.
No shyness here.
 
 
*NEW* Treska Trivia - A Slice of Life
Treska at the Dumont Library
She loves to read, read, read.
Treska at the Dumont Library
She loves to read, read, read.
 
Treska at Giovanni's Pizza Shop
waiting and reading
I told you she loved to read.
Treska at Giovanni's Pizza Shop
waiting and reading
I told you she loved to read.
Giovanni's has the best pizza. YUM!
Treska reading outside 
the hairdressers.
Treska reading outside
the hairdressers.
 

 
Home
Donna is proud to note that she was nominated for and included in the 2000 edition of Who's Who Among America's Teachers . This was a great honor since the nomination was from a former 1st grade student who was a High School senior at the time of the nomination. Since this first honor, Donna has also been nominated and included in both the 2004 and the 2006 editions of Who's Who Among America's Teachers.
 
Random Stuff
 
        They say to bring in the new and . . .  oops, I think they meant "RING."
 
bells-4-

Too late!

Since I thought the saying went to "BRING" in the new, I did! I brought a new car into to my life and into my driveway. A Ford ESCAPE!
It's Tungsten Gray - so pretty!


AND . . . here it is.

ford-escape






It was sad to see my TRIBUTE go.

I had it for six years and it never gave me any trouble, but it was time to smell new leather. Nothing like a new car smell!
                                     So, farewell to my TRIBUTE.

                                   I hope someone else will love it as much as I did.

             

                           I KNOW THEY WILL!
                    tribute2007    
______________________________________________________________________
 
My Family Album
BROTHERS' BREAKFAST
July 1, 2008

It happens once a month in Erie Pennsylvania. Six brothers, a few cousins and many wives, all more than 70 years of age, converge on Peggy's, a storefront restaurant in the Liberty Plaza. They meet to talk politics. They talk about their children and grandchildren. They talk about their latest surgeries and who has the newest knee or hip. They talk about days gone by and days to come. They share brotherly comaraderie for two hours, then promise to meet again the following month.

Eggs and bacon, cheese omelettes, short stacks and high stacks of pancakes with butter and hot maple syrup, and hash browns and toast, glasses of orange juice and tomato juice cover the table. YUM!

I'm talking about the Figurski Brothers and here you can meet some of them.
ben-&-phyllis-2008





Here are Ben & Phyllis Ferguson.





 
On Teaching

teacher-border










                   I decided to go back to school.

I registered for three graduate courses this summer through the Regional Training Center of the College of New Jersey.back-to-school

The first course I took was called Expanding Student Thinking in the Classroom. Two fantastic instructors named, Nina and Margaret, taught it. That duo made each day so much fun while they shared so many strategies and techniques. It was almost as if they had the course choreographed. Nina easily finished Margaret’s thoughts while Margaret quickly slipped her ideas in without missing a beat.

The teachers/students who took the course ranged from first grade (me) through high school. Special teachers like music teachers and guidance counselors rounded out the class. It was a fun group.

We worked together devising learning situations. We planned a variety of lessons. My favorite was when my group had to sell a dingle-hopper. Yep . . . a dingle-hopper! It not only feeds your pet rabbit, it cleans up after him, too. Don’t wait! If you call 888-876-5432 in the next five minutes you will also receive a giant dingle-hopper for your pet elephant. (If you have one, it’s a great deal.) Let me tell you, I’ll never look at a melon scooper in the same way again.
schoolhouseimages
That may not seem like graduate course work, but it was. It demonstrated how to steer students to think out of the box. It showed how to guide students to expand their thinking both in and out of the classroom.

For my final project I wrote four lesson plans with four rationale papers to support the lessons. These lessons were designed for third grade level, but can easily be adapted for grades K through five. I can’t wait to try them in my own classroom this fall. grad girl blue ribbonimages
 
The best part of all is that out of 25 possible points for the class, I earned 25. That’s an “A!” YEAH!

                                Below are some of my fellow classmates.grad-school-expanded-thinki


          Ross, Deborah, Bill, Marcia,
                             Rebekah, and Gail

 

                                            We had so much fun.


                                 
 
My Writing Life
Elements of Fiction Writing: Conflict, Action & Suspense by William Noble
Elements of Fiction Writing: Plot by Ansen Dibell
Writing the Novel From Plot to Print by Lawrence Block
On Writing by Stephen King
 
Children\'s Writers Workshop

I expect the chat will start out slowly as Sue and I get the lay of the new land. We will be in the workshop room each Thursday evening from 9pm until 10pm EST to greet you and to spend time talking the business of children's publishing. It will be an informal setting. So, feel free to drop in and remember you can bring a friend.


 
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