Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Baltimore Book Festival!

Reading @the Baltimore Homeschool
The Baltimore Book Festival was the first major book festival I attended back in 2009. It seems like forever ago when I drove to Baltimore from Springfield, MA with my first published book! I did not know what to expect ... but I met MANY wonderful people that I still keep in touch with. On Thursday I headed to Baltimore to make a visit to the Baltimore Homeschool and the 19th Annual Baltimore Book Festival. The Festival has grown tremendously in 5 years and has moved from Mt. Vernon to the Inner Harbor. Here's some of my memories from this weekend!

Michelle Fewer -- Baltimore Homeschool
My new FRIENDS!!!  These kids were great!!!!!  : )
Thank you to the Baltimore Homeschool Family for allowing me to come and visit and read to the kids!  I had a fabulous time and I hope you invite me back again!!!

You meet the strangest people on the Inner Harbor!
My daughter and son-in-law!


All set up!

On stage in the Author's Tent! What a wonderful opportunity!

SAUL told us that the boy in the story had FOOD BLINDNESS --
that is why he "went out to get a donut, but came home with a  muffin!"
Saul said I need to write a book about Food Blindness!  : )

I love interacting with the kids!  They have the BEST answers!

She thinks the boy went to the wrong store!   hmmmmmm .....

So cool to have had this honor of reading at The Baltimore Book Festival!
Can't believe it's been 5 years since I was first here with just 1 book!

Answering questions

Saul and his sister!

First time I was asked to take a selfie with a student for EXTRA CREDIT!!!!!  : )

Patrick and his mother ... I hope Patrick enjoys the Muffin book!!!

The view from my table ....

Nice form ASHLEY!

Ashley has a future as a PR person -- she introduced
Christina Valenti author of
The Wheelbarrow Puppy Club

Christina and her book!
This is a great book about Christina and the pups in China!

My two roadies .... Ashley helped get kids into the Author's Tent area
and Forrest took pictures!  THANKS for all your help!!!!!
It was Amanda's 10th Birthday and she chose
A Simpler Time .... I was honored!

Believe it or not Wynona can READ A Simpler Time!
What a sweet girl and I'm glad she was happy with her new book!
After a L O N G day ... I could not wait to get CRAB CAKES
These were AWESOME!  Bubba Gumps!  YUM!!!!!

I just told Forrest that if your name was Forrest and you eat
at Bubba Gumps you should get something free and they should sing you a song
or something .... and he started singing
"Your name is Forrest, you're a swell guy .... "
I almost lost it!  lol!!!!!!!

GOOD NIGHT Baltimore Book Festival

Wednesday, September 17, 2014



-- the development of events beyond a person's control, regarded as determined by a supernatural power .... destiny, serendipity, karma.

In 1999, we lived in Georgia .... seems like AGES ago ... We found this 1963 Mercury Comet and absolutely fell in love with it. We used it that year as our Christmas Card picture AND then Steven sent the picture to the Mercury Magazine and it was chosen to be on the Mercury Magazine cover in the Summer of 2000.

The Christmas Card said .... The Eckroat's ON COMET!
When we moved to Massachusetts, we decided to sell the Comet -- one, because our new house only had a carriage house for a horse (definitely NOT a garage) and two, we did not want the car to rust because of the snow and the salt/sand used on the roads. We sold it to a boy who was a Junior in
High School at the time and said that he always wanted an old car and he would cherish it ....
We've often wondered if he still had the car? We were sad that we sold the car ... and just hoped that it had a good home.
Last evening, on a whim, Steven "googled" Mercury's in Atlanta ... and the FIRST link he clicked on was a 1963 red Mercury Comet for sale ... OUR COMET! 
We reminisced about it and talked about how much we missed that cute little car.
Steven called the dealer and found out it was there about 9 days ... he told the owner of the shop that he thought it was the car we had when we lived in Georgia .... the owner went out to the car and opened the glove box .... and there it was ... the packet of receipts and all of Steven's notes about the car.  Steven called me and told me the story and I told him -- it's FATE .... we found the little car we both LOVED .... we decided it had to be back in our family ....
He called the dealer back and the man loved our story and is selling it back to us at what he just bought it for .... he's not making a DIME on the car!
SO ..... Our Mercury Comet will be shipped to our FORT WORTH home VERY SOON!
On dasher, on dancer, on prance, on vixen, on COMET, on cupid, on donner, and blitzen.
So ... is it FATE .... I certainly think so!!
The 1963 Mercury Comet -- in Alpharetta, GA -- can't wait for
it to join us in Fort Worth, TX

Sunday, September 14, 2014

East Texas Book Festival

On Saturday, September 13, I arose before the sun and headed to Tyler, Texas for the East Texas Book Festival. For the past 3 years I have wanted to attend this event and it just never worked out.  Glad I was able to be a part of it this year! Met some amazing people and it was a lot of FUN!
Before the event started -- Authors meeting eachother

LOTS of people attended -- when the doors opened at 10:00
it was quite BUSY!

My table -- I love decorating it! I found a cool decoration for
my upcoming book - Red Goes to Kindergarten!
Going to put it out next weekend!

I love the artwork that Kristy Jarvis did for me! 
She's amazing!!!!!  : )

I finally met Sandra Biersdorfer
She has a cute book called Nana's Banana
Check it out here -- Nanas Banana

Met this cutie at the Festival -- her name is Rhythm
She is a library dog and LOVES children with Special Needs!!!!!
You can check out her friend Janet's book at the following link
This was a GREAT event and I'm glad I was able to be a part of it!!

Thursday, September 11, 2014


From Tyler, TX to Dalllas, TX to Baltimore, MD .... I have some fun and exciting events coming up!   If you're in the area .... stop by!!!!  Please share this post if you know of someone who may be interested in any of these events.

 Saturday, September 13th -- 10am - 3pm
East Texas Book Festival
TJC West Campus
1530 S.S.W. Loop 323
Tyler, TX 75701
Saturday, September 20th -- 9am - 5pm
Start of the Season Craft Fair
The Winston School
5707 Royal Lane @ the Tollway
Dallas, TX 75229

Start of the Season FB Page

Friday, September 26th -- 11am
Baltimore Homeschool
Meet the Author

Baltimore Homeschool - Meet the Author Event
Saturday, September 27th -- 12pm - 8pm
Baltimore Book Festival
Inner Harbor
Baltimore, MD

Baltimore Book Festival FB Page

I will be Reading in the Authors' Tent at 1:30pm on Saturday, September 27

Baltimore Book Festival - Web-Page - Authors' Tent


Sunday, August 31, 2014

Fort Worth Nature Center

Nature Walk ... searching for leaves ...
One of my MOST favorite places in North Texas is the Fort Worth Nature Center. I love taking my journal to the Nature Center and write ... but today, I went to the Hardwicke Interpretive Center to do a program with The Life of Bud.

Thank you to all the parents and children that came out today! I read The Life of Bud and then we went on a Nature Walk around the Interpretive Center -- the children collected leaves, twigs, and rocks that were on the ground that they could use in their Seasons Book.
Aaron and his daughter -- so adorable! She found a LOT of acorns!
Lilly found a heart shaped leaf (from the Redbud Tree)
she also wondered if some insects had taken bites from the middle?
Lilla found this leave still on the tree with obvious insect bites!

Daniel found leaves with wasp eggs on them!

 Caroline and her finds ....

Aaron and his daughter ... she was getting tired.
Back inside!!!  Book making at its BEST!

Click on the link to be directed to the Nature Center's FB page
Please come out to the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge's ANNUAL
Saturday, October 4, 2014
10 am - 2 pm
I will be there with many other VENDORS & the LAKE WORTH MONSTER!!!!!!!!
Here's a few more pictures  ...
Before we went on our Nature Walk we had a visit from the Nature Center's resident OPOSSUM
AND ... A site I never thought I would see .... a Mother Scorpion and her babies ...
She was caught in the foundry on the property and kept inside so people could see her and her babies up close and personal
and were going to be released back into the wild at the end of the day!
CREEPY and COOL!!!!!!!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Go Fund Me

A Book in Every Child's Hand

I LOVE books ... I was fortunate to have many books at home and a library a few blocks away from my house when I was little. I loved walking there with my sister and a few friends when we were little and bring home TONS of books! And ... when we would get the Scholastic Book Order ... I would beg my mom to get me a book! Usually, she would give-in and let me get one or two!

Some kids are not that lucky! I have started a Go Fund Me project to raise money to get books into the hands of kids that don't have books. Please share this post and if you can ... please donate ... click on the links in this post to help out!  THANKS!


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Expeditionary Learning -

Ron Berger and Yours Truly!
When I started my teaching career with my special ed preschoolers with their peer mentors, I knew I had finally was in the place I was meant to be and doing what I was meant do in life -- TEACH. Those children taught me so much about myself and I with the peer modeling I saw children working together at it's BEST! After that year I transitioned to 3rd grade and then onto Kindergarten.   In each position, I had my children collaborating, drafting and revising, asking questions, reflecting, writing, writing, and WRITING, and critiquing each other's work -- little did I know that I was using parts of Expeditionary Learning -- which always just felt THE RIGHT WAY TO TEACH to me! Some of my peers would say -- "your class is the one with kids moving around, working in groups, and talking a lot."  So at times I thought maybe I was doing something wrong. But I saw kids excited and passionate about what we were learning. I personally never enjoyed sitting doing worksheets all day long and I knew that kids learn in all different ways. So I naturally taught that way!

When I was hired at Manara Academy, I immediately felt at home. All of the things I was doing were validated ... and there's so much more to make children's learning experience even more meaningful. Today, our Irving crew and Arlington crew came together and were in workshops with the chief academic officer for Expeditionary Learning -- RON BERGER! He's phenomenal and the children that had him for a teacher are extremely lucky! We were extremely lucky to have him share his knowledge and expertise with us!

Ron, along with our new School Designer - Rayna did an amazing job! Rayna gave us many incredible ideas for the self-managed classroom and I'll share some of my classroom experiences with that this year. Ron walked us through a great discussion on peer critiquing children's writing. We also saw more, in depth, on how to work through revisions to make children's work high quality. I will also share with you what that looks like this year as well.

I purchased this book, written by Ron Berger, at the beginning of last school year and have read it cover to cover and will re-read it again as I go through this year to re-visit some of the strategies.
Book is available at amazon.com
I was honored to have Ron Berger autograph this book for me .... I truly didn't know if I would ever meet him or have this chance -- so it really was a pretty exciting thing!
Ron Berger signing my book! Yes - the author in me was excited
the teacher in me was ecstatic!

If you are a teacher and are not in an Expeditionary Learning (EL) school, but are interested in learning a little about EL -- this book is a great reference tool.
It truly explains how to get students excited to take responsibility for their own learning.
This week of professional development went by so quickly. I know I am going to implement a few new strategies into my classroom to make the children even more engaged and excited to learn!
So excited to have the new kiddos start next Wednesday, August 20!
Ron Berger and I and possibly an AURA from Sofia A.