Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Helen Keller

Sorry I'm day late celebrating your birthday, Helen.  

This remarkable woman, one of my heroes, was born on June 27 1880, in Tuscumbia, Alabama.  At 19 months the healthy toddler contracted scarlet fever, which left her deaf and blind.  At a time in history when disabled persons were more or less hidden away, Helen mastered sign language and Braille and learned to speak and type.  She went on to live an extraordinary life as an author, lecturer, activist and humanitarian.

Helen at age 7, about 5 months after her teacher Anne Sullivan came to unlock her silent world.
Anne Sullivan presented this doll when she came as Helen's Teacher

 Helen earned a BA cum laude from Radcliffe College in 1904.  She was the first blind-deaf person to do so.  She traveled and spoken not only across the United States, but to 35 countries on 5 continents.  She met numerous celebrities and world leaders throughout her lifetime including Winston Churchill, Jawaharlal Nehru, Golda Meir and all the Presidents from Grover Cleveland through John F. Kennedy.  She received many awards and honorary doctoral degrees in the U.S. and around the world.

Anne Sullivan is spelling into Helen's hand.  She read Helen's textbooks and translated lectures for her throughout her college years.  She traveled the world with Helen and served her for 50 years.  Anne died in 1936.

In 1915, she founded Helen Keller International, which is one of the world’s premier international not-for-profit organizations dedicated to preventing blindness and reducing malnutrition.  It is still in operation.

Helen Keller suffered a stroke in 1960 and died in her sleep at her home in Arcan Ridge, her home in Westport, Connecticut, in 1968 at age 87 just 26 days shy of her 88th birthday.  Click here to see several clips about this amazing woman.

Helen was young when her parents contacted Alexander Graham Bell, who was developing hearing aids at that time.  He put them in touch with the Perkins Institute, and they sent Anne Sullivan to be her teacher.


Friend Mark Twain helped her acquire her college tuition.
Patty Duke portrayed Helen in The Miracle Worker.  You should definitely watch this movie if you haven't!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Dirt Work

My friend, Susan, a former teacher at Central was in town for a visit.  We drove by Central for her to see all the changes.

They are still working on the elevation behind the school.  I know a lot of little boys who would love to be operating that backhoe and creating that huge dirt pile!

Thursday, June 23, 2016


Here's the back side of our new building.  

 The dirt pile is where the main building used to sit.  They are working to lower the elevation so we don't have a flood following every rain.  You can see in the distance where the white pickup is sitting how high it is. 

 Lots of shoveling to be done!!

 This is the north end of the front of our new building.

 Here is the main entrance.

 The south end of the building is the gym.

 This is the south entrance.


It has come a long way, but there is so much yet to be done.  Time is ticking! 

Monday, June 6, 2016

Bye Bye Primary Building

Everything has been demolished now, including the Primary Building where my room was.  The arrow shows approximately where my room was.


Around on the back side of the campus, they continue to scoop up and haul off the debris from the main building.


I noticed today have almost all the the windows and doors in across the front of the new building. Progress!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Down She Came

Photo by Rachel Boni
Photo by Rachel Boni

As of today the old Central is a pile of rubble.  You can see the new building in the background.  


Hurry, workers!  Hurry!!  It's not that long until August!

Friday, May 20, 2016

School's Out!

Tuesday was the last day for students, but it took me until Thursday afternoon to pack up my room.  Literally pack! Everything in every classroom had to be packed, labeled, put on pallets, and shrink-wrapped.  It will spend the summer in storage while our new building is completed.






Our new building is under construction on the playground in front of our old buildings.  It was supposed to be finished last November, but various delays prevented that.  Now we are hoping it will be ready for us when teachers report August 11.


Here's what it looks like now.

View of the end of the primary building in which my room is/was located.  This building sits at a right angle to the original WPA-built school.  It was new in the '70s.  You can see the new construction in the background.                                                                                                   












Here's an interior shot of the lobby.  This will be the sun to greet us every morning.

Last Saturday we had a farewell reception that was very well attended by Central alumni of all ages.  Here's the commemorative tee shirt .

Check out my previous post for more pictures of the old and new Central.  The new one will be worth the wait!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Birthday Shout-Out to Christopher Paul Curtis!

This gifted writer had a dream for years of being a writer.  For over a decade he worked by day on an automobile assembly line while going to college at night.  He sought out quiet places on his breaks at work to do some writing.

Christopher Paul Curtis wrote out his manuscript for The Watson's Go to Birmingham-1963 in longhand. The year he took off from his job in order to complete this book was time well spent.  This terrific book won both the Newbery and Corretta Scott King Honor Awards as well as the Golden Kite Award.

Grab one of his books and have a good read:

The Mighty Miss Malone 9-12 years

The Boy Who Invented TV 10-12 years

Mr. Chickee's Funny Money 8-12 years

Mr. Chickee's Messy Mission   8-12 years

Bucking the Sarge 12 and up

Bud, Not Buddy  (a Newbery Award winner)  8-12 years

Elijah of Buxton (multiple award winner) 10-12 years








Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Happy 100, Beverly Clearly!

A good portion of Beverly Cleary's 100 years have been spent writing books children love.  

One hundred years ago today, Beverly Atlee Bunn was born in McMinnville Oregon to a farmer and a teacher.  She lived on their farm near Yam Hill until she was six years old. 

At that time she and her parents moved to Portland.  Her childhood home is still there

The city of Portland, where she worked as a librarian, has honored her beloved characters, Ramona, Henry, and Ribsy by placing them in the Beverly Cleary Sculpture Garden for Children.

 Mrs. Cleary has won numerous awards for her writing over the years, including two Newbery Honor books and over 35 state awards. 

  Please post which of her books has touched your heart.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Visual Story Maps

My terrific Children's Literature class at ORU put their creative minds to work and created some visual story maps you'll enjoy.