In rural northwest Alabama there is a cemetery set aside for the burial of coon dogs. It probably won’t come as a surprise to learn that this is the only cemetery of its kind in the world. It was established by Key Underwood in 1939 when he chose the popular hunting camp to bury his coon dog Troop. For 77 years, hunters have brought their coon dogs here from across the country and even beyond…
The Poodle (and Dog) Blog
Indianapolis (PRWEB) May 27, 2014
A first-grade class has entered the world of publishing, creating an illustrated children?s book with a lot to say. ?The Unique Link,? the brainchild of Liberty Park Elementary School teacher Sarah Latdrik and her 24 students, was published earlier this year by Dog Ear Publishing, which offered its services for free. In the story, a first-grader named Lexie loses her confidence and tries to blend in. After some mishaps and unlikely allies, Lexie learns its best to be herself.
Dog Ear and Latdrik paired up last year as part of a two-year writing workshop at the school. Latdrik was teaching kindergarten and had students Skype with mentor authors such as Todd Parr (author of ?It?s OK to be Different) to learn how everyone is unique and should be proud. Students also heard about ?change makers? like Martin Luther King Jr. and Helen Keller. Latdrik thought her students would benefit from learning more about the publishing process after working very hard in the writing workshop, and a Dog Ear employee spoke to the class.
That employee was ?was blown away by the students? complex understanding of the writing process,? discussing subjects like dialogue and writing strategies, said Miles Nelson, Dog Ear co-founder. Latdrik said her students ?did a great job? showing what they had learned about books and the writing process, and she expressed an interest in working with the company to produce a book. ?Dog Ear wanted to help the students become real, published authors,? Nelson said.
Earlier this year, that goal became a reality. Latdrik moved up with her kindergartners in the fall, becoming their first-grade teacher, and they began working on the book. The process began with brainstorming characteristics for the characters, visualizing what they might look like and talking about the book?s message. They built a storyboard to combine their ideas on Post-It notes into a story and talked about character development. Eventually the students told oral versions of their story and Latdrik wrote down their words, adding transitions where necessary.
Students took just as much care in creating the book?s illustrations, accomplished with help from art teacher Abby Winebrenner. Background photographs were taken at Liberty Park and Winebrenner?s apartment, inspired by the work of mentor author Mo Willems, who illustrated ?Knuffle Bunny? and ?The Pigeon Needs a Bath.?
The first-graders discussed the main characters, such as skin color and the impact it might have on the story, as well as face shapes, and Winebrenner sketched them. Students voted on the ones they liked and drew in the faces based on the characters? emotions. They also drew self-portraits, which appear on the final pages. The drawings were scanned and digitally added to the bodies for the book.
?What an awesome and enriched collaboration our illustrators were able to experience,? Winebrenner said, adding that she simply helped tighten their ideas and help turn them into specific physical characteristics, such as their hair and the size of their smiles, helping Samantha and Lexie come to life on paper.
The students? dedication to the project shows. ?You can really tell that Mrs. Latdrik?s students worked very hard to put this book together,? Nelson said. ?These young first-graders shared the same passion that our more seasoned authors have for their writing. It was wonderful to see such excitement and the pride these young children had in the book.?
Their teacher is thrilled with the results. ?I hoped for this project to help them see what we have learned as readers and how we can try out these things as writers ourselves,? Latdrik said, adding that she works to teach students about respect, civility and peace. ?This project has given me a new sense of confidence that they are soaking it in. They are growing and changing through our experiences together, and this confirms my greatest hope that they will change the world with their ?big words.? ?
Parents seem equally excited about the book. ?I especially love the creativity and care that was taken to develop the details around this story,? said Rebecca Johnson. ?It is a great book to teach children that who they are is really unique and being unique is wonderful.?
?I felt like I was looking through the eyes of first-graders, feeling how they feel,? said Jennifer Courtney. ?I also loved the cartoon pictures as well as real pictures from the school. The children did an amazing job on the story, and I really felt like they were writing about their own unique experiences.?
Nikki Jackson spoke about the project?s ripple effect. ?I?m very happy my son was able to contribute to writing this book. It expanded his learning opportunities and helped shape the person he is.?
Students? thoughts about ?The Unique Link? ranged from how fun the project was to the experience of working together. ?I liked when we had a family pizza party and brainstormed our title with our families,? said Raven. ?I liked when we were making the funny pictures,? Keith said. ?It was hard to patiently wait for the book to be printed,? said Claire. Syniah liked ?when the books came in the mail and we saw them for the first time.?
Latdrik said she would consider doing another book if future classes have something big to say, and Nelson said it meant a lot to see an educator so dedicated to inspiring her students to do big things. ?We were happy to be part of this project,? he said. ?This was an absolute, heart-warming success, and we?ll attempt to share our experience with other teachers and schools.?
The book, which costs $ 9.95, is available Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, and fine bookstores everywhere.
For additional information, please visit http://www.dogearpublishing.net.
About Dog Ear Publishing, LLC
Dog Ear Publishing offers completely customized self-publishing services for independent authors. We provide cost-effective, fast, and highly profitable services to publish and distribute independently published books. Our book publishing and distribution services reach worldwide. Dog Ear authors retain all rights and complete creative control throughout the entire self-publishing process. Self-publishing services are available globally at http://www.dogearpublishing.net and from our offices in Indianapolis.
Dog Ear Publishing ? self-publishing that actually makes sense.
Chloe, a tiny Chihuahua who saved her family by alerting them to a fire in their home, was thought to have perished in the fire when she didn’t escape the house with her family.
But firefighters were stunned to find Chloe alive among the rubble of the demolished home in Federal Way, Washington.
According to Newschannel 9, Her family didn’t give up hope even after they couldn’t find her. “I told (my wife). I said, ‘she’s hiding somewhere and she’s going to be alive.’ (The firefighters) came over and they said, ‘no way. She has too much smoke. She’s probably gone, too,” said Bob Fischer, one of Chloe’s owners
Meet 10 month old Kiwi who lives in Menton.
Last Friday evening, Robbie, Essley, and I checked into the gorgeous W City Center hotel in the heart of downtown Chicago’s Loop for a weekend staycation. Our three year wedding anniversary was two days earlier, so it was perfect timing for a celebration – and for the first time, as a family of three. For how much traveling we do, we have admittedly spent very little time playing tourist in our own city (especially right downtown where all the action is), so this was pretty exciting for us. We ended up having a really wonderful weekend that was the perfect mix of relaxation and adventure, and we’ve already decided that we need to make this an annual event.
Our room at the W was beautiful (my favorite part being the rad typographic lamp art that read, “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” – spot on!), so we decided to spend the first night in with a pizza from good ol’ Chicago staple Lou Malnati’s. We are terrible Chicagoans in that we never order deep dish pizza, but since we were playing tourists and all, we went for it. (And thank goodness we did, because omg you guys. So good.) We spent the evening sprawled out on the massive chaise lounge in the room gorging ourselves and relishing in the luxury of doing nothing. (In truth, Robbie watched baseball playoffs and I went back and forth between playing with Essley, experimenting with the delicious smelling Bliss body products from the W’s bathroom, and reading, but this was as close to doing nothing that we’ve gotten in a long time. And it was glorious.)
On Saturday morning, we awoke to discover that it was unseasonably cold and rainy outside. But we were determined. After leisurely sipping on coffee and eating a late breakfast, we bundled up, were greeted by the W’s super friendly elevator carpet (had to snap this picture), and headed outside toward Michigan Avenue with plans to check out the Magritte Exhibit at the Art Institute. The Art Institute is one of my favorite places in the world, and was one of the things I missed most during the 14 years I left the area. Despite our lack of making time for tourist things around here, I do try to make it here about once a year. I have not, however, ever visited on a weekend, and wow was it busy. I’m so grateful that we had a member card because the line to get in stretched around the block and we were able to bypass it. Sadly though, the Magritte exhibit was way too crowded to navigate with a 9 month old baby, so we had to give up after a few minutes and instead headed toward the Modern Wing, which is my favorite area of the museum. I’m especially smitten with the Contemporary Art After 1960 galleries, and it was pretty cool to see Essley react so positively to some of my favorite pieces. (Lots of bright colors and contrast and simple lines make for visually pleasing stuff to babies.) This was her first visit to the Art Institute (outside the womb, anyway) and aside from some jolly-but-intense high pitched screeches in line for the Magritte exhibit, she behaved really well and seemed to genuinely enjoy the experience. I can’t wait to bring her back when she’s a little older.
After a few hours at the museum, we headed across the street to Millennium Park. And here is where I become completely transparent about what a really bad Chicagoland native I am: this was the first time I’d ever visited the bean. To be fair, it didn’t exist until 2006 (and even Millennium Park itself didn’t while I was growing up), but I’ve spent enough time in the park (Chicago’s fashion week runways shows are held there, among other events I’ve done for work) that it’s a little silly that I’ve somehow repeatedly missed what is arguably the most famous part. So for our first stop, the bean it was. It was drizzling and Essley has fallen asleep in her stroller during the short walk, so we let her sleep, snapped a few photos (the sculpture is pretty bad ass in person), and took a stroll around the park. The leaves were just beginning to change and many of the gardens still had flowers, so there was a lot of lovely things to look at as we walked. From there we explored for a while, mainly just to be present and look at things we normally forget to appreciate (there really is some seriously stunning architecture in this city!) and eventually, headed back to the hotel to regroup and figure out dinner.
We ended up getting a little too comfortable in our room (the beds at the W City Center are like clouds, dudes) and dozed off for a few minutes next to Essley. It felt decadent to stop our busy lives for even a brief moment to just relax together. After waking up hungry, we did a little online searching for closeby dinner options. (We had brunch reservations at the hotel’s restaurant, IPO, for the following morning or we would have eaten there as the dinner menu looked stellar.) Our goal was to find something casual that was kid-friendly but not a big chain, and somewhere that offered some good vegetarian options for me. So I may have let out an audible scream when I realized that Native Foods, a seriously scrumptious vegan restaurant, was right around the corner. We put Essley in the Ergo and just a few minutes later, were sitting a table awaiting what ended up being one of the best dinners I’d had in a while. I had a vegan reuben sandwich and an Ebel’s Weiss beer; Robbie had a vegan gyro health bowl, sweet potato fries (which Essley sampled as well and seemed to adore), and a lavender lemonade. And we shared the best vegan buffalo wings I’ve ever eaten.
When dinner was done, we walked back to the W, and spent a little while checking out the gorgeous lobby and their lounge (called the Living Room). If we’d been sans baby, we definitely would have spent some time chilling over cocktails there. It’s a cozy space with a beautiful vaulted gold flecked ceiling, comfy couches, and the coolest oversized lamps. We then headed back up to the room and got Essley ready for bed, then settled into bed ourselves and watched a movie. It was a perfect end to a perfect day.
On Sunday morning, we packed up our bags (boooo) and headed downstairs to the IPO Restaurant for brunch. The first thing I noticed (of course) was that the space was beautifully styled – I want a set of their hanging light fixtures for my house, and I think Essley does as well. We started off with coffee and a bakery plate filled with freshly baked pastries and sides of orange marmalade and Nutella. (The croissant was to die for.) After much contemplation, I ordered the eggs benedict (with the canadian bacon on the side for Robbie, who loves his meat y’all) and breakfast potatoes, and Robbie ordered a cheddar, asparagus, and chorizo omelette. Our meals came out fast and were absolutely delightful. I couldn’t pinpoint exactly what spices they used for the potatoes, but wow. Hands down, they were the best breakfast potatoes I’ve even had, and I will without a doubt visit IPO again for this very reason. We left full and happy (which when it comes to brunch, is the ultimate way to feel), said our goodbyes to our magical downtown staycation, and headed back to reality with some fantastic memories.
If you live in the Chicagoland area and are thinking about taking a staycation, I can’t recommend the W City Center highly enough. The hotel staff is absolutely wonderful and the rooms are both comfortable and chic. The location is incredible for really experiencing the heart of the city, and the restaurant is more than just convenient – it’s fresh, delicious, and interesting. And the overall vibe of the hotel is great as well – whether you’re bringing the kids like we did, looking for a romantic atmosphere, or planning a fun weekend with friends. You can check out more about the W City Center for yourself right here, or via their Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts. During your stay at the W, I also suggest paying a visit to the Art Institute and Millennium Park like we did – both are not to be missed. The Sears Tower (now called the Willis Tower – but not to Chicagoans!) is also steps away, and both the Goodman Theatre and Cadillac Palace Theatre are less than a mile from the hotel. If you’re in the mood for shopping, the famous Magnificent Mile is a short few block walk away. Or even if you just want to enjoy a luxurious weekend of lazy bliss in an exquisitely designed room with a heavenly bed – this is the place to do it. I hope you love it as much as we did. Thanks for following along!
This post was in collaboration with W Hotels/Starwood Hotels. I received a complementary stay at the W City Center, but was not monetarily compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.
Meet Ulysse, a beautiful Shetland Sheepdog I met in Gorbio village last Sunday. He’s 11 years old and lives in Carnoles.
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