Monday, December 31, 2012

Five Good Luck Superstitions

Now that I've done all the wishes I know, here are 5 Good Luck Superstitions that I follow. The last one is particularly useful for New Years tonight.

NO! It's Bad Luck!
Find a Penny
When you pick up a penny, make sure it's on heads so you will have good luck. If it is on tails, you should flip it over without using your hands before picking it up or you'll have bad luck all day.

Lucky Items
Something that you wear or rub. I have a pair of lucky socks, a lucky bracelet, and a lucky coin. However, you must use the luck sparingly so I hardly touch these items until there is something I'm really needing, hoping for, or worrying about. The longer they sit, the more luck they charge up.

Bible in the Car
Keep a bible in your car and you won't get pulled over. It works for me. Never pulled over once yet. (Knock on wood (and it must be real wood))

These are gifts and if you go through one you will have a good day.

Kissing on the New Year
If you kiss your beau at the very instant of the New Year, you will likely have a successful relationship. If you miss it, you are more likely to fight, fall out of love, or break up.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Wishing Rules and Superstitions

Today, I was at Robinson Nature Center and I found a little Southwestern baggy filled with Guatemalan Worry Dolls. If I tell them my worry and put them under my pillow, they will take away my problems at night.


My sister and I both had to buy one. My family (parents included) has always been very superstitious so I figured I'd list all the ones we follow. But after my first draft, I realized we have too many for one post.

Therefore, this post is dedicated to Wishing Superstitions!

Disclaimer: Wishes are more likely to come true if they are realistic and/or benefiting others selflessly. However, you can still wish for whatever you want. It may come true anyway. Wishes also are not on a time schedule and like to come true in odd ways so you must be very specific. But, sometimes you are limited on wishing time (like 11:11) and it can cost you that wish.

It doesn't matter if it's AM or PM as long as you wish. You can wish as many wishes as you want but you have to be done wishing before it turns 11:12. If it does, your wish will not come true.

Friendship Bracelet
When a friend makes you one of these string bracelets, you may make one wish on it. The wish will come true after the bracelet falls off. However, if you take it off, cut it off, or find it after it was lost, then the wish is null and void.

Eye Lash
If you find an eye lash on your cheek, you may have one wish on it. However, you have to blow it off your finger with your eyes closed in one breath or it won't come true. If it doesn't leave your finger, you must change your wish and blow again. Repeat the process until, when you open your eyes after blowing, it is gone. You must not see where it goes. Note: You cannot pull out eye lashes. Those wishes will not come true.

Shooting Star
Pretty basic, but rare nowadays. You get one wish.

Make one wish, hold it in your mind, and the person who rips the bigger half gets their wish.

Birthday Candles
You must have the same amount of candles as your age. You must hold the one wish in your mind as you blow a single long breath and extinguish all the flames. If you cannot blow them all out at once, the wish won't come true. For this reason, we Hate trick candles.

When they have turned to seed, all cute and white, then you may pick it and make a wish. If you blow all the seeds off the stem, it will come true.

You may make a single wish on your disposable chopsticks. If you can pull them apart with a clean break, your wish will come true. If you do not wish, a clean break is a sign of good luck or a good meal. If the break is not clean, your wish will not come true and the meal will likely be less satisfactory.

P.S. If you get Worry Dolls, make sure you don't show them to anyone.

Stick around for Five Good Luck Superstitions

Friday, December 28, 2012

Tips for Substitutes

I've done a decent amount of entries now on what teachers can do for substitutes to make it easier. I realize that we can make it easier on ourselves.

By trial and error, here's what I've learned.

1. Establish your rules, guidelines, or expectations in your introduction. For example, I always lay out what we're doing and (for the younger kids) how I expect them to respect me and their fellow students. 

For the high schoolers, I lay down the agreement of letting them listen to music with headphones in as long its appropriate, they act appropriately, and they get their work done.
Hello/Good Morning/Good Afternoon, my name is Miss Hannah and I am your substitute. This is what we're doing today. ____________. I know you guys are young so here's the deal. You can listen to music as long as you have headphones in and I don't hear it. If another teacher comes in, put it away. You also have to get your work done but I don't mind if you all work together as long as you aren't out of your seat or disruptive.
A lot of high school students, take this well. 

2. Give the students some information about you. Where did you graduate? How long ago? Why do you substitute?

Students are interested in you and what you are doing here. When I told a group of high schoolers that I get paid $90 a day just put on movies and make sure they don't kill each other, they were hyped. The same when I told them I got nearly $14,000/year in scholarships for being smart. They thought it was cool and wanted to know how they do those things. (Remember, you are helping them to be motivated to get an education.)

3. If you look as young as me, don't shirk the topic of age. It looks like you're scared. You don't have to tell them your age, but joke along or let them know that you know you look young. Giving them someone relatable is always a change and, as long as you hold yourself professional, they're more likely to respect you and follow what you say. Otherwise, high schoolers are going to give you a hard time.

4. Try to learn names of students by listening to them talk to each other or reading name tags on desks if they are in elementary. It always catches them off guard and gives them a heads up that you know your stuff.

Tips For Subs 2

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas, Everyone

Sugar Cookies always smell better than they taste
Eat a dozen
Stomach ache

Family Feud! Family Feud! - Not seen on TV

Confession: I bit off Santa's head, but it was a cookie.

We're out of eggs
and milk
and bread
and butter

Christmas Carols
My stomach hurts

No one bought gifts for the dog or the cat
Emergency shopping trip!

Fight! Fight! Fight!

Santa is on the cross, dying for our sins
Except the cross is a pine tree
And our sins are presents wrestled out of another shopper's hands on Black Friday

The cat knocked over the Christmas Tree
The best ornament is broken

Dad is screaming
Mom is smoking
Someone pretends to be homemaker, peacemaker, undertaker

Inevitably, the fire alarm will go off
and it's a mad dash--a horse race--to wrap the presents

Don't Look! Don't Look! You can't come in

She has more presents than me.


Out of paper! Out of bags! Out of tape!
Newspaper! Paper bags! Origami!

No pictures. Get that camera away from me.
My hair, make up, nails are not done.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

What to Leave the Substitute


We know you get paid next to nothing and, all you want to do, is take a day off. So why do you have to prepare so much?

Imagine how the substitute feels, coming into a new classroom everyday with new students and having to be oriented and pick up where you left off with even less pay.

For Elementary Students:
  1. Assign 1 or 2 students to be helpers so there is no mad dash when I don't know something. Let them know and me know, who that student is.
  2. Give me a note on the discipline/warning system. Is there a bell? Flick the lights? Claps? 123 Eyes on Me? (Each school has different ones)
  3. Establish a system of rewards with positive reinforcement. Promise them something if they are good and follow through. More recess? Movie day?
  4. Or leave me something they can work to beside just going up to Blue Star. Leave stickers, candy, no homework, read to them (if they really like that), treasure box, etc.
For All Grades:
  1. No more than 2-3 worksheets per class or section (math/language arts). Kids stop paying attention the more papers they get. They know the work won't be collected or properly graded or even need to be finished that day.
  2. Movies - Check the guideline and ability to play. Leave me a password or log-in instructions. The worst is when I can't get into the computer or figure out where the file is to play the video. Then, I have to call another teacher or student to help.
Evaluate your class. 

Can they work by themselves? Or do they need step-by-step guidance? Are they noisy when in groups? Are there any problems in the past? Who cannot be paired with whom and how will the sub know? Are they easily distracted and unfocused?

This will guide you into picking out activities: Group vs. IndependentCollected vs. Take Home, Test or No Test.

Note: If it's a good class, don't give a test. If the class is particularly challenging, don't give a test. I won't be able to keep them quiet. If the class is right in the middle, leave me a test to give them. It will keep them quiet and focused.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Zarconian Island

I am proud to present the cover of my debut novel Zarconian Island.

Since the Great Lisbon Earthquake in 1755, the Bermuda Triangle and nine similar vortexes have taken in everything from ships to camels. ZARCONIAN ISLAND, a 65,000-word YA/paranormal romance, exposes these legends and their mysterious creation through tart-tongued high school senior Attie Hotep when she becomes trapped in the Hawaiian vortex.

With powers that are feared and shunned, Attie is no virgin to attacks. Her ancestors, the mixed-blood descendants of Atlantis, were rumored to be the English fairies who kidnapped children, the Caribbean sirens that sunk ships, and dream-like apparitions who broke into psyches. By the 1850s, they were hunted nearly to extinction, turning into all but fairy tales. Now, they hide their powers and walk among us.

When a class trip turns deadly, Attie must use her powers in order to save her classmates. As she struggles to keep her heritage a secret, a boy confronts her and he knows everything. Enter Doug Hutchinson, star soccer player and best friend to her hated rival Bryan.

It will be released early next year so stay tuned.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Jaycee DeLorenzo

Jaycee DeLorenzo's book The Truths About Dating and Mating hit the market this week, and I have an exclusive interview with her. For those interested, Jaycee is also doing a rafflecopter giveawayBut first:


Spunky Italian coed Ivy Rossini likes to talk and push the boundaries. She gets to do both as she co-hosts Riordan College’s radio program, The Truths about Dating and Mating, alongside her lifelong best friend, Ian Hollister.

Being the only girl who cares to see beyond Ian’s bad boy reputation has its advantages, especially when he’s scaring off the jerks who just want to nail the campus sex-guru. It’s when he’s “protecting” her from the advances she welcomes that she wants to lob him over the head and tell him to butt out. But Ivy’s feels like she’s the one who’s taken a hit when Ian almost kisses her at a party. She knows she should feel relieved when he pulls away, so why is she disappointed instead?

With their friendship and her heart hanging in the balance, can Ivy follow the advice she and Ian give their listeners--to communicate, be honest, and trust in themselves--or will insecurity, stubbornness, and pride ruin any chance of their relationship getting off the ground?


Aja: How did you come up with the idea for The Truths about Dating and Mating (TDM)?

Jaycee: I was listening to Loveline one night over ten years ago, and a question was answered in a way that I didn’t like. I blurted out my own answer, something a little sarcastic but truthful. And I was like, “I should write a story with Loveline for the college set, with a romance…ooh, with best friends.”

Aja: Are there any personal experiences from you or someone you know in this book?

Jaycee: Some of the mistakes Ivy makes–while not in the same situations–are ones I’ve made in the past, mainly due to insecurity, fear of what others think, and having a bit of a temper.

Aja: So I know it's unfair--like asking your favorite child--but who is your favorite character in TDM?

Jaycee: That’s actually easy. While I love–and sometimes wanted to strangle–my main characters, my absolute favorite is Casey because he’s a really sweet guy, a total gentleman, and very socially awkward, but also very observant. It’s always the ones that fall in the background who tend to know and see the most.

Aja: And what makes you want to write? What has become your favorite part of the writing process?

Jaycee: I write because my head feels like it’s always going "What if this? What if that?" I have stories that get into my head and I like to put them on paper. My favorite part of the writing process has to be writing the summary–total plotter, here!–and setting my end goals. I then love the drafting and trying to figure out how I’m going to get from the start to the end of a scene, knowing what has to happen to make that scene work.

Aja: Plotting can be very complicated! It's good you enjoy it. I read that you're a mother of two. How do you balance so much plotting, writing, and a family?

Jaycee: I don’t know that I really do it all that well, though I sure try. I don’t have a set schedule for writing. I try to write or edit every day, mainly when I get a few minutes here and there and at night. Most of my writing takes place on my sofa. It has a lounger so I can stretch out my legs. Most of the time, I’m also keeping one eye on my son and my daughter and making sure they’re not scaling the walls. My son is only one, so he’s a bit of a climber.

Aja: How would you describe your writing style?

Jaycee: My writing style has a lot to do with voice, and that voice depends on which MC I’m writing. Ivy is a big talker, so the voice for this book reflects that with longer sentences, rapid and heavy dialogue, and not a lot of attention to the world around her, because she’s very much lives in the moment and isn’t always the most observant. 

Aja: To wrap up, is there a message in TDM that you want readers to grasp?

Jaycee: That honesty and communication is vital to making a relationship work.

To connect with Jaycee DeLorenzo, visit her Twitter or Facebook.
To check out reviews for TDM, visit Goodreads.
The book is on sale at AmazonB&N, and Smashwords.

About The Author:
Jaycee DeLorenzo hails from Tucson, Arizona, on the outskirts of the Saguaro National Park – which she believes to be the most beautiful spread of desert in the world. By day, Jaycee is an English language teacher to elementary students. By night, she’s a wife, mother, writer, cover artist, website designer, and blogger. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, cooking, singing (very poorly), catching up on her favorite shows, and researching. 

The Truths about Dating and Mating is Jaycee's debut novel, and the first in a series centering around students of the fictitious Riordan College.