Tuesday, June 30, 2015

#SupernaturalTexas: Fort Davis Buffalo Soldiers

Supernatural Texas: Fort Davis

Welcome back to Supernatural Texas. Last week I introduced you to the four regions of Texas. The Lady of Wild Rose Pass , book 1 of my Espíritu de Tejas short story series, takes place in the Big Bend Region of West Texas between Fort Davis and Balmorhea, Texas. 

Fort Davis, Texas is a small town located deep within the Davis Mountains with a rich Texas history. 
The story of Fort Davis, Texas begins with the Texans fight for Independence. 

Texas won their independence after Sam Houston defeated Santa Anna at the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836. General Santa Anna, the Mexican dictator, was forced to sign a peace treaty with the Texans recognizing their claim of sovereignty. Soon afterwards, Great Britain, France and the United States recognized the new nation of Texas. All three nations warned Mexico not to go to war with the Texans. The Republic of Texas was much larger than the present day Texas. 

The Mexican government did not quietly accept defeat for very long. 

During the 1850's hundreds of families and adventurers wanting to strike it rich in the California Gold Rush descended upon the western portions of the United States. The main route to California went through mountains and areas where there were plenty of snow. Travelers who wanted to come west during the winter months needed a different route to take in order to avoid the hazards of snow and ice. In 1849, the United States established the San Antonio - El Paso Road that connected central and west Texas. Travel along the route was dangerous because the Comanches, Kiowas and Mescalero- Apaches would frequently attack anyone who travelled on the road. The Comanches and Apaches each had their own trails leading from their raid routes in Mexico to the San Antonio - El Paso Road. The frequency of the Comanche and Apache raids on travelers demanded the United States provide more protection for settlers. 

During the 1850's the United States Army established several forts along the trade routes in order to provide a consistent military presence throughout Texas. Fort Davis was established in October of 1854. The Comanches and Apaches continued to raid travelers until the Civil War. Fort Davis was abandoned by the US Army at the beginning of the Civil War. In 1861,  the Confederate Army reclaimed the western fort under the leadership of Col. John R. Baylor. The Confederate Army used their position to try to claim New Mexico as confederate territory. Their efforts failed. A year later they abandoned the fort and retreated to San Antonio. Fort Davis laid abandoned for the next five years. During this time, the Comanches and Apaches salvaged any wood they could find from the site for firewood. 

The United States Army returned to Fort Davis in June of 1867 where under the direction of Lt. Col. Wesley Merritt the military began constructing a new post. More buildings and facilities were added to the land in order to accommodate 600 men, officers and their families. From 1867 - 1885, Fort Davis was used primarily as the post for the ninth and tenth United States Calvary units. These units were comprised of black soldiers known as Buffalo Soldiers. Their main purpose was to fight the Comanches and Apaches. These units were very successful in their military exploits against the native populations. 

Fort Davis was abandoned in 1891. 

Monday, June 29, 2015

#LTW: The #Gifted Human Brain - It's all Biology

Welcome back to Lighting the Way. Last week we learned some gifted children are misdiagnosed because they do not exhibit characteristics that are often believed to be a part a gifted person's personality nor intellect. The main problem when trying to define who is gifted and who is not is that not all gifted exhibit the same quirks. Much of what we know today about the gifted population has been learned through brain research. 

Inside the Gifted Mind

The gifted mind is a very complex organ that has intrigued scholars throughout history. Mrazik and Dombrowski (2010) stated through much of history, scholars had believed a person’s intellectual ability was determined by their brain size. Educators and researchers have learned much about how the gifted brain works through current brain research.

The Cerebral Cortex

NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni, MD (Asher, 2006) found IQ is not linked to the size of a person’s brain but how fast the cerebral cortex develops. The cerebral cortex is the outer layer of a human brain that contains folded grey matter. The folded grey matter can be divided into four functional parts known as the temporal, frontal, occipital and parietal lobes. Zerhouni (Asher, 2006) found the cerebral cortex of students with superior IQ’s (130 and above) thickens more rapidly than their non-gifted peers. The relationship between a student’s IQ and the rapidly growing cerebral cortex varies with age, especially in the prefrontal cortex.

Prefrontal Cortex

The prefrontal cortex is the part of the cerebral cortex that covers the frontal lobe, which is located directly behind the forehead. Bruning, Shaw & Norby (2011) stated the frontal lobe is associated with executive regulation of learning, regulations of emotions and long-term memory functions. Zerhouni (Asher, 2006) found students with superior IQ’s may have prolonged thickening in the prefrontal cortex at an early age that allows for their early abstract reasoning, planning and other executive learning capabilities. Gifted children do not keep these abilities for long in their youth. Zerhouni (Asher, 2006) found gifted children’s cerebral cortex go through a thinning process that eliminates unused brain cells, neurons and any connections they could have made. Bruning, Shaw & Norby (2011) describe the brain’s process of discarding unused neurons as pruning. The pruning process continues in gifted children’s brains until the brain becomes more efficient during the teen years.

Asher, J. (2006) Cortex Matures Faster in Youth with Highest IQ. Retrieved from National Institute of Health website: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/news/science-news/2006/cortex-matures-faster-in-youth-with-highest-iq.shtml
Bruning, R. H., Schraw, G. J., & Norby, M. M. (2011). Cognitive psychology and instruction (5th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.
Butnik, S (May/June 2013). Understanding, Diagnosing and Coping with Slow Processing Speed. Retrieved from http://www.davidsongifted.org/db/Articles_id_10782.aspx
Geake, J. (2009). The Brain at School: Educational Neuroscience in the Classroom. Retrieved from ttps://books.google.com/books?id=jwNFBgAAQBAJ&pg=PA83&lpg=PA83&dq=gifted+parietal&source=bl&ots=4WKKXCPmQP&sig=Fh0idjpigXrKyD5uo-Txm1T08BY&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CFgQ6AEwCWoVChMIr-CgwbCQxgIVCBmSCh0cowJU#v=onepage&q=gifted%20parietal&f=false
Gross, G. (2013, October 21). Who is the gifted Child [Web log post]? Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-gail-gross/who-is-the-gifted-child_b_4119720.html
Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2012). Anatomy of the brain. Baltimore, MD: Author
Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2012). Connectivism learning theory. Baltimore MD: Author.
Monru, J. (2013). High-Ability Learning and Brain Processes:How Neuroscience can help us to understand how gifted and talented students learn and the implication for teaching. Paper presented a the Research Conference, Australia
Mrazik, M., & Dombrowski, S. C. (2010). The Neurobiological Foundations of Giftedness. Roeper Review, 32(4), 224-234. doi:10.1080/02783193.2010.508154
Sword, L. (2011). I think in pictures, you teach in words: The gifted visual-spatial learner. Tall Poppies Retrieved from http://www.giftedchildren.org.nz/national/article4.php
Treffinger, D (Ed.). (2003). Creativity and Giftedness. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

#WUWA: Small Blessings

Small Blessings

It's been a busy week for me. I spent the majority of this past week Spring Cleaning our little apartment. Normally, I don't spend quite that much time cleaning. I tend to keep my house cleaning and still be able to stay on task by following the Fly Lady routines. I discovered her website years ago. Her routines and cleaning schedule has been a huge blessing for me. Unfortunately, I ended up ignoring my Fly Lady routines for almost a year and my house ended up needing a detailed Spring Cleaning. I'll be so grateful when that's over. I'm not quite finished with it yet. I still have the office and living room to do and then I will be done. Once everything is complete my house will be easier to manage. 

This past weekend, I was truly blessed. My husband and I visited several yard sales on Saturday with the goal of obtaining organizers to help with the organization of our home. We love to go yard sales. You can find some of the nicest stuff at great prices if you know where and how to look. We were at a yard sale when I saw a wicker baby buggy with a note inside. The note said FREE. Well I couldn't pass that up. It's perfect for all my childhood stuffed animals. The buggy just needs some tender loving care. The couple said they had bought it years ago at a yard sale in Georgia. They had carried it around with them for a very long time and no longer needed it. It still has the original fabric and pillows inside it. It won't be that hard to fix. 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

#ExpressYourself: Catching up with Allison

Welcome back to the Express Yourself weekly meme. I'm catching up this month with my weekly meme so there will be more than one topic of discussion on this post. This month we were asked the following questions.

June 1 - 5:

Q: Pick one of your 5 senses you find the most important.

A: The most important sense to me is sight. I am a very visually oriented person. I love anything to do with the arts. I love to read and write. I also like to explore the world around me. Humans depend upon their sight for so many things but most of the time we take that for granted. I learned not to take my vision for granted when I was child. I have a serious astigmatism that developed very quickly when I was a girl. It was hard to hide how thick my eyeglasses from when I was a child through my teenage years. Just look how thick and large those glasses are!

I'm so grateful that we now have the technology that will allow me to wear thinner lenses.

June 8 - 12: 

Q: You have 30 seconds to change your whole name. What is it?

A: Annabella Elisabeth McCord

June 15 - 19

Q:  You've been blindfolded and taken to a secret place. The blindfold has been removed. Where are you?

A: If I tell you then it won't be a secret. Darn it. I had it all set up so I could disappear from the world and get some things done. Fine! I guess I have no choice in the matter. I own a top secret time machine that allows me the capability to travel back into an alternative universe where all the characters of my books live. Ha! You only thought I wrote fiction. You didn't know it was real in an alternative universe. DID YOU? I'm in 1774 with Calico and Little Owl. AND NO YOU CAN'T BORROW MY MACHINE! IT'S MINE! ALL MINE!

June 22 - 26

Q: If you could learn one out of the norm skill. What would it be?

A: I want to learn how to ride on the back of a dragon. Seriously, who doesn't want to ride on the back of a dragon? Anybody have a dragon I can borrow?

#SupernaturalTexas: #Texas regions.

Ranches, Rodeos, Cowboys and the Supernatural? 

Welcome to the first post in my Supernatural Texas series. This series is based on the adventures of Dalton and Tasha. Dalton and Tasha are the main characters of my Espíritu de Tejas short story series. The first story in the series, The Lady of Wild Rose Pass, takes place in Wild Rose Pass, which is located between Balmorhea and Fort Davis, Texas

Typically when an outsider thinks of Texas the first image they conjure is that of the desert. But that's not what all of Texas looks like. Texas has four regions with different geographical landscapes, climate, cultures and history. The four regions are broken down into subregions such as the Piney Woods. 

The region The Lady of Wild Rose Pass takes place in the Big Bend Region located within the Mountain Region. This area of Texas is filled with deserts, mountains, cactus and ranches. There have been many films, TV shows and music videos filmed in this area of Texas. In fact, most of the time when a story takes place in Texas it is filmed in the Big Bend Region. This makes people who are not associated with Texas think the entire state is a desert. 

The Big Bend Region of Texas is a magically place with breathtaking views that will leave you speechless. We'll explore more the of this area's history and culture each week.  See ya'll next Tuesday.

Until then.........................GOD BLESS TEXAS!

Monday, June 22, 2015

#WUWA: Keeping Write on Track #author #writer

Welcome back to my blog. This past week I've been busy making changes to my life! My previous week has been insightful and relaxing. This week it's back to work, writing and school. With so many writing projects on the back burner I had to sit down and decided what I was going to write and when. So......here is my writing schedule in order of release dates. I'm working my way from top to bottom.

This is an easy to make schedule for any writer. I just repurposed one of the charts I use to use when I was a classroom teacher. The strips are the dry erase sentence strips. I had never heard of them until last year and I love them! They are so easy to use. No more throwing away used sentence strips. I can just wipe the writing off and use it again.

So now that I have my schedule I can finally get back to writing blog posts. I wasn't certain which book I was going to be working so it was hard to write anything. But now I have! Yippee. So let's get back on track.

M - Gifted Education

T - Previous release
My most previously released work was my short story, Lady of Wild Rose Pass. Did you notice on the picture above that I wrote Dalton and Tasha after some of the shorts. Dalton and Tasha are the characters from this short story. I decided to create a short story series with Dalton and Tasha that explore ghost stories in Texas. On Tuesday's we're going to explore some of the aspects of these characters and Texas.

W - Express Yourself

Th - Work in Progress
Chief Little Owl and Calico are back with new characters and places. If haven't read Calico you might want to do so before you read this book. Some of the unanswered questions will finally be answered. The blog postings will center around the Shawnee, Lord Dunmore's war, and more. I can't wait for the release of Lies and Deceit. Lies and Deceit is the second book of the Children of the Shawnee series. If you haven't read

F - Free Day

S- Free Day
Hey every author needs a break every now and then. LOL!

Sun - What's up with Allison?

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

#WUWA: Big Plans, Changes and Writing

It's Tuesday! Wait isn't this post supposed to run on Sunday's? Well normally it would have but this I got a little behind.

Some pretty awesome changes have occurred since the last What's Up With Allison was posted. I am still in grad school working on my PhD in Education. My area of specialty is Learning, Instruction and Innovation. I'm working on Gifted Education.

I left my teaching position to start up some amazing projects that I will be announcing this summer. I really can't wait to tell you what is going on but for now I must.

In the meantime, my readers will be happy to know that I am back to writing full time. This means I am busy writing my way through the sequels and spinoffs of my series. I am currently writing Lies and Deceit, which is the second book of the Children of the Shawnee series. I am planning for a late summer/early fall release. This book takes place a few months after the end of the first book.

Monday, June 1, 2015

#WUWA: School Days

What's Up with Allison?
School Days, School Days

This past week had been a very busy week with me as I attended the annual ArmchairBEA conference. I throughly enjoyed meeting new and old friends across the world in this interactive, online blogging conference.

This week is an odd week for me. It's the last week of school for my students at Todd Academy and the first week of the summer quarter for me at Walden University. I am working on my PhD in Education specializing in Learning, Instruction and Innovation. My research is on gifted education. I'm looking forward to the summer break so I can focus more on my studies and my writing.