Wednesday, July 29, 2015

#ExpressYourself: Writing, Music and More

It's hump day! Happy Wednesday! I've been busy these past few weeks working on my manuscript for Camp NaNoWriMo. My goal this month was to write 100,000 words. I'm up to 80,000. Lord, help me. I have 20,000 words to write in two days. AAAAAHHHH. 

So since I've been busy writing I've missed a few days of posting. I have two Express Yourself entries for today. Gotta make up for the one I missed last week. LOL. 

July 20 - 24

Name 2 favorite places/spots you like to hang out at.

Oh this one is easy! I like to go camping with my friends and family. Any park will do. The more secluded the better. I love to just sit in the forest and let my imagination fly. 

My second favorite place is the Indy Reads Bookstore. This independent bookstore in Indianapolis is the hangout for all my NaNoWriMo buddies in Indianapolis. We have monthly meetings where we encourage each other to keep on writing. Here's a pic of us at our last gathering at Indy Reads. 

July 27 - 31 

Share a few songs from you WIP playlist. 

Hmm, I normally don't write with music but there are some moments in my writing time that I will chose to listen to a song. It usually happens when I'm having a hard time with a certain scene. 

My current manuscript is a bit more paranormal than the first book of the Children of the Shawnee series. I wasn't planning on it but all of a sudden I ended up having a time traveler in the book. An adult version of Black Buffalo travels from 2015 to 1774 where he is only a few years old. No my math isn't off. He's an immortal shaman. I decided he was going to be singer after listening to this song. The lead singer with the curly hair looks like my character. 

I had problems writing a scene the other day between Calico and Chief Big Deer. It was a pretty dramatic scene where he delivers words of wisdom to her. I just couldn't piece this scene together. So I went to YouTube and looked for some Shawnee music. I found this wonderfully talented men, listened to their music and wrote the scene. It turned out to be very dramatic. 

Monday, July 27, 2015

LTW: Motivating the #Elementary #Gifted Student

Motivating the Elementary Gifted Student

            The gifted population in America often struggles academically, socially, and mentally while in the public school system. These struggles are often seen in gifted students as early as the second grade. One of the reasons gifted students struggle is motivation. Shunk, Meece and Pintrick (2014) define motivation as “the process whereby goal directed activities are instigated and sustained” (pg.5). Long (2013, September) found gifted students need to be intellectually stimulated or they will become bored in class (pg. 1). Most educators struggle to keep their gifted students engaged within their classroom.  Theroux (2014) found not all motivational theories will work well with every gifted student (pg. 1). Educators need to implement different motivational strategies frequently (Theroux, 2014, pg.1).
Classical Conditioning
            Classical conditioning is the process in which a stimulus is presented to the student in order to elicit a response (Shunk, Meece, and Pintrick, 2014, pg. 22). A response will not occur if the learner does not see a link between their response and the stimulus that was given.  Gifted students will not respond if they have “checked out” of the learning environment.  A gifted student will “check out” of a learning environment when their minds are somewhere else (Long, 2013, September). This usually occurs when the student is unmotivated.  Unmotivated gifted students will operate within classical conditioning whenever they are seeking attention. Theroux (2014) found gifted students who are bored would frequently seek attention through positive, negative or passive attention seeking behaviors depending upon their preferred attention seeking style (pg. 1. See figure 1).

Figure 1
Operant Conditioning
            Operant Conditioning is a motivational behavior theory that is like classical conditioning. In both Operant and Classical Conditioning a stimulus is introduced and a response is gleaned from the reaction of the student. Schunk, Meece and Pintrich (2014) found motivated behavior can be increased or decreased depending upon the consequences of the student’s reaction (pg. 25). Unlike Classical Conditioning, Operant Conditioning stipulates that a student’s reaction to a stimulus can be changed through reinforcements or punishments (Shunk, Meece and Pintrich, 2014, pg. 24). Reinforcement is given to increase the likelihood that the behavior exhibit will appear more frequently (Shunk, Meece and Pintrich, 2014, pg. 24). Punishments are used to decrease the likelihood of the behavior’s occurrence.
             Educators who work with the gifted population can use Operant Conditioning to encourage proper behavioral management. A student who turns in all their homework on time may receive a sticker or stamp on their paper would be an example of positive reinforcement.  Theroux (2014) cautions educators to sparingly use rewards and punishments as a behavior modifier when working with the gifted population (pg. 1). The goal of the educator should be to develop intrinsic motivation within their gifted students. Theroux (2014) argued rewards are only effective in gifted students when they are unmotivated or engaged in an activity that is lower than their abilities (pg. 1).  Rewards should never be increased for increased expectations (Theroux, 2014, pg. 1).  Negative reinforcements occur when a reward is removed. A reward is removed once the desired behavior is effective (Theroux, 2014, pg. 1).
             Bad behavior may be countered by punishment by removing either a positive or negative reinforcer (Schunk, Meece and Pintrich, 2014, pg. 24). For example, a student talks excessively in class. The teacher decides to reward all her students with a sticker except for the student who has been talking. This would be a punishment because the educator has removed a positive reinforcement from that student. See figure 1 for more examples.

Long, C. (2013, September). Are We Failing Gifted Students? neaToday. Retrieved from   

Schunk, D. H., Pintrich, P. R., & Meece, J. L. (2014). Motivation in education: Theory, research,    and applications (4th ed.). Columbus, OH: Pearson/Merrill Prentice Hall.

Theroux, P. (2014). Intrinsic Motivation. Davidson Institute for Talent Development. Retrieved  from

Sunday, July 26, 2015

#WUWA: Surviving Camp NaNoWriMo

This upcoming week is the last week of Camp NaNoWriMo. It's been a great writing month for me. I've had some enlightening moments with my plot and characters. Even though, I had planned my story out the characters have decided that there needed to be a few changes. I'm liking it so far. I think by the end of this week I should hit my goal of 100,000 words. I really don't think Lies and Deceit is going to end at 100,000 words. It's looking like it will be another epic probably the size of Elsa. Elsa turned out to be around 200,000 words. We'll have to see what happens. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

#Supernatural #Texas: Where in the World is Shafter, Texas?

Where in the World is Shafter, Texas?

Life's hard for those who live in the Big Bend Region of West Texas. Even harder for the communities that periodically have sprung up throughout history. Ghost towns such as Terlingua, Shafter and Study Butte (pronounced Stewde Boot not Study Butt) once thrived by now barely survived with a dwindling or almost non-existent population. 

Shafter, Texas is an unincorporated town located in the Chinati Mountains next to Cibolo Creek. The small town lies 18 miles north of Presidio.  In 2010, the Texas Attorney General's Office reported the small town had a population of 11 people. Shafter wasn't always that small. In fact, the 1940 census shows Shafter had around 4,000 residents. 

The ghost town is one of a few mining towns in the Big Bend Region. In 1882, John Spencer discovered silver ore in the hills. He took a sample of the ore to Fort Davis where he presented it to General William R. Shafter. The ninth calvary commander had the ore assessed. After the assessor informed General Shafter that the hills contained large quantities of silver General Shafter informed his military friends, Lt. John L. Bullis and Lt. Louis Wilhelmi, of his discovery. The three soldiers convinced the state of Texas to allow them to purchase tracks of school land around the mountains with the intent to mine the silver themselves. The officers approached John Spencer with their idea of investing into mining silver from the mountains. Spencer agreed to join them. 

The four men decided they would purchase equal amounts of land close to where Spencer had discovered the ore with the agreement they would equally share the profits. The men purchased a total of 2560 acres but lacked the funds to develop their mining venture.  In 1882, the four men leased some of their land to a California mining group. The group then formed a new company - the Presidio Mining Company. 

Two years later, the company installed mining equipment and the small town of Shafter, Texas was born. Shafter was a company town. The company built houses for their workers and families. Company stores provided anything their families would need and a company doctor was always available.

The Presidio Mining Company then approached Shafter, Bullis, Wilhelmi and Spencer with the the prospect of acquiring more land with a stock for land trade. The men were promised 5,000 shares in the company with a bonus of $1,600 cash in hand upon completion of the transaction. Bullis declined the offer stating that he had used his wife's funds for the land and thus had no authority to take such an offer. The company then sued Bullis for not allowing them access to his lands. The Wilhelmi, Spencer and Shafter agreed to the stock for land trader.   A post office was installed in 1885. The town was named Shafter in honor of General William R. Shafter. 

Shafter was a thriving company town that operated from 1885 to the 1940's. It went through periods of opening and closings during the 1920's and 1930's. During the 1940's the mining town grew even larger with the influx of families stationed at the Marfa Army Air Field and the Fort D.A. Russell. When the bases closed in 1945 and 1946 Shafter's population dramatically declined. Shafter was abandoned soon after that. 

All has been quiet in Shafter since the end of WWII. In 2010, the Canadian mining group, Aurcana decided to invest their interest in the Shafter mines. 

They officially reopened the mines in March of 2011. You can see the first explosion in the video below. 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

#WUWA: Indianapolis Storms

Welcome back to my blog. This week has been an interesting week for me. Indianapolis has been experiencing some major thunderstorms that has knocked out electrical power throughout the city. There were over 600,000 homes without power this week. Our lights flickered on and off a couple of times. We lost power for about 30 minutes.

On top of the electrical outages the severe thunderstorms brought heavy rain that caused Flash Flooding all over the area. The strong winds knocked over trees, brick fences, and more. Needless to say, it's been a very messy week for our city. After the storms, came the cleanup efforts. I am so glad there aren't any more storms due to roll into our neck of the woods.

Thankfully, our apartment isn't flooded. The hail and wind didn't cause any damages. We only lost electric for thirty minutes. There's a couple at our church who were without power for five days. FIVE DAYS! Can you imagine not having power for five days? I've seen major intersections so flooded that traffic had to be diverted. 

This week was a week I will never forget. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

#ExpressYourself: #Hemp All Day, Every Day

Welcome back to the Express Yourself weekly meme. Last week, I answered the question that asked what were some things I wish I could do better.  Are you ready for another interesting question for me to answer?

July 13 - 17, 2015

If you had to eat the same thing for breakfast the rest of your life, what would it be?

Oh, such a hard question. I have so many favorites. But one thing remains constant with every breakfast I make - hemp seeds. I add 1 tablespoon of hemp seeds to my meal. Sometimes I will do a hemp protein shake for breakfast. If I do that then I add 2 tablespoons of hemp. 

Most people confuse hemp with marijuana. Yes, it does come from the same plant. No, it's not the same. 

Hemp has many benefits. Here are just 5 of the major advantages of adding hemp to your diet:

1) It helps regulate the digestive system
Hemp is a slow digesting protein and fiber that helps you sustain your energy longer. It also prevents a spike your blood sugar levels. 

2) When digested at breakfast it curbs your need for snaking and helps you to remain fuller, longer. 

3) The Omega-3 found in hemp lowers blood pressure, wards off Alzheimer's disease and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.

4) The Omega-6 found in hemp regulates metabolism, stimulate hair and skin growth, maintains bone health, and helps brain functions. 

5) Hemp seeds amino acids improves mental function and muscle control. It enables and promotes normal body maintenance of the body's cells, organs, tissues and muscles. 

In essence, hemp seeds are a healthy addition to anyone's daily nutritional regime. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

#Supernatural #Texas: The #Devil of Mitre Peak

Supernatural Texas:
The Devil of Miter Peak

Welcome back to Supernatural Texas. Last week, I introduced you to the mysterious Marfa Ghost Lights. I hope you enjoyed reading about those strange lights. Today, we're going eleven miles north of Fort Davis, Texas to mountain peak that's 6, 190 feet above sea level. Mitre Peak is one of many interesting landscapes within the Big Bend region that is home to a supernatural tale.  Mitre Peak sits on private property. The owner does allow for hikers to climb to the summit as long as you seek his permission first. The mountain is the namesake for the Girl Scout Camp - Camp Mitre Peak. Camp Mitre Peak has some beautiful trails that will leave the hiker to experience breathtaking views.

The story behind the name of Mitre Peak comes from the legend that is associated with it. 

The Devil of Mitre Peak:

Back in the day when the Fort Davis area was newly settled, the devil ran wild. Every day he would walk the roads and terrorize the townsfolk, merchants and whomever he decided needed to fear him. One day, a Catholic bishop came to the area. He had heard the local tales of the devil's encounters with the local folk. It didn't take him long to see the strange evidence the devil had left behind. The Catholic bishop prayed over the town, merchants and settlers. Yet still, the devil persisted. Desperate to remedy the situation the bishop decided to take matters into his own hands. He told the townsfolk of his plans to trap the devil. The people warned him not to confront the devil but the bishop refused then all. He blessed them then went on his way. He searched for days. Then one day, he encountered the devil on the road. The devil taunted the bishop. The bishop said a prayer to God and chased the devil through the lands until he came upon a large mountain. He pulled out his wooden crucifix and held it front of the devil. The devil tried to run away but every time he turned around he came face to face with the cross. He walked backwards until he was pushed inside a deep, dark cave. The bishop threw the crucifix into the cave. Just as he backed out of the cave God caused a landslide of boulders to seal up the devil's prison. The bishop fell to his knees, shielded his body until the loud rumbling of falling stones ended. When all was said and done the bishop turned back to the mountain. There he saw the giant mountain was in the shape of his bishop's hat and the devil was no more. The bishop returned to Fort Davis. To this day, none of the locals will ever climb Mitre Peak in fear that they might accidently release the devil from his confinement. 

Monday, July 13, 2015

LTW: Helping #Gifted Students Make Connections

Helping Gifted Students Make Connections

Welcome back to Lighting the Way: Teaching the Gifted Child. The past few weeks we have been discussing current brain research and how it influence gifted education. I hope you have enjoyed the previous posts. This week we are going to discuss how learning actually occurs in the minds of the gifted. Learning is the process of connecting one idea with another. The learning process does not depend upon the intellectual ability of the student. 

Making Connections

Dr. Pat Wolfe (Laureate, 2012) found that learning occurs when brain cells talk to each other. Dr. Siemens (Laureate, 2012) further explained that the act of learning is the process of creating and navigating a vast array of networks with in the brain. These networks are comprised of neurons that transmit information to other neurons via the axon. The axon is a tiny, rod looking part of a neuron that connects to other neurons. The information is received by a neuron through its dendrites.  Wolfe (Laureate, 2012) found every neuron has between 6,000 to 10,000 dendrites. Gross (2013) found gifted children produce more neurons in the brain than their non-gifted counterparts. This allows for the gifted students to process more complex thoughts. Munro (2013) found the network of neurons within gifted children were more complex than there non-gifted peers allowing for more greater activation in different parts of the brain. The complexity of these networks differs in each gifted child providing a different are of expertise.
One of the most widespread myths about gifted students is that they can teach
themselves. The problem with this myth is that gifted students often times need additional educational support because the unique cognitive difficulties they experience. Treffinger (2004) found meaningful connections cannot be made if there is a breakdown in a student’s focus or the ability to make a connection. Some gifted students have problems making connections they have a slow processing speed caused by ADD/ADHD. Butnik (2013) found gifted students with ADD/ADHD have poor executive functions that inhibit brain-based behaviors. Learning new information and retaining takes extra effort with this population of gifted students because of the problems in the student’s working memory. The gifted student with ADD/ADHD can process large amounts of information but it make take them longer to do so.

Asher, J. (2006) Cortex Matures Faster in Youth with Highest IQ. Retrieved from National Institute of Health website:
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
Geake, J. (2009). The Brain at School: Educational Neuroscience in the Classroom. Retrieved from ttps://
Gross, G. (2013, October 21). Who is the gifted Child [Web log post]? Retrieved from
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
Treffinger, D (Ed.). (2003). Creativity and Giftedness. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

#WUWA: #Pirate #Author

Hey everyone. Welcome back to What's Up with Allison. This week has been a very interesting writing week for me. Ever have those moment when you think a storyline is going to go one way and it ends up going another? Well that's what's been happening to me with Lies and Deceit.

I had written 70, 000 words into the novel but it just didn't feel right to me. Camp NaNoWriMo started on July 1st. A few days before camp started I decided I was going to rethink the plan for the second book of the Children of the Shawnee series. I sat down, thought about the loss ends from book 1 and re-planned the entire series.

Lies and Deceit will have more paranormal elements to it than Calico does and the sex scenes are HOTTER! The reader will get to experience more of the supernatural battles between good and evil.

There's new characters as well. You'll meet Red Bird, the man that not only raised but trained Yellow Oak. Another new character is Motshee Monito. He's the Shawnee's version of Satan. The reader will also see experience more scenes with the spiritual guides. Another surprise my readers will encounter is a shaman who travels from the future into the past to help his mother defeat the Demon Bride. Yup, you read that right, Black Buffalo will be an adult in this book. He's coming back to a time and place where his toddler self resides. Talk about a mind blowing experience for that shaman.

I'm really excited about the changes that are occurring in the second book. It's fun just writing about it. Yesterday, I spent the afternoon with some of my writing buddies from Indianapolis' NaNoWriMo group at a pirate write-in. Here are a pic of me in my costume. I have some wonderful story ideas as well for upcoming novels.

Arrrggg, matey. It's Captain Amora of the Drunkard Mermaid. She'll steal your hear than all your treasures. ARRRGGGG.