Archive for the ‘Getting To Know You’ Category

My Favorite Book

9a90e6c792ee724d5dc52b93dad2f4c0When asked to tell us about their favorite book, the PA Virtual Staff was eager to share! From the whimsical to the wordly, our staff shares with you their favorite books. If you’re looking for a new read for your child—or yourself—be sure to check out some of these wonderful titles.

What’s your favorite book? Let us know in the comments section below.

Multi-Vote Favorites

Three books in particular (well, two are series) were mentioned by multiple staff members. Here’s what they had to say about these two timeless favorites.

917FQerThOLMy favorite book of all time is Charlotte’s Web By E.B White. This book is about a little pig who becomes famous with the help of his clever friend Charlotte. Wilber really is “some pig”.
Melissa Burns, Third Grade Teacher

My favorite book is Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White. Every child wants to live on a farm after reading this book!
Jennifer Brodhag, Director of Parent Education and Engagement

My favorite book is actually a series. I loved all of the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling. It was amazing how detailed she made this magical fictional world and I love how she was able to make a millions of people and children all over the world fall in love and get excited about reading.
Heather Schaffer, Family Support Coordinator

I love the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. She does a great job of letting the writing age as the characters age. I love the imagery used in the book. Reading the series was even more fun for me because I read most the series while riding the Tube & trains when I lived in the UK. I even got to read a few chapters in The Elephant House coffee shop, where she sat looking at the back of Edinburgh Castle for inspiration for the first book. I also took a walk on Charing Cross to see if I could find The Leaky Caldron!
Meredith Regul, Operations Coordinator

My favorite books are the Little House Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. There are 8 books in the series and I got them as a Christmas gift when I was 10 years old. I still have the set along with a doll who I call Laura. I remember after finishing the last book in the series, I cried because I was going to miss reading about Laura Ingalls. I felt like I had lost my best friend. Reading this series of books created my love of reading and influenced my career choice—an English Teacher!
Diana Perney, 11th-12th grade Principal

My favorite books as a child were the Laura Ingalls Wilder series including Little House on the Prairie. The author, born in 1867 in Wisconsin (where I was also born and raised) shares here memories of growing up during the late 19th century. I can’t wait to share Laura’s many adventures with my daughters when they get older.
Dana Marra, Director of Operations

For Little Ones (and Big Ones, too!)

My favorite book to read to my kids is Love You Foreverby Robert Munsch. It reminds me of my relationship with my mother and how she would always say that I would always be her baby. I was able to pass that same message on to my kids. It tugs at your heartstrings and reminds us that we are never too old to be loved.
Jackie Sieber, Fourth Grade Teacher

Sada (6) and I just finished Danny the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl. I read it for the first time for a “Reading for Elementary Teachers” course and have read it at least half a dozen times since. Rated at 2nd grade and up, but a great read for any age.
Corbin Anderson, Director of Instructional Technology (A.K.A. “The Video Guy”)

My son and I loved reading Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst when he was a child. Even today, we will refer to a particularly bad day in terms of the misadventures of Alexander. I have seen this story as a play, and we are anxiously awaiting the opportunity to see the movie…but nothing will be as precious to me as snuggling up at bedtime with my son and hearing his laughter at the silly escapades of Alexander.
Toni Kauffmann, Director of Community Relations and Service Learning

Oh,_the_Places_You'll_GoA favorite book of mine is Oh, the Places You’ll Go!, by Dr. Seuss. Not only is it a fun book to read to young children, it is also such an inspirational message at any age. I love reading this book to my children and just absorbing the message for myself!
Katie Daily, High School Special Education Teacher

My favorite book as a child was The Monster at the End of this Book, a Little Golden Book by Jon Stone that featured my favorite Sesame Street Muppet, Grover. My mom used to read it to me with such gusto, and it always made me laugh. I won’t give away the surprise ending, but I highly recommend this book!
Andie Markijohn, Project Manager

My Favorite book as a child was Alpha and the Dirty Baby, by Brock Cole. My mom used to read it to me every night before bed with a charming theatrical voice that would always make me laugh. After reading I would always be so thankful to be fresh and clean, snuggled up in my bed.
Kellie O’Heron, Operations Coordinator

My favorite book is The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. Although this book is designated as a 1st-2nd grade book, I think I have read and re-read it a thousand times as an adult, especially after having my own kids. To me, it accentuated the realization of a loving parent’s sacrifices and their unconditional love for their children.  The tree represents my own mother and all that she has sacrificed in her lifetime for us. It is impossible to understand or appreciate until we are older and wiser.
Dana Ciccotti, Family Support Coordinator

For Older Readers and Adults

My favorite book is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I love this story because of the relationship between Scout and Boo Radley and how perfectly Atticus handles the racial tension during the trial of Tom Robinson. Harper Lee is excellent at character development and timelessly relevant quotations!
Melissa Alcaro, High School English Teacher

My favorite book is The Victorian, by Daria Cyr. Best for adult readers, the book allows you to travel from the 1800’s to present day on a journey of determination and hope. You follow the individual paths of a man and a woman and their journeys through time. This book is especially dear to my heart, as the author is my older sister.
Jessica Dorneman, Enrollment Placement Teacher

If I had to choose just one, I would pick Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell. I’m an avid reader, so the narrowing format of Gladwell’s investigations, where the question under investigation is introduced as a story, then numbers are crunched, and then he finishes the story, really works for me. I ended up incorporating the first half of the book into my LAC 2 class; getting honors students to consider what makes people successful has been a fascinating journey!
Tammy Bacon, High School Academic Support Teacher

furbo_1I’ve always loved Franky Furbo by William Wharton. Like most of Wharton’s novels, it’s based during and after World War II.  However, the main character Franky is a fox, and it’s fascinating to watch him learn about the world and interact with very real characters.  Franky narrates the story in a way that is high-level enough for an adult, but approachable enough for a young adult. It’s such a good read, you’ll feel obligated to pass it on once you finish it.
Jamie Shedd, Senior Enrollment Manager

My favorite author is Sue Taylor Grafton. She is a contemporary American author of detective novels. She is best known as the author of the “alphabet series” (“A” Is for Alibi, etc.); I am currently reading “C” is for Corpse. I started reading the series when I lived in California. When she describes landscapes, she always mentions something related to Los Angeles. The author writes as though you were sitting across the room talking to her or listening to her as she reads her stories, and each series is connected.
Vicki Andrews-Gilmore, Executive Project Manager

Brother Odd by Dean Koontz was the only book in the series I really liked. It’s a slightly creepy, good vs. evil scenario in an interesting setting, best for high school readers and adults.
Rich Costa, Operations Coordinator, Reclamations and Facilities

My favorite book is The Giver, by Lois Lowry. Although this book is geared towards students in intermediate and middle school grades, I enjoy it every time I read it. I also enjoy The Giver’s companion books by Lowry: Gathering Blue, Messenger, and Son because they continue the story in different settings. These books allow me some extra time with the characters!
Stacey Nichols, Academic Support Teacher

In Honor of Labor Day…

What Did You Want To Be?

free-labor-day-imagesIt’s Labor Day weekend! The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City. According to the US Department of Labor, Labor Day “is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.”

In honor of work, we asked our staff about what they wanted to be when they were growing up. We got some great answers! And it’s exciting to see how many of them have always wanted to be teachers…and are doing so today.

What did YOU want to be when you were growing up? Leave a comment and let us know!

I wanted to be a zoo keeper, and then I wanted to be a park ranger, and how that turned into a special education teacher is beyond me.
—Diane Eversmeyer, Tutor for Intermediate/Middle Math

In kindergarten, I wanted to be a babysitter.
—Dana Marra, Interim Director of Operations

I always loved horses, so in kindergarten I wanted to be a cowgirl.
Lisa Steen, Elementary Teacher

I wanted to be an actress.  :-)
—Kathy Anderson, Music Teacher

I wanted to be a marine biologist!  I had the most awesome biology teacher in middle school and from there on I was hooked on Science.
—Cindy Willits, 6th Grade Teacher

I wanted to be an actress! Then an interior designer, then a writer. Now I live vicariously through my students!
—Heidi Bazilian, Director of Experiential Learning

I wanted to be a Pediatrician or run my own resort.
—Jason Billups, Executive Director of Institutional Advancement

I seriously wanted to be a news reporter.  I used to go around interviewing people with my thumb sticking up as a microphone.  My hero was Kermit the Frog, who did a News Flash segment on Sesame Street when I was little.
—Tammy Bacon, Academic Support Teacher

I have always dreamed of being a midwife.
—Nina Cimino, Special Education Teacher

I’ve always wanted to be a teacher for as long as I can remember!  I loved my 1st grade teacher.  She made school fun and I wanted to be just like her.  I’m lucky to be able to do what I’ve always wanted to do!
—Renee Keiser, Elementary School Teacher

I wanted to be an architect and interior designer.
— Meg Dubbs, Director of Creative Services

I wanted to be a Fashion Designer.  And a Musician. And a Teacher.
— Jamie Shedd, Senior Project Manager

I thought my orthodontist had the easiest job ever and I wanted to be one.
—Debby Adamo, Title I Academic Support Teacher

When I was younger, I wanted to be the ice cream lady at Dairy Queen.
Jennifer Burke, Middle School Math Teacher

First I wanted to be a teacher, because both my parents were teachers. Then I changed my mind and wanted to be an actress or an anthropologist, because both my parents were teachers!
—Rebecca Scalese, German Teacher

I took a career aptitude test in high school and the results stated that I should be a funeral director!  Instead, I chose education – I like working with the living!
—Carol Alvarnaz, Academic Support Teacher

I wanted to be a teacher.
—Diana Perney, High School Principal

I actually wanted to be a teacher!  I also wanted to be a Broadway performer and a photographer.
—Katie Barnett, 1st Grade Teacher

I ALWAYS wanted to be a teacher.  I played “school” from the time I was very young.  I am living the dream.  Children are amazing and it is an honor to be part of their world.
—Mary Ellen Moore, Language Arts Interventions Specialist, III

I wanted to work with gorillas and orangutans at the zoo. I think I just wanted the job description to focus on feeding them a lot of bananas and making sure they felt loved.
Heather Schaffer, Family Support Coordinator

I wanted to be an astronaut!! Far cry from being an English teacher!
—Pamela Slater, High School English Teacher

Professional Baseball Player/Bass Master Pro.
—Rich Costa, Operations Coordinator, Reclamations and Facilities

I wanted to be a teacher or a journalist!
—Julie Craig, 4th Grade Teacher

I went back and forth between teacher and nurse.
—Michelle Verga, Elementary Principal

For as long as I can remember, I always wanted to be a teacher.
—Lisa Giannuzzi, Title 1 Parent Engagement Coordinator

As a young adult graduating high school, I had wanted to be a librarian.
—Kristin York, Project Manager, Pupil Health

When I was growing up I wanted to be a teacher and a mommy.
—Melissa Barto, Special Education Teacher

I always wanted to be a teacher.
—Jacqueline Sieber, Teacher-Grade 4

At five years old I taught myself the manual alphabet and ever since I’ve wanted to work with the deaf.
—Johnna Kinney, Special Education Teacher

I wanted to be a teacher and I am teacher. Go figure.
 —Robin Elder (Walbeck), High School Mathematics Teacher

I have always liked to cook, so I wanted to be a chef.
—Sarah Goodwin, High School Physics & Math Teacher

 I’ve always wanted to be a science teacher! It’s true, I’ve always loved science and found a way to inflict my enthusiasm on others.
—Kay Hollenbach, High School Teacher


A Day in the Life of a

Cyber School Student: Part 1

lexiToday we feature one of our students as a guest blogger, giving you an inside look at what it’s like to be a cyber student.  Lexi Dingeldein is a 10th grade student at PA Virtual and has been with us since kindergarten. She’s involved in an FRC Robotics Team, and loves to plan, read, and write. She’s even published three books, all of which are available on Amazon.

You hear the distant buzzing of your alarm. With a groan and a rollover, you smack the snooze button and shove your covers off of you. After wrapping a robe around yourself, mostly for warmth, you waddle out of your room and to your desk. You settle into your chair, flip open your laptop, and press the start button with a yawn. While you wait for your blue and green welcome screen, your gaze swings toward the general direction of the kitchen. Glancing at the computer once more to ensure it isn’t on yet, you shuffle to the kitchen to get breakfast. Once your bowl of cereal is secure, you carry it back to your desk and log onto your computer.

First stop is Blackboard. You open your browser, and log into your homepage. “Thank you for logging into Blackboard!” are the first words to greet you. You check your central hub for any information about your day that you may need to be aware of. Your hub may be your teacher’s classroom, your homeroom teacher’s page, or the High School Hub, depending on your grade level. Then you check your schedule to discover what live Collaborate classes you have that day.

You’ve got an hour until your first live class begins, so you check to make sure any assignments that needed to be completed are done. Once any homework is complete, you log onto the Online School and do something on your daily plan. Use your time wisely! Hmmm… An English lesson sounds good…

After finishing the English lesson, you head to your Live Collaborate class. Greeting your fellow students in the chatbox, you then scan the whiteboard to determine if you have anything required of you before class begins. Once this is discerned and taken care of, class begins and you devote your attention to your teacher, who you can see via webcam. She begins by asking questions about last night’s reading assignment, and you respond via the chatbox, while your more outgoing classmates use their microphones. The class lasts about an hour, after which you say farewell to your online friends and take a short stretch break before beginning your next lesson.

To Be Continued…