Lit Review!… Sorta

So I spent a few hours this past week on my lit review. I was excited to find a few books that I want to buy and read over winter break about my topic. I think they will be really helpful.

I had an issue with some of the Kean’s library’s databases. I have never had this many problems with technology than I have this semester. I wanted to use Ebscohost and try to find some scholarly articles to look over for my lit review. Ebscohost along with all of the other databases wouldn’t load on my computer. So this was frustrating, but I will not give up. I am going to try a PC to see if it was my computer or I’m going to try my wifi at home to see if it was the horrible Kean wifi. But I wanted to show that I did get some work accomplished this holiday break so this is what I have so far.


Literature Review – Thesis project


Melissa Libbey


This is the beginning stages of my literature review. I have decided to look for texts and articles that chronicle the effects of an alcoholic parent on their children. Family dynamics and relationships are generally effected by an alcoholic family member. I am trying to find literature that supports that idea. Also because I am writing a creative piece I am trying to find other creative works within the same category.



Hafner, Katie. “Mother Daughter Me: a Memoir.” Penguin Random House. 2013                  


Synopsis:  The complex, deeply binding relationship between mothers and daughters is brought vividly to life in Katie Hafner’s remarkable memoir, an exploration of the year she and her mother, Helen, spent working through, and triumphing over, a lifetime of unresolved emotions.


Dreaming of a “year in Provence” with her mother, Katie urges Helen to move to San Francisco to live with her and Zoë, Katie’s teenage daughter. Katie and Zoë had become a mother-daughter team, strong enough, Katie thought, to absorb the arrival of a seventy-seven-year-old woman set in her ways.


Filled with fairy-tale hope that she and her mother would become friends, and that Helen would grow close to her exceptional granddaughter, Katie embarked on an experiment in intergenerational living that she would soon discover was filled with land mines: memories of her parents’ painful divorce, of her mother’s drinking, of dislocating moves back and forth across the country,  and of Katie’s own widowhood and bumpy recovery. Helen, for her part, was also holding difficult issues at bay.


How these three women from such different generations learn to navigate their challenging, turbulent, and ultimately healing journey together makes for riveting reading. By turns heartbreaking and funny—and always insightful—Katie Hafner’s brave and loving book answers questions about the universal truths of family that are central to the lives of so many.



Kurutz, Steven. “‘Mother Daughter Me’: A Feel-Good Experiment That Wasn’t” The New York Times. July 3 , 2013.


Synopsis: As Ms. Hafner chronicles in her new memoir, “Mother Daughter Me” (Random House, $26), The New York Times interviews her about what it ws like to write this memoir and what hr past was like with an alcoholic mother. She explains her experiment in mother-daughter-granddaughter bonding and how miscommunication can kick off a half-year of simmering resentments (though the tone is not comic).


Kritsberg, Wayne. “Adult Children of Alcoholics Syndrome: A Step By Step Guide To Discovery And Recovery.” Published in 1988.


Synopsis: More than 28 million Americans grew up in alcoholic families. They bear a painful legacy of confusion, fear, anger and hurt–and they are at shockingly high risk of marrying an alcoholic or becoming alcoholics themselves. In this authoritative book, Wayne Kritsberg shows how to recognize–and remedy–the long-term effects of the dysfunctional, alcoholic family. His proven techniques, based on extensive clinical experience using the Family Integration System offer REAL help and REAL hope for adult children of alcoholics–and those they love.



Dayton, Dr. Tian. “The ACoA Trauma Syndrome: What Is an ACoA?” The Huffington Post. Novemeber 19, 2012.


Synopsis: A description of a syndrome that children of alcoholics are effected by. It is described that when the child is young they suppress memories or feelings associated with the alcoholic relative. It describes how these feelings can be brought back by experiences. For example “The past we thought we’d neatly left behind once we got tall enough, old enough or smart enough intrudes onto our present and we are returned, in the blink of an eye, to childhood states of emotion and along with them floods of feelings and images that we “forgot” were there.”



Marion H. Typpo. Ph.D. “An Elephant In The Living Room – Leader’s Guide: A Leader’s Guide For Helping Children Of Alcoholics.” Hazelden Publishing, 1994


Synopsis: Professionals and other adult helpers will learn basic information in order to help children cope with an addicted parent or sibling. Offers practical guidance to education and health care professionals who help young people cope with a family member’s chemical dependency as it explains the disease of chemical dependency and the psychology of child development.



Woititz, Janet Geringer Ed.D. “Adult Children of Alcoholics” Health Communications INC. 1983


Synopsis: Janet Woititz broke new ground in our understanding of what it is to be an Adult Child of an Alcoholic. Today she re-examines the movement and its inclusion of Adult Children from various dysfunctional family backgrounds who share the same characteristics. After more than ten years of working with ACoAs she shares the recovery hints that she has found to work. Read Adult Children of Alcoholics to see where the journey began and for ideas on where to go from here.


Johnson, Jeannette L. PhD*, Leff, Michelle MD. “Children of Substance Abusers: Overview of Research Findings” American Academy of Pediactrics. 1999.

Lesson Plans

It has been a long time since I’ve posted anything, but I finally convinced myself to get some work accomplished over Thanksgiving break.

I have just completed two lesson plans: one was a debate lesson plan related to two pieces of literature we read in senior English, Frankenstein and Macbeth. I plan to use the Frankenstein debate in December and the Macbeth debate in the spring, so I could perhaps film those and evaluate how they work in my classroom. I would like to have a debate tab on my site and also include classroom debates on the student-selected argumentative essay topics they write in the spring.

The other lesson plan was the skit activity related to introducing arguments and counter-arguments. I would like to have a skit tab and include some of the skits the students perform related to reading Beowulf, Macbeth and other works we act out. The physicality of acting out the character helps students understand characterization in the literature they read and in their writing.

I am going to work now on a socratic seminar lesson plan. I think it makes sense to pair the socratic seminar lesson with the debate lesson–both can be about the same work, but whereas the debate is oppositional and confrontational, the socratic seminar should be collaborative and open-ended.

After that, I am more than a little stuck on the remix idea. I am intrigued with the idea, but it is hard for me to create a concrete lesson plan… I will probably have to do more work on that.

Working on My Lit Review

Hi all! Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

I am taking these next few days that we have off to work on my thesis work. I know I have been a bit behind. I am currently working on the lit review. I am having trouble with the wifi in the KUWP office so I have to walk my laptop up and down the hall every 15-20 minutes to reboot the wifi. So a project that should only take a few hours is taking much longer.

I am focusing on looking for articles that are centered around alcoholism and how they effect the family. I am finding some interesting entries. I will post my lit review hopefully soon. I want it to be close to my final draft before I put it up on the blog.

Have a great break everyone!

Writing a YA Novel

Since I have been so focused on my other classes I have decided to use some of the work for those classes as material for my blog. Right now I am writing a YA Novel for Dr. Rich’s class. In one week I have written 16 pages of my book. This was a difficult task but I really pushed myself to finish in time for class. (which was cancelled because of the bomb threat. So I rushed for nothing.) But pushing myself to write those 15 pages in a week was a good lesson for me. I am a busy person. I work 30 hours a week as a server, most of my days consist of 8 hours on my feet. I go home after work to sit on my laptop until about midnight doing homework. This forces me to limit my creativity to the time that I am sitting in front of a computer. I get ideas in odd places and times every once in a while and I try to write them down. My phone’s notes section is full of ideas for my YA Novel. Some ideas I incorporate while others I delete. I had a dream about my character the other night. Dr. Rich says this is great. We should be kept up at night by our characters. That just means we are finally writers.

The final draft that is to be handed in will be 30 pages. Right now I have 18. In two weeks I must have 30 pages. I’ll admit it, I’m nervous. I want to be able to make that deadline. I also want what I turn in to be good. A good story is a good story but a good story that is written well? Thats what I am striving for. Writing this book is giving me so many ideas for the novel i am writing for my thesis. Although I have put that on the back burner I still think about it all the time. With the practice I am getting from developing these characters in my YA book will help me develop the characters in my other novel. I am excited to finish this story and get back to my other one. But the real question is, do we ever really stop writing?

4. Wherein the Writer Hears His Jam

Did you hear that?  Listen to it. I’ll wait.

OK, now? OK. That music, for me- it’s hard to explain. It’s just a piece of music, probably simple as far as classical compositions go. I don’t know, I’m not a music person. I’m talking about my relationship with this piece of music, but not JUST this piece of music, and I mean that on levels. No, its not just this piece of music, its the emotional life that this music has tied into in stages over years. But more literally I mean it isn’t even literally this piece of music. It’s a whole collection of music that sound like this. Variations on these themes, rendered at every stage of complexity- from 8-bit sound files to a single guitar, so a full symphony orchestra accompanied by a choir. All forms of this piece of music thrill me, and it’s not because “it’s such a good song.” How could it be? It’s not even a song. Listening to this admittedly subdued iteration of this theme music brings out in me a feeling of importance, or urgency. I want to get up and do something. I want to run. In every version no matter how simple, this music feels like the beginning of an adventure. It’s tied to being called to adventure, to action. It reminds me of a quiet room and free time, and a dark screen, and then it’s like a wormhole into another dimension, an explosion, a tornado into technicolor. In a medium where we can’t smell anything, the sound, this music is our most immediate sensory companion. And it runs right into us like its being injected into our veins and it feel like it’s flowing so fast. Like flying. Like you’re a different person. In an instant suspended disbelief becomes full immersion, and its not so unbelievable that you can be the hero you want to be. Just like that, you’re in the world, you’re taking up the quest. And the music, as the first part of your experience, is your portal to that, and it stays with you for the whole experience. Exploring the world, meeting important characters, fighting the battles, beating the game, the music is part of the fabric of it all, and weaves it all together. And it doesn’t matter how simple or complex it is, the point is that it’s incredibly evocative. Hearing even a chord, a note, at any time can pull a player out of their lived and into a memory of a moment they may have lived a dozen times. It has the ability to take you from sitting on the subway to saving a princess and a world in an instant, because somebody’s phone rang. For reference for the uninitiated, the above symphonic arrangement, the passion and power that begot it and exists within it, comes from the below. Valuable, for contrast.

Your action item list for Dec. 3rd


After having read your recent blogs, I have an updated sense of where each of you are in your own thesis process.  I also have varying questions and suggestions for each of you.

Some updates on scheduling:  Next Thursday 11/19, I will be attending and presenting some of my  current scholarship at the National Writing Project annual meeting.  There will be no meet up due to my conference engagement.  The Thursday thereafter is Thanksgiving (11/26).  We are coming up on a long stretch of time that will be jam packed with many personal activities (I know how busy you all are).  I fear that a lack of a formal thesis “check-in” at this crucial time will result in the lack of progress with your projects.

Therefore, I would like to design an explicit “action item list” for each of you with a deadline set for December 3rd.  I know if you have some concrete benchmarks for progress (rather than a vast stretch of undefined thesis time in the midst of holiday time) you will keep on better track.  For Andre, Matt, & Christina, we will set those individualized action items this evening.  For Melissa & Larissa, I would like to have an email exchange with both of you that explicitly pins down this stretch of time with self-determined thesis goals.  I will expect to hear from both of you via email by Monday Nov. 16th regarding your specific outline for the next three weeks.  I will respond and we will confirm each of your plans.



Next date to work towards: Dec. 3, 2015

Onward ho!


Losing momentum

So I would like to admit that I feel like an awful student right now. The weight on my shoulders from just the idea of my thesis is weighing down on me. I shutter at the sound of the word thesis and I am crippled by the thought of the literature review. I realize that I am behind on my work and I am very embarrassed by it. My colleagues were able to get their work done in a timely manner and I should have been able to do that to. I admit that taking 4 classes this semester wasn’t the brightest idea and due to my job as a server I am not able to make it to class on Thursdays to converse with all of you. I am making these sound like excuses but really I am just trying to explain my situation.

I have every intention of catching up to the rest of the class in the following weeks before the semester is over. I am planning on blogging every week and dedicating Thanksgiving break to finishing my literature review. I have started it, I have 5 sources so far but I really need to buckle down and concentrate on the sources that are going to help me the most with my project.

I also find it hard to write anything for my novel due to my class with Dr. Rich. All of my creative energy is being used to write children’s literature. Overtime I open my document to write my novel on alcoholism I find that it is reading young. This is due to my mindset being stuck on writing that is geared to middle schoolers.

I need to quit my whining and really focus on my thesis work and live up to my potential. If Larissa and Stina can teach classes during the day and hand in their work on time then I should be able to do the same.

I apologize to all of you for my slacking and I promise to step up my game for the remainder of the semester.

3. Wherein the Writer Explores the Field

Steven Kent- The Ultimate History of Video Games: From Pong to  Pokemon and Beyond
Tristan Donovan- Replay: The History of Video Games
Espen J. Aarseth- Cybertext
Walter Ong- Orality and Literacy
Eric Zimmerman- Gaming Literacy
Hazel Newlevant- Chainmail Bikini
Anastasia Salter- What is Your Quest?
Ernest Cline- Ready Player One
James Gee- What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning  and Literacy
Jane McGonigal- Super Better
                            Why I Love Bees
                            A Real Little Game
David Sheff- Game Over
Tom Bissel- Extra Lives
Eric Zimmerman & Katie Salen- Rules of Play
Nick Fortugno & Eric Zimmerman- Learning to Play to Learn
Mitch Resnick- Scratch
Above is a list of possible sources about games, gaming literacy, and learning. Within the list is a mix of traditional scholarship and less formal writing from memoir to fiction. I don’t know that all of it will have value, but each piece on the list ties to some element that has been part of the discussion of my thesis. The emotional experience of gaming, how it may have enriched my life and understanding of the world, how gaming can be involved in education, even programming.  I’m not positive that all of these sources will make it into my lit review, but from my point of view now, each of them seems like they may have something to offer. Additionally, each source that is useful I will mine for other material, be it academic research or other sources of inspiration involving gaming. One thing that is missing from this list is an adequate treatment of the Raspberry Pi. While my search returned many results, the vast majority were how-to guides and videos, which I do not feel are relevant at this point. However should I need to reference materials like this, they’re very easy to find, so I’m not really worried about losing them. So I have a lot of reading to do, but I’m looking forward to it.