Ice Breaker

Reflective Statement - This post was created in response to an Ice Breaker Prompt at the beginning of the course. Ice Breaker activities area a great way for instructors to get to know their students, and for students to get to know one another. As an assessment, this activity helps instructors do a number of things. It can be used for screening (for individualization), selection (for later small group projects) and for diagnosis (to see where students stand in terms of presentation of thoughts and ideas via written communication). For myself, as a student, this activity allowed me to introduce myself to my classmates, and share some things about myself in a creative manner. It opened an avenue of communication between myself and my classmates as we learn about each other and develop a sense of community.

Skipped the movies and headed to the library

Cover Art from

Image of Cover of the Velvet Room from Goodreads

Because I am not a movie watcher, and I don’t have a single movie that stands out to me that I can talk about, I’d like to introduce you to a book! The Velvet Room written by Zilpha Keatley Snyder in 1965 is the story of a young girl who finds a secret entrance to an abandoned mansion. When she explores the mansion, she finds that all of the rooms are empty, except for one, shrouded in velvet with a cozy window seat. Robin is struggling with fear and anxiety as her world is changing, and she uses the Velvet Room as an escape - place to close her self in, read books, and hide from the realities of her life. Robin becomes obsessed with the room, and needs to know why it remains the only furnished room in an abandoned mansion. There is much more to the story, but the part that stays in my heart is the escape to a quiet place. Children struggle with so much internal anxiety, it is important to remember that sometimes, they just need a safe haven.

This is the first book I remember reading that I felt connected to. I wanted to be Robin, I wanted a secret room to escape to, with beautiful velvet curtains to shut out the world as I read my books. A place to escape from my family and the realities of my own life. It is the quintessential story of a young girl developing coping mechanisms to remain stable in an unstable world. I had taken this book from a box of my mother’s childhood things in my grandmother’s attic. With her permission, I read it and fell in love. After reading this book until the cover practically fell off, I lost it. I was devastated. It was my favorite book, it was my mother’s book, and she had trusted me with it! It clearly held a place in my heart, because I never forgot losing it. About 10 years ago, I found a used copy on Amazon and purchased it for my mother for Christmas. I included a note with the book about how it had changed my life, and how regretful I was that I had lost it so long ago. When my grandmother passed away 7 years ago, we had to clean out her attic. I found boxes and totes full of my childhood things, one of which contained doll clothes. As I pawed through the doll clothes, reliving the memories of playing with them, guess what I found! I had apparently decided to give up my dolls at some point, and in packing up their things, had accidentally snagged the book! To this day, I long for a secret room, filled with books and comfortable places to curl up and read, and of course, it has to have heavy velvet drapes too! I cannot wait to share this story with my daughter.

Shannon (who happens to be a librarian)

Wassaic, NY