Showing posts from September, 2013

Blog Tour - Review of The Real Boy by Anne Ursu

I’ve read a lot of great books recently. Being a part of an online community of readers like #NerdyBookClub means the majority of the books I even think about picking up have been strongly endorsed by those I trust. With all the excitement and hype over The Real Boy , I was chomping at the bit to have the chance to read it. Magic, adventure, friendship.. it sounded like this story would be right up my alley. Instead of finding a book I enjoyed and would happily pass on to my students, I found my newest “perfect match”. That's why I was thrilled to be asked to participate in this blog tour and share my thoughts about the book with you! The Real Boy by Anne Ursu (Goodreads Author), Erin Mcguire (Goodreads Author)(Illustrations) Hardcover, 288 pages Published September 24th 2013 by Walden Pond Press ISBN 0062015079 (ISBN13: 9780062015075) Source : I read an electronic ARC through Edelweiss, but have also purchased two copies for my classroom library. Goodreads Syn

It's Monday - September 23rd

Thanks once again to my pals at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers for hosting this each week. I love to check out what others are reading. If you stop by and comment, feel free to leave a link to YOUR blog too!  I feel like there was a bit of a theme in this week's reading. I started listening to an audiobook recording of short Sherlock Holmes stories (part of the free downloads from this past summer). My mind started swirling with possibilities. I'm always looking for just the right challenge for my advanced 5th grade readers, and this year I have a handful who are REALLY strong and chomping at the bit. The first few stories I heard were mild enough in themes and content that I could use them in class. As public domain stories, I can even take the whole text of the story and plop it into a google doc to work on annotating. I'm pretty excited to see if this will work for my kids.  Then I found a copy of Baskervilles, and jumped at the c

Sci Friday - Review of Guys Read: Other Worlds anthology

Short story anthologies are sometimes a bit hit or miss. You may adore a few stories in the bunch, but find some of the others rather forgettable. The latest anthology in the Guys Read series, though, is a work of art all the way through. Guys Read: Other Worlds   (Guys Read Library of Great Reading) by Jon Scieszka , Tom Angleberger (Goodreads Author), Eric S. Nylund (Goodreads Author), D.J. MacHale , Neal Shusterman (Goodreads Author), Rick Riordan , Kenneth Oppel (Goodreads Author), Shaun Tan , more… (side note from me - the "and more" includes a masterful story by the classic author Ray Bradbury!)  Hardcover, 352 pages Published September 17th 2013 by Walden Pond Press ISBN 0061963801 (ISBN13: 9780061963803) Source : I received an ARC from the publisher, but I've also asked my classroom parents for a copy of the newly released book for my library!  Summary :  There isn't really a "summary" of this book to share, since it is

Slice of Life - Getting it Started

As I mentioned in an earlier post, one of my core values for my students this year will be the simple phrase "Be Brave". Yesterday was the first day I got to start pulling my students into the classroom for our first few lessons. (As an enrichment teacher, my students get the chance to "settle in" with their regular classroom before I start removing them for my lessons.) I read The Story of Fish and Snail to my second grader, and we made lists of ways we can show we are brave, and drew pictures. He drew himself singing in front of a large group. I drew myself walking into a large group of people and jumping into the discussion. My older students had a larger chunk of time with me, so we got to accomplish several tasks. We read Fish and Snail and discussed bravery. We watched a video of The Dot and made our own dots to share. Yes *I* drew, too. I've never considered myself to have any artistic talent (at least not with the visual arts), and it takes a li

It's Monday September 16th

Welcome back to the Monday update! Don't forget to visit Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers to get other great reading updates. Life is full when your TBR list is epic. Newbery Challenge Update : I did it! I completed all 91 books in the Newbery Challenge. I wrapped it up with three lovely books. I listened to Tale of Despereaux (the narrator was amazing, and I've always loved this book), and read both Dicey's Song and Missing May on Saturday. By happy coincidence... serendipity, if you will.... I was listening to one of my folk CD's in the car right before reading Dicey's Song. If you are interested in hearing some of the tunes she and Jeff sing and talk about - give it a try! I wrote a post wrapping up my thoughts on all the Newbery books - decade by decade... " Achievement Unlocked ". Excuse me while I have a little party to celebrate. I also read two picture bo

Achievement Unlocked - Newbery Challenge Complete

Two years to read all of the Newbery Award Winners.... Ninety-one prize winning children's literature books.... That doesn't sound too intimidating, right? Especially since I tend to read hundreds of books each and every year. My goal - while absolutely attainable - turned out to be a bigger challenge than I originally anticipated. When I began my journey, I had every intention of writing about the books as I read them. After my first two "nerdberries" were collected, I blogged about the experience . I enjoyed The History of Mankind more than I expected to - but it was still challenging to complete. My next two reads weren't much better. I started to discover that the books considered "noteworthy" from the 20s would be looked at with a little bit of horror today. Other cultures were definitely seen as "other"... and racism and sexism abounded. Many of the early books were hard to find, and I had to purchase some through

A Slice of Humble Pie

It's impossible to do it all - at least to do it all WELL. People all around me share delicious (and time consuming) recipes that delight their families. They show photos of the lovely newly painted rooms they've decorated for their children. They tweet photos of amazing outfits they have painstakingly crafted for their children for Halloween. Yeah... I'm not there. Instead, every once in a while, I chuckle over some new evidence that I just must cut corners from time to time. Sometimes it is letting my children fix their own "breakfast for dinner"... on a regular basis. Sometimes it is realizing that I forgot - again - to send in a particular piece of paperwork. Or to volunteer for a "mom" committee. Or to make sure my boys don't leave the house in ratty T-shirts. At least all of their shirts are clean, right? If you are like me, come join the #CrapMom guild on Twitter. Really, it started as a way for Kathleen (aka @gilkatgil ) and I to c

It's Monday - September 9th

Keeping it short this week, because I spent some time working on my guest post for Kirby Larson (how cool is that??) about meeting the needs of advanced readers. I found I had a lot more to say than room to say it... so there will probably be some more posts here about the other topics I considered for my post. Don't forget to stop by Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers to check out other fabulous bloggers and their reading week! Picture Books: Middle Grade: Two scary, a funny, and a Newbery! (I'm down to only THREE!) Definitely check out The Year Of Shadows if you - or a student - love books that give you a little chill and thrill. And the chuckle of the week... Not only did it make me laugh, but there was a TON of great information about elections in this one! I'll be sure to pull this out to help kids make sense of the voting process.

Sci Friday - Wake Up Missing by Kate Messner

Wake Up Missing by Kate Messner (Goodreads Author) Hardcover, 272 pages Expected publication: September 10th 2013 by Walker Childrens ISBN 0802723144 (ISBN13: 9780802723147)Obtained - I read an ARC through Netgalley, but have already purchased a copy of my own. Goodreads Synopsis: Meet Quentin, a middle school football star from Chicago... Sarah, an Upstate New York girls’ hockey team stand-out... Ben, a horse lover from the Pacific Northwest... And Cat, an artistic bird watcher from California. The four have nothing in common except for the head injuries that land them in an elite brain-science center in the Florida Everglades. It’s known as the best in the world, but as days pass, the kids begin to suspect that they are subjects in an experiment that goes far beyond treating concussions….and threatens their very identities. They’ll have to overcome their injuries – and their differences – to escape, or risk losing themselves forever. My Thoughts :      I'

Be Brave

Be Brave This is it - my theme for the year. Last year I focused on the "Choose Kind" motto. Choosing to be a little kinder than necessary is still vital, and it takes a special kind of bravery to stand up for yourself and others. It takes bravery to risk failure, which is the only way to really learn. It takes bravery to speak up in class and share your thoughts, questions, or ideas. Last year, before I'd even thought of using this as my classroom theme, I started working on a display. "Boldly Go...." in big bold letters sits at the top of the board. I'd begun to add photos of the ISS team, Sally Ride, and other space related images. I think I'll leave lots of empty spots for now, and ask students to contribute. We'll focus on how people in the stories we read and the history we learn exemplified the idea of bravery. We'll collect quotes and anecdotes about standing up for what is right. While I also plan to teach the Sixteen Habit

It's Monday - September 2nd

Time for another reading update! Getting in gear for school last week wore me out, so I didn't post. This week I'll share two weeks worth of wonderful books. (No fear - it's totally manageable!) Don't forget to check out Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers for other posts. Sharing is caring - and I love to share about books! Newbery / Nerdbery - Whittling away at the last few books. I only have FOUR left (and I borrowed an audio book from the library yesterday) I listened to this one. It was lyrically lovely, but I think I'd also need to read it with my eyes to get the full impact. Science Fiction / Fantasy The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There.  The second book in this series is just as amazing as the first. I love the language, and I love the characters! I'm so glad I requested (and received) the ARC for the third book, which prompted me to bump the beginning of the series higher up on my TBR pile. I&#