Tuesday, June 4, 2013

It's Monday...What are you reading? (I'm a little late.)

The school year is winding down, and that means I am making a pile of books to take home for summer reading!  I have still been able to get a few books in during the rush of the end of the year.  I just finished reading The Elite by Kiera Cass.  I have been waiting on this one since the day that I finished The Selection, and I wasn't disappointed! 

America Singer lives in Illea, a nation divided by a caste system, which formed after the war that destroyed the United States.  She is chosen to compete in the Selection, a contest to see which girl can win the heart of Illea's Prince, and become the next Princess.  America has made it the elite level, and her relationship with Prince Maxon becomes increasingly more volatile.  Now, I am anxiously awaiting book three of the series!

The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine has become one of my new favorites!

Marlee doesn't have many friends at school, and she is painfully shy.  Then, she meets the brave and bold new girl at school, Liz, who helps Marlee overcome her fear of speaking.  Soon Liz is gone, and the rumor is that she is a negro girl passing as white.  Marlee doesn't care because Liz is her best friend, and she is determined to take on integration and the dangers their friendship could bring.  Set during the year after integration at Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, this story of courage and friendship is beautifully written.  Prepare yourself to fall in love with Marlee and Liz!

Monday, April 8, 2013

It's Monday...What Are You Reading?

I wanted to do a quick Monday post, but my bedtime is calling so I won't have time for pictures. During Spring Break I finished two great books that I received from NetGalley, and I can't wait until they are available for my library. 

The Rules for Disappearing, by Ashley Elston, chronicles a teenage girl in witness protection. She has had six identities in eight months, and she has been begging her father to tell her the course of events that put them there.  The secrets that she is determined to reveal might be more than she bargained for. 

That Time I Joined the Circus is the debut novel of JJ Howard, and it is a beautifully written novel. Alexandria lives in New York City with her mostly absent dad and only small recollections of her mother. After her father's death, Xandria goes in search of her mother in her last known location--the circus. Finding love and acceptance in the most unlikely place, Xandria begins putting her life back together. 

I also read Every Day by David Levithan. This book really made me think, and it is an interesting concept. This sums it up:  Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl. 

Happy Reading!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Found Poetry with Recycled Books

I have been weeding my fiction collection recently, and I have been looking for ways to use the books that need to be discarded.  Many of them have been loved for many years, but they are now beyond repair.  I found a poetry idea on Pinterest that I was waiting for the perfect time to use, and today was the day!  I have a related arts teacher who brings her students to the library once a month for a literacy lesson, and today we created Found Poems using old book pages.  The students read the book page they selected and determined if they could fit some of the words on the page into a theme or topic.  Once they selected the topic, they began to circle the words that fit.  After the words were circled, the students created a design to cover up the rest of the words on the page.  The students chose many different themes, including: sports, war, Hollywood, lies, nouns, verbs and alliteration.  This will probably make a lot more sense if you just look at the pictures.  These were some of my favorites...see if you can guess their themes. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

It's Monday...What are you reading?

It has been a good reading week!  I finished reading Legend and Prodigy by Marie Lu, Hidden by Helen Frost and Small as an Elephant by Jennifer Richard Jacobson.  I recommend them all!

Legend and Prodigy take place in  what was once the western United States but is now the Republic that is constantly at war with anyone who surrounds them.  June is a prodigy who is being groomed to be among the military leaders of the Republic, and Day is born into the slums and is the nation's most wanted criminal.  The two, from very different worlds, have no reason to cross paths until June's brother is murdered, and Day is targeted as the prime suspect.  Now their lives are entwined forever.

 Hidden is a novel in verse about two eight-year-old girls, Wren and Darra, whose lives collide when Darra's father steals a car with Wren in the backseat.  Years later, the two girls meet, unexpectedly, at summer camp.  Will they be willing to share the stories they have been hiding for so many years?  Also, an interesting side note...the poems written from Darra's point of view have hidden messages that give more details about the story.  If you read the last word from each of the long lines, sentences will form that give more insight into Darra's life.

 Small as an Elephant is the story of a boy named Jack who has gone camping with his mother.  What starts out as an ordinary vacation turns into a nightmare when Jack wakes one morning to find his mother gone.  His mother has been unpredictable before, but she has never left him in the middle of the night with hardly any money, no food and no way to get in touch with her.  Frightened for his mother, Jack doesn't tell anyone as he begins his journey home.

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Why, yes! We can have fun while we are learning!

When you begin hearing choruses of "this is fun" during a lesson, you know you are doing something right!  My school received a classroom set of iPads at the beginning of the school year, and my goal was to find ways to incorporate the iPads that would be fun and beneficial to our students' learning process.  We decided to start out with free apps, since there are so many free ones, and we have found many that are wonderful.  One of those apps is called Sock Puppet, and students are able to create a puppet show by selecting their own puppets and backgrounds.  Then, they record their voices, and the app turns it into a cartoonish voice.  The students absolutely love it, and surprisingly, they are very serious about getting their shows just right. 

I had a class of 7th grade Social Studies students come into the library to create their puppet shows.  The teacher was using this as an end of unit review, and the students had to write interviews based on several different conflicts they were studying.  It was simple, fun and educational!  What could be better?

The videos can be uploaded to YouTube or Facebook, neither of which I could do at school.  So I resorted to taking a video of the iPad with my phone.  Sorry for the poor quality, but you will get the idea!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Sip and See Our New Books

I just received two gigantic book orders, and they were almost all beautiful nonfiction.  I was so excited to share them with everyone at my school, but I wanted to make sure they were seen by my teachers...and seen for their value as a part of their curriculums.  I stole the term Sip & See from The Real Housewives television show, yes I watch it every now and then, when one of the housewives had a party so that her friends could sip puch and see her new baby.  I thought this would be a great concept for our new books!  My intern and I sent out an invitation by email:

Then, we began sorting our books according to a few categories that we created.  We grouped by Literary NonFiction, Graphic NonFiction, Collaboration and Organization, High Interest, Fiction and NonFiction Pairs and Primary Sources.  Each table was filled with books that fit into the category, and we made small signs with lesson ideas and Common Core Standard tie-ins. 

Of course, we had a table of refreshments and prizes.  Our Sip and See was a hit, and the conversations started were great!  I had several teachers asking how they could use these books in their classrooms, and one collaboration is already underway.  This was a simple way to get my teachers in the doors to look at some of my new resources and to talk about what is happening in their classrooms.

Happy sipping and seeing!

Monday, March 11, 2013

It's Monday...What are you reading?

I'm working on finding my next book club selection, and my students are begging for something else like Divergent.  I have a mixture of boys and girls, and they are all big readers so it is a challenge to find a title that the majority has not read.  I also try to find something that is out in paperback because I purchase the books.  Here are my two choices:

I just reading Variant by Robison Wells, and I loved the beginning.  It is about a boy, Benson, who applies for a scholarship to a special private school.  He is selected for the scholarship, but he quickly learns that the school, with no adults, is not quite what he expected it to be.  This was a quick read but not quite what I was looking for my book club.

I just started reading Legend by Marie Lu, and I believe this is going to be the winner.  The Western United States is now home to a Republic that is always at war with its neighbors.  This is the story of two teenagers from different walks of life who are trying to survive the terrors of their country.

Until next Monday...Happy Reading!