Road Trip Reading

In our family, a road trip doesn’t mean a lull in reading.   My brother is reading the first Harry Potter and my son is reading the Lego Movie junior novel. I have finished multiple books including Sure Signs of Crazy. 

image

I won this book with Two Writing Teachers March SOL Challenge, but I haven’t had time to read it until now.  It was a great YA read.  The narrator is going through all of the normal chaos of growing up with the added concern that she may be crazy like her mother.  The book takes you through the summer leading up to her seventh grade year with an entertaining and relatable voice – perfect for middle school girls.

When I saw this book in the gift shop I had to get it.

It is a collection of stories and we have been reading it around the campfire and  in the tent before going to bed.  As my brother says, “These stories aren’t scary, they are just interesting.” He is disappointed, but this means no nightmares for my eight year old!  The stories contain historical facts of Yellowstone that relate to ghosts or spirits.  Perfect family read for our trip! 

I also found two books that I HAVE to buy for our classroom library.

image

image

Magic, Fairies, and Other Girly Thoughts

I read The Never Girls: In a Blink the other day on our road trip.  Being in a car with three males means lots of talk about butts, gas, etc. This children’s chapter book was a nice temporary mental shift to all things girly.

image

I originally picked up the book because I love magic and it looked like a fun read for third graders.  (I’m always on the look out for high interest series for the kids.) I didn’t realize it was a Disney book about Neverland and Tinkerbell.  Since I had my son and started teaching I read mostly “boy” books because I didn’t read anything that would interest boys as a kid.

This book is about four human girls getting “blinked” into Pixie Hollow with all the fairies. I love the idea of fairies and a world of tiny things. When the girls in the book were exploring the new world and looking in all the windows, wishing they were small enough to go in, it reminded me of that fairy doll house at the Museum of Science and Industry.

This us why I need a daughter, or at least a niece – fairies!  Jill (my friend and co-teacher) is right when she says I can put cute bows and dresses on a dog, but the dog couldn’t join in the fairy love!

I saw this tiny fairy garden throne made with a coffee mug on Pinterest.  I really want to make one when I get home! Maybe I can display it at the beginning of the year with the book series?

Reading where?!?!

     Think for a second about the rooms in the house that your husband and children spend the most time. If you aren’t at that point yet, think about your dad or your brother…  Was the bathroom on that list?
     According to Jim Trelease, author of The Reading Handbook, people spend A LOT of time in the bathroom. I dont have the exact quote because the book is at school for the summer,  but I know it is a significant amount.
     So why am I mentioning this? Because Jim suggests that you put book baskets in the bathrooms.  After reading this and thinking about it a few years ago, I realized how much sense this makes. Take a look at our bathroom books…

image
My son's bathroom
image
Downstairs bathroom

For other interesting reading information and tips, I encourage all parents and teachers to read the book or at least check out his website.

image

This has me thinking about the time kids spend in the bathroom at school. Maybe we should start using the space on the stall doors for reading material?!?!

Five for Friday

My randomness today will be linked up with Big Time Literacy‘s July Challenge and Doodlebugs Five for Friday.

1. Extreme Cheapskates
Have you seen this show on TLC? My son watches it on Netflix and he LOVES it! Yesterday, when he couldn’t get toothpaste out of the tube he remembered something he had seen on one of the episodes. So, he cut off the end of the toothpaste tube to get out what was left. Oh, my little cheapskate!

20140703_123155 20140703_123138

2.  Summer Road Trip

We are going on a two week road trip out west beginning on Sunday, so there is a lot of preparing the last few days.  Will we survive? I just don’t know.  Over two weeks together when both of us usually work?  Hmmm?

Screen Shot 2014-07-03 at 1.01.35 PM

3. New Year, New Theme

Even though it is summer, I am still thinking about the coming year.  Another year co-teaching third grade and I couldn’t be more excited.  Last year’s theme was Hollywood, but we wanted a new theme that would work with our classroom library.  Since there are lots of superhero movies, we decided to go with Superheros.  The pinning began the last day of school.  So far I have only made one DIY for the birthdays – I’m trying to restrain myself.

Screen Shot 2014-07-03 at 1.25.59 PM

My last two will go with Big Time Literacy’s topic today:  my favorite subjects to teach.

4.  Reading!

I love reading.  I am a book hoarder.  I give books as gifts.

By using reading workshop in our classroom this year and not using AR, we were able to create a classroom full of students who loved books! (My hatred for AR is enough for many blog posts, which I will save for another day.)  The kids truly loved to read and were angry if they didn’t get all of their independent reading time due to an assembly.

And the best part:  the kids enjoyed the new book smell as much as I do!  They will forever be readers and book sniffers! 🙂

20140519_093259

5.  Science

One of the reasons that I asked to move to the classroom was because I wanted to teach all of the subjects.  Science was not my favorite in school, but I loved teaching it this year! Scientific Method, Experiments, Life Cycles, Energy…

20140306_140535
This is a thermometer the students made.

20140306_142721

 

 

 

 

The Teacher’s Funeral

A Teacher's Funeral

No, you aren’t supposed to judge a book by it’s cover, but we all do it sometimes.  I was looking for a book for my son and this title caught my eye.  I’m a teacher.  How could a teacher’s funeral be a comedy?  I read the first paragraph and decided to check it out.

Here’s the first paragraph:

If your teacher has to die, August isn’t a bad time of year for it.  You know August.  The corn is earring.  The tomatoes are ripening on the vine.  The clover’s in full bloom.  There’s a little less evening now, and that’s a warning.  You want to live every day twice over because you’ll be back in the jailhouse of school before the end of the month.

It isn’t the best book I’ve ever read, but it was a fun read.  Because it took place in the early 1900s, it took a few chapters to get my brain into the time period.  If you enjoy historical fiction children’s books and have strong feelings about school (positive or negative) this book might interest you.  However, what interests me is the books that you have read as a result of the cover.  What book did you pick up solely because of the cover?

A Snicker of Magic

 

18222556

I love love love this book!  Although the main character’s father left her, she realizes that she doesn’t need him to be happy.  Felicity realizes that the family that she does have is special and they love her with their whole beings.   The message is strong and the writing is beautiful! The writing is so strong, that I feel like the best way to share this book is to quote some of Natalie Lloyd’s passages.

Felicity collects words – it is her snicker of magic.  She sees words all over, words that no one else can see

In all my years of word collecting, I’ve learned this to be a tried and true fact:  I can very often tell how much a person loves another person by the      way they say their name.  I think that’s one of the best feelings in the world, when you know your name is safe in another person’s mouth.  When you know they’ll never shout it out like a cuss word, but say it or whisper it like a once-upon-a-time.  (p.86)

Although Felicity collects words and can put them together into poems, she gets tongue tied in front of people.  Her new friend has convinced her to participate in a duel reading her poetry, but she is doubtful of her own abilities.

“Don’t matter, anyway, if you do or if you don’t.  Stories aren’t peaceful things.  Stories don’t care how shy you are.  They don’t care how insecure you are, either.  Stories find their own way out eventually.  All you gotta do is turn ’em loose.”

I think this book would be perfect for fourth, fifth, sixth grade girls who love the idea of magic.  Although the characters and message are realistic, there is an element of magic on every page.

We might never look like a normal family, but I didn’t mind.  Normal was never one of my favorite words anyway.  I glanced up at the painted faces of all the people I’d come to know and want to know.  Home isn’t just a house or a city or a place; home is what happens when you’re brave enough to love people. (p.302)

 

Big Nate

I know that many parents and teachers question the amount of Wimpy Kid, Big Nate, and similar books that children read.  However, I think that these books are strong texts that reluctant readers love and adults should love too!  After finding Big Nate, my son has read three in the last few months and suggested that I read one of them as well.  So, here are some examples from the book that prove it is not only engaging for kids, but should not be feared by adults.  9780062267191_xlg

“Yeah  I know.  A couple months ago I had a total space cadet moment and DREW in a library book.  That went over like a turd in a punch bowl.”

Kid:  Hahaha!  Poop!  In a punch bowl!  He must have gotten in so much trouble! 

Adult:  A simile!

 

“Hear that?  Now THAT’S a best friend.  We’ll always be total opposites, but just because Francis is Mr. Clean, it doesn’t mean he expects ME to be.  He’s happy with me just the way I am.”   (Picture of Nate with a mess pouring out of his locker.)

Kid:  That’s like my best friend and I, but at least my locker isn’t THAT messy!

Adult:  Strong messages of friendship and acceptance.

 

Side Note:  My son learned about Achilles and the meaning of an Achilles heel because of another Big Nate book that he read.

 

The moral of this post:  Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.  Even if a book isn’t a great work of literature, it still has value.  And after finding so much enjoyment in a book, your child may be more inclined to pick up more books.

Let the reading continue!

The first book checked off my “Someday List” this summer was Wonder.

Then, in preparation to see the movie, I read The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.  I knew it would be a tear jerker and it didn’t disappoint.  We’ll see how the movie compares later today.

Out of my Mind was next on the list, as a recommendation from a fellow teacher.  The main character is a nonverbal girl who can’t voice any of the thoughts running through her head until she finally get the technology to do so.  Although the main character, Melody, is a strong girl who overcomes the challenges life throws at her, it hurts to read how cruel people can be toward others.

Better Off Friends was a very YA novel, but a welcome change from the emotionally draining books I read so far this summer.  A girl and a boy become best friends and then have to deal with their feelings changing toward each other.  The book was a mindless, fun read.  I loved the structure that the author used.  Each chapter went back and forth from her point of view and his point of view, the font changing for each.  Then, in between each chapter is a short conversation between the two as if they are talking to each other while telling the story.

Next on the list..A Snicker of Magic and Big Nate.

    

Wonder

Image

Day 2 of Summer break and one book checked off my Someday list.  This only happened so fast because my son is still in school so I have had yesterday and today all to myself. 

I have been meaning to read this book for years, but it never happened until yesterday.  What an amazing book!  A boy, who looks different from other people, begins middle school and has to deal with the struggles every 10-11 year old has to deal with plus more.  The story is written from multiple points of view, but never flipping around too much to make it difficult to understand.  It addresses the themes of empathy, friendship, bravery, and courage in a realistic and heartfelt story.  A wonderful read for all ages. 

My favorite line/idea was from the main character, August.

“Everyone in the world should get a standing ovation at least once in their life.”