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Showing posts from August, 2016

Review: Our Chemical Hearts

Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**I received an ARC from NetGalley**
Book Talk:
Henry is a regular guy with *mostly* regular friends. Never really been in love, never really done anything extraordinary. Then Grace walks into his English classroom, and turns his life completely upside down. What is he to do with this strange, broken, beautiful girl?

My Thoughts:
I really liked this book for high school students. It examines the impact of death and grief on high school students,, and the process we all go through when we experience loss. There are themes here of friendship, loss, love, and strength. The characters were funny and endearing. In fact, the peripheral characters made the story (I heart Murray and La). I would definitely recommend this one to older students.

My Recommendation:
4/5 stars
Grades 9+ (language, mild adult situations)

View all my reviews

Gut Check Part 2

Courtesy of https://gregmiller21stcenturyleadership.wordpress.com/tag/teacher-reflection/
A few weeks ago I listened to Cult of Pedagogy's podcast "Gut-Level Teacher Reflection" as I was walking my daily circuit around the neighborhood. I was so impacted I had to listen three times to the same podcast. I even tracked down the worksheets she mentioned because I was so excited about completing the reflection activity. I posted my response to her first gut-level question shortly after I listened to the podcast. Then life happened and I got busy with planning for the new school year. But here I am ready to continue working through the questions.
Question 2: Open up your plan book (or spreadsheet, or wherever you keep your lesson plans from the year) and just start browsing, paying attention to how you’re feeling as your eyes meet certain events. What days and weeks give you a lift when you see them, a feeling of pride or satisfaction? Which ones make you feel disappointed, irr…

Review: Fear the Drowning Deep

Fear the Drowning Deep by Sarah Glenn Marsh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sea monsters, fairies (aka Little Fellas), and a horse-dolphin-boy thing all meet up in this strange romp of a fantasy/romance/mystery. Bridey is the main character, and her quiet life on the Isle of Man is turned upside down when she discovers a body on the beach. Then more girls disappear, and the entire town of Port Coire turns on the "comeover" Fynn, who washed up mysteriously on the beach. Can Bridey stop the murders and save her town?

My Thoughts:
This is a strange and unique book. I was hooked by the setting, the language, and the characters. The story line, on the other hand, felt forced to me. It was like three sets of Transformers suddenly meeting in the ocean. I don't know, it just felt fake. I also felt like the relationship between Bridey and Morag and then the romance between she and Fynn just happened too quickly to make sense. Still, it was a fast and interesting read.

My Recomme…

Summer Library Hours

Today I was able to participate in open library hours for my middle schoolers at my brand new job. I wasn't sure what to expect, because the last 2 attempts in June and July fell flat. But this time we sent out email reminders, and boy did that work! I wound up with 20 kids (not counting parents), and it was as zoo. A wonderful, crazy, loud, fun ZOO. I discovered that I LOVE fifth grade (a group I never worked with before), and I remembered why I took this job. I am so excited about being smack dab in the middle of middle school again.










I set up four stations:

1) Arts/crafts: adult coloring books, giant dry erase coloring page, blank bookmarks, play dough, markers, crayons, colored pencils

2) K'nex

3) Games (Scrabble, Upwords, cards, Life)

4) Puzzles
















I even had some parents get in on the action!





In fact, I think this was my favorite part. I had one family of four kids and a mom, and the mom sat down with her four kiddos and worked on a puzzle from start to finish. No screen time, no t…