Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Summer Reading ... FOR FUN

I normally refrain from quoting an author unless I can trace the exact origin of the quote, but I found this one quoted on some 20 or so somewhat reputable websites:  
Margaret Haddix and Hannah in 2012
“I was lucky enough not to face any required summer reading lists until I went to college. So I still think of summer as the best time to read for fun.”Margaret Peterson Haddix  
Here is a link to a video interview about READING with Margaret Peterson Haddix    Her Latest Novel -  Full Ride -- Becca’s claim to fame is one she’s been hiding from for the past three years: Her father is a notorious embezzler, and when he was caught, his excuse was, “How else is a guy like me supposed to put his kid through college?” ... But as college—and its cost—looms large, Becca begins to wonder how they’ll afford it.  -- from the publisher

Do certain books put you in the mood for vacation, or summer break?  
Sorry kids, I can't talk anyone out of required summer reading, but here are some books with summer themes that might put you in vacation mode.  

Books with Summer moods and motifs
descriptions provided by the publishers 

Swim the fly / Calame, Don.

Swim team members and best friends Matt, Sean, and Coop, set themselves the summertime goal of seeing a live girl naked, and while the chances of that happening seem very dim, Matt's personal goal to swim the one-hundred-yard butterfly to impress the new girl on the team seems even less likely to happen.
The Moon and more /Dessen, Sarah.
"During her last summer at home before leaving for college, Emaline begins a whirlwind romance with Theo, an assistant documentary filmmaker who is in town to make a movie."
Paper towns / Green, John,
One month before graduating from his Central Florida high school, Quentin "Q" Jacobsen basks in the predictable boringness of his life until the beautiful and exciting Margo Roth Spiegelman, Q's neighbor and classmate, takes him on a midnight adventure and then mysteriously disappears.
The Summer I turned pretty / Han, Jenny.
Belly spends the summer she turns sixteen at the beach just like every other summer of her life, but this time things are very different.
Girlfriend material / Kantor, Melissa.
Kate has never had a boyfriend. But while crashing at her mother's wealthy friends' home at Cape Cod for the summer, Kate meets Adam. But when her breezy summer romance with Adam becomes more complicated, Kate asks herself if she is girlfriend material.
Rules of summer: a novel / Philbin, Joanna.
Spending the summer working as an errand girl for the Rule family in the Hamptons, seventeen-year-old Rory befriends the family's teenaged daughter and develops feelings for their older son, but she finds that societal rules can be hard to break.
Monsoon summer / Perkins, Mitali.
Secretly in love with her best friend and business partner Steve, fifteen-year-old Jazz must spend the summer away from him when her family goes to India during that country's rainy season to help set up a clinic. Jasmine "Jazz" Gardner heads off to India during the monsoon season. The family trip is her mother's doing. But going to India isn't Jazz's idea of a great summer vacation.
This one summer / Tamaki, Mariko
Rose and her parents go on vacation to Awago Beach like they do every year, but this year Rose's mom and dad won't stop fighting and she turns to her friend Windy for help dealing with her troubled family life.

How to ruin a summer vacation / by Simone Elkeles.
When sixteen-year-old Amy, a spoiled American, goes to Israel for a three-month summer vacation with a father she barely knows, she is not prepared for his Jewish family and the changes they bring about in her life.                                          
One Crazy Summer / Williams-Garcia, Rita. 
Eleven-year-old Delphine is like a mother to her two younger sisters, Vonetta and Fern. She's had to be, ever since their mother, Cecile, left them seven years ago for a radical new life in California. When they arrive from Brooklyn to spend the summer with her, Cecile is nothing like they imagined. While the girls hope to go to Disneyland and meet Tinker Bell, their mother sends them to a day camp run by the Black Panthers. Unexpectedly, Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern learn much about their family, their country, and themselves during one truly crazy summer.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Technology Balance

"Students today ..."

Is there anything that kids today like more than gaming?  Maybe gaming together?
Maybe designing a game?

For those skeptical about where we are going in the future, there are some funny historical quotes in this book
 Rethinking Education in the Age of Technology

Can I dare hope for "a good book"?

Our last class of the year we talked about "reading for fun" over the summer.  I made sure that all of my sixth graders have their OverDrive passwords and I announced our summer reading events.  Some students had lots of book recommendations and others said "I don't read during the summer".  Well I did what any good librarian will do ... I tried to entice them with three of what I think are exciting books.  The good news - they are all the first in a series.

  • The Face on the milk carton / by Caroline B. Cooney  A photograph of a missing girl on a milk carton leads Janie on a search for her real identity.
  • Among the hidden / by Margaret Peterson Haddix. In a future where the Population Police enforce the law limiting a family to only two children, Luke has lived all his twelve years in isolation and fear on his family's farm, until another "third" convinces him that the government is wrong.
  • Uglies / by Scott Westerfeld. Just before their sixteenth birthdays, when they will will be transformed into beauties whose only job is to have a great time, Tally's best friend runs away and Tally must find her and turn her in, or never become pretty at all.

Bonus Book  --- Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne
Read in June,  2012:  This "Fierce Read" left me wanting the sequel ASAP.  But I had to wait a year.  Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne is an apocalyptic / post-apocalyptic novel.  Most of the characters are children or teens, who survive a disaster and are taking refuge in a shopping mall.  Fortunately, this series is complete, and a good trilogy to read over the Summer. 

Another thing that kids really STILL like  ---- 

Students today like WHITEBOARDS 

This is a great reward for students, just make sure they help you clean the board afterwards.
We have a Whiteboard Wall in our MakerSpace.

Friday, May 15, 2015

CHANGE is ...

“Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward.” – C.S. Lewis

Change is hard  OR Change is painful
OR Change is good

When I first started at my current school, I was one of eight new teachers going through "new faculty orientation."  This was a large number of new teachers in my small school and I am certain that the established faculty were wary of the changes that the new faculty would bring.  I find myself now, after eight years at the same school, one of the "established faculty" and I hope that I am handling the change that comes with a group of fresh new faculty.  I am at the same time, sad that so many of my colleagues are either retiring or entering a new phase in their career taking them into leadership in other schools, etc.  And this all happens, just when we finally have developed deep, collaborative relationships.

I offer those who are experiencing change some positive thoughts about being an educator in the following articles.  I welcome our new faculty and hope to have collegial relationships for the future.


Taylor Mali: What Do Teachers Make?

20 Signs You're Actually Making A Difference As A Teacher

The Power of a Positive Educator  Posted by Jon Gordon

42 Simple Habits to Make Yourself Better

Why a teacher cannot have a normal life

"A career like no other"  I am a teacher, I am a librarian  .... and proud of my vocation.  
Why I became a teacher  ---- Hannah's naïve reasons  -  To make a difference ... To change the world ... 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Visiting Author

Vince Vawter -  2014 Newbery Honor Award recipient

Vince Vawter with Middle School Students

An author's visit

Last Thursday, we had an author to visit the school and the library.  I met Vince Vawter earlier in the school year and knew instantly that I wanted him to visit my school.  Not only was his novel of interest, but his personal story was one my students needed to hear.  I was not disappointed!  My students were engaged [particularly the ones who read the novel] and they had meaningful questions for Mr. Vawter.  The added benefit was that his charming wife Betty came for the visit as well.

Photo by Betty Vawter -
Vince taking a look at our character suitcases in the library

I have had a few author visits in my time at Webb, and each one is different.  To prepare for this visit, we read the author's Newbery Honor book "Paperboy" in three different grades.  I found that the most engaged and attentive class was the class who read the book aloud together.  This class also completed a character study assignment that we borrowed from other teachers. [See links to examples below]
Ara T's suitcase complete
with Red Onion & Vienna Sausages

PDF from Bright School 
DOC from Avon School