Blog Review

MY BLOG AND ME…………

In my blogs I have written about the books I’ve read and given information that might help others become interested in the books I’m reading. I am not real good at thinking of interesting topics to make a successful blog. I have come to understand that a blog is truly anything you want it to be. Some are funny and some are controversial and some are informative. It is a great place for a person that love to write and get feed back on their writing.

A blog can reflect many things going on in a persons life and can show their personality. I really don’t have any specific concerns that reoccur in my writing because I am writing for fun. The books I have read have been across several genre with board topics. My reading this semester has taken me on quite a few adventures. They are a great escape from the reality of life.

Here are ten suggestions for how any teacher, teaching any subject can participate on a mission to get students to read and how parents can help.

Read. Simple first step! If we’re going to encourage kids to read we need to do it too. Read for pleasure, information, instructions, connecting with others, and so on. Read. Read a little more than you’ve been reading lately.

Share your reading experiences. Like here on the blog page, invite colleagues, friends and students to join in. Tell them what you’ve been reading, what you’ve gained or learned from these texts, what you recommend. As a teacher, I very intentionally and regularly tell my students what I was reading, where I read, (“in the bath!” “before bed”); I brought in the books I read, I read passages to them, I read during silent reading, I told them about how I couldn’t wait for the weekend so that I could read, about my book club arguments, the stories my husband I read aloud to each other…and so on. Help them see what a reader does. Also — I recently discovered Goodreads where you can share, get recommendations, and read reviews that friend have written — I had so much fun on this site and was reminded of how socializing and reading are a perfect match. If you are on Goodreads, or join, find me there! I’d love to hear about what you’re reading. I also wonder if there’s an equivalent for kids to use — anyone know?

Invite students to socialize around reading. Set up book clubs, reading groups, literature circles. Many students (especially boys) need to interact with each other around texts. It greatly enhances their comprehension and makes it so much more enjoyable. Adults know that (we join book clubs and spend hours on Goodreads) so let’s help kids have this experience too.

Organize a Read-a-Thon. A beautiful event that parents and administrators can take a lead on setting up. Our school recently did a Read-a-Thon and it was the highlight of the year for my class. Kids wore PJs, took their pillows and stuffed animals to school, were invited to re-read their favorite books or select a “challenge book.” Parents supplied snacks, teachers and administrators read.

Take a field trip. This is another way to make reading social and exciting. Visit your local library, a university library or a bookstore. It’s not about checking out or buying books — it’s about being surrounded by thousands of books, touching their gorgeous pages, seeing the world of possibility in print, salivating over what there is to know and explore. In my family, we often take weekend trips to explore different bookstores in the area. We make it an adventure and talk about what constitutes a “good bookstore;” it’s just fun. This is another event that parents can organize.

5 Thoughts on How Blogging Impacts Life

You’ll become a better writer. Writing is communication. It is about recording thoughts on paper and compelling others to agree with them.

You’ll become a better thinker. Because the process of writing includes recording thoughts on paper, the blogging process encourages you to stop and think deeper.

You’ll live a more intentional life. Once you start writing about your life and the thoughts that shape it, you’ll begin thinking more intentionally about who you are, who you are becoming, and whether you like what you see or not.

You’ll develop an eye for meaningful things. By necessity, blogging requires a filter. It’s simply not possible to write about every event, every thought, and every happening in your life. Instead, blogging is a never-ending process of choosing to articulate the most meaningful events and the most important thoughts. This process of choice helps you develop an eye for meaningful things. And remember that sometimes the most meaningful things appear in the most mundane—but you’ll see what I mean once you get started.

It’ll lead to healthier life habits. Blogging requires time, devotion, commitment, and discipline.

You’ll meet new people. Whether it be through comments, e-mails, or social media, you may be surprised at how quickly you meet people on-line. And by meet people, I mean legitimately form relationships that seek to serve one another. The blogging community is friendly, encouraging, and genuinely cheering for you to succeed.

You’ll inspire others. Blogging not only changes your life, it also changes the life of the reader.

You’ll become more well-rounded in your mindset. After all, blogging is an exercise in give-and-take. One of the greatest differences between blogging and traditional publishing is the opportunity for readers to offer input. As the blog’s writer, you introduce a topic that you feel is significant and meaningful. You take time to lay out a subject in the minds of your readers and offer your thoughts on the topic. Then, the readers get to respond. And often times, their responses in the comment section challenge us to take a new, fresh look at the very topic we thought was so important in the first place.

It’s free.

I feel my blogs have changed over the last 15 weeks…. at first I only wrote what we were required to write and now it is a little easier to get on here and just write. My writing is a little more free spirited and it isn’t as challenging to start writing. I proof read my writings a little better. Most of the changes in my writing I think occur because I’m not as stressed out about writing. It’s not like a term paper where you have to worry about good references and quotes…etc…. and all the other things that make a good theme paper.

I really wasn’t surprised by my writing…… I write how I speak….pretty laid back….. I did like the comments made by others and found them to be good conversation tools.

I like to hear how others think and it reminds me that we are all individuals and think differently, just like our students. There are no two alike. I like reading certain books and someone else would hate my book choices and have their own idea of a good read and this is all good. Students learn in different ways and this is ok. The goal is to understand their weaknesses, but know their strengths and use the strengths to build the weakness up.

Simple And Cute Quotes

Innovative learner and teacher

How have you been innovative as a learner or thinker this semester?

Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines the word innovative as follows: “introducing or using new ideas or method; having new ideas about how something can be done,” so how have I been an innovative as a learner, teacher or thinker…..hmm……..

I am always trying to explore new ways of teaching and assessing students.

What does innovation look like in learning?

21 Century learning. Realizing a students strength and build on those to make their weakness smaller

What have you unlearned this semester?

The idea that there is only one way to teach and many times we need to reach out of our bubble and see what it is that the student needs to be successful.

What do you think you still need to unlearn about teaching OR learning?

We need to unlearn the practice that teaches all students at the same pace. Is it any wonder why so many of our students love to play online games where they move forward at their own pace? 

We need to unlearn the idea that we are the sole content experts in the classroom, because we can now connect our kids to people who know far more than we do about the material we’re teaching.

Please include at least one quotation from Couros’s “The Mindset of an Innovator”

I liked several of Couros’s quotes, but narrowed it down to 2:

I focus not only on where I can improve, but where I am already strong, and I look to develop those strengths in myself and in others.
I build upon what I already know, but I do not limit myself to myself. I’m open to and willing to embrace new learning, while continuously asking questions to move forward.

Richardson’s 

…we need teachers who are masters at developing kids as learners who are adept at sense making around their own goals. Teachers who are focused on helping students develop the dispositions and literacies required to succeed regardless of subject or content or curriculum

It’s Monday!!!!! What are you reading?

145th Street: Short Stories by Walter Dean Myers

 Something funny happens… and then something bad happens. It’s almost as if the block is reminding itself that life is hard, and you have to take it seriously.” This interconnected group of short stories are a sweet and sour mix of the comedy and tragedy of the human condition, played out against the backdrop of the Harlem neighborhood that is centered around 145th Street.

It is a collection of short stories focused on the inhabitants of “145th Street” in Harlem. Each story is well-crafted and geared to readers 12 and up. The stories share characters, settings, and tone. Myers does an excellent job avoiding bad language while maintaining the vernacular and rhythms of the rich characters that he portrays. Myers is able to give his characters life and credibility, but still manages to give a sense of adult versus youth dialect in leading us through the concrete realities of Harlem.

Angel to Angel: A Mother’s Gift of Love by Walter Dean Myers

I really like this book. I found it so moving. There was such a breath of sweetness, longing and nostalgia about the poems. Coupled with the incredible humanity and realness (for lack of a better word) of the fascinating family photos, the first rate book design, and the elegant, silky feel of the cover and pages, it is a book to be savored, pondered and read and re-read to children at bedtime. The mother-child bond is celebrated so beautifully.

Several lessons can be developed in social studies classes as well as literature. Illustrations and photography can be enhanced by the study of the techniques used in this publication.

It’s Monday!!!!! What are you Reading……………………………..

It’s Monday…………… What are you Reading

It is Ellen Hopkins week for me……………………………………

http://ellenhopkins.com/YoungAdult/books 

If you like trilogy stories this is for you…………………………

The Crank Trilogy: Crank; Glass; Fallout

It is nineteen years after the conclusion of Glass and four children later, Kristina Snow is still a slave to the monster that irrevocably altered her life the summer she visited her father,but in Fallout it’s her children’s turn to tell the story. Alternating between the point of view of Kristina’s three oldest, Hunter, Autumn, and Summer, Fallout chronicles their very different lives and the ways that Kristina’s decisions have affected them, and how, even though they barely know each other, they each struggle with the very same issues of addiction, anger, depression, and disappointment in a parent who can never be the person they want her to be.

Fallout is a powerful book and an entirely fitting conclusion to Ellen Hopkins’ trilogy that started with Crank, based on her own daughter’s struggles with addiction. Flashing forward nineteen years into the future may have been a little unexpected, but it is the perfect way to demonstrate to readers the prolonged and far-reaching effects of addiction and bad decisions. Hopkins does an excellent job at steadily building up the story thorough her inventive and diverse poems, she creates a good amount of suspense by switching back and forth between Hunter, Autumn, and Summer, and it’s not hard to draw parallels between mother and children.

Hunter’s story is engaging as he is one of the closest connections to the first two books, and he fills in a lot of gaps of missing information, allowing readers to piece together what has happened since his birth for themselves. Autumn, who is oblivious to her mother’s identity and hardly knows anything about her parents, is a fascinating character and her struggles and desire to know where she comes from is emotional and even a little turbulent as she reaches out for human connection in any form. Readers will see a lot of Kristina in Summer, but Summer is also determined not be her mother, despite her mistakes that will try to lead her in that direction. She and her siblings, unlike their mother, have the consequences of bad choices and mistakes laid out before them, and live them every day, but yet they still grapple with temptation and each faces moments when they must make decisions that will dramatically alter their futures.

There is plenty of great emotional depth throughout the book, but power of this final installment lies in the moment when Hunter, Autumn, and Summer look at Kristina and are unable to understand her, yet can’t help from seeing a part of themselves in her. This is an impacting and perfect conclusion to such a weighty and commanding trilogy, full of unexpected discoveries and mistakes, but also love, hope, and perhaps, redemption.

IT’S MONDAY!!!!! WHAT ARE YOU READING………………..

IT’S MONDAY!!!!! WHAT ARE YOU READING…
       

Laia is a Scholar, the lowest ranked caste in the world of “An Ember in the Ashes.” When her grandparents are brutally killed by the ruling class, and her brother is taken and imprisoned for interrogation, she is forced to flee and seek help with a group of Resistance fighters, hoping they can help her. In exchange for freeing her brother, she agrees to become the slave of the Commandant, the tyrannical female leader of the elite martial arts school, Blackcliff, where children are selected from an early age, removed from their families, and put through a series of increasingly abusive and difficult training maneuvers. Brutality – whippings, assaults and rapes – are commonly practiced on the slaves there, and at first, Laia has all she can do just to survive. But gradually, she begins to make allies and uncover valuable information – though she finds herself also falling for Ellias, one of the school’s top students, who secretly plans to run away.

Meanwhile, in an alternating viewpoint, we learn about Elias, the estranged son of the Commandant and someone who has long loathed the barbarity of the school. Elias makes plans to flee, but is stopped by a strange prophecy, and then chosen for the Trials, a series of tests designed to measure cunning and courage, which will pit him against his lifelong friend, Helene and two nemeses. Betrayals and tricks are the order of the day, as he moves through them, and after he meets Laia, things become more complicated, as he struggles to fulfill the prophecy – and also find true love.

Wanted to read but doesn’t release until August 4, 2015, so…….

Image result for eleanor & park

It’s 1986.

Eleanor & Park is funny and sad, sarcastic and sincere, and above all geeky. The title characters are both 16-year-old misfits in their working-class Omaha neighborhood. Park is half-Korean in a mostly-white part of town, and is into alternative music and comic books, unlike his brother and dad who are into sports. Eleanor is big (she thinks of herself as fat) and awkward and poor, the oldest of five kids with a painfully difficult home life, and defiantly flaunts her crazy red hair and weird clothes.

They find themselves sitting together on the school bus every day. Over time they’re reluctantly drawn together by sharing Park’s X-Men and Watchmen comic books. Despite their friends’ derision and their families’ dismay and disapproval, they fall in love over mix tapes featuring The Cure and the Smiths. A larger, more dangerous threat looms over one of them, skillfully woven throughout the story and coming to a climax in a way that will have you reading faster and faster to find out what happens.

This story of first love—how it’s almost always intense and heart-breakingly doomed, how you feel desperate and hopeless and wildly hopeful all at the same time—will take you right back to those thrilling stomachache-y days when you felt like you would suffocate under the weight of the love and lust you felt, and just holding your beloved’s hand was enough to make you walk on air for weeks.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Which social media site(s) did you explore?

I explored them all : Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Goodreads, and Shelfari.

What did you find out?

I like Pinterest, Goodreads, and Shelfari. I use Facebook to keep in contact with my family.

How do readers use this space?

They are all used to share information.

How might you use it?

I use Pinterest for new ideas for creating projects.

Image result for Pinterest

Goodreads and Shelfari are good information on books.

Instagram, Twitter and Facebook is talk to others. I see it as a replacement for the phone or face to face contact. Not a big fan of the three.

What books did you add to your TBR this week?

Maybe:

An Ebmer in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Not After Everything by Michelle Levy

The Spectacular Now

Eleanor & Park

It’s Monday!!!!

Screen shot 2012-06-03 at 3.05.05 PM

Liars, Inc….

By Paula Stokes

Max starts a business in his high school to lie for other people so they can be places they “shouldn’t” be, and on top of that, he gets paid. Max is pretty good at scheming. With his girlfriend Parvati and his best friend Preston, he sells lies of any shape or form to his classmates at Vista Palisades High under the name Liars, Inc. It’s mainly small stuff like forging a parent’s signature on permission forms or providing an alibi for teens who want to spend uninterrupted time with boyfriends or girlfriends. And, it’s pretty lucrative-the three friends are making a lot of money for dealing in half-truths and fabrications. But all that changes when Max provides a cover story to Preston’s parents so that Preston can go to Las Vegas to see a girl he met on the Internet. The trouble is, Preston never comes home. Preston’s dad is a senator, and suddenly, Max is being interrogated by the FBI. He’s on his own to find out the truth about what Preston was really doing and why. Liars, Inc. is an interesting mystery with enough plot twists and turns to keep teens motivated to keep reading.

I didn’t feel Max and the secondary characters were developed enough for readers to truly care about what happens to them. Max’s relationship with Parvati, which her parents disapprove of so much that they’ve forbidden her to see him, is mainly described in terms of their sexual activity; she seems to have little personality aside from her relationships with the men in the story-Max, her dad, and Preston.

If you believe in second chances and happy endings you will enjoy this read.

The Cemetery Boys……

By Heather Brewer

If you like writers like Hitchcock, Hinton, and King you will probably like this book. Every aspect of this story is just plain creepy–and maybe a little dark and twisted.

Forced by financial stress to leave his mother behind in a mental health institution, Stephen and his father reluctantly move to a tiny town to live with his bitter, unhappy grandmother. Stephen’s summer starts to look brighter when he meets cute outcast Cara and her fun-loving brother Devon. As the townspeople reveal their bizarre local mythology, Stephen slowly discovers that Devon’s gang is up to something more sinister than just drinking in the cemetery, but it may be bigger and darker than he can imagine. Stephen is a well-developed character, with the right amount of snark, lust, and angst for an honest portrayal of a 16 year old. The dark, mysterious tone combined with a surprise ending bolster the book’s thematic warning on the danger of belief. Instantly engaging—with plenty of suspense surrounding the town’s secret—this supernatural mystery will keep you drawn in.

I was so into it and then with only about 10 pages left everything just fell apart. The twist was amazing but I am left going HUH after the fallout from the twist. I just feel a little let down and honestly a bit angry over what the author chose to do to a certain character. I feel like it wasn’t necessary and well it kinda killed the book for me. I liked living in Stephen’s head because I rarely ever read a guys POV so this was new and exciting to me. Yes he was a teenage walking hormone, but I wouldn’t expect anything less to be honest. The story was a bit creepy and dark and felt kinda like a baby version of The Lost Boys movie.  The characters, unique story-line, and fun lore kept me glued. What happened was a huge deal to me and since I refuse to give anything away I have to leave it at that.

Diversifying Your Reading

Do You Read Out of Your Comfort Zone?

Literature should be about sharing diverse voices and experiences. It means more authors of color, more authors of different backgrounds, and more authors of varying education levels, more of everything. There are meaningful writings dedicated to racism, sexism, classism, heterosexism, and ablest, as well as transgender oppression, religious oppression, and adult and ageism. We want to relate, empathize, and be challenged by the situations and personalities we don’t know. It makes us well-rounded people, and helps us to understand the world around us. To be honest, sometimes we shy away from reading challenges because it takes us out of our comfort zone. There are two systems that drive the way people think—one fast, intuitive, and emotional, the other slower, more deliberative, and more logical. Awareness of how these systems shape the judgments and decisions we make is critical to understanding the effect of cognitive biases.