I’ve heard so many great reviews of this book. I’ve reserved it from the library and am looking forward to reading it. It looks like a good summer read for my outgoing 6th graders.

The Reading Zone

One for the Murphys was recommended to me by many of my Twitter friends.  A lot of my middle grade reading had to take a backseat for last few months, as I finished my National Board work and tried to keep up with the reading my students were doing.  I finally had a chance to sit down and read Hunt’s debut novel and I’m so glad that I did.

Carley is placed in temporary foster care after her mother’s boyfriend almost beats the two of them to death.  While her (neglectful and abusive) mother is in a coma, Carley is sent to live with the Murphy family.  What I loved about this book is that Hunt doesn’t place Carley in the family and then turn this into a happy, everyone-loves-each-other story.  It’s realistic, which means you will want to keep your tissues close.  Carley is angry, hurt, and lost when…

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I Already Miss Talking Books with my AlphaReaders

It was only a few short hours ago that I stood outside waving goodbye to the busses as they pulled out after the last exam.

And now my summer is about ready to start.

But first, here is my TBR pile for now:

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I can’t include my digital books here, but believe me–I’ve got ’em.

I would love to see YOUR summer TBR piles–(especially from my students after they received their 3ish free summer books today).

Everyone–anyone–mail me your Beginning of Summer TBR Pile pic: SummerReadingPic@gmail.Com

I’m looking forward to sharing the results.

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A MONSTER CALLS was a favorite book of mine (and Mr. Peterson’s… and my family… and a bunch of students—as was the CHAOS WALKING trilogy). I’m thrilled that Ness and this book have won these awards– the equivalent of winning BOTH the Newbery AND Caldecott awards for the same book in the same year. Unheard of NOW GO READ IT!

Waking Brain Cells

Patrick Ness has won a second consecutive Carnegie Medal for A Monster Calls.  He won last year for Monsters of Men, the third book in his Chaos Walking trilogy.  His entire trilogy was prize-winning with the first book winning both the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize and the Booktrust Teenage Prize.  The second book in the trilogy won the Costa Book Award.

In a unique twist, A Monster Calls has also won the Kate Greenaway Medal for Illustration.  Jim Kay’s evocative, dark and powerful art added so much to the skilled writing of Ness.  This is the first time that the same book has won both awards.

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Happy Last Day of Classes, AlphaTeam

Here is the video or our skating day.  A great way to celebrate and remember the year.

Remember to send me your “SUMMER VACATION IS FOR READING” postcard this summer. And I look forward to receiving your reading pictures at SummerReadinPic@gmail.com so I can put them in a video.

Finally, I’m looking forward to getting together with you at the SECRET OF THE FORTUNE WOOKIEE book drop on August 9th.

Claim your FREE BOOK by turning in the form by July 25th!

Here is the form in case you lost it:

2012 SHMS FORTUNE WOOKIEE party

Now–Let’s enjoy some summer.

“Choose Kind”–inspired by WONDER

How important is the message of Wonder?

Important enough that the publisher has set up a whole site dedicated to the message of the book:

[Click this picture to jump to the site….after you finish reading this post.]

Important enough that the message is being spread in NYC’s Times Square:

As I have blogged about many timesWONDER is a book with a huge heart. It should be required reading for all humans. Skyping with author RJ Palacio just deepened my affection for the book.

When I was on Twitter the other week, I saw that Lauren Donovan, a PR and social media rep for Random House Kids, was talking about “Choose Kind” cards. I quietly *raised my hand and requested some. She sent them right out. This is what they look like:

Today in classes I will draw names and pass some of these out. I will also encourage my students to sign the PLEDGE. I did:

And I will fill out this certificate and hang it in my doorway.

Will you join me?

And will you take a couple minutes to write a response to Wonder on the site?

I have been signing yearbooks with CHOOSE KIND as the year ends. Now the students will know what it’s all about.

If you’re a blogger or have a way to promote this campaign, grab the CHOOSE KIND button on the side of my blog and add it to yours.

Thank you for making the world a better place–one person at a time.

MIDDLE SCHOOL: Get Me Out of Here! **SEQUEL**

You read

Now prepare yourself for the follow up,

Wondering if you’re going to like it? Click the book below to read the first 19 chapters:

Click the pic below to meet some of the funny characters you’ll meet:

And in the back, there’s an introduction to a NEW book (series?) called I Funny–A Middle School Story, due out in December.  Here is the summary from Amazon.com:

Book Description

Publication Date: December 10, 2012 | Grade Level: 3 and up

Jamie Grimm is a middle schooler on a mission: he wants to become the world’s greatest standup comedian–even if he doesn’t have a lot to laugh about these days. He’s new in town and stuck living with his aunt, uncle, and their evil son Stevie, a bully who doesn’t let Jamie’s wheelchair stop him from messing with Jamie as much as possible. But Jamie doesn’t let his situation get him down. He practices the craft of stand-up every day on friends, family, and the willing customers at his Uncle Frankie’s diner. When Uncle Frankie mentions a contest called The Planet’s Funniest Kid Comic, Jamie knows he has to enter. But are the judges only rewarding him out of pity because of his wheelchair, like Stevie suggests? Will Jamie ever share the secret of his troubled past instead of hiding behind his comedy act?

Following the bestselling success of the hilarious Middle School, The Worst Years of My Life, James Patterson continues to dish out the funnies in another highly-illustrated, heartfelt middle school story.
Keep reading, my fellow BookNerds!

6.11 the FINAL Ring-the-Bell Monday & It’s Monday! What are you Reading?

A new week, a new batch of books–both books finished and being read. Today is…

Ring-the-Bell Monday

{Wherein we share what books we have read in the past week.}

&

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

{Wherein we share the titles we are currently reading.}

Ring-the-Bell Monday

 

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This week I read:

How many books have my classes read? (This total will be updated throughout the day)


Class A

||||||||||

||||||| = 17

Class B

||||||||||

||||||||||

||||||||||

|| = 32

Class C:

||||||||||

||||||||||

|||| = 24


[Check out the home of “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading”: Teach Mentor Texts ]

This week, I am reading:

[click the book to visit the Templeton Twins site]
 
 
I received this ARC in the mail last week and was excited to share it with my students. It was quite a production, really.  Check out this great review of the book.  This is one to keep your eyes open for in August.
 
I’m also looking forward to reading my ARC of Raina Telgemeier’s much-anticipated follow-up to Smile: Drama.
 
Drama
 
 

What are the REST of you reading?

Chatting about ACROSS THE ALLEY by Richard Michelson

Picture books have layers. (Like onions–and yes, Donkey, like cake and parfaits.)  We learned that this week as we read and discussed Richard Michelson’s Across the Alley.

As we head to the end of the year, there is not enough time for partners or groups to start and finish novels for discussion. I decided that the best way for us to practice and build our conversation skills is to use provocative picture books.

We read Eve Buntings Your Move earlier in the week, then moved on to Across the Alley.  We started with a read aloud–students did some Stop n’ Jots in their notebooks and also turned and talked at certain points. Each students then came up with a big idea question they wanted to discuss with a partner. (Big questions tend to start with Why…? What…? Should…?) These partners/trios then broke out around the room, each taking a copy of the book.

The conversations were awesome.

Coming back together, we charted some of their great questions and then voted to see which conversation we would have. The students circled up on the carpet to discuss some of these questions.

  • Why wasn’t the Grandpa mad when he found Willie playing the violin instead of Abe? Why did his opinions seem to change so quickly?
  • Why did the people in the temple move to the other side of the aisle when Willie and his dad sat down? (This grew even more interesting when I helped the students gain some cultural and historical perspective–that this was NOT the time of segregation, it was the North.)
  • Why did it take so long for the boys to discover their true talents?
  • Should the boys have switched?
  • Is the Grandpa racist?
  • And many more…

I mostly stood outside the circle as the students discussed. I would occasionally help clear up a confusion or get things quieted down, or whisper conversation ideas in a reluctant student’s ear.  I did explain that stories have layers. A third grader could read the book and get it. They as sixth graders get it a little deeper because they know more of the history and are more mature. As an adult, I understand it differently (especially the adult characters.) But I don’t understand it on as deep a level as someone would had he lived through that time

I’m pleased with the growth my students have shown in their conversational abilities this year. I’m looking forward to beginning this earlier in the year for 2012-13.

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If you are interested in reading the author’s ideas behind the book (fascinating!), I recommend this interview.

6.4 Ring-the-Bell Monday & It’s Monday! What are you Reading?

A new week, a new batch of books–both books finished and being read. Today is…

Ring-the-Bell Monday

{Wherein we share what books we have read in the past week.}

&

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

{Wherein we share the titles we are currently reading.}

Ring-the-Bell Monday

20120117-111701.jpg

This week I read:

I went on a bit of an Eve Bunting binge. She is quite prolific and her stories have so much meaning. They are great for discussions.

And some others:

How many books have my classes read? (This total will be updated throughout the day)


Class A

| | | | | | | | | |

| | | | | | | | | |

| | | | | | | | | |

| | | | | | = 36

Class B

||||||||||

||||||||||

||||||||||

||||||||||

|||| = 44

Class C:

||||||||||

||||||||||

||||||||||

||||| = 35


[Check out the home of “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading”: Teach Mentor Texts — and the spin-off: Sharpreads]

This week, I am reading:

This is the sequel to Divergent (See cover below trailers)

What are the REST of you reading?