12.20 {BookFlix Friday} #FOUND

Today is

Few things can draw a reader to a new book like a book trailer can. Each Friday I will endeavor to bring a couple to you—some new or recent, some teasers of upcoming books, and a few “classics”. Get the popcorn ready.

Lights…Camera…Action!


From the author of the Shadow Children series…

 

Comes the series

Book 1:

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Perhaps you recognize its original cover: 

Thirteen-year-old Jonah has always known that he was adopted, and he’s never thought it was any big deal. Then he and a new friend, Chip, who’s also adoped, begin receiving mysterious letters. The first one says, “You are one of the missing.” The second one says, “Beware! They’re coming back to get you.”

Jonah, Chip, and Jonah’s sister, Katherine, are plunged into a mystery that involves the FBI, a vast smuggling operation, an airplane that appeared out of nowhere — and people who seem to appear and disappear at will. The kids discover they are caught in a battle between two opposing forces that want very different things for Jonah and Chip’s lives.

Do Jonah and Chip have any choice in the matter? And what should they choose when both alternatives are horrifying?

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12.18 {Whatever Wednesday}: Compassion

Whatever Wednesday — a chance to post something I’ve seen that I’m diggin’. Though often a cool quote or poster, it might simply be a picture.

Enjoy!… and consider posting your own Whatever.


  In class we are talking about compassion. I’m encouraging my students to submit pictures—or put into writing—the things they are doing this holiday season to show compassion to those around them. I want to hang these items on our Compassion Wall in our hallway. The school is doing a drive for Children’s Hospital and the Salvation Army. I’ve shared  with the students how we worked with Boxes of Love to put together bags of groceries to be distributed to those in need. We also had a cookie decorating party and will be taking the cookies to a hospice facility in the city. We have a couple other things planned as well.

Being involved in the #ReadWalkWater project was a great compassionate start to the year. We provided water to over 1200 Ugandans.

Students have shared how they are involved with things like Operation Christmas Child, donating clothes and toys, and helping serve the needy. It is so awesome.

These quotes fit perfectly with this month’s theme of compassion:

 

 

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12.16 It’s Monday! What are you reading? #WakeUpMissing

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

Ring-the-Bell Monday & It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

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This meme is originated by Jen and Kellee at TeachMentorTexts. Thanks!

{Celebrating the books we’ve read in the past week & the titles we are currently reading.}

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Description

Four kids . . .
Two weeks in the Florida Everglades . . .
One top-secret science experiment that could change them and the world as they know it . . .

Meet Quentin, a middle-school football star from Chicago; Sarah, a hockey player from Upstate New York; Ben, a horse lover from the Pacific Northwest; and Cat, an artistic bird watcher from California.

The four have little in common except the head injuries that landed them in an elite brain-science center in the wild swamps of Florida. It’s known as the best clinic in the world and promises to return their lives to normal, but as days pass, the kids begin to notice strange side effects and unexplained changes.

Mrs. Messner (who hails from Western New York, by the way!) wrote an intriguing and harrowing tale. From zooming around the dangerous Everglades on airboats to uncovering nefarious plots by misguided scientists, I was in for quite a ride as I tagged along with Cat, Quentin, Sarah, and Ben.
Messner’s research that goes into her book is as fascinating as the book itself. Reading the author’s note led me on a little journey learning about different scientific breakthroughs and ideas. Some of the concussion research she used in the book came right from our own University at Buffalo. Read about it here and check out some of the other media coverage here.
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What were PARENTS reading last week? Let’s check it out… (Thank you, commenters, for contributing to our book awareness. Readingis not a “school thing”.)

For every parent who leaves a comment on TODAY’S POST with what you’re reading, I’ll give your child a BUSTED ticket…

§
[Check back throughout the day for updates of my students’ reading.]
This past week, my A Class read:
16 books
My B Class read:
14 books
My C Class read:
8 books
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Pretty pumped after her fabulous The Pull of Gravity.
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My wife bought this on her Nook. She said, “Where have I seen this before?”
“On my blog,” I reminded her.
“Oh yeaaaaaaah.”
I’m just going to have to borrow her Nook, I suppose.
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Thanks, Kailey. I’m getting to it…
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This is the conclusion to Starters.
Starters (Starters, #1)
I learned last year that a two-book series is called a duology.
Codename Zero

[Check back at the end of the day to see the cool spinning pictures of what my students are reading.]

Click the picture below for A Class SpinCam
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Click the picture below for B Class SpinCam
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Click the picture below for C Class SpinCam
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[If anyone else is using SpinCam or Padlet to show what your students are reading, I’d love to know about it and link to my Friday post. Thanks.]

Finally–
How are you guys doing with the CompassionInitiative? I’d love to hear what you’re doing and get it posted on our AlphaCompassion Wall.
Send me a picture (email or printed) of you showing compassion and we’ll post it. If you don’t have a picture, write down what you did on a sheet of paper and add your name.

I shared some pictures last week. This weekend my wife put together an awesome little event: My girls had friends over for a cookie decorating party. We will be taking the cookies down to Hospice in the city this week.

Thanks,
David Etkin

12.13 {BookFlix Friday} #FourthStall

Today is

Few things can draw a reader to a new book like a book trailer can. Each Friday I will endeavor to bring a couple to you—some new or recent, some teasers of upcoming books, and a few “classics”. Get the popcorn ready.

Lights…Camera…Action!


It started with:

The Fourth Stall

In case you missed the similarity, the cover is a parody of the movie The Godfather:

Overview

Middle school just got a lot more criminal.

Do you need something? Mac can get it for you. It’s what he does. He and his best friend and business manager, Vince. Their methods might sometimes run afoul of the law, or at least the school code of conduct, but if you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can pay him, Mac is on your side. His office is located in the East Wing boy’s bathroom, fourth stall from the high window. And business is booming.

Or at least it was, until this particular Monday. Because this Monday is when Mac and Vince find out that the trouble with solving everyone else’s problems is there’s no one left to solve yours.

Then came…

The Fourth Stall Part II

Overview

The life of crime is good.Mac has taken down legendary high school crime boss Staples, business has been booming, and Mac and Vince are getting ready for middle school baseball tryouts. But this can’t last. Mac has always tried to keep his friends close and his enemies closer. But what happens when you can’t tell the difference?

This dilemma walks into the fourth stall in the form of Trixie Von Parkway—an eighth grader with a mean look and an even meaner predicament. The new science teacher is terrorizing her, and she needs Mac to get him off her back. Seems simple enough, but as Mac starts to dig deeper, he finds even more trouble brewing at his school, including a new administrator bent on destroying his business, and indications that Trixie isn’t who she claims to be. In the past, the worst thing that could have happened to Mac was that he might lose a little money, maybe catch a beating. In The Fourth Stall Part II, though, there’s going to be much more on the line than that.

But wait, there’s more…

The Fourth Stall Part III

Overview

The story of Mac, Vince, and middle-school organized crime comes to its thrilling conclusion in the third book of Chris Rylander’s Fourth Stall saga, a series that combines a Godfather-like tale of crime and betrayal with hilarious school comedy à la Jack Gantos.

Their business is finished, and Mac’s and Vince’s lives have become something they have never been before—simple. None of the fortune or the glory, none of the risk or the threat of juvenile prison. There’s even a new business that has stepped in to take its place (and take the heat off Mac and Vince for once). Things couldn’t be better.

But that was before things at their middle school started to go haywire. Before they found out that there’s a new crime boss at a school another town over trying to consolidate power. And before their old nemesis, Staples, came back to town begging for help after his stint in the clink. Just when Mac and Vince thought they were out, the business pulls them back in. But this time, will they be able to escape with their lives and their permanent records intact?

Authors don’t write on an island—Revising

Mr. Peterson did some research, asking authors how many people read their novels before they make it to publication. Here are some interesting responses:

Matthew Cody, author of & answered:

Hmmmm….

Lynda Mullaly Hunt, author of one of my favorites, , told Mr. Peterson:

Well now… that’s a whole lot, isn’t it?

Finally, Jennifer Nielsen, author of the Ascendance Trilogy,

tweeted (read these from the bottom up):

She also wrote:

“Writers, authors are not alone on an island.  They need other sets of eyes to read over their writing in order to catch some of the errors, gaps, and misunderstandings that they may not see themselves.”
“All serious writers should seek peer review”
–Jennifer Nielsen
In addition, the revising work and help that comes from other eyes is essential.
Kate Messner, author of books such as
  
shows on her website:
She also shows how
needed to revise:
I’ve heard author say many times: If you want to be an author, learn to love revision.
So—let’s talk about revising today.

Re-Vision: to look again at our writing as if through new eyes.

Today’s focus: Dialogue and Thoughts

  •    Is there dialogue/thought needed?
  •   Did include enough description? Did I do it well?
  •   Is it punctuated/italicized correctly?

Your job is to find 2—3 places in your story that you want a peer to look over. Keep in mind, this is the part of the rubric we are focusing on:

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12.9 It’s Monday! What are you reading? #Alliance #WakeUpMissing & Wall Of Compassion

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

Ring-the-Bell Monday & It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

20120117-111701.jpg 20120819-185816.jpg

This meme is originated by Jen and Kellee at TeachMentorTexts. Thanks!

{Celebrating the books we’ve read in the past week & the titles we are currently reading.}

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ARC from NetGalley

(Random House Books for Young Readers, Hardcover, 9780375870460, 352pp.)

Publication Date: January 7, 2014

After exposing the sinister underground society of students known as the Knights of Charlemagne, Will West stays at the Center over the summer to explore his newly developing physical and mental abilities. Meanwhile, his roommates investigate the Knights’ shadowy purpose and discover unsettling information about their own backgrounds. Will and his friends must quickly figure out what’s going on and separate friend from foe as they prepare for the coming fight.
I know in a series I should expect cliffhangers, but this one had me ready to scream. How could Frost end this at such a point?
In Paladin #2, Frost takes us back to the Center where Will and his cohorts follow more of the clues and end up in a new world, of sorts. Nothing is as it seems, and the future of our world is tied to its past—its rather supernatural/extraterrestrial past.
Can Will and Company survive their subterranean journey? Will they be able to act on their discoveries? And who among them may be a traitor and spy?
§
What were PARENTS reading last week? Let’s check it out… (Thank you, commenters, for contributing to our book awareness. Readingis not a “school thing”.)

For every parent who leaves a comment on TODAY’S POST with what you’re reading, I’ll give your child a BUSTED ticket…

§
[Check back throughout the day for updates of my students’ reading.]
This past week, my A Class read:
17 books
My B Class read:
15 books
My C Class read:
25 books
20121202-215626.jpg
Description

Four kids . . .
Two weeks in the Florida Everglades . . .
One top-secret science experiment that could change them and the world as they know it . . .

Meet Quentin, a middle-school football star from Chicago; Sarah, a hockey player from Upstate New York; Ben, a horse lover from the Pacific Northwest; and Cat, an artistic bird watcher from California.

The four have little in common except the head injuries that landed them in an elite brain-science center in the wild swamps of Florida. It’s known as the best clinic in the world and promises to return their lives to normal, but as days pass, the kids begin to notice strange side effects and unexplained changes.

Screen Shot 2013-01-15 at 9.39.48 PM
I was just approved for the ARC of my Twitter pal Gae Polisner’s upcoming book,
Pretty pumped after her fabulous The Pull of Gravity.
This week we will continue sharing our reading on Padlet! Students “flipped” this part of the class and completed their sharing at home. Now we can get right into sharing and talking about our reading.
Click the picture below—or scan the QR code—
for Per. 1&2
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Click the picture below—or scan the QR code—
for Per. 6&7

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Click the picture below—or scan the QR code—
for Per. 9&10
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[If anyone else is using SpinCam or Padlet to show what your students are reading, I’d love to know about it and link to my Friday post. Thanks.]

Finally–
Our school character trait this month is COMPASSION. The holidays offer many great opportunities to show compassion to those around us who are less fortunate. Just like we joined together to show COMPASSION to towns in Uganda, we can show compassion to those around us.
The student council has provided opportunities with the collections for Salvation Army and Children’s Hospital. Take advantage of these. But showing COMPASSION doesn’t have to cost anything. It could be volunteering.
I’d like to make an AlphaCompassion Wall. Send me a picture (email or printed) of you showing compassion and we’ll post it. If you don’t have a picture, write down what you did on a sheet of paper and add your name.
To get us started, here are some pictures of my family volunteering at Boxes of Love on Saturday. Click here or here to learn more about this great venture.

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Thanks,
David Etkin

12.6 {BookFlix Friday} #BullyBook + three more

Today is

Few things can draw a reader to a new book like a book trailer can. Each Friday I will endeavor to bring a couple to you—some new or recent, some teasers of upcoming books, and a few “classics”. Get the popcorn ready.

Lights…Camera…Action!


The rules governing sixth grade are often a mystery, but for Eric Haskins, it’s a mystery he needs to solve, and fast. He’s a normal, average kid, until sixth grade starts. For some inexplicable reason, the class bully and his pack make Eric the Grunt. Even his best friend since first grade turns on him. Eric can’t figure out why he’s the grunt until he hears about the Bully Book, a mysterious guide with shocking insights about the Bully’s M.O.

Jack’s mom is gone, leaving him all alone on a campsite in Maine. Can he find his way back to Boston before the authorities realize what happened?

Ever since Jack can remember, his mom has been unpredictable, sometimes loving and fun, other times caught in a whirlwind of energy and “spinning” wildly until it’s over. But Jack never thought his mom would take off during the night and leave him at a campground in Acadia National Park, with no way to reach her and barely enough money for food. Any other kid would report his mom gone, but Jack knows by now that he needs to figure things out for himself – starting with how to get from the backwoods of Maine to his home in Boston before DSS catches on. With nothing but a small toy elephant to keep him company, Jack begins the long journey south, a journey that will test his wits and his loyalties – and his trust that he may be part of a larger herd after all.

The Dead Gentleman by Matthew Cody

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The dead are up and walking, and the Gentleman is at the door…

Featuring a kid hero, time travel, and otherworld portals in unexpected places (maybe there are monsters under your bed), The Dead Gentleman is a wild ride between parallel New York City timestreams—1901 and today. Eleven-year-old Tommy Learner is a street orphan and an unlikely protege to the Explorers, a secret group dedicated to exploring portals, the hidden doorways to other worlds. But while investigating an attercop (man-eating spider) in the basement of an old hotel, Tommy is betrayed and trapped. And it’s then that his world collides with that of modern-day Jezebel Lemon, who—until the day she decides to explore her building’s basement—had no bigger worries than homework and boys.

Now, Jezebel and Tommy must thwart the Dead Gentleman – a legendary villain whose last unconquered world is our own planet Earth, where the dead stay dead. Until now. Can two kids put an end to this ancient evil and his legions of Gravewalkers?

Percy Jackson meets Indiana Jones in the New York Times bestselling epic adventure Seven Wonders! The Colossus Rises is the first book in a seven-book series. This first installment chronicles the story of Jack McKinley, an ordinary kid with an extraordinary problem. In a few months, he’s going to die—unless he finds seven magic Loculi that have been hidden in the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

Rick Riordan calls Seven Wonders “a high-octane mix of modern adventure and ancient secrets. The Colossus Rises is Lerangis’s most gripping work yet. Young readers will love this story. I can’t wait to see what’s next in the Seven Wonders series!”

Cool book site found here.

The day after thirteen-year-old Jack McKinley is told he has six months to live, he awakens on a mysterious island, where a secret organization promises to save his life—with one condition. Jack and three other kids must lead a mission to retrieve seven lost magical Loculi, which can save their lives only when combined together correctly. The challenge: The Loculi have been missing for a thousand years, lost amongst the ruins and relics of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. With no one else to turn to and no escape in sight, the four kids have no choice but to undertake the quest. First stop: the Colossus of Rhodes, where they realize that there’s way more than just their lives at stake.