Friday, June 29, 2012

37 Days In, 49 Days Left

I fixed my countdown on my website.  Summer Break started 37 days ago and the first day of school in in 49 days.  I am going to probably cry when the countdown starts to turn and there are fewer days left before school starts.  Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy school.  I do enjoy sleeping in though!  I can't believe how easy it is to fall into the routine of staying up late and sleeping in late.  Maybe instead of having early out days for the beginning of the year, we need late start days.  Kids are not used to waking up early especially for school. 
Anything But Typical - This book is told from an autistic twelve-year-old boy's point of view.  It is one of those books that really shows you what life is like from another person's viewpoint.  I know that sometimes I don't consider that other people's point of views are different from mine and that they might not see everything exactly like I do or respond in the same way.  I enjoy this type of book that opens my eyes and makes me see that I need to think more about how others "see".

Stalker Girl - Pretty typical teenage girl situation.  Her boyfriend breaks up with her and she is heartbroken.  Brian starts dating another girl and Carly becomes obsessed with finding out everything that she can about this new girl.  She follows her in the park and she searches online for any information.  Unfortunately, she takes it too far and the police become involved.  One of the things that I enjoyed about this book was that it didn't have a happy ending.  You know how some break-up books end up with the boyfriend and girlfriend getting back together?  Not this one.  This one is realistic.  Another thing that I enjoyed was that this book didn't try to tell us the theme and make judgements about what you should learn from reading this book.  Stalker Girl allowed you to make your own judgements which potentially could be different for each reader.  (Connection to the lesson that I learned/relearned from reading Anything But Typical - Each person sees things differently.) 

Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms - I do not recommend this book to any of my students.  It's on this list because I just finished reading it.  It is not a book that I would have read except that I had to for my on-line class.  While it was published in 2010, I feel that it is already outdated. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Summer Reading Part 2

When I look at my website counter, it says that summer break began 21 days ago.  It seems like it has been longer than that.  Only 21 days?  I'm enjoying my break.  Remember when I said that I missed school and the routines?  I'm doing just fine with no routines right now!  I do miss the people though.  I love being able to see students at their summer activities.  I was able to have a rather long texting conversation with Mrs. Matzke this week.  Yes, we did talk about books.   We compared what books we have been reading this summer.
Flash Burnout by L.K. Madigan - I would recommend this book to any 7th grader who enjoys suspense.  Three characters:  Blake, Shannon, and Marissa.  Blake and Shannon are the couple with Marissa being Blake's friend.  When Blake and Marissa team up for photography projects, they obviously become closer and Blake learns something really intense about Marissa life that he promises to keep confidental.  Of course, Shannon isn't too happy about this close friendship that Blake has with another girl.  The secret becomes becomes even more intense and eventually requires Blake to break into his father's office which is a morgue. 
Unlocked by Ryan VanCleave - Great prose novel about school violence.  The cover's quote, "If you heard the rumor, would you stop the shooter?", made me want to read the book to find out the answer for the main character.  While you do find the answer that Andy, the main character who is a nobody, there are several twists that are unexpected. 
click here to find out how i survived seventh grade by Denise Vega - Remember that little kid book where Harriet wrote everything in a journal that accidently gets shared with everyone in her school?  Similar situation here.  Erin spills her guts to her computer creating a blog that she plans to never publish.  Good lesson to learn from this book:  Never put anything down on paper/computer that you don't want the world to read. 
Divergent by Veronica Roth - Loved this book!  Once again, futuristic science fiction keeps my interest. If you enjoyed Life As We Knew It, The Hunger Games or Legend, you will love this book.   I have the sequel, Insurgent, but I'm waiting to start it.  I wanted to wait until I have enough time to sit down and read the book without any interruptions.  That's how much I loved the first book.  Unfortunately, Mrs. Matzke said that most of the kids that she has talked to, didn't like the second book.  I'll saving it for vacation and I'll let you know what I think.