Monday, January 27, 2014

#IMWAYR for January 27

It's Monday and time for What are you reading?  Link up with Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers to see what others are reading.

I was out for snow/ice last week on Wednesday. Did I spend time cleaning or working on lesson plans for this week? Of course not!!!  I read the Matched series I had ordered for my middle school students. I think they'll be perfect for my uppers who loved hunger games.

If you haven't seen them:

Matched, Crossed, and Reached by Allyson Braithwaite Condie.
In the three books you learn about Cassia has always been a loyal citizen of the "Society". Upon her matching day she's excited to learn she's been matched with her childhood friend Xander, but a second match is discovered, with Ky. Cassia has to deal with her feelings for both boys as she discovers things in the Society are not as perfect as they seem.

Loved them. Great series for your upper grade students.

Keep Reading. With this crazy winter weather what else is there to do...

Monday, January 20, 2014

#IMWAYR January 20

It's Monday! What are you reading? Link up with Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers to see what others are reading.

Last week I didn't get around to linking up. I did read week before last. I was focused on getting my books read for the Cybils. Can't wait to see what titles win in all the different categories. I'm a round 2 judge for Easy Readers and Early Chapter Books. I finished reading and rereading all 12 of my books and have my favorites, more on that in a couple weeks. Definitely have some recommendations for my lower grade teaching pals!

This past week I read:

Cinder by Marissa Meyer. It's the first book in the Lunar Chronicles.

I loved it! 5 stars. My upper grade girls are going to love this one. As you can tell from the title, it's another retelling of Cinderella, but with a totally different twist. Cinder is a cyborg! The futuristic setting, fighting the plague, and of course the evil Lunar queen will appeal to my 7th and 8th grade girls. (Kirsten told me to hurry so she could read it first!)

Genius Files: You Only Die Twice by Dan Gutman

This one will be enjoyed by my middle students. I had the first Genius Files and the students have been after me to get more. Love it when that happens! Unfortunately, the downfalls of a small school - small budget. I have to plan purchases carefully. Hopefully hubby won't pay to close attention to the Amazon purchases for the past month. I sort of sneaked a few books in for my students with the Christmas shopping! As for the genius files, a cute thriller for my middle grades. In case you haven't read one - Pepsi and Coke McDonald are two teenagers enlisted in the genius files. They are traveling across the country in an RV with their parents.  Of course there is someone trying to kill them... The villain in this one surprised me. 3 stars.

Finally, I read Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Oh my gosh! If you haven't read this one DO SO! I thought about using it as a read-aloud, but I don't know if I can without crying. (Of course the kids laugh when I cry!) It was the most powerful book I've read this year. Maybe even tops Ivan, which I also greatly enjoyed!!! I loved the different perspectives of the kids in the story. Made me feel really proud to be a middle school teacher by the way the students handled the bulling issue. SOMETIMES, not always, it is important to let the students work it out. We're not going to be there for them when they become adults. 5 stars!!! LOVED THIS ONE.

In between basketball and school, this week I'm going to try to read Crossed, Matched, and Reached by Allyson Braithwaite Condie. My 8th girls are running out of books to read. Can't have that!!!

Keep Reading!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Monday Made It - My Snow Edition

I love Monday Made It. It's a great place to get some wonderful ideas for my school or the library.
This month is my snowy edition. Link up with Tara at  4th Grade Frolics for more creative ideas!

In East Tennessee we don't get a huge amount of snow, so if we get an inch of the fluffy stuff it's a SNOW DAY. In hopes of a few snow days for January and February. I switched the main bulletin board to a snowy theme. (I meant to post pictures yesterday but the snow covered road in front of my house kept this book lady indoors.)

Of course I got the theme "its snow secret" from Pinterest, but I had to put my own little spin on it. Made some 3 D snow flakes (idea from Pinterest). The site included a link to  these simple instructions. They were really easy to make.  I sprayed mine with silver glitter to make them a little sparkly. If I had thought in time, I would have picked up some really cute scrapbook paper from Hobby Lobby. What I had at home or school just wasn't right for my snow board.

I made the snowman out of  deco mesh.  He's not perfect but he'll do. I was too cheap to buy the wreath forms. It probably would have helped keep his shape a little better. I just stapled the mesh to the bulletin board.

The part of the board the kids are going crazy over is the little snow people. Every snow person is a cartoon version of a staff member at school. I have everyone but the bus drivers.... Just didn't get their pictures taken in time or they would have been included.

How did I make my snow people? I'll demonstrate with my photo. Had to be fair and include myself on the board. Took my photo and uploaded to With this website you can have a little fun with photos. I cropped my image and focused on the face.

After I cropped the image, I used effect 13. It gave me the look I was going for. I printed it on my black lazer and cut out my head. Then I created little hats and scarfs for each faculty and staff member. In most cases they are wearing their favorite color or something that represents their personality. It was tons of fun to create! I don't get to play with paper dolls very often. I'm usually watching or playing with my boys. (It's all about basketball or baseball at my house. Sometimes they let me play kickball....)

Enjoy your snow day. I should get to go back to school tomorrow.  I just got the phone call no school tomorrow. Good thing I went by the library for more books! Don't forget to check in with 4th Grade Frolics and see what everyone else has been creating.

Keep Reading!

Monday, January 6, 2014

#IMWAYR for January 6

It's Monday and What Are You Reading? Join in at check other readers at  Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers.

 My first book of 2014 was The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate. If you don't have this one in your library get it!!! I loved it. Can't wait to share it with my students. (I was supposed to go back to school tomorrow, but Old Man Winter had other ideas.) What really intrigued me about this book was the story was told from Ivan's perspective. 5 STARS!!!

Diary of Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck by Jeff Kinney.
If you like the DWK series, you'll enjoy this one. Since I'm not an elementary student, I didn't get near as much enjoyment out of it as my students will. They will love it, especially the part about the 5 second rule.
I also read some picture books I brought home over break. I found a couple I hadn't read. My favorites:

Boxes For Katje by Candace Fleming, illustrated by Stacey Dressen-McQueen
I loved this one. Made me cry. Great little story about Europe and the end of WWII. One little girl's box of love to another little girl in Holland saved her town. 5 Stars

Barefoot: Escape on the Underground Railroad by Pamela Duncan Edwards, illustrated by Henry Cole Great story to add to your collection about the Underground Railroad.

Once Upon a Time by Niki Daly
Great little story about a little girl learning to read.

President Pennybaker by Kate Feiffer, illustrated by Diane Goode Cute little story to add to your election stories.

Bat Loves the Night by Nicola Davies, illustrated by Sarah Fox-Davies Lovely little book about bats.  It's in the Easy section in my library, but you could use this one with your informational texts about bats.

Also read:
No Two Snowflakes by Sheree Fitch, illustrated by Janet Wilson
Time Train by Paul Fleischman, illustrated by Claire Ewart
The Wildest Brother by Cornelia Funke, illustrated by Kerstin Meyer
The Bravest Girls in the World by Olivia George, illustrated by Randy DeBurke
Seven Brave Women by Betsy Hearne, illustrated by Bethanne Andersen
Mr. Wolf and Three Bears by Jan Fearnley
A Taste of Colored Water by Matt Faulkner
Uncle Willie and the Soup Kitchen by DyAnne DiSalvo-Ryan
Mercy Watson: Goes for a Ride by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by Chris Van Dusen
Oliver Button Is a Sissy by Tomie dePaola
Dora's Book by Michelle Edwards
Simon's Book by Henrik Drescher

It looks like a lot of books, but it was Christmas break and I'll do anything to avoid housework...
I hope the weather clears tomorrow so I can get to the library.  I'm going to be out of books. TRAGIC!!!

Keep Reading, I will....

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

First book of 2014!

Linking up with Sheila at Book Journey! What are you going to read first this year?

It's January 1st, what are you doing? I plan on reading of course. I will take a walk sometime after lunch to make my health coach happy.

Back in August my fifth graders challenged me to read 300 books this school year. I'm almost half way there. I have the exact number posted at school near my desk. I'm in the 140's... One of the personal challenges for this past year was to try to read as many of the new books as possible that I purchased for the library. I won't try to read every one. Sometimes one of the series is plenty. If I miss one of the Nate stories I won't lose any sleep!

I have to admit I was a mite excited when right before Christmas break, I received a box of books from Follett. (Happy, Happy, Happy Dance!!!) In the box was a copy of The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate.

So what am I doing today? Curling up in my favorite chair, watching/listening to my boys watch the bowl games and READING. Have a great and very Happy New Year everyone.

Keep Reading... I will!

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