My #bookaday Update ~ Week 6 (part II)

So, I accidentally published my Week 6 update that was supposed to be a draft copy.  I guess I will continue on in a part II post of the week.

Thursday, August 5th ~ “The Day Mom Finally Snap-ped” by Bob Temple

05 - The day mom finally snapped

Yet another graphic novel, this book made me laugh out loud several times during its short 33 pages.  This is the story of three children who mean well, but succeed poorly at making mom’s day special.  The illustrations are colourful and cartoonish.  Aside from the graphic novel, the book provides a cast of characters, biographical information about the author and illustrator, a glossary, interested facts about chocolate chip cookies, discussion questions, writing prompts, and finally directs the children to a kid-safe website where they can search any topic they like, but if they enter the ISBN number of the book, it will provide the students with websites related to topics in the book.  This is such a neat book and very funny.  There are several other books in this series that I might just have to find.  I loved this book!

 

Friday, August 6th ~ 3 books in the “Si j’étais…”  series, by Isabelle and Christophe Loupy, each 16 pages

06 - un chat  06 - un clown  06 - un dauphin

 This series of books is neat for kids who like drawing or creating pictures.  The premise of these books is that they all start with a white smiley face and with the cat, clown or dolphin.  Each page adds one element to the drawing while using words to describe the picture.  They are great examples of using descriptive language.  I would use this series as a basis for a writing assignment about using descriptive language.  The only drawback to using these books as examples of “good writing” in the area of descriptive vocabulary is that they are not examples of good sentences.  The entire book is written as one complete sentence.  So, if it was written out all in a row, it would be one heck of a run-on sentence!  Cute, none-the-less!

 

 Saturday, August 7 (Book 1) ~ “See Saw Saskatchewan” by Robert Heidbreder, 32 pages

07 - See Saw Saskatchewan

This is a book of Canadian poetry for kids.  I quite liked these short poems and some were quite funny.  However, this is NOT a book that I would share in the classroom like I had hoped.  There are quite a few poems that, although I think they would be funny sharing one on one with my own child, I would not feel comfortable sharing them in the classroom with other people’s children: “underpants flying off”  “barenaked runs”  “forget those clothes when swimming”.  All these things make me wonder about the author’s obsession with the lack of clothing…  Anyway, I’m not going to be putting this one into my classroom library.

 

Saturday, August 7th (Book 2) ~ “Catching Fire” by Suzanne Collins, 391 pages

07 - Catching Fire

Now, I might get a little backlash on this one, but this book was a little disappointing to me.  I absolutely LOVED “The Hunger Games” but this one was slow to me.  I really enjoyed part III of this book.  However, the first two parts seemed slow to me.  I have never really been one for a lot of backstory and description which this book seemed to be.  I’m not saying that I didn’t like this book, because I did like it.  It just wasn’t as WOW as the first one.  I think that perhaps I shouldn’t have read them back-to-back either.  In any case, I am still really looking forward to Mockingjay.

 

Sunday, August 8th ~ “Sur mon île” by Marie-Louise Gay, 37 pages

08 - sur mon ile

This book is very neat visually, even though the story leaves something to be desired.  There is lots of imagery and the story is written in a very visually pleasing manner.  I don’t have a whole lot to say about this one.  It wasn’t terrible, and it wasn’t great.  I won’t be running out to buy this one.

What Twitter has done for me

This year has been a complete transformation for me professionally.  It is hard to pinpoint what exactly has changed, but things definitely have.  Here is a Wordle of this blog post:

Twitter_blog

The biggest change, I think, is in my confidence and my attitude.  Twitter has opened me up to a world (and I do mean WORLD) of teachers who are are doing some of the same things as I am and are paving the roads to new teaching options.  I am a high school trained teacher teaching grade 3.  I will be entering my 8th year teaching at this level.  Up until this year, I have always said that I am a high school teacher teaching grade 3.  This year, I found myself saying that I am a primary teacher.  I think this change came in a round-about way from my participation on Twitter.  I found a community of people who validated what I was doing in my classroom while challenging me to try new things.  So, not only have I started to consider myself a grade 3 teacher, but I have started to consider myself a really good one!  This change was obviously noticed by others as well, because I will be mentoring my new grade 3 teaching partner.  Upon finding out that she was teaching grade 3, she approached me for help.  Both my principal and vice-principal have mentioned that they were glad I could share my expertise with a new teacher.

Another change that came from Twitter is my desire for and pursuit of professional development.  Although I have always liked to attend conferences, I usually only picked conferences that my friends also attended and that took place in my home city.  I also rarely, if ever, did any professional reading.  Since joining Twitter, I have attended a technology conference held in another province, by myself I might add, and my list of professional reading has grown exponentially.  I have read all sorts of books about teaching reading, writing, using technology.  However, I have expanded my definition of professional reading to include blogs and wikis, and yes, Twitter itself.  It is amazing what you can learn in 140 characters!  My professional reading has also come to include reading books that my students would be reading.  I read them so that I can “talk books” with my students, suggest books that they might like, and learn what books I can incorporate into my own teaching.  This attitude towards children’s literature being important professional reading came from Twitter too.

I have participated in many professional discussions on Twitter.  Our division has placed heavy enphasis on Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) in the last 5+ years.  Twitter has offered me a living, breathing, ever-changing PLC (or PLNetwork).  I have participated in #edchat, during which 500+ teachers tackle a different question facing global education each week.  I have participated in #elemchat, a chat focused on issues facing elementary teachers specifically.  I have participated in #ellchat, a chat focused on students and families whose first language is not English.  I have participated in #ntchat, a chat that brings together experienced teachers with new teachers to share advice and answer questions.  Often, we are not sure which participants are which since we all seem to learn!  I have participated in #ptchat, a chat that brings together parents and teachers to share the different view points on different topics in hopes that we can help each other.  I have participated in #ecosys, which is mainly USA teachers who are working for change in public education, but I learn a lot about the teaching situations of my colleagues outside of my little Regina world.  I have participated in the #blacked chat, which focuses on issues facing minority students.  I have participated in the #bookaday challenge, where we shared thought and reviews of books we are reading.  Finally, we know that exercise does wonders for the brain, so I have joined the #temt group on Twitter as well…  The Twitter Exercise Motivation Team.  This is a group of (mostly) teachers who are helping each other get out there and move!  All this learning and discussion from a social media website!

I’m sure that I am forgetting something, but oh well!  So, this is what Twitter has done for me.  What has it done for you?

Where are all the readers? (Part deux)

Last week, I was priviledged enough to be a part of my sister-in-law’s wedding in beautiful Waterton National Park. 

CIMG1395

The week before I left for my vacation, Tess Alfonsin (AKA Reading Countess) wrote a blog entry called “Where Are All The Readers?”  You can read it here.  As I packed my suitcase and backpack full of clothes, shoes, and many many books, I was determined to see how many readers I could see on our trip.

Well, Tess, out and about, I saw one child with a book and one adult with a book.  However, it was interesting to look a little deeper.  During my trip, I had the opportunity to stop in a bookstore in a little tourist town that is four square blocks.  I, of course, picked up many non-fiction books for my classroom about animals.  However, there must have been at least 5-6 families buying books while I was in there.  So, while I didn’t see them reading, they must have been reading those books somewhere!  Then, I had the unique opportunity of being on vacation with 120 other people who came to this destination wedding.  I got to go into campers and hotel rooms and EVERY ONE that I went into had at least one book beside their bed.  It got me thinking…  I know that I read 2 adult books, 7 children’s books and a few picture books on my trip, but I’m not sure anyone but my husband actually SAW me reading.  On holidays, I tend to read at night when I’m winding down from the day or in the morning before I go out.  I read in the car when going from place to place.  So, maybe it is not surprising that we don’t SEE people reading on holidays.  However, if I ran into John Schu on holidays, I’m pretty sure I would see him reading!  Check out how he does reading on holidays here.

So, what are your holiday reading habits?

Passing It On

I have been blessed with a great life.  I have never wanted for anything, really.  I have been taught the value of hard work and of earning things for myself, but I have also always been able to work for and get what I wanted (for the most part.)  I have had the opportunity to get a good education, I have been able to travel, I have a great job that I love, a husband, a car, a house, and even a dog that I love dearly.  I work in a school where some of the families are like me, middle-upper class families who work hard and are able to provide for all the essentials and some of the frills.  However, there are many families in our school community who cannot provide for the even the essentials. 

Both sets of parents, my parents and my in-laws, have taught me to give back some of what we have by living the example.  My mother volunteered for years through our public library, teaching English for ESL men and women and helping High School drop outs to earn their GEDs and bends over backwards to provide for friends and family that are struggling.  My father was a member of the service group Rotary International for many years and now, both my dad and my father-in-law are active members of the Shriners, doing many things to raise money to help sick children.  Recently, my mother-in-law helped start DFSR, a local chapter of Dress for Success (R) that helps women get into or back into the workforce by providing them with an interview outfit, and if successful, a week’s worth of work attire.  Although not part of their mandate, they also like to provide these women with some aesthetic supplies like shampoo, conditioner, lotion, toothbrush, toothpaste, brush, etc because many of these women don’t have the money or access to these things until they get some income.

Every year at the end of the year, I get many cards, letters and gifts from my students’ parents thanking me for the work that I have done with their children.  Many of the gifts, although lovely and appreciated, get regifted because I just don’t have room for 20 gifts a year to come into my home.  Inspired by the giving that my parents (all of them) do, I decided to ask my parents to consider purchasing these extra items for DFSR instead of gifts for me.  They responded wholeheartedly!  DFSR wrote the following article in their newsletter about this:

DFSR_article

I happily collected these items, but it still did feel good to be recognized for it!

My #bookaday update ~ Week 6

Monday, August 2nd ~ “Le monstre de l’espace”, by Marc Cantin, 23 pages

02 - Monstre dans l'espace

This book was okay.  The story is sorely lacking, in my opinion, but there are a few redeeming qualities about this format of this book.  The front cover provides an outline of story elements: main characters, setting, and genre.  The back cover provides a glossary of difficult terms.  Aside from that, the story is simple and funny, but nothing special.

 

Tuesday, August 3rd ~ “Kristy’s Great Idea” (186 pages) and “The Truth about Stacey” (141 pages), both by Raina Telgemeier, based on stories by Ann M. Martin

  03 - Kristy's great idea            03 - The Truth about Stacey

I just started reading graphic novels this summer.  After posting last week’s update which included my review of Ann M. Martin’s “The Summer Before,” John Schu, a K-5 librarian whose opinions I have grown to really respect, suggested reading the graphic novel versions of four Baby-Sitters Club books.  I immediately requested all four books from our public library, then found these two today when I stopped by.  I was again, as with The Summer Before, instantly drawn into the stories.  Raina Telgemeier draws the four girls almost exactly as I pictured them.  The stories are nothing new if you have read the BSC books, but I loved them all the same!  I feel Mary Anne’s frustration with her dad and her struggle to balance wanting to stay a little girl and be responsible, Kristy’s confusion with her mother’s relationship with Watson and her struggle with doing the right things, Claudia’s need for independance and indivisuality being challenged by her need to maintain friendships and Stacey’s need to understand and control her disease and wanting to share it with her friends with her experiences in New York.  I LOVED these books and can’t wait for the other two to come!

 

Wednesday, August 4th ~ “Les cochons sont-ils rayés?” (28 pages) and “Les singes savent-ils chanter?” (28 pages), both by Melanie Walsh

04 - les cochons sont-ils rayes04 - les singes savent-ils chanter

These are both French translations of English books, but I really liked them none-the-less.  They are both books that would introduce the students to some new vocabulary while using vocab they already know.  Both books follow the same format:  Silly question, NO, Correct answer, until the end when it poses a correct question.  Along the way, the first book introduces the students to animals while using physical descriptions and the second book introduces animals using the sounds that they make.  In the second book, I even learned a few new words!  I would absolutely love to use these books as the basis for a writing lesson at the beginning of the year when we are learning/reviewing how to write complete sentences and questions/answers!  I know there are two more books in this series in English, I wonder if they are available in French as well…  I guess I need to find out!

The #bookaday challenge ~ Week 5

Monday, July 26th ~ “Little Miss Sunshine” by Roger Hargreaves, 32 pages

26 - Little Miss Sunshine

When I saw this book at the library, it brought back all sorts of memories.  I used to love this series.  There are cute characters who always teach us a lesson.  This particular book is about a happy young lady who teaches a miserable king the advantages of being cheerful.  I think the physical size of the book might be a little troublesome in my classroom library, but given their own basket, I would love to have the whole series!

 

Tuesday, July 27th (Book #1) ~ Perline Pompette, by Dominique Demers, 32 pages

27 1 - Perline Pompette 

This is a cute story about a little girl whose parents treat her like a princess.  She grows up being spoiled, though her parents are not rich.  She run into a little trouble when she goes to school and the others think that she is quite odd.  Up until the very end of this book, I really liked it.  The ending, although not terrible, seems out of place with the story.  The boys will probably not like this one as it talks of princesses and love.

 

Tuesday, July 27th (Book 2) ~ The Summer Before, by Ann M. Martin, 215 pages

 27 2 - Summer Before

For those of you who grew up on the Babysitter’s Club and found kinship with Kristy, Mary Anne, Claudia and Stacey, this book is for you.  In her most recent BSC book, Ann M. Martin brings us back to the summer before the BSC was formed we learn how it came to be.  The characters are as loveable as ever and they are all just different enough that everyone can find a bit of themselves in at least one of these girls.  I loved it!  A special THANK YOU goes out to Alyson Beecher (@alybee930) from Kid Lit Frenzy through which I won this book.  Without that, I probably would never have been known about this book.

 

 Wednesday, July 28th ~ Summer Reading is Killing Me!, by Jon Scieszka, 73 pages

28 - Summer Reading

I picked this one up entirely based on the title.  I have read books from “The Time Warp Trio” series before, and my students seem to like this series.  Also, last year, some of my more advanced readers fell in love with the Ink Heart series and with the idea of book characters coming to life.  Since then, I have been looking for a book with similar themes but at easier reading levels.  This book seems to answer that need.  What I really love about this book is that the book characters are from actual published are from actual published “classics.”  The author provides the reading list at the end of the book.  I think it would make a meat library project to read this book as a read aloud and to see how many books the kids can find on their own, or to see how many we can read during the year…  I really liked this book.

 

 Thursday, July 29th ~ Monsieur Popotame, by Gérard Moncomble, 23 pages

29 - Monsieur Popotame

This is a cute little book fromt the “Benjamin” series.  The story is one of accepting people as they are, without trying to change them.  Aside from the storyline, which I quite like, this book is really good for a few other reasons.  The first is that it has a mini glossary that explains some of the more difficult words and expressions.  Another reason I liked this book is that part of the story is told through the illustrations.  By grade 3, some of my readers think that pictures are for babies.  I like to remind them of the beauty and the value of good illustrations can have for a story.  Finally, I like this book because it could serve as an introduction to the use of alliteration and word play in writing to add interest as the characters in this book have names like Bill Boa and Odile Croco.  Overall, I really liked this book.

 

 Friday, July 30th ~ Big Worry in Wonderland, by Carolyn Keene, 69 pages

30 - big worry in wonderland

This book is from the “Nancy Drew Notebooks” series.  This is a junior Nancy Drew book.  The characters are in grade 3, which is perfect for my students!  They always love it when characters are their own age.  This particular story is about a missing hat.  The hat belongs to the boy playing in the Mad Hatter in the class play of Alice in Wonderland.  In this story, Nancy learns the value of friends and she also tries to teach the value of proof.  Having a hunch does not give you permission to accuse someone.  I particularly liked this lesson because in grade 3, the accusations fly all over the place!  “He stole my eraser.”  “She stole my pencil.”  “Someone stole my agenda.”  Overall, I liked this book.  It wasn’t fantastic, but I did like it.  I do have one question for those of you who have read any books from this series: Is George a girl or a boy?  I thought George was a boy until, on page 63 when talking about Nancy, Bess and George, the author writes: “The girls whirled around.”  What do you think?

 

Saturday, July 31st ~ Max et Tom by Gilles Tibo, 16 pages

31 - Max et Tom

Today is my sister-in-law’s wedding day, and I am in the wedding party.  (Yipee!)  So, I picked a short, easy read for today.  I picked this one up initially because a handful of my students will still be at a grade one reading level in French when they get to my class in grade three.  It turns out that this book has great potential as a teaching tool in my writing lessons.  I’ve always had difficulty finding good texts to use when teaching point-of-view and voice in writing.  This book could serve as an intro to this.  The story is told from the point of view of a dog.  The words are carefully chosen to support this point of view.  For example, the dog says: In the house, there is a mom, and a dad to show that they are not his parents.  It is a cute book that I will probably pick up for my classroom.

 

 Sunday, August 1st ~ The Wrong Book, by Nick Bland, 32 pages

01 - the wrong book

I was walking down the street of beautiful Waterton and came across a bookstore.  I picked up this book and started to flip through it.  I laughed out loud in the store!  I bought it because I just loved it!  It is a very cute book.  This is a book that I would use as a read aloud.  It is repetitive so the kids can join in in parts.  I would use this book to teach predicting and using pictures to make predictions.  I LOVED this book!

Week 4 #bookaday updates

ericMonday, July 19th ~ “Éric Épic le Magnifique” by Phil Cummings, 49 pages

This is a very cute story about a person who discovers that looks aren’t everything…  It is quite funny.  I would definately put this book in my classroom library.  It is written in chapters, but it quite easy and is supported by a lot of illustrations.

 

 

 

 

 

20 - knightsTuesday, July 20th ~ “The Dragon Players” by Frank Cummuso, 127 pages

This graphic novel is very colourful and has lots of action.  The story broaches the topics of bullying and cheating.  They attempt to show how the pressure of others can really get to a person, but that in the end, if you stay true to yourself and stick with your friends, you can overcome.  The drawings in this graphic novel are very active and the dialogue lends itself very well to discussing “voice” with the students.  Because of the illustrations, you can almost hear the sneers and the fear dripping from the characters voices.  However, a word of caution: although there seems to be very few words on the page, this is not a very fast read.  There is so much detail and texture in the illustrations that I found myself lingering and studying them instead of moving on.

 

 

 

 

21 - SorciereWednesday, July 21st ~ “La sorcière de la rue des Écoles” by Philippe Lenoir, 47 pages

The cover of this book recommends that it is for ages 6-8.  However, the vocabulary, expressions and sentence structure in this book are very difficult.  They attempt to counteract this by including a glossary, but even those definitions are difficult to understand.  The illustrations help to figure out what the author is saying, but I am not sure that my students would have enough background knowledge to figure out the overall message of this story.  It is about a witch who eats so many treats that her teeth are rotting.  Eventually when there are no more treats, she changes the children into chocolates with nuts.  She eats one of the nuts and her teeth fall out.  The spell is broken, the children come back to life unharmed and they never hear from the witch again.  I will not be adding this book to my classroom library.

 

 

 

22 - punishedThursday, July 22nd ~ “Punished!” by David Lubar, 95 pages

Ever been interested in word play?  This book is for you!  It is an adventure-type book where the main character is pun-ished for misbehaving in a library.  Anything he says beyond three-word phrases turn into puns.  Logan needs to seek out examples of many other word plays in order to break the spell.  I love words but have never been very good at thinking off the top of my head for the word games…  This book is super cute.  It was recommended to me as a read-aloud for grade 3 students.  I would love to read it to my students but I’m not exactly sure how to go about reading the puns when the students can’t SEE the play on words…  I’m thinking about it.  Suggestions are welcome!

 

 

 

 

 

23 - l'espace

Friday, July 23 ~ “L’espace” by Bridget Daly and Robin Kerrod, 45 pages

This is a great French non-fiction selection for Grade 3s.  I know that in my classroom library, I am sorely lacking non-fic in French.  I often find that they are either way too difficult for them to understand or there is not enough content.  This book balances the two very nicely.  For the more scientific words that cannot be brought down to the young level, there is a glossary at the end of the book.  The only drawback to this book is that it was published prior to Pluto becoming a dwarf planet.  I really liked this book.

 

 

 

 

 

 

24 - Dinosaurs

Saturday, July 24th (Book #1) ~ “Dinosaurs Before Dark” by Mary Pope Osborne, 80 pages

This is book one in a series of 28 books, which continues in a second series, the Merlin Missions.  The idea of using kids to travel to different times to learn about different points in history is great.  I have read other series with this philosophy (Time Warp Trio, The 39 Clues).  This is a great initiation into this genre of writing.  The fact that the first book talks about dinosaurs doesn’t hurt to get grade 2/3 boys (and girls) reading.  I will definitely be book-talking this series to my kids in the fall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

19 minutes

Saturday, July 24th (Book #2) ~ “Nineteen Minutes” by Jodi Picoult, 455 pages

Wow.  This was absolutely an INTENSE read.  This is the second Jodi Picoult book that I have read.  Both have been very well researched and extremely emotional.  She has a way of making situations that are black and white at first glance become ever muddied shades of gray.  When I started Nineteen Minutes, I knew from the first Jodi book I read (My Sister’s Keeper) and from discussions from others who love her books to expect twists and turns and unexpected outcomes to the story line.  Even knowing to expect the unexpected, I still did not manage to see the twist in this story coming.  It was an excellent read.  It does, however, make me want to learn what more I can do as a teacher to help students who are being bullied…

 

 

 

 

 

25 - attention dragon

Sunday, July 25th (Book #1) ~ “Attention, dragon!” by Amélie Cantin, 23 pages

Again, this is another cute book about kids who think that a dragon has moved in next door.  They use household items to create armour.  Reading this book allows for the children reading it to learn new vocabulary about these household items and about the different parts of a dragon.  I could see using the part of the story that describes what they think the dragon looks like as an example of writing a descriptive paragraph.

 

 

 

 

 

 

25 - the_girl_with_the_dragon_tattoo-large2

Sunday, July 25th (Book #2) ~ “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” by Stieg Larsson, 841 pages

This book has been highly acclaimed, but I have mixed feelings about it.  It was a very slow start.  It took me almost 300 pages to get into the story.  From that point for the next 500 pages, the story was absolutely gripping.  I had a hard time putting the book down.  I gasped, I trembled, I shivered, I couldn’t read quickly enough.  Then came the last 50ish pages…  To me, a giant let-down.  Up until then, I was ready to jump into my car are go get the next book to start reading right away.  Now, I’m not sure I’m even going to read the next book…  It most certainly will not jump ahead of the five TBR books in my immediate reads pile next to me.  But, at least now I can say that I have read it, right?  And, I’m proud that I actually finished this book.  I don’t remember the last time (if ever) that I have read a book that was over 800 pages long.  So, if nothing else, I know that I am growing as a reader.

 

 

 

So, there is my reading week in review.  What do you think of these books?  Have you read any of them?  Do you have suggestions for grade 3 books and how you use them in your classroom?  What did you think of “Nineteen Minutes” or “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”?  Have a great week!  And keep on reading!

Week 3 of the #bookaday challenge

We are now day 20 of my holidays and I have read 21 books.  I am really proud of myself for all the reading that I have done.  Next week I should be able to keep up the reading, but the following week I am away for holidays and will have plenty of work to do as I am part of a wedding party for my sister-in-law.  I hope that I can keep it up!  Anyway, here are this week’s selections.

 Sunday, July 11th ~ “Drôle de cadeau” by Fanny Joly, 47 pages

11 - droleThis is the story of a little girl who wants to give her dad a special gift for Father’s Day.  She makes a gift at school but feels that it isn’t good enough.  She tries to make various things but nothing is good enough.  Finally, she is given a free kitten to give her dad.  I kept expecting her to go back to the gift that she made at school since much of the beginning of the book was focused on the making of this gift and because it was hinting at the “parents will love whatever you make with love” lesson, but it never does.  The vocabulary is also much too difficult for my grade 3 French Immersion students but the storyline would be much to baby for older students.

 

 

 

 

Monday, July 12th ~ “Mrs. Dole is Out of Control” by Dan Gutman, 103 pages12 - Mrs Dole

This is book one of the “My Weird School DAZE.”  This is a very funny book that my students would really like.  It is about a crazy PTA parent who makes things crazy at school.  The only draw-back to this book is the references made to the books in the first series by Dan Gutman: My Weird School…  If you haven’t read that series, this book might become kind of frustrating to read.  I wonder if it is just because it is the first book in the series.  I’ll have to read another one from this series to check it out.

 

 

 

 

 

13 - dents perduesTuesday, July 13th ~ “Le club des dents perdues” by Gilles Tibo, 16 pages

This is a cute little story about kids who lose their teeth.  It may be a little young for my grade 3s, but it is a good review of some basic house and body vocabulary as well as a good book to use when studying word choice in writing.

 

 

Wednesday, July 14 ~ “Lunch Lady and the Author Visit Vendetta” by Jarrett J. Krosoczka, 95 pages14 - lunch lady and the author visit vendetta

This graphic novel is one of the first I have ever read.  I actually laughed out loud when reading this book.  It had a great story and good writing.  This story is about an author who visits schools to do author talks and suddenly the phys. ed. teacher goes missing.  Can the Lunch Lady and her crew figure out what happened?  When I read this book, I was reading a library copy.  I have since purchased this book and one other from the Lunch Lady series.  (See Sunday, July 18th)

 

 

 

 

 

15 - enorme navetThursday, July 15th ~ “L’énorme navet” by Katie Daynes, based on the story by Alexis Tolstoï, 45 pages

This is a cute story that is repetitive so that the students can join in during a read aloud.  The story itself is very simple, but the book could be great to use as an example of using different words that mean the same thing to make a story more interesting.  As each subsequent character holds on and helps pull, a different verb is used.  I will definitely be using this as part of my writer’s workshop.

 

 

Friday, July 16th ~ “The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner: An Eclipse Novella” by Stephenie Meyer, 178 pages16 - short second life

I was sucked in by the Twilight Saga, so although this isn’t a grade 3 read, it is no surprise that I was sucked into this novella.  I have always loved books that make me love or hate its characters.  This book is no different.  I fell in love with Bree, Diego and, surprisingly Fred, hated Raoul and Victoria, and alternated between hating and pitying Riley.  If you are a Twilight fan, it is definitely word a read!

 

 

 

 

 

 

17 - boisson des championsSaturday, July 17th ~ “Le boisson des champions” by Danielle Simard, 16 pages

Unfortunately, I didn’t like this book at all.  The story had potential, but it jumps from one event to another with no transitions at all.  The only way that I would use this book in my class is as a poor example of connecting story elements and maybe in a lesson on the process of workshopping a piece of writing to fill in the gaps to make the writing better.

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday, July 18th (Book 1) ~ “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins, 374 pages18a - hunger games

Wow.  This book is INSTENSE.  Now, I am a slow reader.  I love reading and I read often, and most of the time, the fact that I am a slow reader doesn’t bother me.  This book, however, caused me grief about the speed of my reading.  It pulled me in right away and I couldn’t read it fast enough.  I wanted to finish it right away.  I just wanted to get it done!  I had trouble breathing at some parts, like a really good suspense movie and at one part I was crying so hard that I had to put the book down to gather myself.  This book came highly recommended, which I sometimes take with a grain of salt, but they were not kidding!  This book was truly amazing.  I can’t wait to get Book #2 in the series: Catching Fire.

 

 

 

 

18b - lunch lady and the league of librarians

Sunday, July 18th (Book 2) ~ “Lunch Lady and the League of Librarians” by Jarrett J. Krosoczka, 95 pages

Again, another well written story with good vocabulary.  This book is about a group of librarians who are setting up for the Book Fair, but they have ulterior motives.  Can Lunch Lady and her crew solve the mystery?  Those librarians can truly be EVIL!!!  (Haha!  I do know a few who might be just a little bit evil!)

 

 

Week 2 of the #bookaday challenge

Well, I’ve managed to keep up my goal so far!  It has been absolutely amazing to be a part of this group of readers on Twitter.  I get motivated by reading the progress of the others either through their blogs or on Twitter.  When I started feeling like I was struggling through my adult reads, I got support, cheer-leaders, and suggestions of other books to read as a break.  Here is a continued list of books that I have read during week 2 of the challenge.  I have decided to include a little description of the book this week too.

 

Sunday, July 4 ~ Third Grade Detectives #2 – The Puzzle of the Pretty Pink Handkerchief, by George E. Stanley, 62 pages

This series is great if you are teaching grade 3.  The students always love books when they are the same age as the characters in the book.  This book, as with the whole series, presents a mystery to to solve.  The students in the class, with the help, hints, and guidance of their teacher and his friend, a forensic scientist with the police, solve the mysteries.  Kids who like codes are sure to love this series.  This particular book is about a pink handkerchief that was left in the main character’s tree house while the students were at school.  They work together to find out who was sneaking into the tree house while he was at school.

pretty pink

 

Monday, July 5 ~ Dans la maison hantée by Alyssa Satin Capucilli, 26 pages

This is a cute little book set at Halloween.  It is a repeating pattern book that is similar to the “What’s in your suitcase” game where each previous line is repeated and one new line added each time.  They go through all the characters that you might find in a haunted house and what they might be doing.  After the first time a line is used, the word for the character is replaced with a picture in the repetitions.  This is a great book to read to the students around Halloween to instroduce and work with vocabulary: both Halloween nouns and verbs.

maison hantee

 

Tuesday, July 6 ~ Surf’s Up, Geronimo!, by Geronimo Stilton, 111 pages

Geronimo Stilton was a huge hit in my classroom last year.  My kids devoured the books, but I’m a little embarassed to say that I hadn’t actually read a single one!  So, it was time.  I can see the appeal to the kids.  The use of font and colour in the text itself to emphasize meaning is a very attractive feature.  There are lots of colour drawings and yet, you still feel like you are reading a chapter book.  In this particular Geronimo book, the main character is tricked into a vacation that he wasn’t quite expecting.  He suffers all sorts of funny mishaps.  It was quite cute.

surf's up

 

Wednesday, July 7 ~ Alex, le petit joueur de hockey, by Gilles Tibo, 32 pages

This is the story of a little boy who dreams of having his own hockey geal, especially his own jersey.  He explains what would happen to the world and how it would be a better place if we all wore our own hockey jersey.  It is definately cute and again, a great book to use to teach hockey vocabulary in French.

alex

 

Thursday, July 8 ~ Lost & Found by Jean Little, 68 pages

Two years ago, I had the priviledge to meet Jean Little when she came to talk to our students about the writing process and her books.  She talked about this book in particular.  It is about a young girl who has moved to a new house in a new neighbourhood and is very lonely.  She finds a dog on the street and wants to keep it, but it is obviously someone’s dog.  It is a cute story.

lostandfound

 

Friday, July 9 ~ L’inconnue du grenier, by Rose Impey, 40 pages

This book is a cute story about a boy and his friend who try to do many things to scare the boy’s little sister.  They are not so good at scaring the little girl, though.  In the end, there is a twist to this cute story.  I thought initially that this would be a good book for my grade 3s.  Unfortunately, the vocabulary and the expressions used in this book are too difficult for a grade 3 FLS student.  Still, a cute read.

inconnue du grenier

 

Saturday, July 10 ~ Cam Jansen – The Mystery of the Monster Movie, by David A. Adler, 58 pages

I like the Cam Jansen series.  This is not the first that I have read in this series.  This series reminds me a bit of the Encyclopedia Brown series that I read when I was little.  I like the fact that the clues to solve the mystery are there if you pay attention.  This particular mystery is about a missing movie reel.  Cam, using her photographic memory, helps to solve the mystery.  This is a great series for grade 3 students.

monster movie

 

Adult books I have been reading this week, but are not done:

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson

the_girl_with_the_dragon_tattoo-large2

 

19 Minutes, by Jodi Piccoult

19 minutes

I’m published! (Sort of)

A few months ago, Tess Alfonsin (@ReadingCountess)wrote a blog post that really touched a nerve with me. It was about the value of our school counselors and the fact that they are being stretched beyond their time.  They are no longer able to provide counseling because they so stretched with testing.  I left a comment because I felt exactly the same way about our counselors.  That being said, her blog post was subsequently published in publication (here) by the Texas School Counselor Association along with all the comments that followed. 

Congratulations on the publication Tess, and thanks for helping me get published!  Keep speaking out for those we value in our schools!