Friday nights in our house are reserved for listening to In Tune with Sara Willis on MPBN radio and reading. In Tune is a fabulous local music program on our public radio station that airs week nights at 10, Friday nights at 8 for three hours, and Sunday mornings at 10 for two hours. Sara plays some fabulous music and often will feature local artists. Friday nights we put the radio on and settle in with a good book. Some weeks I’m so tired I don’t make it the whole three hours and I fall asleep reading. Other weeks I finish an entire book. Both last week and this week were the latter.
Last week I read I Kill the Mockingbird by Paul Acampora. This is a book that I have been hearing about from many people, and it did not disappoint. It is a fun book. It takes place over the summer between 8th & 9th grade for three friends. The new English teacher has assigned among other wonderful books, To Kill a Mockingbird. Not everyone is excited about the list, and Lucy, Elena, and Michael come up with a plan to get everyone talking about the book. But the plan gets away from them. Acampora creates a beautiful blend of friendship, growing up, love for books, and teenage decision making (which, as anyone who has teens or works with teens knows, isn’t always well thought out!) I kill the Mockingbird is a slim novel, but one that I’m looking forward to reading again because it has so much depth.
This week I read Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein. Again, another book that I have had recommended to me by numerous people. It’s been sitting on my shelf for close to a year. I’ve wanted to read it, but hadn’t gotten to it yet. Last night I picked it up, and I am glad I did! Anyone who loves books, games, puzzles, and libraries will enjoy this story of a group of 12 years who get to spend the night in a brand new library playing games and reading books. In the morning they discover they have the opportunity to participate in an ultimate game: find their way out of the library by finding and solving clues and in the process, learn the value of libraries and reading.
Today Jenny shared Stolen by Lucy Christopher with the seniors. This is a book she read awhile ago, but it has stayed with her and has left her wishing for a sequel!
Today we had two student book shares. Sam shared Cormac McCarthy’s The Road with 10th grade and Heather shared Hunger, the second book in Michael Grant’s Gone Series with 9th grade. You can see she is already on to Plague. She is very much enjoying this series! Sam requested I not take his picture.
Allison highly recommends The 5th Wave and is currently reading the second book, The Infinite Sea. Sure alien invasion has been done, but Yancey writes it in a way that doesn’t feel cliche.
This year I finally figured out how to successfully implement student book talks. It’s not a complicated thing. I’ve always understood the importance of it, but somehow I never figured out how to make it a habitual part of our English classes. This year I saw some photos on Facebook of some of Jason Stephenson’s (@teacherman82) students doing a weekly book share and suddenly it all clicked for me. Two of my classes meet on a modified block schedule so we have a 40 minute class every Monday and longer classes two days later in the week. My seniors have two really long classes. It’s hard to do much in a 40 minute period, so that is our day to work on grammar and vocabulary and to book talk! We have a set schedule and each Monday a different student shares a book they are reading or have read.
These are the shares from so far this year.
Brandon shared Eoin Colfer’s Half Moon Investigations.
Katie talked about The Maze Runner by James Dashner, giving us great insight into the differences between the book and the movie.
Jordyn shared War of the Worlds by HG Wells and led a great discussion on some of Wells’ writing choices.
CJ shared The Enemy by Charlie Higson. Alex shared Andy Andrews’ The Final Summit. Lucy shared Songs of a Teenage Nomad by Kim Culbertson. Katrina talked about Gone by Michael Grant. Seyya shared Gae Polisner’s The Summer of Letting Go. Amanda shared The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks.
Daniel shared Allegiant by Veronica Roth.