Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Preparing for World Read Aloud Day

On March 6th the world will celebrate World Read Aloud Day. It is a tremendous chance to connect great literature to students. I am busy planning what I might want to do for this day! I have a few ideas that might influence my students.

Here I reflect on myself as a reader. These are questions shared by Lit World

 1. I think everyone in the world should read... 
When I was 10: I was in love with so many books at this age. I think my favorite though was from the Mixed-Up-Files of Mrs. Basil. E. Frankweiler. I also did and still loved The Westing Game.

Now: I think right now my favorite book of the moment is Wonder. I think this book has the power to change the world! I love to read so I could probably list 10-20 other books I am fanatic about as well.

2. If I could listen to anyone in the world read aloud to me it would be...
When I was 10: I loved listening to my mom read as a child. I remember her reading to me many times as I feel asleep at night. When I was around this age I was assigned a summer reading novel that I could not stand. My mom spend many summer afternoons reading aloud to me from this book as we both suffered through it. I still to this day wonder if the teacher ever read it before assigning it.

Now: I think I would still enjoy listening to my mom read aloud. She was a preschool teacher for years and I think she reads aloud with so much energy and passion for reading.

 3. When I read aloud, my favorite character to impersonate is... 

When I was 10: I did not read aloud much at this time as I was an independent reader from a young age. I am guessing any read aloud I did was from books at my mom's work to her preschoolers.

Now: I love to impersonate Grover from the book There is a Monster at the End of this Book! I still remember reading this book out loud in high school and again in college as a part of classroom projects.

 4. The genre that takes up the most room on my bookshelf (or e-reader) is... 

When I was 10: I have always loved reading serial novels. I read all of the Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Baby Sitter's Club, Sweet Valley Twins, and Boxcar Children books I could get my hands on.

Now: Now a days as a middle school teacher I read a ton of Young Adult novels. I love being able to discuss and recommend books. I also read almost all of the top and popular books that come out. I am guilty of not reading many classics.

5. The last book I wish I’d written or inspired me to write my own story is...

 When I was 10: This is a hard question. I think at 10 I was to interested in being a kid :-).

Now: I wish I could write a novel as powerful as Wonder about my experience in middle school. It was not the best experience and I was met with many challenges. Luckily most people I went to school with turned out to be decent people who I hope raise their own children to be kinder than they were.

Friday, February 15, 2013

One Little Word

Each year I pick on word to define my year.  This started as a reflection exercise in the scrap booking world, but this year I decided to bring it into my classroom.  When we returned to school after winter break I challenged students to think of one word to define or live by in 2013.  We had a lot of fun coming up with words and creating visuals of the words to display in the room to inspire us throughout the year.

I loved all of the creative responses from the students.  I think one of my favorites had to be "taxes" which was right around the time that all of the fiscal cliff talk.  I chose the word shine and have loved playing Rhianna's Diamond to remind myself to shine in all I do.  One of the paraprofessional in my classroom did run and lucky, which are included in my slideshow.

Here are our "One Little Word" creations for 2013!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Hattie Ever After

I finished Hattie Ever After last night and it was worth staying up past my bed time for.  Here is my review of this AWESOME novel!

After finishing Hattie Big Sky I could not wait to get my hands on Hattie Ever After. It must have been my lucky day to find out that after I finished the first book the sequel was due out two days later so I did not have to wait long.

As a reader of many historical novels over the years and a big fan of stories regarding the pioneers on the prairie I immediately fell in love with Hattie in the first story and knew I would grow to appreciate her more as she moved to the big city in the sequel.

At the beginning of the story the reader finds Hattie with many choices to make. This theme runs throughout the story as Hattie calls on prayer, friends, and at times her inner voice to help her find her place in life. When Hattie left her Montana homestead she also left dreams and a sense of purpose.

Throughout this novel we find Hattie not taking no for an answer and working hard to meet her goals. We are introduced to new characters, some we will cheer for and others we will jeer. The characters are well developed, while still giving the reader the opportunity to make them their own vision. It is great to find old friends from Hattie Big Sky in this novel as well. There is less of a focus on the war in the sequel, but it does give readers in insight to life after the way as the "boys" returned from fighting over seas.

The readers are lead through an adventure in perseverance and will as Hattie works to become a female reporter in a world where they are few and far between. We learn about Hattie's unwillingness to accept no for an answer and that she is not afraid of hard work.

Hattie is a tremendous role model for all girls. She is strong and determined. She does not let being a girl stand in her way of things or use it as an excuse either. She thinks for herself and does not allow her judgement to be clouded by suitors. 

I loved how this book ended and thought that it brought together all the loose ends and gives a sense of closure more than the previous novel. I think it shows that hard work pays off and that if something is important to someone they will find a way to make it all work out.

Hattie is a character that will stay with many for many years. I will enthusiastically recommend this book to my middle school students! I have suggested it to quite a few adults already as well!