Monday, April 1, 2013

It's Monday! What are you reading? (4/1)

It's Monday! What are you reading? --From Picture Books to YA--is a weekly meme hosted by Jen and Kellee at Teach Mentor Texts.  Head over to their blog for links to many great blogs and a plethora of good book suggestions.

I had a good reading week this week.  It was a short week because we had Friday off and it was the week before break so the activities I planned were a little less involved for me.  We have this amazing partnership with a local theater and they came in to work with my 8th grade classes all week.

Books I finished this week:

I finally finished reading Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck.  Her ideas were not new to me but I was curious about how she would explain it in the book.  I found quite a few excerpts that were quite powerful and would be useful in lessons with students about mindsets.  One quote I found to be especially powerful for teachers came from close to the end of the book: "So, are great teachers born or made?...It starts with the growth mindset---about yourself and about children. Not just lip service to the idea that all children can learn, but a deep desire to reach in and ignite the mind of every child."  I have really been thinking about teaching students about mindsets and now I know I need to spend the time to do this.  I highly recommend this book.

I really liked Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz.  I was captivated from the very beginning with the story.  I could absolutely understand how young Clara would be so enchanted with the puppet show.  From the very beginning of this book there was a sense of mystery and magic.  The book is beautifully written and I was sucked into the enchanting world of this story.  This is another one that is absolutely deserving of the Newbery Honor it received this year.

I enjoyed reading Teach Like Your Hair's On Fire by Rafe Esquith.  It is amazing to me how dedicated and creative that teacher is.  I love what he had to say and I agree with many of the fundamental values he has about school and his students.  It was refreshing to read a book about education in which an author did not sidestep the elephant in the room.  There are many dedicated and passionate teachers out there but there are teachers who are not willing to put in any extra effort and it was nice to see him say so.  Although I will probably not be starting a rock band any time soon with my students, there are some ideas I can take away from this book.  The one I found most intriguing is the idea of the 6 levels of moral development that he teaches students.  I think this is a good model to use to talk to students about how they are choosing to live their lives.  Since I work with middle school students, this is the perfect time to help them understand this.  I also appreciated some of the links that he provided for good strategies and ideas in the classroom.  This was a quick read and I would recommend all teachers read it.

The Arrival by Shaun Tan is a beautiful graphic novel about immigration.  I love how the story portrays the immigrant experience so well and helps readers to see what it must feel like to be in a new place and not understand the language.  This is a wordless book and would be a great one for introducing inferences.

The Great Fire by Jim Murphy is a wonderful history book.  It was really fascinating to read about the fire that consumed Chicago and all the mistakes that were made during those first crucial hours.  I am glad I finally read this one.

What I am currently reading:

I have about 2 hours left to listen to on The Night Circus.  My plans for working out were foiled by this awful cold that settled in because I am on break.  I hope I will feel better soon so that I can work out and listen to the book.  I also am reading Throne of Glass and enjoying it so far.

What's Next:
I don't know what I will be reading next.  I have a ton of books that I want to read so it will depend on my mood this week.  Since I am on break, I expect that there will be quite a few books finished this week.


  1. Hi Andrea,

    Nice selection of books you've shared! I agree that Splendors and Glooms was deserving of its medal. What a deeply written story, I was able to become completely absorbed in it. Have you watched videos on Rafe Esquith? He is quite something!

  2. I really need a break to catch up on my reading! I hope can get a bunch of books read! Feel better and enjoy your break. Here's what I am working on

  3. Hi Andrea- I owe you a Slice comment, but I'll start with a IMWAYR comment. I love Mindset and have read it a few times. I also really like Choice Words which is sort of a companion to it. I forgot about Teach Like Your Hair's on Fire. I'll need to get that, now that blog posts aren't obsessing me. I admire all the slicers who got their reading posts it--I took the day off!

  4. I loved Splendors and Glooms from the very first page. I was happy to see it recognized with the Newbery Honor because it's a book that's flown under the radar for most. Schlitz is an amazing storyteller.