Monday, August 19, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 8/19

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? --From Picture Books to YA is a weekly meme started by Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee at Unleashing Readers.  This is a chance for bloggers to recap their week of reading and share their plans for the next reading adventures they will take.  Visit the host blogs for a list of great blogs participating in this meme and a whole host of titles to add to your to-read lists.

This week was another great reading week for me.  I also started to think more about plans for the school year, which is approaching too quickly.  A lot of my time this week was spent re-reading snippets from my favorite professional books and reading blog posts to get good ideas.  I anticipate a good amount of my time will be spent on technology in the next week as I get my class website and some other tech tools ready for the year.  

Books I Finished This Week:

Adult Books

B is for Burglar by Sue Grafton is the second book in the Kinsey Millhone series.  I have enjoyed rereading the first two books in this series and look forward to getting as far as possible before January.  

Middle Grade/Young Adult

I don't know why it took me so long to pick up Seedfolks by Paul Fleischmann.  I have heard a lot of good things about it and it definitely lived up to all the praise.  I think this would be an excellent read aloud and would really foster good discussion about understanding things from all different perspectives.  

Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer was one of the titles in the set of literature circle sets I received as part of a grant.  I had not heard of the book before, but then started to notice that people talked about it on blogs.  I loved this book.  It is a book that really does the what-if scenario well.  A lot of books out there are post-apocalyptic with many different ideas of how the apocalypse happened.  I loved that this one started a few days before the major event happened and then chronicled what was going on as the disasters struck and the world changed.  It was a haunting book because it really felt like the author nailed what people would be like in these types of situations.  I will highly recommend this book to my students and cannot wait to hear the discussions that come out of the literature circle using this title. 

I really enjoyed rereading Don't Judge a Girl by Her Cover by Ally Carter.  I love the fun characters in this series and am enjoying reading it.  I am participating in the Gallagher Girls readathon, but was a little ahead of schedule with this one because my digital hold came through last week.  I can't wait to continue reading about Cammie.  I want to see what happens with Zach! 

I finished listening to Shadow and Bone this week too.  I LOVED this book and will have to immediately go out to find the second one.  I really enjoyed the audio of this one as well.   

Picture Books

I picked up a stack of picture books at the library after reading through the picture book 10 for 10 posts the other day.  Some of these are books I was looking for and others are books I ran across.  I was looking for some mentor texts and for some read alouds so I ended up with a big variety.

All the Places to Love by Patricia MacLachlan would be a great book to use for a mentor text when talking about place narratives. 

I love most of Neil Gaiman's work, but The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish was a little weird. I guess I would have to see how kids react to this one before making a final judgement.  

I have read multiple references to using Tough Boris in reading and writing workshops.  I need to go back to see how those authors suggested it be used.  The book was okay, but I am not sure how I would use it for a mentor text.  Maybe with younger students I could see a better connection.  

Patrol by Walter Dean Myers will be a good picture book to read aloud in class.  I think middle school students will really be able to discuss the moral dilemmas that people face during times of war.  

Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems is cute and was a fun book to read.  It would be a good one for a quick read aloud and a discussion of the artwork.  

Both Salt in His Shoes and Dream Big are about Michael Jordan.  I am planning to do a short unit about mindsets and how people get good at things.  Michael Jordan is a great example of someone who worked hard and practiced a lot in order to pursue his dreams.  Both of these picture books would be great to use in conjunction with the lessons about growth mindset.  Both are also great examples of narratives that stem from every day things.  

Professional Books

Opening Minds by Peter Johnston is another excellent professional resource.  I liked the reminders in here about how the language we use can put students into certain mindsets.  I certainly will be even more careful about the way I give feedback this year after reading this book.  This is a short book that should be required reading for every educator along with Choice Words.

Who Owns the Learning?: Preparing Students for Success in the Digital Age by Alan November offered some great food for thought about the way technology can be used in the classroom.  I had already started to think about some of these ideas so was glad to see such interesting examples of how teachers are using technology to enhance learning.  I like the idea of a digital learning farm and the roles for students.  I need to spend a little bit of time with these ideas in order to figure out exactly which ideas to implement.  

Books I am Currently Reading:

I started reading Moby Dick this week because my husband decided to read it and I wanted to read it with him.  Both of us are struggling with it and not enjoying it so I may have to abandon it soon.  I also am reading The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde.  We are going to have him visit our school in September so I want to read this book and the ARC for the second one before then.  I am reading Spilling Ink as well.  The last book I am reading is The Blood Sugar Solution.  

What's Next?

I read a few pages of Jellicoe Road and of Paranormalcy.  I liked both and just got sidetracked this week so will probably go back to both books.  I will continue the Sue Grafton series this week as well. Since I can get into my classroom this week and have meetings all day Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, I will get considerably less reading done.  

What is on your reading agenda this week?  Have any recommendations for me?  Please share in the comments.


  1. LOVED Life as We Knew It. Was not as keen on the next two but still want to try the newest one The Shade of the Moon.
    I also love Ally Carter's books. They're like a fun summer movie ... great characters and action packed storylines.

  2. Ahh... Moby Dick... I had a gracious 5th grade teacher who allowed me to discover on my own what a struggle that would be (though I DID finish it!)

    I haven't read that Gaiman picture book, but I do have Chu's Day. It didn't excite me, but my students (fifth grade boys who love sophisticated books) loved it.