Monday, December 29, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 12/29

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 bunch of titles to add to your to-read lists.

I have been horrible about blogging this school year. I forgot how much work is involved in learning a new grade level and adjusting to the students. I am having a fabulous time in my 4th grade world this year. 

New Year's Resolution #1: Blog at least on Mondays and Saturdays for my favorite link-ups. 
The last time I wrote a post for Monday was the end of October. I have read MANY books since then so I am just going to share about my favorite books. Bear with me, though, because this might still turn out to be a long post. 

Books I Finished:

The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin was one I was eagerly awaiting and had preordered in order to read it right away. I absolutely loved the first two books and was chomping at the bit for this one. Although I felt the mystery was still as intriguing in this book, I was disappointed by the ending. The narrative in this book felt forced and I just didn't buy some of the resolution of some of the plot lines. I still would recommend the series, but I was quite bummed that the third one did not wow me like the others. 

I love that I was able to share Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla with my students. We finished reading The One and Only Ivan earlier this fall and it was great to read this one and get the true story. 

I loved The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary Pearson. It is a really fascinating science fiction story that questions how far is too far in biomedical engineering. I was riveted the whole time and will be looking for the other books in this series. 

I was super excited when In The Blood by Lisa Unger was the daily deal on Kindle. I saw Lisa Unger at Key West Literary Seminar last year and was really interested by her description of this book. This is a psychological thriller that really delves into the question of whether there is a genetic predisposition to being a psychopath. This is a really compelling mystery book for adults. 

Believe it or not, Take Me to the River is the first book I have read by Will Hobbs. I definitely can see how this author is a popular one, especially for boy readers. This is a title I will be recommending to boys in grades 5 and up who like adventure stories. 

I love A.S. King and this one does not disappoint.  I wanted to slap Gerald's mother. That is all. 

I had never read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz before. I read it now so that I could do some work with the book in my classroom. We had an opportunity to take a field trip to see a musical production of The Wizard of Oz and we are having fun working with this story. 

I can see why Midwinterblood won the Printz award last year. It is a very well-written and literary book. I very much enjoyed the book and it absolutely made me think. However, I am not sure it is a book that many young adults will enjoy. 

What the Moon Said by Gayle Rosengren is a middle grade historical fiction novel set in the great depression. Esther's family moves from Chicago to a farm in Wisconsin to try their luck at making money that way. Needless to say, it is a very difficult transition for the whole family. I would recommend this book for grades 4 and up. 

This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer Smith is a fun teen romance book. I enjoyed the way the author used e-mails as transitions between chapters. She did a good job of keeping the book light-hearted while also dealing with some heavy issues. I would definitely recommend this one for grades 8 and up. 

I got this title as one of the free audiobooks from Sync audiobooks one summer. I laughed out loud numerous times at the hilarious musings of the protagonist. At times the book is quite crude, but I imagine that it is quite true to life and that many teenage boys think this way.  I would recommend this one to anyone in high school or older, but especially to boys. 

Gamer Girl was another fun teen romance book, with a little bit of teen angst thrown in as well. I enjoyed this quick read and would recommend it to grades 8 and up. 

I devoured The Program by Suzanne Young. It is incredible to me how authors can keep dreaming up dystopian worlds that are different yet equally terrifying as the ones I have read before. I highly recommend this one. 

I don't even know how to describe Life After Life by Kate Atkinson. It was shelved with the mystery books at my local library and I don't think that is the correct place for it, but I wouldn't know what genre it is either. I do know that it was incredibly intriguing and definitely had quite a bit of historical fiction. If you haven't read it, you should. 

Okay...I know I said I was just going to share the highlights, but I keep reading amazing books so they all feel like highlights. Believe it or not, I did actually leave some books out of my list.  

Books I am Currently Reading:

I am slowly making progress through El tiempo entre costuras by Maria Duenas (The Time in Between in English). It is such a big book and Spanish always goes slower for me.  I am also reading The Pale Assassin by Patricia Elliot. I am really enjoying learning more about the French revolution through the historical fiction. I also just started listening to Confessions of a Murder Suspect by James Patterson. So far, it is quite intriguing. 

What's Next?

I have a bag full of books from my classroom that I wanted to read during winter break. I am not sure how many of those books I will get to, but I will probably read The Blood of Olympus and Crossing the Wire. I will have to see.  

What are you reading this week? I would love to hear from you in the comments! Have a great reading week!

Saturday, December 27, 2014


Since I missed last week, I am adding some of the celebrations from the week before winter break to this blog post. Some of them were too good to miss out on.

Last week, we made ornaments for the students to take home. I have a class full of students who celebrate Christmas so we had fun with holiday crafts. I appreciate these years, because when I have students who don't celebrate, we don't celebrate in the classroom either. I was so happy with how cute the ornaments turned out.  And their elves were so fun too.

When we got to the end of Because of Mr. Terupt, there was an explanation of what it means to "loop" in school. There was a small chorus of, "can we do that?" that made my heart sing. I love it that my students love to be in my class and want to continue to be in my class.

Christmas celebrations with family were very nice this week.

Our plans for some projects in the house are underway and looking good.

I hope you all are finding a lot of things to celebrate in this joyful season.

Have a fabulous week!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Celebrate 12/13

Join the celebration by linking up at or just visit and read the great celebrations!

My poor deserted and lonely blog. I have been super busy with the grade level switch and consequently really exhausted at times when I usually would have blogged. As we approach the holidays, things are even more hectic and I felt the need to search for some positive this week. I am so thankful for this community of bloggers that I know will be forgiving and welcome me back with open arms.

My Celebrations:

  • Scholastic Warehouse sale. Need I say more?  
  • We started an "Elf Yourself" project on Friday and I am so excited to see the cute elves that my students will make. I also showed them the ornament project that we will do next week and I was happy to see their positive reaction. I can't wait to do that project either. This is the kind of thing I had missed about working with fourth graders. 
  • We are almost finished with Because of Mr. Terupt as our read aloud. Students are really hanging on every word at this point. I love making students excited about excellent literature. 
  • We focused on Questioning this week and read Flotsam and Tuesday by David Wiesner. My students loved this experience of reading the wordless books. So much curiosity abounds with each of these fascinating books. We really were able to see that as a reader you might have questions before, during, and after reading. 
  • We went to see a production of The Wizard of Oz at a local theater company that partners with my school. It was a fabulous rendition of this excellent story! We are now working on writing a fractured version of the tale that we will work into a show and perform in February. I brought in the Kindles this week and my students were super excited to use them to start reading the book. 
  • I introduced Storybird to my students and they have been writing like crazy. I love that website! 
  • I have a luncheon to go to on Sunday with a bunch of local bloggers/teachers/authors. The hostess searches young adult fiction for ideas for recipes and then puts together a delicious buffet of literature-inspired food. We also have a book swap and usually get a couple ARCs as well. I am so excited. It is always a great time! 
  • I lost 10 pounds in the last month using Weight Watchers digital tools. I need to lose a lot more, but I am proud of the progress so far. 
  • Last, but not least, my husband and I decided to put up a Christmas tree this year. We don't always do so because a lot of years we are traveling to Spain to see his family. We aren't going this year and we decided to dig out the decorations. I forgot how many cute decorations I have. It is filling my house with Joy right now and I love it.  

What do you have to celebrate? I would love to hear from you in the comments!