Goodbye February! Hello March!
For the next month, my writing will be less about books because the 2017 Slice of Life Challenge begins on March 1st.
You might be asking, What is the Slice of Life Challenge?
Let me tell you.
The Annual Slice of Life Story Challenge is hosted by the Two Writing Teachers blog.. Ever since the challenge began, the mission has remained the same: to support teachers who want to write daily. Teachers who write regularly can better support the students they teach in writing workshops daily. Every day for the entire month of March, participants write a slice of life story, a little personal narrative. We also comment on each others’ work, offering words of encouragement.
This will be my 4th year as a participant and my 2nd as a Welcome Wagon volunteer, which means I comment on the daily posts of first time participants. It might sound like work to make comments but I promise you it is inspiring to read the writing of others.
If that sounds interesting to you, you can learn more here and here.
I am a non-monogamous reader.
Yes, I have book passions and author crushes, some lasting many years, but I read polygamously on a daily basis.
Of course, I have a book on the go at home. I have giant piles of TBRs to choose from. The truth is though, that sometimes, while I am reading my chapter book, I will take a break and dip into a picture book. Or poetry.
I also have a book that I read at school while the kids have their silent reading period. This is a different chapter book and usually one that I’d like to put in my classroom library. I will also confess that I sometimes let our silent reading go on a little longer than planned because I want to keep reading.
I always have audiobook in the car. I mostly drive alone so this is an ideal place to enjoy an audiobook. Like singing in the shower, listening to an audiobook benefits from the confined space.
I usually also have an audiobook on the go at home, too. Since my two great passions, knitting and reading, are hard to do at the same time, audiobooks solve the problem.
People who know my predilection often ask me how I keep all the plots straight. I simply reply by asking them how they keep track of all the TV shows they watch. I also explain that I usually try to have very different sorts of books on the go at the same time.
In spite of all that reading, my TBR pile never seems to get any smaller, but I am very OK with that.
I am in the last week of 2017 OBOB Battles. By Friday, we will know who the Stoller champions are. The state wide committee recently annuce the “Almost Finished” list of next year’s books. The 6-8 and 9-12 lists have been finalized, the 3-5 have not. You can see all three lists HERE.
I have some of these in my classroom library already and will start gleaning them so I can figure out which ones I need to order. Here is the full 6-8 list
6-8 Division (Final)
Fallout by Gwenda Bond
Found by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Hoot by Carl Hiaasen
I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest
Kalahari by Jessica Khoury
The Lightning Queen by Laura Resau
Lost in the Sun by Lisa Graff
The Mark of the Dragonfly by Jaleigh Johnson
Popular: A Memoir by Maya Van Wagenen (Paperback title: Popular: How a Geek in Pearls Discovered the Secret to Confidence Hardcover title: Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Ge
Rebel Mechanics by Shanna Swendson
The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen
Schooled by Gordon Korman
The Seventh Most Important Thing by Shelley Pearsall
The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
The Turn of the Tide by Rosanne Parry
The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
I began this week with two quick reads:
Ada Lovelace: Poet of Science, written by Diane Stanley and illustrated by Jessie Harland, seems an odd fit for the HUB Challenge. As a picture book, it was clearly written for a younger audience, but it is on the Amelia Bloomer list and so it is here.
Publisher’s Summary: From nonfiction stars Diane Stanley and Jessie Hartland comes a beautifully illustrated biography of Ada Lovelace, who is known as the first computer programmer.
Two hundred years ago, a daughter was born to the famous poet, Lord Byron, and his mathematical wife, Annabella.
Like her father, Ada had a vivid imagination and a creative gift for connecting ideas in original ways. Like her mother, she had a passion for science, math, and machines. It was a very good combination. Ada hoped that one day she could do something important with her creative and nimble mind.
A hundred years before the dawn of the digital age, Ada Lovelace envisioned the computer-driven world we know today. And in demonstrating how the machine would be coded, she wrote the first computer program. She would go down in history as Ada Lovelace, the first computer programmer.
Diane Stanley’s lyrical writing and Jessie Hartland’s vibrant illustrations capture the spirit of Ada Lovelace and bring her fascinating story vividly to life.
The second was Flimish, a graphic novel by Edward Ross.
Publisher’s Summary: In Filmish, cartoonist Edward Ross takes us on an exhilarating ride through the history of cinema, using comics to uncover the magic and mechanics behind our favourite movies.
Exploring everything from censorship to set design, Ross spotlights the films and film-makers that embody this provocative and inventive medium, from the pioneers of early cinema to the innovators shaping the movies of today, from A Trip to the Moon to Inception and beyond.
A witty and insightful reflection on the enduring power of the cinema, Filmish is a lucid and lively guide to the stars and stories that have shaped our lives for more than a century.
I am reading a longer novel now, but will tell you about it next Sunday.
As I was checking out at the library Wednesday afternoon, my eye scanned the nearby shelf of new YA books. I saw this,
dashed over and grabbed it and added it to my checkout pile. I left the library VERY happy because this is a graphic novel that tells Iko’s story.
Publisher’s Summary: In her first graphic novel, bestselling author Marissa Meyer extends the world of the Lunar Chronicles with a brand-new,action-packed story about Iko, the android with a heart of (mechanized) gold.When rogue packs of wolf-hybrid soldiers threaten the tenuous peace alliance between Earth and Luna, Iko takes it upon herself to hunt down the soldiers’ leader. She is soon working with a handsome royal guard who forces her to question everything she knows about love, loyalty, and her own humanity. With appearances by Cinder, Cress, Scarlet, Winter, and the rest of the Rampion crew, this is a must-have for fans of the bestselling series.
I book talked it yesterday and the excitement was audible among fans of the Lunar Chronicles. I think the others now want to read the Lunar Chronicles.
The graphic novel is a quick read and is the first in a series. I must say that, though I have a poor sense of smell, the ink smell of this blue-toned book was strong. I was stronger and read despite the inky scent. Now I have to wait a year to see what happens to Iko.
Like Julia, the main character of Holly Goldberg Sloan’s Short, I was always in the front row for school pictures. Like her, I could use a step stool to reach the water glasses in the kitchen, but I generally use a ladle to extend my reach and pull one forward.
Also like Julia, I know how hard it is to lose a beloved dog. Her dog, Ramon, dies just before the book opens, but we learn about it in the first chapter.
Publisher’s Summary:In this heartwarming and funny middle-grade novel by the New York Times bestselling author of Counting by 7s, Julia grows into herself while playing a Munchkin in The Wizard of Oz
Julia is very short for her age, but by the end of the summer run of The Wizard of Oz, she’ll realize how big she is inside, where it counts. She hasn’t ever thought of herself as a performer, but when the wonderful director of Oz casts her as a Munchkin, she begins to see herself in a new way. As Julia becomes friendly with the poised and wise Olive—one of the adults with dwarfism who’ve joined the production’s motley crew of Munchkins—and with her deeply artistic neighbor, Mrs. Chang, Julia’s own sense of self as an artist grows. Soon, she doesn’t want to fade into the background—and it’s a good thing, because her director has more big plans for Julia!
Bubbling over with humor and tenderness, this is an irresistible story of self-discovery and of the role models who forever change us.
Julia is a quirky and lovable main character. Her observations about the world of the theatre are insightful, funny, and sometimes she admits she has no idea what the adults are talking about. It is sort of how it is for kids. Shawn Barr (the director), Olive (her munchkin companion), and Mrs. Chang ( her neighbor and costumer) all help Julia overcome the loss of Ramon and grow in character, if not in stature. A great book for middle grade readers.
“This is a lockdown. Locks. Lights. Out of Sight. This is a lockdown. Locks. Lights. Out of Sight.”
I’d been puttering around my classroom during my end of the day plan when the announcement came over the intercom. Two thoughts flashed through my mind: Was this on the calendar? and They didn’t say drill.
I quickly grabbed my keys to lock the door and, as I pulled the blind, I noticed a seventh grade girl on her way back to her classroom from the restroom. Her classroom door was already locked so I called her into my room. We moved to the most out-of-the-way corner of the room silently.
She was clearly worried. I whispered to her that I couldn’t call her teacher. What I didn’t say was that, if this wasn’t a drill, we’d give them away. I whispered again to let her know I’d look on my laptop to see what was going on. Usually, when there is any sort of safety issue, a banner runs across the top of the school district’s website. Early today we’d al been warned about phone outages at another middle school. But nothing scrolled there now. I told her that this was probably an unscheduled drill, even though that was weird.
After about 10 minutes we could hear movement in the hallways, a single voice It was disconcerting not knowing what was going on. I wanted to lift the blind and peek out to the hallway, but resisted. What if it wasn’t a drill. We could hear the single voice getting closer and the jingle of keys. I let my young companion know that we were not allowed to open the door. Anyone on the outside had to identify his/herself to us and open the door with their own key. And sure enough, that is what happened.
A couple of knocks on the door, then, “This is Mrs. _____.” The jangling of her keys preceded the opening of the door. Once it was open she told us a teacher had pressed the newly installed “Lock down” button on the phone by accident. I waited with my student until her room was unlocked. Her teacher gave her a big hug.
The school buzzed afterwards. Messages were sent to staff and families. Our administrators praised staff & students for the swiftness and silence of our reaction to the unexpected drill. We have a staff meeting this morning and I bet the new phone buttons will be addressed. All staff had been sent a video explaining how to use (and cancel) the new buttons. I still haven’t watched them, but I like to get to work early, so I will be sure I’ve watched the video before the staff ,meeting begins.