Sunday, October 28, 2012

Girl Unmoored

Today also brings you a post on a book I finished a couple weeks back (gah, so behind!). I read Girl, Unmoored by Jennifer Gooch Hummer in two days. It was simply riveting. I cannot remember how I found out about this book, but no one warned me about needing tissues! I highly suggest you read it. I will, however, warn you to keep tissues at hand. It is the story of being an awkward girl, with no mother, and your dad struggling to make sense of his life without your mom. Don't all men replace their wonderful wives in a heartbeat? Maybe that is just my interpretation. (*whispers* it does happen). This girl becomes friends with two fellas who are charming. Whenever you have characters you fall in love with, an author usually keeps you on your toes by spelling disaster, which is exactly what happens. You will not be disappointed by this book. I think it is slated as YA, but who the heck cares? It is a gem. A sapphire, because it will leave you a little blue.

Happy Reading!

Mentor Text Post #1-Story Structure

I know how much we, as teachers, struggle to teach skills that are supposed to be taught in an excerpt provided by a publishing company. Very rarely are the stories engaging, and I have noticed that very few of my students were able to make connections to those stories. Teaching summarizing? Try it with this story. Fail. Need to clarify? Try it with this story. Fail. I could never get that equation right. The students would do what I asked them to do, but they would never remember to connect it to their learning in another text. Last week I saw the wonderful Lori Ockzus speak at the California Reading Association's Professional Development Institute. I was riveted by her keynote, and decided to change up my practice in the classroom. I have always used mentor texts, but never as my sole practice for teaching a skill. It has changed my students! They are engaged, attentive, and are transferring skills that they never had before. I am so pleased with their progress, I thought I would share the books I am using with you! These two particular books are used to teach Story Structure: plot, setting, problem, resolution. Revisit them every day during the week, and see if your students can identify:
1. The setting/time
2. The problem
3. The characters
4. The solution (in 6th grade I use denouement)
5. Advanced skill: Character traits

We also started a reading challenge at my school. I am loving all of the energy that I feel in the air with reading. Hope you are all doing well!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

One PInk Line

Once again, I have found a book that I love! One Pink Line by Dina Sliver is an amazing book. This book was well worth the money I paid for it, which in my opinion, was not a lot. best of all, buy this book in the month of October, and she donates $1 to breast cancer. Leave a comment if you want to talk about any "spoilers".  Much Love!