Monday, August 11, 2014

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

A wonderful story of August Pullman who suffers from a congenital facial deformity.  August has been homeschooled, but now that he's going into fifth grade, he decides to attend Beecher Prep. He and his family are admittedly nervous about how going to school will be for August.

The story is touching and told by several narrators in August's life who all share their perspective of the events. What endures is friendship and kindness and deciding what we want to be known for and how we want to be remembered.

Themes:  friendship, acceptance, perseverance, adversity

Friday, August 8, 2014

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

Aliens invade the Earth, but not in the way you think...they do it in waves with the goal of destroying humans and saving the Earth. 

16-year-old Cassie and her family have survived the first three waves.  They lose their mother to the 4th wave.  Her father is gone at the beginning of the 5th wave and her 7-year-old brother, Sam, is taken to Camp Haven by the United States military.  

Cassie is left on her own in a wasteland.  The only thing keeping her alive is her promise to reunite with Sam.  Cassie is headed to where she thinks Sam has been taken by the military when she's shot. 

Later she awakes, having been rescued by the mysterious Evan Walker.  But, can she trust him?  Can she trust anyone? What will the aliens/"others" do next?

This is the first in a science-fiction series.

Themes:  survival, trust, relationships

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Panic by Lauren Oliver

In the small town of Carp, NY, there's a game that new high school graduates play each year in the summer after graduation.  'Panic' is high-stakes and fear-inducing and only the brave survive.  With winnings of over $50K, competition is fierce.  No one knows who the judges are or what daunting task they will develop next.

Heather and her best friend Natalie join the competition and must face their fears.  However, only only one person will win.

Alliances, friendship and trust will all be gained and lost and what will remain?  How does the game change the players and is it worth it?

Saturday, May 11, 2013

May Bulletin Board: Wordsworth

I know I did a poetry bulletin board last month, but I figured another was in order!  Since April was about rain and showers, I thought May should be about flowers!  The first poem that came to mind was Wordsworth's I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud.

I thought, what can I do to make the daffodils 3-D?  Hmmm, cupcake liners!  I just Googled for a flower template, then used the cupcake liners for the center.  A colleague suggested green straws from a certain coffee chain could be used as "stems".  Here's a close-up of the flowers:
I used 11x17" paper stuffed with shredded paper to make the cloud.

May your May be filled with beautiful flowers!

Friday, April 5, 2013

National Poetry Month Bulletin Board

April is National Poetry Month and I created this bulletin board with April Rain Song by Langston Hughes.
Yep, I'm pretty proud.  As a former high school teacher and current Literacy Coach, bulletin boards aren't my strong point.

What are you doing to celebrate National Poetry Month?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Trapped by Michael Northrop

A huge Nor’easter drops a ton of snow on a Massachusetts town and traps seven students and one teacher in their rural high school.  What follows is a survival tale spanning five days and countless cold, dark hours in the school.  15-year-old sophomore basketball player Scotty Weems narrates and tells the reader up front that not everyone will survive.  The students have to find food and a place to hole up for the duration.  As the power fails and then the emergency lights fail, they will have to work together to survive and with this mix of personalities that might be difficult.  Then the pipes freeze and the roof collapses and romance goes bad and jealousy leads to fights.  Who will survive and how?  Will they be rescued and when?  Does anyone even know they are there?

The novel got a little muddy in the middle, maybe because we knew from the first pages that not everyone would survive, so the reader was just waiting to find out who and how.  It’s nice to have a male narrator in a non-sports book for a change.

Themes:  survival, teamwork, priorities, perseverance, ingenuity

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Skeleton Creek (Number One) by Patrick Carmen

This book is presented as the handwritten journal of Ryan McCray.  Ryan lives in Skeleton Creek, Oregon, a former gold mining town with an eerie past that he and his best friend Sarah are determined to discover.  On one of their adventures out to the dredge, a former mine site, Ryan breaks his leg and his parents forbid him from seeing Sarah.  While he’s home recovering, he journals what has been going on and of course, keeps track of his contact with Sarah.  (They have both found a way around the tracking software their parents placed on their laptops.)  Ryan prints out Sarah’s email messages for his journal and she posts videos to her website.  Readers can also watch the videos with passwords that Sarah provides.  This is an interactive media with the text and the videos.  The plot was a bit thin and dragged on without a resolution, which may be because this is a series.

Themes:  Friendship, discovery, problem-solving