Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goals: Update for 2011

The last day of  2011 and it’s time to do a goals progress update.  How did I do?  Did I reach my goals? 

1.    Get published.
Well, I feel like a broken record:  rejected again.  After a major rewrite of the article, we sent it to an International Reading Association publication and were rejected.  (With some pretty harsh comments from one of the reviewers, I might add.)  We’re at a little bit of a stand-still right now.  Do we lower our standards and try for publication in a state journal instead of a national journal?  Do we do another re-write?  Do we give up?

2.    Read more books.  (Goal of 50 in 2011)
Fifty-nine!  I’ve read 59 books this year.  Even if you take out the six picture books, I still exceeded the goal!  Here’s a graphic of my reading history for the past three years:

I still have a few reviews to write and post from books I’ve read in the past week.  I hope to get those up the first week of January.

3.    Blog more often.  (Goal of three times per month)
Ugh, I slipped up on this one and only blogged twice in November!  I made it for ten months either meeting or exceeding three posts per month, but blew it in November.  However, I had 56 posts this year and if you AVERAGE my posts for the year, it’s 4.66 per month.  So, I’d say that’s still a success!

That’s it for 2011!  I’m still thinking of my 2012 goals and have an idea of my One Little Word too!  More on that soon.

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Where She Went by Gayle Forman

Where She Went (2011) is a sequel to If I Stay (2009), which is about 17-year-old Mia whose family is killed in a car accident that she survives.  Mia’s boyfriend, Adam, and best friend, Kim, help her through the difficult recovery and grief at losing her parents and brother.

Fast forward three years, and much has happened.  Mia has gone to Julliard and is an aspiring cello virtuoso.  Adam and his band, Shooting Star, have made it to the big time, with their first album going double-platinum.  Adam narrates this story as his band’s second album is released and they begin touring.  He is still dealing with Mia’s rejection from three years ago, just after she moved to New York to attend Julliard.  He’s had virtually no contact with her, but cannot move on.  He suffers greatly and is definitely a lost soul after going through so much to save Mia and help her recover to only lose her anyway.

Beautifully written and fast-paced, the second half of this novel is amazing when Adam and Mia reconnect and attempt to recover from tragedy. 

Themes:  loss, reconciliation, relationships, dreams/goals, unconditional love

Friday, December 9, 2011

Writing, Technology and Teens

In 2008, the Pew Internet Trust released a report titled, Writing, Technology and Teens.  While the study is a few years old, I was pleased to see that “93% of teens say they write for their own pleasure.”  They also have a great graphic about writing done outside of school.

Here’s the list of their findings:

The full report can be found here.  This really got me thinking about my Writing Workshop block and am I doing enough authentic writing.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Moon over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool

In the summer of 1936, Twelve-year-old Abilene Tucker returns to Manifest, Kansas, her father’s hometown.  The problem is her father isn’t with her.  After years of a nomadic life, Gideon feels a young lady needs a home, so he sends her to Manifest to live with friends of the family, except Abilene has never met any of them.  She’s excited to find out about Gideon’s childhood and to see the town he has described so many times.  However, much has changed since Gideon left in 1918; the town doesn’t seem like the Manifest of Gideon’s stories.  Abilene meets townspeople and uncovers Manifest’s history.  Alternating chapters flashback to 1918, and the war, the townspeople (mostly immigrants) and the local mine which was the primary employer at the time.  Through these flashbacks, Abilene learns all about Gideon, Manifest and the true meaning of home.

2011 Newberry Medal Winner