As of today, summer for me is officially half over; it has gone quite fast! These past few weeks have been truly enjoyable. I have spent a great amount of time with my wonderful (and energetic) children. We’ve gone to the library, local playgrounds, participated in play groups, visited family and friends, and so much more. I have been able to fit a lot in!
During nap time and a few late nights, I’ve accomplished a lot for school too. As of today, I have finished 15 books since June 30th:
Paper Towns by John Green
The Maze Runner by James Dashner
So Much Closer by Susane Colasanti
Mexican WhiteBoy by Matt de la Pena
*Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess (*educational research book)
Beta by Rachel Cohn
Gym Candy by Carl Deuker
A Girl Named Mister by Nikki Grimes
Friday Night Lights by H. G. Bissinger
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
Stupid Fast by Geoff Herbach
The Enemy by Charlie Higson
Burned Alive by Souad
Swagger by Carl Deuker
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
I am currently reading book #16, The Hoopster by Alan Sitomer, and I should be done by tomorrow. All of these books are on my summer reading list for my upcoming 9th grade students, and I think I chose some pretty good ones! There were very few off this list that I didn’t like. My favorites are probably Friday Night Lights, The Maze Runner, and The Knife of Never Letting Go. Friday Night Lights is a book that will forever stay with me. It’s about football–which I love–but really so much more than just football. It’s about achievements, loss, determination, and overcoming selfishness. The author did a great job researching Odessa, Texas, and his vast knowledge of football makes the reader feel like he/she is right on the field with the team. The Maze Runner and The Knife of Never Letting Go are two of the best Science-Fiction books I have ever read. They are definitely up there with The Hunger Games. Both are the first books in a series, and both are well-written, (see my Maze Runner review here), action packed, and contain memorable characters. I actually cried at one part of The Knife of Never Letting Go, and that just does not usually happen! I am waiting for the time I can finish each series, but right now I am just reading (and rereading) all of the books on the summer reading list. That is my goal over the few weeks.
Another book that I am currently reading is called Whole Novels for the Whole Class by Ariel Sacks. Sacks is an 8th grade English teacher in New York City who based this book off of all the work she has done with teaching literature. She doesn’t teach novels the way teachers I know do. She allows students to read the whole book first, and then have discussions about it. I love this idea! I chose to read this book over all the other research books I have just because I wanted to change up my novel units. I knew students didn’t always enjoy dissecting books the way most teachers, and I, do. My novel units will be different this year. I am thrilled to say that I plan to try Sacks’s techniques at least twice, and I know students will be successful with them, as well as grow as readers while completing them.
The last “task” I have been completing for school is simply writing more. The blog post is evidence of that. I am writing in notebooks at home, and I also plan to use this blog more. To be a great writer, I must write more. I tell my students this, so I must set the example outside of class just like I do in class. More about my writing later.