Sunday, June 27, 2010

history & mythology

My recent reads:

The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory - Several friends recommended this novel and writer years ago, and at one time I read a bit of The Constant Princess but did not like it (or finish it). Yet I continue to hear rave reviews of this Mary Boleyn historical novel, and it was an exciting ride! I started it at the very end of the school day a week ago Friday, only had time to read 15 minutes, then picked it up again after dinner that evening. I read six hours straight, till about 3:30 am when I finally admitted I needed sleep before I could finish it! I slept maybe 4 hours, then read from 8am to 11am Saturday to finish all 660 or so pages. Reading that book was a fever! I have a library copy of The Boleyn Inheritance, just to see if the fever would come back.

The Red Pyramid, Book One of the Kane Chronicles, the most recent series by Rick Riordan (who wrote The Lightning Thief and the rest of the Percy Jackson series) - Excellent story that blends Egyptian history and mythology into modern day setting with strong brother/sister teen protagonists! I "read" about two-thirds of the books via library audiobook CDs, then the library hardcover copy finally made its way to me, so I devoured the rest. It's a LONG story, some parts seemed to drag (but is that because I was listening to audiobook?), other parts were fast action just like Percy Jackson books.

We're planning a Washington, DC and Virginia (DC area, Charlottesville, Williamsburg, Jamestown) trip the first week of July! So the iPad will be my reading companion - any eBook suggestions?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Bus ride

Annual tradition at our middle school: principal asks teacher volunteers to ride student buses taking students home on the last day of school year, typically a half day. Driving force that created tradition: deter vandalism and other misdeeds. Of course such teacher presence on the buses has a positive community-building nature in addition to crime deterrence.

Wednesday was the last day of student attendance, and I rode a bus. Just a random pick. Classic pattern: sit in front, friendly chats with driver and quiet sixth graders, plus stern admonitions for squirrelly kids (sitting far from me) prone to throw objects and body parts at each other. Always fascinating to see them approach their homes, separating from school peers. I can't stop thinking about the one quiet girl who told me, in response to my queries, that she has no plans to play with other kids (none in neighborhood, she lives in apartment, she said) or take any trips or visit family or do anything interesting.

So I hereby send wishes of fun and safe adventures to that girl and every other child on summer vacation!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Never enough

There are never enough vacation days to do nothing, just like there are never enough school days to build the life skills of reading and writing.

5 more full school days, with several final exams and some movie periods built in, plus 2 mornings of only exams. Then 2 "records days" to churn out grades. Finally, 3 staff development days because we're really focused on professional learning and development during the last 3 days of June!

Wrapped up the portfolio assessment today. One last independent reading assignment this week: write short book review and post on TweenTribune.com (great classroom resource!).