Monday, August 10, 2015

August fires me up

My last few days of summer are here and honestly, I'm quite okay with it. I had an amazing summer and will return to work feeling refreshed and energized for the year ahead.  I've got some great new ideas for things to try in my classroom, courtesy of my DEN tribe.  I go back to my classroom on Wednesday and my bags are already packed!

I'm spending today doing various adult things (laundry, dishes, Costco) but breaking it up with fun activities (20% off my whole purchase at Joann's?! Yes please!) and girl time (Starbucks date with one of the nicest people at my work).  

Tomorrow will be a day devoted to Netflix and finishing a book I started (Al Capone does my homework).  

 I've read the first two and created TpT guides for them, so this is my next task.  The narrator is a young boy (Moose) whose father is a guard (now associate Warden) on Alcatraz Island in the 1930's.  The book follows his interactions with other children, including his older autistic sister Natalie, and famous (infamous?) inmates.  I use this to illustrate the importance of setting with my students.

I also finished this:

In high school, I loved Sloppy Firsts (and the four sequels that followed).  As cliche as it sounds, I grew up with this character (Jessica Darling) and her adventures.  

I was really excited when I found a preteen prequel (and really, really excited when it was only $5 thanks to Scholastic's book flyers).  However, I was hesitant to put it in my classroom library because of the possible content. 

 I vividly remember loaning Sloppy Firsts to a friend, only to have it returned several days later with a scathing note from the girl's mother inside about the profanity and filth of the novel.  The first book is a sixteen year old's diary where she deals with the frustrations of high school, seemingly unfair parents, and the struggles of being yourself while trying to fit in.  I'd be fine if high schoolers read the novel, but not my ten year old munchkins.  They're already in a hurry to grow up too fast, so they don't need to read about the sagas of high school.

However, the It List focuses on Jessica's adjustment to middle school.  In this story, middle school starts in seventh grade, but our district has middle school in sixth.  There's not much of an age gap between my students and the ones in this book, but I decided to read it first just to make sure it'd be fine to place in my library.

It will be.  The main character deals with jealousy issues with her best friend (she got her braces off!), trying out for the cheerleading team, dealing with new friends, and trying to figure out a mysterious boy in wood shop. (Spoiler, it's Marcus.)  

It was a quick read and apparently there's a sequel.  It comes in at a 5.3 reading level and 7 AR points, so it's a good fit for my fifth graders.  

I'm fired up for August, how about you?!


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