Monday, June 21, 2010

Summer Days

This is the first summer in 4 years that I have not taken a college class and it feels freaking awesome! I need to get motivated and finish my masters degree but right now I am enjoying this down time. This last week we celebrated my son's 16th birthday, oh boy! It doesn't seem like he should be 16, at least to me it doesn't. We took him and a friend out to eat and then to watch the new A-Team movie. I have to admit the movie was better than I had expected it to be. It was a total 80s week around here as we watched The Karate Kid just a few days earlier.
As far as readings go...I have started a book to help me write a story I am working on. The book is called Disappearing Girls and it is about girls and depression. I really am excited to work on this particular piece of writing. The main character is a mixture of the many girls that have passed through my classrooms over the years. I just hope it keeps flowing like it is now.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Relay for Life

This weekend was our county Relay for Life walk and this was my first year participating on a team. Some of us from church formed a team to join the fight against cancer. The whole event is awe inspiring to begin with. People who have lost loved ones, people who have survived, people who are battling, and others who just want to help fight cancer give up most of thier weekend to walk and raise money for cancer research.
At one point on Friday night, there is a luminary ceremony that is very touching. This year the organizers added these lanterns that float in the air with the heat generated from the candle/burner system. As the lanterns were floating in the night sky, I thought of my grandma. She fought a brave battle against breast cancer for 6 years before the disease finally won. 15 years later, I can still remember sitting in the hospital room with her, the oncologist, my mom, and her sisters. The oncologist wanted to show us her latest bone scan, which showed us that the cancer tumors had spread throughout her bones all over her body. My grandma looked at me and asked me if it was okay that she stopped fighting because she was tired of the treatments. I couldn't tell her no; I wanted to scream no but I couldn't tell her no. She had endured so much over the last year of her life that I understood she was tired. I told her I understood and she died almost 6 months to the day the oncologist told us she last. I still miss her terribly. As I watched those laterns dance in the sky Friday night, I thought of her. I could hear her laughter, see her smile, smell her powdery body perfume, and feel her embrace. It was a very moving experience for me. I'm glad I decided to join the team this year, it was worth the exhaustion I felt today.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

More Reading

Seems like I never get to post on this blog but this summer is allowing me the time to actually read and I LOVE IT! I was at the bookstore yesterday when a book caught my eye because of the author name- Brent Crawford. He wrote the book Carter Finally Gets It, this is the book my teenage son read in two days. That in and of itself is a miracle but as added icing on the cake, it is a good book. The new book is titled Carter's Big Break and is about young Will Carter landing a role in a movie, so far it is as funny as the first novel. It is often hard to find a good male narrator, there are a few good ones out there, Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson, Breathing Underwater by Alex Flinn, and any book by Walter Dean Myers are a few of the really good ones.
While at the bookstore I picked up a copy of Simone Elkeles' book Perfect Chemistry. I had been meaning to buy the book for a long time but had not gotten the chance. On the last day of school I had a former student run in and tell me that I just had to, had to, had to read Perfect Chemistry. She was talking so fast I could barely follow her. I figured if it made her that excited, then I had to give the book a chance. I started it last night and only out of sheer exhaustion did I put the book down. The young male, Alex, is another good example of a well written male narrator. I can't wait to finish it today when I get time to read again. I love summer reading. What books are you reading?

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Good reads

Lately I have actually found the time to read some new books and to blog about them. I finished Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver a couple months ago and I must say it is really good. It is one of those books that just pull you in and you can't seem to stop reading. The narrator is like so many of the students who sit in my classes each year. They simply follow along with others, even though inside they know it is wrong. I was so fascinated by this young narrator that when I was modeling a poem with my freshmen, I wrote the poem about the book. When I read the poem to the class they all wanted to read the book.
I haven't blogged about Lisa McMann's trilogy Wake, Fade, and Gone. They are FABULOUS! I had to buy several copies of each book to keep in the classroom. I think the plot is so unique but yet students can relate to the situations that Janie finds herself in during the stories. If you have read them yet, then get busy.
Another good book that I recently finished is The Help by Kathryn Stockett. This book ranks up there with To Kill A Mockingbird for me. I love the three different points of view in the story. There are parts of this book that break my heart, like the reason Abilene leaves before the white children grow up and the helplessness the blacks feel the night Medgar Evers is murdered. This book is wonderfully written and the characters are so well developed.
I also had the opportunity to revisit The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini with my Honors class this year. I had forgotten how touching the story of Amir and Hassan is and how much the novel teaches about the cruelty of the Taliban in Afghanistan. This book really does make me grateful to live in America.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Summer Reading

Okay my list of summer reading books is almost cut in half and with only 3 weeks until school starts again, I need to keep reading.
I finished The Bean Trees and really liked the story. I hope the students enjoyed it as well. I also reread The ABC's of Kissing Boys by Tina Ferraro since I won it from a YA Fresh giveway. I have to say I enjoyed it just as much the second time around. I took my niece to a bookstore to help her pick some preteen books to read and stumbled upon a new book by a new author Brent Crawford. The book is titled Carter Finally Gets It and it is the story of a young boy trying to navigate his way through his first year of high school. I actually laughed out loud during several scenes and my teenage son did as well. It is a good story with a great message.
I also did some professional reading about teaching reading and writing by Jim Burke over the summer and I am excited to start this school year. I feel like I have enjoyed this summer more because we finally took a real vacation. We went to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina and I worked on my novel. It was so inspiring to just sit on the beach and write my story. I finally feel like my life is starting to fall into the place after years of being in school, starting my teaching career, and trying to dig out of debt from being in school.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Piles of books

I really have so many books on my must read list for this summer that I have no idea where to start. I have to finish The Bean Trees because the other Sophomore teacher assigned it for summer reading. I also want to finish my professional books I purchased from the Jim Burke conference I attended. Of course Sarah Dessen's new book Along For The Ride is on my list of must reads. I also want to read Water for Elephants and The Liar's Club because a friend recommended them to me. I also want to read So Yesterday by Scott Westerfield(sp) because a student said it was good. So many books, so little time. I must start making more time during the school year to read. I try to always read during the year but it takes me longer to finish a book during the year with all of the grading, planning, student issues, and meetings that I have. As I sit here I keep thinking of more books that I want to read and it is driving me crazy, so I am off of here and on to reading. That sounds so nice...reading is such an escape for me.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Summer of work

Really I do plan on keeping an up-to-date blog it just seems like I never get enough hours in the day.
Anyway summer break is here and I am feeling motivated. I want to work on my curriculum for my classes adding some really good literature and assignments to go along with that literature that make the students look at the bigger pictures of life. It should be a fun summer, who doesn't love reading books and having it be considered part of your job. I know I can think of no better way to relax than to dive into new books.