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.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

AWWW! Spring Break

SO far this week (mind you, we are just two days into the week) I have slept in twice, ate out twice, reconnected with an old friend (who we just found out is expecting her first baby, Yeah Sam and Aaron), and graded absolutely ZERO research papers. I am planning on grading them on Friday night. All in all a perfectly fabulous break week. I did get my copy of Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson and loved it. I can see Lia in so many of the girls that I have taught over the years--they are so unsure of themselves and full of self hatred that they are miserable. I am going tomorrow to buy Sophomore Undercover that was featured a few days ago on YA Fresh. I have to travel to bookstores as my small town only has a Christian bookstore. If I had the money I would quickly open up a bookstore in town so I don't have to drive to Louisville all of the time.
Well for those of you working, keep striving to do your best and for those of you on break enjoy it while it lasts; I know I am.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Three days until Spring Break

I sit here this morning three days to go until Spring Break wondering why I decided to become a teacher again. The kids don't want to be at school, especially since the snow days have taken away all of our little three day weekends that tend to help keep the natives calm. So as the tribal leader I have to keep them safe from each other. While they are busy building secret alliances with each other, crossing tribal bounds, and driving their leader nuts, I am trying to grade research papers. Fun times...I know many of you are wondering where can I sign up for this job. Let me remind you the pay stinks, the hours are not 8-3 like you think, and I have not had a full summer off since I started teaching...
BUT nothing can replace the feeling I get when:
a parent walks up to me and says, "Thank you. Zak has never been a big reader until your class."
a football players tells me that he read 3 books for my class and that was more than he had read in the last two years.
a student comes to my room for support when their day is going wrong.
I see the look on a student's face when they see their writing posted on my top author bulletin board.
I know a student finally understands the concept we are talking about because I can see it in their face.
students ask me what to read next because I pick the best books.
I read a story from one of my students with special needs and it blows me away with how deep it is.

For me teaching is so worth it, even when there are only 3 days to Spring Break and the natives are restless. Is it time for a tribal council yet?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Last night was the premiere of Dancing with the Stars or DWTS. It was good but I haven't picked a stand out favorite yet. I really liked Gilles Marini. His dance with Cheryl was awesome.

Meanwhile...our Principal announced yesterday that he is retiring after this year. It is sad because he is a good principal and now my son will not what it was like to have Mr. Ralston as a principal. Things just keep changing around here and I am not sure I like it all.

In other news...I started reading the new John Green book Paper Towns. It is good and if you liked Looking for Alaska, you will love this one. I have such a huge reading list that is almost makes me feel intimidated to think about it. I have this summer to catch up.

One last thing...I think I have started writing a book. It started as just some freewriting exercise but I think it is actually going to shape into a book. Now whether or not I ever publish this book is an entirely different story.

My planning is about over so I must sprint down the hall to use the restroom before the herd comes tromping through.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Friday Five

1. I am so glad that this week is over because doing research papers with high school students is tiring work. They basically want me to write the entire papers for them. I have a difficult time understanding why they think everyone will do the work for them. I know no teacher ever did my work for me.

2. Off of students and on to books. I read The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls last week and it was an incredibly engrossing memoir. As I was reading this book I couldn't believe some of the things she had to endure. It made me think of some of the students I have had over the years. I knew some of my students lived in severe poverty but their parents would not admit to the fact. This book provides an insight for me of how deeply poverty changes children. I also pre-ordered my copy of Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson and I cannot wait until next week. Please hurry. Right now I am finally reading Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs and it is different than The Glass Castle but equally as good.

3. Now on to TV. Dancing with the Stars will start next week and I am so ready. I love the dancing and Max. I danced in high school for the dance team and I like to watch the celebrities progress from the first week. I also like the clothes. Outside of NCIS, Dancing with the Stars is the only other TV show that I try to make sure I am home for every week.

4. Last night my husband and I registered our son for high school classes. It was a weird feeling to be picking his classes out for 9th grade classes. I can still remember taking him for his kindergarten shots and that feels like it was only yesterday. I am so proud of him though. He tries very hard in school and he is a good kid for the most part.

5. Lastly, did I mention that it is Friday? This week has lasted way too long and now that it is almost over I am relieved. The other good thing is that the weather here in Indiana this weekend is suppose to be nice. Yeah. I feel a whole day of outdoor activities coming on for tomorrow. That will take care of my winter blues for sure. Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

just learning

Someone just sent me a link to a teacher's blog where the students interact with each other on the blog. The students have taken ownership and they are writing unique daily logs of the class activities. I think I am going to have to try this method on for size because you could see the personalities come through the daily logs. I think this type of writing pulls that out of kids because they have to take the ordinary things of what went on in the classroom and make it interesting to read. I am going to start this next year with my classes. It will require some more time of me outside of school but it will be worth it. I would love to start a YA blog where my students interact on the books they read outside of my class also. I am so excited to start this next year.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

grade deadlines and books

This week ended our first grading period of this semester. That would be fine if this grading period had been normal. In total we missed 6 whole days during the grading period, not consecutive days either, and had countless days with 2 hour delay schedules. This would all be fine if I was not in the middle of research papers with my Sophomores. My grades look seriously low because they have not been on a regular enough schedule to get the work done. I had a massive pile of papers turned in Friday and just spent my Valentine's evening grading them all. My husband is very understanding. Now I have to go back to school and enter the grades into the computer on Monday.
I am getting excited about Laurie Halse Anderson's and Sarah Dessen's new books coming out soon. I am such a huge fan of both of their books. Wintergirls by Anderson looks to be my new favorite book. I read her excerpt on the myspace page for wintergirls and now I wish I had an ARC to read because I can't wait. I did read The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls this week and was pulled into her story. This book is such an insight into the life of poverty and what children experience. I think every teacher should read it because it opens your eyes. I hate to think that children really lived like that but I know they do on a daily basis.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Snow Days

Schools are closed in the Kentuckiana area today. In case you don't have a clue what Kentuckiana is--well-- it is the area of Southern Indiana and Northern Kentucky. Indiana residents receive the Louisville, Kentucky news stations and the area became known as Kentuckiana. Some Hoosiers would prefer Indiucky but that name has not caught on yet. The weather promises to not get any better and it looks like we may have more snow days ahead of us.
Snow days for me bring back memories of building snow structures with my dad and uncle. Over the years my dad "helped" us build igloos, cars, and forts to play in with other kids from the neighborhood. Our pictures would appear in the local newspaper with captions like "snow driving" or "it's an igloo home for three." Teh excitement over snow days was never that we got out of school because I liked school. It was because my dad spent time with us and actually talked to us girls. He had wanted a son but instead had two girls and I often wondered if we had been boys would have he spent more time wth us. He would try to wrestle with us from time to time but mom would always stop him. She was afraid that he would hurt one of us girls. In fact, he did hurt us often but my sister and I liked the time he took to interact with us. Everytime the snowflakes do their delicate dance across the sky, I picture my dad holding my hand as he showed me how to carve the wheel in my race car.