Monday, April 19, 2010

Never Enough Time- Book Review & Poetry!

Do you ever feel that way?? I always have these great ideas to blog about.. then somehow I never have enough time to get them typed up and put on the blog. I never seem to have enough time to do all I intend to do in the media center either, last week I realized that we have 30 days of school left and there are STILL things I wanted to do this year that I have not... so once again I have started my to do list for the 2010-2011 school year. And don't get me started on my personal stuff that does not get done.. let's just say that if you are looking for dust bunnies, come on over to my house, they have invaded and I wouldn't mind getting rid of a few!

Ok, now that I have gotten that off my chest I DO have a few things I wanted to blog about.

COUNTDOWN by Deborah Wiles
I don't usually do not do too many book reviews on here, so many other people do a much better job (and once again, I never have enough time to READ as much as I want to!), but I wanted to give a shout out to this book. I was lucky enough to have Deb visit my school last year and she kindly sent me an ARC of her newest book. WOW. You can read full reviews here and here and here.
The book takes place over a week in 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis and is the story of twelve year old Franny Chapman. It is a historical fiction novel, but so much more. It is also a novel of friendships, a novel of coming of age and a novel of family. The most interesting thing about the book is that it is peppered with historical images, speeches, song lyrics and short biographies of some of the people mentioned in the novel. While I sometimes found them distracting while I was reading, I did go back and look at these and I really like that I could do that without looking them up on my own. I think having them as part of the book will make this book a great resource to have in a classroom.

I am already thinking of ways to use this book next year with my fifth grade students who get a crash course on sixties history in the last part of the school year. I think it would be a great read aloud, but, I also think it would make a great group read too. Of course I would also love for the kids to all read the book then have Deb come for a visit to talk with them about it - since, if you read her blog (and if you aren't WHY NOT??) you know that this book has a lot of Deborah's own experiences in it. I followed her blog while she was writing this book and I felt like I already KNEW Franny even before I started reading the book. The book is out May 1st - the buzz is, it is going to be BIG - and it couldn't happen to a nicer person!!

Poetry Month
As you know, April is Poetry month, but here at my school it tends to get a little lost since we start off April with Spring Break, then come back from break to have two weeks of state testing (CRCT). So, I was looking for a way to somehow SQUEEZE something in at the end of April. Well, thanks to a tweet from Buffy Hamilton, alerting me to a blog post from a school in Athens, GA, I think I have found a way to do it. I am planning on doing a poetry cafe next week and celebrate Poem in your Pocket day on Thursday April 29th. I am pulling out my poetry books and looking for ways to decorate our cafe next week. I am also trying to figure out how to get teachers EXCITED about this and how I can do some kind of Poetry board outside the cafeteria, maybe some kind of board painted with blackboard paint? Looks like a trip to Home dept might be in order! Wish me luck and thanks again to Andy Plemmons for the GREAT idea - I love my PLN!!

Well, it only took me two days to finish this blog post - maybe when my kids are older and I don't spend every weekend spending hours at baseball tournaments and shuttling kids to dance classes I will finally have the time..... if any of you have figured out a way to add an extra hour to the day, let me know!


Andy Plemmons said...

I'm so happy to hear that you are doing a poetry cafe. After sharing my cafe blog post with the other media specialists in my district, they now want to launch a district poem in your pocket day next year! Best wishes and I can't wait to hear about your cafe

Jim (Teacherninja) said...

Yeah, that Poetry celebration Andy Plemmons wrote about was inspiring! He posts regularly on the GLMA blog. Go ahead and add it too your feed. Actually, you could post for them too, monthly. All your science stuff would be a great contribution. Tell Buffy I said for her to add you to the lineup!