Monday, April 29, 2013

It's Monday, what are you reading?

So it's Monday, again, and even though it was rainy and overcast this past weekend, I was so immersed in Enchanted by Alethea Kontis that I paid it no mind.  If you like fairy tales, which I do, this is a great addition to your shelf.  I find that not as many of my students enjoy fairy tale retellings but Enchanted is just the right length for middle grade students.  How many times do I tell a student the length doesn't matter?  Too many to count.  I'm keeping Enchanted as one of those that fit the "right length" category.  Looking forward to the next in this series.  For those of you who haven't read it yet, recommend it to those students who are fans of E.D. Baker or Alex Flinn's Cloaked/Beastly writings.  5 stars to this one from Brandon's Books!

I'm continuing to listen to Under The Never Sky by Rossi and even though I'd like to say it's perfect for middle level, it really crosses into YA too.  I'd recommend it for those older middle graders, 7th and 8th, who have surpassed the juvenile status in maturity and reading habits.  Those students who liked Matched would probably really enjoy this series.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Book Spine Poetry

On the heels of my last post, here are some book spine poems created by both teachers and students.  I'll let you guess which ones were student created vs. teacher created.  I have a hard time telling the difference!  Of all the picnic tables we had available, this table received the most attention and was the most productive overall.  Students were tasked with creating poems by just walking around the library and pulling books off of the shelves.


Was this a challenge for them?  Absolutely!  Was it a challenge for us once all of the books were pulled off of the shelves?  Absolutely!  But it was a winner for all!

In addition to encouraging deeper thought processes in our students, we also encouraged them to read some new books, or find new topics to explore.  For example, Alcatraz.  It was the subject of a non-fiction book pulled by a 6th grader yesterday.  He checked out 3 books on the topic.  Score!

I hope you enjoy these poems as much as we do!

Student?  Teacher?  This was a very thought provoking poem.

Proud students with their creation

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Poetry Picnic

So I bit the bullet and collaborated with some ELA teachers to put on our very first annual Poetry Picnic today.  It was a huge success!  I hope to continue this with some more classes next week and I've even started discussion of spreading this out over the entire school year to keep poetry alive all months, not just during April for National Poetry Month.  Thanks to those who have done this before me and given me much food for thought, like Lorena SwetnamTamara Cox and another blog, A Year in Reading.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Digital Public Library

I can't contain my excitement about this so here's a quick post.  If you haven't see the Digital Public Library yet, go visit!  This is exactly what we need in schools, a collaborative effort for our students to be able to do quality searching of digital content around the world.  Of course, I haven't tested it on student devices yet so I'm containing my excitement until I do so.  Murphy's Law, ya know.  Happy Friday ya'll!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Weekend reads - Game Changers by Mike Lupica

What are you reading this weekend? I have so many books checked out from the public library (44), not to mention from my school library (including audiobooks) that there's no way I'll get through them all in 2 days but I'm going to try!

In the car, I'm listening to Game Changers by Mike Lupica and I've found that I really enjoy his books. They're easy to stereotype as tween guy fiction but in reality, girls would probably enjoy them too, esp. if those girls enjoy playing in their local Pop Warner league. Proud to say that one of my students read The Underdogs, another by Lupica, and enjoyed it!

Mike Lupica develops the friendships among teammates to a good degree, with each character having a unique strength, or weakness, depending on the plot. Game Changers is about the local QB, Shawn, whose dad was the local QB star turned pro who now coaches the kid's league and expects his son will carry the torch, or ball, too. This time, the son isn't feelin' that QB glory and he chokes during the games, costing his team valuable points. Of course, on the team is another local kid, Ben, who would just LOVE to take over as QB but it remains to be seen if the coach will "see the light" and make a position change. I really like Ben's character. If my son grew up to be like Ben, an affable, agreeable sort, I would be thrilled. Chances of many kids being just like Ben, slim. However, Lupica does a good job of developing Ben's good nature and his friendship with Sean. I'm not finished with this book yet but I'm looking forward to the next and have been pushing Lupica's books like crazy with my students this week. I hope you enjoy Game Changers as much as I am enjoying it. 5 stars here on Brandon's Books!


So I've had this blog out in blog-land for 2 years and finally, my first post. Lately, in my life as a middle school librarian, I've struggled with the best way to booktalk what I'm reading, so that my students (and teachers) can see what might be good choices for them. I'm on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, etc... yet I feel like I should be using something more reflective, like a blog, so that it's MY reflection, not written by me but eventually owned by someone like Amazon. So, here it is, finally. Welcome to Brandon's Books!