Monday, February 15, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (And a bit more)

I love joining Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers each week to share my reading life. 

One, huge apologies for the lack of blogging of late. As you will see from my reading below, I've been a bit busy. (Skip to the bottom of the post if you want to avoid a long update and simply see what I've been reading.)

I am absolutely LOVING my two online classes. One is a Literature course on fiction. I haven't had assigned reading and discussions for such a long time. That being said, it is awesome to talk to others in-depth about books. Each week we have a long essay test where we have to complete a literary analysis of that week's readings. Sharing that assignment with my students, they laugh that so much of what I've been asked to do, they are asked to do. We loved looking at the feedback from my teacher when she references my writing and said " do a great job providing evidence for your thinking from the text..." My students laughed and said it was good I could do that well, since I was their teacher. Love them!

My English course is Intro to Fiction writing. Wow! I don't think I've tried my hand at writing fiction since middle school? Maybe high school? I honestly can't even remember the last time I was asked to do that. I was so nervous at first. Right now we are writing a piece in the first person. I asked my professor if I could write a children's story. He was fine with that. So I've been sharing a story with my students as I write it. They are asking me to keep going, to write a book. I don't know if it is ok, crap, or has any promise, but man, it's fun! If I can figure out how I can attach a document, I'd be glad to share it with you all. Working on revisions on it today. It's only one chapter long, but I love my characters.

And I finally finished my commitment to my state book award committee. We had fifty books to read (but not blog about, or put on Goodreads) and we met this past Saturday. I loved being a part of that. I also loved that I got to truly understand what Teri Lesesne is always talking about when she says "trust the process" in reference to these award committees. It's tough! Just because you love a book doesn't mean it will end up on the list, and because you don't enjoy it doesn't mean you can keep it off. That being said, I can't wait to share with my students what it was like. So much fun to talk books with a roomful of passionate readers. 

So that wraps up what I've been doing. My reading and blogging will still take a hit, I'd say, until August. I'm taking these two classes until May and two more in June and July. They are helping me a lot to reprioritize my life and put what is truly important first. For that, I am more than grateful! 

I did get three books read this week, and all are fabulous books that I bought for my fifth grade classroom at the amazing Anderson's Bookshop:

Eddie Red Undercover: Mystery on Museum Mile is the first in the series. I had listened to this one, but had to buy it. When I shared the premise with my students, they were clamoring for it. Basically, Eddie is a kid with a photographic memory who happens to be great at drawing as well. He ends up helping the police department try and bust up a art theft ring by sketching the subjects he sees in museums. My students loved hearing about Eddie and his adventure. Luckily for them, this is just the first in the series.

The other two books are both picture book biographies. Hillary Rodham Clinton: Some Girls are Born to Lead had a powerful message for all kids about how our gender shouldn't define what we can achieve. And I knew I wanted to buy Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer: The Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement on the day of the ALA awards, it got several stickers. Reading it, I understood why. What an amazingly written story. So powerful. This is one that would be good fifth up. It has strong language and horribly awful scenes of what Fannie had to endure. I gasped several times, and teared up repeatedly, when I read what she experienced. 

Today I'm reading two books: Three Below by Carman with my ears and All American Boys by Reynolds & Kiely for my book club this week. Thanks, all, for being patient with my lack of updates. It has been a crazy semester so far.