Monday, September 21, 2015

It's Monday! What are you reading?

I'm so sorry for the lull in posting.  

The first few weeks of school
for me are all about assessments.  I get to read with all the students who are new to the district, then all the students who qualify for Title 1 assistance.  I love reading with kids, but it doesn't make for very interesting blogging.  If anyone is dying to know, we are using the Founts and Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System to do our assessing.  You can read about it here if you want. 

So, it's Monday! I am still reading Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (who just had a baby!  Congratulations, Neil!).  I am definitely loving it, but it's taking me a while to read.  I guess I have gotten used to being able to read middle grade novels in a couple days, so it feels like 2 weeks with the same book is forever.  I think I'm going to pick up a kids book to read at the same time, because I need to keep moving through my challenges if I'm going to get all 50 completed by the end of 2015.  

So, what are you reading this Monday?  Please leave a comment and let me know! If you're a South School student, you'll be entered to win a free book.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Open House!

Visiting the blog for the first time after Open House?  Leave a comment saying hi, and your South School student will be entered into a raffle to win a free book!  

Check back often for updates.  

You can also follow us on twitter!


Thanks for visiting!!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Even more exciting than Open House...

Tomorrow night is Book Fair Night!
I was there this afternoon when they started rolling in the cases full of books.  I might be a total book nerd, but for me, it's so exciting to see all those cartons full of books to be explored.  I can't wait to see what is available and what great deals I can get! 

Of course, I'm also looking forward to meeting everyone's families tomorrow night at Open House.  I will be in my classroom most of the evening, but I will also be popping into classes where I know I will be working with students.  If all else fails and you want to find me... check near the books.

Monday, September 7, 2015

It's Monday! What are you reading?

Well, school started last week, but I finished my 20th book of the summer today!  This morning I finished GuysRead: Other Worlds edited by Jon Scieszka.  It's a book made up of short stories by famous authors that are all in the sci-fi genre.   This book was a little out of the zone for what I usually read (aliens taking over recess, planets where people's entire lives only last 8 days) but I am glad that I pushed myself to finish it.  

The next book (which I am starting as soon as I hit "publish") is going to be Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman.  He is one of my favorite authors, so I am really looking forward to it.  While he has written amazing books for kids, Coraline and The Graveyard Book are two favorites, this one isn't intended for that audience. I decided to read it now because one of the challenges is to read a book that was turned into a tv show.  I've read lots of books that have been turned into movies, but it was more of a challenge to find one that's been turned into a tv series.  

So, now that school is back in session, I'm looking to give away some books!  Leave a comment to tell the world what you're reading this week! You'll be put in a raffle to win a free book!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Today in history

This is an abridged (shortened) version of the awesome post from A Mighty Girl's Facebook page.  A Mighty Girl is a website that promotes strong girl characters in books, movies, and toys.  They have a great Facebook page that shares amazing young women throughout history.  Here's what they shared today:

On this day in 1957, 15-year-old Elizabeth Eckford encountered an angry mob when she attempted to enter Little Rock Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. 
Eckford was one of nine teenagers, known as the Little Rock Nine, who became the first African American students to attend the previously all-white Little Rock Central High School after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled school segregation unconstitutional in its famous Brown v. Board of Education decision.  
While the nine students had planned to enter the school together, the meeting place was changed the night before and Eckford, whose family did not have a telephone, did not learn about the change of plans. As a result, she attempted to enter the school alone through a mob of 400 angry segregationists and a blockage by the Arkansas National Guard, which the pro-segregationist governor, Orval Faubus, had ordered to block the students in violation of the Supreme Court decision.  
Due to the line of soldiers blockading the school and threats from the crowd, Eckford was forced to flee to a bus stop. As she sat at the bus stop crying, New York Times reporter Benjamin Fine consoled the scared girl, telling her "don't let them see you cry." Civil rights activist Grace Lorch, who had learned that Eckford had arrived separately from the other students, then arrived to escort her home. 
In response to Eckford and the other students being blocked from the school, Little Rock Mayor Woodrow Wilson Mann asked President Eisenhower to send federal troops to protect the students. To enforce desegregation, Eisenhower sent the US Army's 101st Airborne Division to Little Rock and federalized the entire Arkansas National Guard to remove control from the governor. The Little Rock Nine were able to start school by the end of September. Although soldiers were deployed at the school for the entire year, many of the students experienced physical and verbal abuse, including Eckford who at one point was pushed down the stairs. 
The governor continued to fight integration and, the following year -- in what came to be known as the "Lost Year" -- ordered Little Rock's four high schools closed rather than allow it to continue
The famous photograph pictured here shows Elizabeth Eckford on September 4, 1957 as she walked alone through a mob to Central High. Taken by Will Counts, it was a runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize for Photography. The young woman shouting in the photo, Hazel Massery, apologized to Eckford and the two made amends at a 40th anniversary celebration of the school's integration. 

 There are lots of amazing books written about this sad period in our country's history.  However, most recently I read the novel The Lions of Little Rock.  This is an amazing story of two girls who form a forbidden friendship, set during the "lost years" mentioned in the article above.  The kids in Massachusetts voted and this book won the Massachusetts Children's Book Award last year, and it deserves every vote it got! I have a copy in my room for anyone who wants to borrow this powerful book. 

Friday, September 4, 2015

Welcome Back!

Yesterday we had our "Welcome Back to School" assembly!  First the kids had a little pep talk from the Kid President, who reminded them to...
Then Mrs. Stevens told everyone about our new positive behavior system.  We will be spending the whole year catching kids being  respectful, responsible, and prepared.  If a kid is caught, their name gets entered into a raffle.  After just one week, three kids already won the chance to get fancy take-out lunch with a teacher and friend of their choice.  Mrs. Stevens also mentioned some future prizes, including wearing the Bulldog costume at a pep rally.  As you can see, the kids were pumped about that one!
After that we got to honor those kids who went beyond the required summer reading and did some extra. 

Each student who read 2 or more books this summer will receive a colorful certificate.

The kids who read between 2 and 4 books were entered into a raffle and 30 kids, 10 from each grade, won a bookmark! I've already seen some inside books as I walked around school yesterday.

Anyone who read 5-8 books was put into another raffle.  They had the chance to win a book mark and a free book of their choice! The crowd went wild after each kid's name was picked.

Last, and definitely not least, any kid who read 9 or more books automatically got to pick a free book.  There were 23 amazing readers who were in this category!  Their names also got put into a raffle and 6 of them got a gift card for our Scholastic Book Fair next week.  

Mrs. Stevens gave a special shout out to our fourth grader who read 17 books and our sixth grader who read 18!  So amazing!

Keep up all the great reading, Bulldogs!!!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Happy September!

Sorry for being a day late!  Yesterday was my first day at school and things were super busy.  It was so great seeing all the kids again and talking about summer reading with some of them.  

I just wanted to take a minute to share this awesome calendar that is produced by the website LibrarySparks!
You can also click on this link to see a bigger version, if the one above won't get bigger for you.  I think reading is always a cause for celebration, but this calendar gives even more ideas for special ways to include some words in your day!  

So, Happy Library Card Sign-up Month!!