Yes, This Will Be On the Test

Writing, Reading, Laughing

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Band Meeting

If you spotted the reference to Flight of the Conchords in this post title, you are my kind of peeps.

If you don't know Flight of the Conchords, you are in for a real treat when you dive in and experience this hilarious show.

And now for the meeting agenda:

1. I'll be a flaky blog commenter for the next ten days or so since I'm having hip replacement surgery and they FORBID me from bringing my laptop to the hospital.

2. I'm participating in the A to Z Blogfest in April, so I'll be posting every day instead of the usual Wednesday posts.

See y'all on the flip side.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Book That Shaped My Life - A Tree Grows In Brooklyn

When I was a tween and read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith, I never guessed the impact it would have on my future life.

Now that I'm an adult and re-visited A Tree Grows in Brooklyn I am amazed at how many parallels this story had with my own life and the insight I gained from having read it. 

"From that time on, the world was hers for the reading. She would never be lonely again, never miss the lack of intimate friends. Books became her friends and there was one for every mood."
-Betty Smith

Here are a few understandings I have thanks to Francie Nolan's world:

  • Insatiable hunger for books is a blessing
  • Hero-worshiping an alcoholic father, despite his flaws is a daughter's right
  • Tell the truth and then write the lies in your journal as stories
  • A brother can be a soulmate
  • Even if your aren't your mother's favorite, you can still form an unbreakable bond with her
  • The library is both a paradise and an escape
  • Reading to your children every single day builds an unshakable foundation for learning
Have you ever revisited a book and been awed by the influence it had on your life?

Thank you, Julie Musil for bringing me back to a story that has both shaped and validated who I am.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Picking Your Bloggy Brains

Help - Help - Help
I'm really trying to kick my blogging up a notch as I attempt to balance it with teaching full time and writing as close to full time as I can eek out.

I would love to hear what your blogging routines/schedules/tips are so I can shamelessly steal them and become more 

Here's what I already do:
  • Visit everyone's blogs who comment on mine and become a follower on their's
  • Have comments on my blog come to my email so I can pop a personal response back 
  • Subscribe by email to any blogs that offer the option
  • Try to blog at least an hour a day and then catch up on weekends
  • Drown in guilt when I can't keep up
Your turn. Please shower me with advice.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

View from the 5th Grade Trenches -March 2012 - Hysterical for Historical

How many of you can still remember the yawn-fest from history/social studies class? I was bored out of my gourd during most of my formal education in history. I'd rather weed a cornfield than memorize an endless parade of dates/events/people with whom I had absolutely NO connection.

Ironically, now as a teacher, I adore teaching history. Why? I approach it as a great story, and I use historical fiction to help me tell that story. What better way to make the past come alive than to view it with the relatable eyes of a middle grade peer.

In 5th grade we go on the great adventure of American history. Here are a few of the novels that have helped me bring the days of yore to my students.

THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER by Elizabeth George Speare
Homesteading and understanding of American Indian tribes of the Northeast Woodlands

THE WITCH AT BLACKBIRD POND by Elizabeth George Speare
Puritan vs. Quaker and the witchcraft insanity of the colonial period

The horror of the Revolutionary War

THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak, NUMBER THE STARS by Lois Lowry
The holocaust and World War Two

What are some of your favorite middle grade historical fiction stories?