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LEARNING STUFF…everyday and all the time: learning, teaching, living

My Pathetic End of the School Year Reading List June 23, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ms.M @ 8:08 am

I somehow got stuck reading Rot and Ruin. I didn’t actually finish the book, but I got through three quarters of it and maybe at some point I will try to get through the rest. (Ok, probably not.)

I do have a few other books to add to the list that I actually did finish though. Not as many books as I thought I would read in these three months, though. It looks like the 100 book goal is quite a long shot at this point, but I haven’t given up on it completely. The last few months have been spent doing a lot of rereading of books to manage all the book clubs. It looks like with running 7-8 different book clubs I will have to decide on a more manageable independent reading goal for next year.

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

The Boy Who Saved Baseball by John H. Ritter

Fated by Alyson Noel


March Reading List April 4, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ms.M @ 8:21 pm

Matched by Ally Condie

My Life as a Book by Janet Tashjian

Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen


January/February Reading List March 1, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ms.M @ 8:03 pm

Flat Broke by Gary Paulsen

The White Giraffe by Lauren St. John

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Hidden By Helen Frost

Powerless by Matthew Cody


Nov-Dec. Books & 2011 Reading Goal January 2, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ms.M @ 4:22 pm

For the first time last year (2011) I set a reading goal for myself. I set the goal to 100 books, but never really set any parameters on what constitutes a book. (Does it need to be a certain number of pages? Does a longer book count as two books? Etc.) Not to make excuses for myself, but be prepared for a few because I did not reach my goal, by TWO, count them ONE, TWO, books. That’s pure frustration for me. I was so close!

Looking back, it really doesn’t matter all too much (And I’m not so much saying that because I didn’t make it). I set a reading goal for the sole purpose of pushing myself to stay more current with YA books in particular. I found it hard to communicate with my students about the books they were enjoying and reading because I had not read so many of them. I read far more books this past school year, summer, and the beginning of this school year than I have in a long while. So to sum it up, the goal worked, even if I did not meet or surpass it. I read 98 books which is far more than I may have read otherwise. So I plan to set that goal for 2012 as well, to read 100 books (for real this time).

This November through December my reading picked up quite a bit. Not enough to make up for September and October, obviously, but not bad.

The Scorch Trials by James Dashner

Addie on the Inside by James Howe

Now You See It by Cathy N. Davidson

Scrawl by Mark Shulman

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever by Jeff Kinney

Writing Magic: Creating Stories that Fly by Gail Carson Levine

I AM NUMBER FOUR: The Lost Files: Six’s Legacy by Pitticus Lore

Trash by Andy Mulligan

Radiance by Alyson Noel

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

The Truth About Truman School by Dori Hillestad Butler

Middle School, the Worst Years of My Life by James Patterson

The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pene du Bois

The Mysterious Matter of I.M. Fine by Diane Stanley

Bio-Pirate by Michele Martin Bossley


October Reading List November 1, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ms.M @ 8:04 am

Ranger’s Apprentice 2: The Burning Bridge by John Flanagan

Going Blue: A Teen Guide to Saving our Oceans Lakes, Rivers & Wetlands by Cathryn Berger Kaye*

Stolen Children by Peg Kehret*

Ranger’s Apprentice 3: The Icebound Land by John Flanagan

P S Longer Letter Later Book 2: Snail Mail, No More by Ann M. Martin, Paula Danziger

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

True..(Sort of) by Katherine Hannigan*


September Book List October 2, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ms.M @ 11:31 am

Woods Runner by Gary Paulsen

Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat

Ranger’s Apprentice Book 1: The Ruins of Gorlan (because I read the majority of it in September)

You can’t get clearer proof of how pathetic my September reading has been than this. I only finished three books, and I’m half-way through two others. Let’s hope October gets a bit better. I’m aiming to read the next two books of the Hunger Games series this month, and I want to read the next book in the Ranger’s Apprentice series as well.


Don’t forget the details October 1, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ms.M @ 9:37 am

It seems that every year I’m reteaching the art of using details. There seems to be something ingrained in all young writers, one of those learned fallacies, that any reader can understand exactly what they are thinking, and with just a few vague jottings a reader will know exactly what it is being referred to in a few sentences. They will know exactly why that quote was dropped in, without explanation or course. They will know which character is being talked about or is doing the talking even if  all that is written is “he,” or “she,” or my favorite, “they”. A reader will marvel at those one sentence critical responses like they do a zen koan. When my students say something is “fun,” or “awesome,” or “tasted really great,”(no, scratch that “scrumptious” is a better word). The assumption is that everyone, everywhere, will have experienced exactly the same, so why go into any greater detail about what it is you thought or truly experienced.  And partly I can’t help but think that we all carry this idea within us, that everyone must surely know what it is that we are thinking, feeling, experiencing. No explanation required.

But writing is all about communicating this thinking, and all about those details.

So every year I have to start chiseling, hoping to find those nuggets of details hidden out of sight. I have to put a spotlight on details so they don’t seem like such a minor aspect of writing, but one of the most important parts.