Another week– only 3 weeks until I go back for Pre-Planning and only 4 weeks until Day One of the 2016-2017 school year! I’m excited!
Before I jump into what I’ve been reading this week, I want to remind you about your summer reading. You’ve got 4 weeks to get it done. If you have SparkNoted your way through so far, please take the time to read and do the Notice and Note Signposts this time. If you do not do those things, you will not be able to do the things I have planned for the first week or so of school, and your grade will reflect that lack of preparation. There’s a mix of books on that list–from short to long, from more simple to more challenging. You should be able to find a book to read from that list. Please use this time to prepare well. If you choose one of the longer books (about 300 pages), the 30 days between now and then means that you’d have to read about 10 pages a day if you just start today. You don’t have to read that all in one sitting–read a couple of pages every couple of hours. Do whatever fits you best, but let’s start this year strong and be ready to hit the ground running. Our Lit Circles (which you’ll do on Day Two or Day Three) will be done differently this year, so please make sure that you are prepared and READ!! 😊😊
Now–on to what I’ve been reading this week! This is my first week post-surgery, so the majority of it has been me parked on the couch with book in hand. Keeping reading to see what I’ve been reading!
Runner by Carl Deuker
This one was short and maybe a little predictable, but it tells a good–though frightening–story that keeps your attention. Chance Taylor, the main character, is basically raising himself. His dad is an alcoholic who can’t keep himself sober for long enough to keep a study job, so they live on a run-down beater of a boat at the marina. Then Chance’s dad loses another job and Chance is faced with the reality of trying to figure out how to pay the marina docking fees and buy groceries. An opportunity falls into his lap, and it’s one that he can’t refuse.
Next I took a little break from fiction and read (well, I read this one and the next one at the same time, depending on my mood) The Best-Kept Teaching Secret by Smokey and Elaine Daniels.
You will be seeing lots of the ideas that I read about in this book, my friends. It’s all about writing in the classroom–not just writing essays, but writing as conversations and as ways to get our own thoughts and ideas clear before we start to discuss them. I loved this book and I think every teacher ought to read it. This is part of what is going to transform my class–and you as students–this year. Don’t get nervous. I think you’ll like it. You’re a bunch who has a lot of ideas, so I think embracing these concepts will help you get those ideas out and help you develop even more ideas. I’m SOOO excited to get started with y’all. I’ve missed you! 😊
Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick
(Pink cast this time! Not sure what color I’ll get next week! 😊) This one was interesting. It started slow for me, and I thought about putting it down several times. The author (Matthew Quick) also wrote Silver Linings Playbook, which was made into a super successful and critically acclaimed movie, so I kept pushing myself to read. Truthfully, it reads a little like that movie watched–I kept wondering why I was still watching the movie, too, until some point maybe 2/3 through when some of the things just started to seem important. Every Exquisite Thing was that way, too. I was probably 2/3 through and all of a sudden I read a line that made me perk up and go looking for my post-it notes. (I didn’t have to look far–they were right beside me because I’d just finished reading and annotating the writing book I talked about before this one. 😜) The main character Nanette is talking to Booker, an author and somewhat of a mentor to her during parts of the novel: Here’s the quote:
‘Maybe because it upsets the balance. It makes you think and makes you mad. Challenges you. Gives you the illusion of permission for once to be on the outside who you really are on the inside all the time.’ (Quick, pg., 167)
The first part of that grabbed me because that’s just what I think good books do–they grab us and they shake us up and throw us off balance and make us rethink what we think. Then in the second part, I think it has really captured what it means to be a teenager–someone who is growing up and making his or her own decisions (or choosing to do what everyone else is doing so that you don’t stick out and look weird.
Then, a few pages later, the character finds a line that she has missed in the many times she has read the book:
‘And then one day you will look for you in the mirror and you’ll no longer be able to identify yourself–you’ll see only everyone else…’ (Quick, pg. 235)
Wow. Have you ever found yourself in that kind of a situation? Just wow. Those two lines alone (and their connection to the author) make me glad that I didn’t stop reading.
Have a great week! 😊❤️