Friday, October 22, 2010

A brief reflection + Book update

Here I am, on day 2 of my first MEA break as a teacher, and I'm finally getting a chance to catch up on my blogging.

My big news of the week is that I am now being employed FULL TIME by my school (hooray for title money...)!  I started the longer hours on Tuesday, and while I am not actually adding another section of English 12 until Nov. 8, I am supposed to use my time at school to start documenting how I am helping each student in my English 9/10 Make-Up class pass the GRAD reading test.  Since the additional .33 FTE added onto my contract comes from them receiving title money, I have to be very meticulous with my documentation.  I am welcoming this extra work, since I was never expecting to be able to get FT hours this year.  One thing that I am looking forward to the most as being at the school now from 7:30-3:10 is that I now get to participate in the Friday staff breakfasts!

At my school, we have a daycare facility for the teen moms who are trying to finish their coursework to graduate.  I just found out that every year for Halloween, the little ones go trick or treating around the school during 6th hour.  I am SO excited to see the babies and toddlers being herded around in their adorable costumes.  This is also the one time of the year that the teen moms are able to bring their children into the main part of the school and show off their kids.  Hopefully I'll remember to bring my camera and take a few pictures of them.

Lastly, I've been definitely slacking on my reading updates.  At the beginning of the school year, I had to put the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series on hold, and I still haven't had a chance to get back to them.  Hopefully I'll have time to dedicate to them over winter break...  But here is an update in my reading world.  At school, I do not have my own classroom, so I have a cart that goes everywhere with me.  Everything that I could ever need during a class period is on that cart, as well as my library.  In my classes, every Friday is independent reading day.  It is a day where the students get a chance to read for fun and explore what is out there for them.  Most students read something off my cart, while a handful brings their own novels to enjoy during that time.  During this time, I read along with the students (it makes a huge difference- once I pick up my book, they all quiet down almost immediately), so I have been able to start reading some of the YA literature that I have on my cart.  It's been awhile since I have been reading multiple books at once, but I've once again found myself absorbed in several different titles (some of which I had read before, but I wanted to give them another go)...

Mockingjay- Suzanne Collins (finished)

The final book in the Hunger Games series, Suzanne Collins does not disappoint.  I had been waiting about an year for Mockingjay to come out, and was amazed by her writing.  This was a great conclusion to the popular series.  This is one of the few book series that I can get both boys and girls to read and enjoy.  I've heard that there are rumors regarding a possible movie franchise for this series, and I hope that the rumors are true!  If you have not had a chance to read these books yet, run (do no walk!) to the nearest bookstore or library and get yourself a copy of this series.  You will not be disappointed.

The Help- Katherine Stockett (about 70 pages in)

Wintergirls- Laurie Halse Anderson (finished)

I knew that Wintergirls was going to be a slightly difficult book to read, based solely off of reading the back of the book.  Laurie Halse Anderson writes about deep teen topics, and this book definitely fits the trend.  Wintergirls follows teenage Lia, and the reader views how Lia deals with the death of her former best friend Cassie.  Both Lia and Cassie suffered from eating disorders (Lia- anorexia, Cassie- bulimia), and this novel give the reader an inside perspective of what it is like to be anorexic and gives us a taste of the thoughts that go through one's head when they are obsessed with loosing more and more weight and how they are able to convince themselves that eating is bad.  Anderson's way of writing is so amazing and convincing that I even scared myself at one point in the book when I got mad at the parents for trying to force Lia to get better.  This is one of those novels that you just can't put down, and girls can find ways to relate to this book in many many ways (even if they have never had an eating disorder).

A Thousand Splendid Suns- Khaled Hosseini (reading with my class)

The Knife of Never Letting Go- Patrick Ness (about 50 pages in)

A Child Called "It"- David Pelzer (finished)
I remember reading this book for the first time when I was in junior high school.  I remember reading it in bed, and not being able to put it down.  I will proudly admit to crying several times while going through this book, and being so enraged at the same time.  The parts the stuck out to me as an adolescent definitely stuck out to me as an adult the second time around.  A Child Called "It" is the memoir of Dave Pelzer and his survival through childhood while being constantly abused by his mother.  Pelzer starts his novel off by telling the reader of the day that he was taken into custody by the police and saved from his mother.  If he hadn't started off the novel this way, there is no way that I would have been able to make it through the rest of the book, wondering if he'd ever be saved.  This is another one of those books that I read in a 24 hour period because I couldn't put it down.  While this heartbreaking account of Pelzer's childhood isn't for everyone, I would definitely recommend it to teens and adults alike, no matter who they are or where they are in life. 

A Million Little Pieces- James Frey  (about 100 pages in)

I am always looking for book suggestions for my students and am always on the lookout for more books to add to my cart, so if you have any titles that you would recommend, please let me know!