July 20, 2010

Finished moving

Well I finally finished moving and getting my phone and dsl hooked up. I was suppose to have had it on Thursday the 15th but they messed up. The kind lady at first said that I wouldn't be hooked up til the 29th but she tried to get it moved and she did so here I am. I did have problems with the dsl and after 1 hour on the phone with a person in India not able to help me they transfered me to someone in CA who told me in under 5 minutes that I needed to wait until the end of the work day for my dsl to kick in even though my phone worked. He gave me info on what to do if that didn't happen and how to register without calling back. OMG!!!! This just reinforces my opinion that we should not be outsourcing our tech support. The Indian lady talked too fast when she did speak at all. I had to prompt her several times before she would even tell me anything. Like she would tell me to type something I would type it and tell her done and I would wait for like....2 minutes of silence and repeat I was done and what do i have to do next. After another 1 minute she would tell me the next thing and it would repeat.  I am glad it is over.

I also have some ARCs that I will be reading soon. These include: Tyger, Tyger, Wildthorn, and Hunger. The majority of these are Teen Fantasy and have heard about them through other blogs.

July 06, 2010

Skid and the Too Tiny Tunnel

** I recieved this book through NetGalley review**

Title: Skid & the Too Tiny Tunnel
SubTitle: A story of courage based on Deuteronomy 31:6
Publisher: Warner Press
Imprint: Warner Press Kids
Pub Date: 01/01/2009
 ISBN: 9781593173555
Author: Jeffery Stoddard
Genre: Fantasy (talking machines)
Reading level: grades 3-5
Interest level: grades 1-5

I have never read anything by this author before so when I saw it I thought this would be a great book to read first on NetGalley. It seemed like a book I could use to teach character. I was a little wary about the reference to Deuteronomy and the Bible because I teach in a public school and usually religion references are frowned upon even though most of my students talk about going to church at some point in the year. But after reading it was not really discussed at all except on the cover. So I shouldn't have a problem having this in my  classroom. Things I liked:
  • The  illustrations are nice and simple with color being done in crayon.
  • Vocabulary is great, lots of unusual words that students need to be exposed to like massive, belching, careeening, and chuckled. 
  • The moral of the story was great. The story talked about having fear of doing something and doing it anyway and not sit and complain it. Also about even the smallest person can make a big difference. Great for character lessons as I thought!
Things I didn't like or readers may have difficulty with:
  • The vocabulary can be difficult to read for lower readers but this can be fixed by reading first in a read aloud or with a partner who has a higher reading level.
  • At the end of the story with Pillar there was a section where Skid first comes upon Pillar that was a little awkward. I think more showing rather than telling would have worked better. Seeing as this was the only thing I didn't like it is really only a minor thing.

Overall I really liked this book and would purchase it for my classroom. The story had a great message and I think students will identify themselves in Skid. It reminded me a lot of the story of the Little Engine that Could.



Personal Demons Giveaway!

Lisa Desrochers is having a Arc Giveaway of her book Personal Demons. Interesting premise and will definitely check it out if I don't win. Go here to enter!

Angelfire Giveaway!

Courtney Allison the author of Angelfires is giving away one signed Arc! Go post a response here to get a chance to win!

July 05, 2010

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamarillo

genre: YA Fantasy (talking animals)
propriate for: grades 2-adult
rating: ****

I have wanted to read this book since it came out a couple of years ago but have never gotten around to it. I loved Kate's The Tale of Desperaux which I had read aloud to my students in Third Grade. This would was a great story and used a lot of great writing techniques that I point out to writers in my class even now (the best book for voice I have found). So when I found it at the library and it was the end of the year I decided for it to be one of the choices for our read aloud in 2nd grade. Needless to say after reading the flap and flipping through the chapter titles once the kids heard the words Hobo camp they were determined that was the one they wanted to read.

One thing that drew me to this story was the cover and beautiful illustrations. This book reminded me of books I had read when I was growing up. There were a few minor things I didn't like but over all I definitely would read this again to my students.

What I liked:
  • The beautiful illustrations.
  • That there was a moral to the story about love and how important it is.
  • How Kate showed the passage of time and movement from one owner to the next. Also it didn't just cover a couple of days or a year but many years. Different time periods were learned about in a round about way while I was reading. Several times I stopped to answer some questions about why certain things were happening or to explain a little about what was going on. This would be good to use for a mentor text in writing.
  • That it dealt with some tough issues in a good way such as homelessness, poverty, and death. I almost cried at the end and the students where like what is wrong Miss Dudley? They couldn't believe I had such emotions for a book. Any book that draws such emotion from me is a great book since it is hard to get me to cry.
Some things I didn't like or that may cause problems for readers:
  • While the illustrations were beautiful sometimes they were placed after the part they represented in the story. I stopped and showed the picture on the next page several times.
  • The tough issues that I liked may be too difficult for some students. My students had no problems but other students may in particular be upset over the death of the little girl from tuberculosos. I believe though that my students have experienced death and should be exposed to how people react and deal with death (I teach in a low income area).
  • The note at the end I didn't get at first when I read it. I had to read it a second time then I got it (a good teaching technique but the students may have difficulty getting the circular ending).

The students LOVED this book. They always reminded me of read aloud time and were silent as mice when I read it, even my most difficult students (which is a sure sign that they like it). I loved it just as much as they did and plan to add this to my student library.