Sierra's View: BOOKS IN APRIL.

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Sunday, May 1, 2016


Yea. April was a busy month. It seriously just flew by. With testing and field trips, teaching sixth grade was a blur this month. I didn't even have very much time to read--I finished four books--and two of them were teaching. Yes, I am now a book nerd who states that four books was not near as many as it should be. I have a problem. I started a couple others, but won't finish them until next month. Any who, are you bored yet?

Attachments// Rainbow Rowell

Genre: Realistic Fiction 

Rating: 5/5 stars (see more on GoodReads)

Summary: Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder know that somebody is monitoring their work e-mail. (Everybody in the newsroom knows. It's company policy.) But they can't quite bring themselves to take it seriously. They go on sending each other endless and endlessly hilarious e-mails, discussing every aspect of their personal lives. Meanwhile, Lincoln O'Neill can't believe this is his job now- reading other people's e-mail. When he applied to be "internet security officer," he pictured himself building firewalls and crushing hackers- not writing up a report every time a sports reporter forwards a dirty joke.When Lincoln comes across Beth's and Jennifer's messages, he knows he should turn them in. But he can't help being entertained-and captivated-by their stories. By the time Lincoln realizes he's falling for Beth, it's way too late to introduce himself.

My thoughts: We read this for April Book Club and I loved it! As usual, I loved our discussion regarding this book as well. I seriously look forward to meeting with these girls every month. Come join our party. I loved the flawed, imperfect, relatable characters. I loved the fact that I could read through it in no joke, one day. I loved the cute, romantic story behind it. I pictured it being a cute romantic comedy movie. Read it. I loved it!

Favorite Quote from the book: 
“He knew why he wanted to kiss her. Because she was beautiful. And before that, because she was kind. And before that, because she was smart and funny. Because she was exactly the right kind of smart and funny. Because he could imagine taking a long trip with her without ever getting bored. Because whenever he saw something new and interesting, or new and ridiculous, he always wondered what she'd have to say about it--how many stars she'd give it and why.” 

Teaching Argument Writing// George Hillocks, Jr.

Genre: Nonfiction/Academic 
Rating: 4/5 stars (see more on GoodReads
Summary: Argument writing can be difficult to teach, but it may be the most important set of skills we teach in English. According to the National Common Core Standards, by the end of high school, students should be able to write arguments to support claims with clear reason and relevant evidence-and they should be able to do so well.Designed for middle and high school students, the activities in this book will enable students to write strong arguments and evaluate the arguments of others.

My thoughts: I read this book while in college studying my teaching career. I never finished this book, and this year I wanted to focus on teaching writing to my students, so I picked this one back up. I always say that as a teacher, try to master ONE thing a year. The things that we have to teach to our sixth graders is quite extraordinary and filled, so imagine trying to master every thing in every subject! Not gonna happen. But, anyway, I wanted to focus on teaching my students to use argument writing and evidence correctly, so this one was a good reminder. This is a great book!! One I would recommend to anyone who needs to learn to teach or write argumentative essays!

Favorite Quote from the book: “In the minds of some people, writing is one thing, but thinking is quite another. If they define writing as spelling, the production of sentences with random meanings, and punctuation, then they might have a case. But who would accept such a definition? Writing is the production of meaning. Writing is thinking.” 

Unbroken//Laura Hillenbrand

Genre: Nonfiction/Biography 
Rating: 5/5 stars (see more on GoodReads
Summary: On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared. It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane’s bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard. So began one of the most extraordinary odysseys of the Second World War.

The lieutenant’s name was Louis Zamperini. In boyhood, he’d been a cunning and incorrigible delinquent, breaking into houses, brawling, and fleeing his home to ride the rails. As a teenager, he had channeled his defiance into running, discovering a prodigious talent that had carried him to the Berlin Olympics and within sight of the four-minute mile. But when war had come, the athlete had become an airman, embarking on a journey that led to his doomed flight, a tiny raft, and a drift into the unknown.

Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, a foundering raft, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater. Driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor; brutality with rebellion. His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would be suspended on the fraying wire of his will.

My thoughts: Of course this novel is inspirational and so rewarding. I honestly don't know what else to say about this novel other than this man is seriously my hero. The novel is SO MUCH better than the movie. I am inspired and moved to be a better person because of this novel.

Favorite Quote from the book: “A lifetime of glory is worth a moment of pain. Louie thought: Let go.” 

Words Their Way// 

Genre: Nonfiction/Academic
Rating: 4/5 stars (see more on GoodReads
Summary: Words Their Way's developmentally-driven, hands-on instructional approach has been a phenomenon in word study, providing a practical way to study words with students. The keys to this research-based approach are to know your students' literacy progress, organize for instruction, and implement word study. 

I am thinking of changing my spelling for my sixth graders and this is something that I am debating on doing with my students. After reading this book, I may be convinced. It is so much work, but it is the perfect differentiation for students of all levels. And since I have so many levels (from 3rd to 10th grade reading) in sixth grade, this may be exactly what I need to do. This is a great book for parents, teachers, tutors, etc. who want to help their child with their spelling. 

My thoughts: 
I am thinking of changing my spelling for my sixth graders and this is something that I am debating on doing with my students. After reading this book, I may be convinced. It is so much work, but it is the perfect differentiation for students of all levels. And since I have so many levels (from 3rd to 10th grade reading) in sixth grade, this may be exactly what I need to do.

Favorite Quote from the book: Many phonics, spelling, and vocabulary programs are characterized by explicit skill instruction, a systematic scope and sequence, and repeated practice.” 

What books did you read in April? 
Did you enjoy them? Do you want to read any of these books? 

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