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Friday, November 15, 2013


I love the author Matt de la Pena (and right now I'm hating that I can't remember how to put the little squiggle over the 'n' in his name). 

He speaks to my harshest kids in his writing so many times. I've really had kids say "Miss, he knows me." Because, he does.

Read his NPR piece here. You won't be sorry.

Sometimes the "Tough Teen" is Quietly Writing Stories

What do you think??

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Sites to See--November 11

A new service for delivering online quizzes and surveys to your students. On any device that has a web browser (and I’d say 90% of their phones do), your students can respond to quizzes or surveys that you create and show on your presentation station. Sure, this sounds like other tools we’ve looked at, but the big difference here is that it Kahoot sets it up as a competition with students earning points for correct answers and how quickly the enter the correct answer. There’s a lot of research that shows that a game-based approach helps cement learning.

Creating & Sharing Google Calendars
Google calendars are super easy to use and share. AND a great way to make a calendar available on your school webpage or allow parents and students to see what things are coming up on the horizon. This tutorial will show you how to create one, and share it online.

Resources related to JFK and the 50th anniversary of his deathJohn F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum
Several lessons are available, about things specific to JFK’s presidency, as well as some newly digitized materials. Also, this library houses the largest Hemingway archive, with a media gallery.Infotopia’s JFK Assassination Resources
Lots of different things, including documents from the police and public records, PBS, and Jim Lehrer’s memories courtesy of the Dallas News.

I can probably name the teachers who would most enjoy this site. MindCipher is a social brain teaser/logic puzzle/mental challenge collection. Use these to fill a few minutes at the end of class to keep the kids thinking, even if it’s not about your subject area.

Writing Prompts
While this is called “Writing Prompts,” lots of them could be used to spark discussion about things that maybe aren’t all that important, but get our kids thinking in different ways.

What do you think??

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

REVIEW: The Caged Graves, by Dianne K. Salerni


17-year-old Verity Boone expects a warm homecoming when she returns to Catawissa, Pennsylvania, in 1867, pledged to marry a man she has never met. Instead, she finds a father she barely knows and a future husband with whom she apparently has nothing in common. One truly horrifying surprise awaits her: the graves of her mother and aunt are enclosed in iron cages outside the local cemetery. Nobody in town will explain why, but Verity hears rumors of buried treasure and witchcraft. Perhaps the cages were built to keep grave robbers out . . . or to keep the women in. Determined to understand, Verity finds herself in a life-and-death struggle with people she trusted.

I'm a sucker for good historical fiction, and this is GOOD historical fiction. It's...atmospheric, in that it pulls you in to the setting because of the many layers to the story and the characters. It's hard to step away from and come back to "reality." The characters are well-defined and the relationships (even the love triangle) are so easily written that nothing doesn't make sense or work perfectly.

The historical side is important but not the entire driving force and not overly done. The paranormal side is important, but again...not the entire driving force (and not overly done). There's enough in the story to keep you enthralled and wanting more. The love triangle, while it added to the story, was a bit typical YA for me, but it worked for Verity.

It's not too too much any one genre or aspect to turn off the average reader (meaning, the ones who don't want any one specific genre). 

What do you think??

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this ebook galley from Enter Text Here through the netGalley publisher/reader connection program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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