Monday, January 31, 2011

New Books

I recently received a shipment of new books that I'm sure will be of interest to middle level readers:

I am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to be Your Class President by Josh Lieb
Picture the Dead by Adele Griffin and Lisa Brown
The Savage by David Almond
Ruined by Paula Morris
Orphan! by John R. Weber
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and the Undead by Mark Twain and Don Borchet
The Boneshaker by Kate Milford
The Pricker Boy by Reade Scott Whinneem
The Stone Child by Dan Poblocki
The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

I plan to read my way through this list and then get the books into circulation through the middle school library. Please see me if any of these titles interest you.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Uninvited

One of the books that I read this month is Tim Wynne-Jones' The Uninvited. I liked it, and talked about it in class. It's available in the SLMS library on the eighth grade shelf.
You can hear an audio review of this book, set in rural Ontario, at the North Country Public Radio website.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

"The Fan Club" by Rona Maynard

As we work through our fiction writing unit, we've talked about how finding ideas for stories is sometimes very difficult.
Lucy Calkins, author of Units of Study for Teaching Writing, has this advice:
Think about an issue that is important to you and create a character who struggles with that issue.
As an example, we read "The Fan Club" by Rona Maynard. You may want to check it out, and see how the main character, Laura, deals with the issue of discrimination.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Creative Writing Unit

After a non-fiction narrative writing unit that saw students write some truly great pieces, we introduced a unit on creative writing today.

I mentioned a book by Stephen King that I really like, On Writing. This book is part autobiography and part writing instruction. Full disclosure: it's the only Stephen King book I've ever read.

I'm hoping that students will incorporate, like King, some of their real life experiences into their fiction writing.