Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Review: Clean Getaway

Clean Getaway Clean Getaway by Nic Stone
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

11-year-old William "Scoob" Lamar doesn't hesitate when his G'Ma shows up in her slick new motor home and asks him to go on a little road trip. He doesn't care where they're heading, he just knows he's glad to get away from his dad and the punishment that has him on lockdown. With G'ma's memories and her Green Book to guide them, their adventure is one that clearly isn't new to G'ma. Though G'ma has a plan, Scoob isn't quite sure he's ready for what he learns along the road, and it doesn't take long for him to realized that there's more to this adventure than he ever anticipated.

A fun middle-grade read!
 

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Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Review: The Grace Year

The Grace Year The Grace Year by Kim Liggett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In the County, girls are taught to fear their "magic", but not told what their "magic" actually is. All they know is that they are banished to a remote encampment for their Grace Year (16th year) where they will release this magic and return (if they're lucky) purified and ready for marriage or a life of work, either way they're condemned to a life of servitude. But Tierney James doesn't buy it. As her Grace Year approaches, she's aware of the discontent that's surfacing, and her recurring dreams of a girl that changes the system is difficult to ignore. As her Grace Year ensues, Tierney will learn firsthand about the horrors that wait for her.

A mix of The Handmaid's Tale, The Hunger Games, and The Lord of the Flies, this feminist dystopian adventure is sure to be a hit.

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Monday, March 9, 2020

Review: Dragon Hoops

Dragon Hoops Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Yang is a math teacher and graphic novelist. He knows numbers and comics - not sports. But when he decides to tell the story of his high school's championship basketball team, he learns so much more than the sport of basketball. Spending a year following the team, Yang talks to coaches and players as he explores the dynamics of the team and the lives lived off the court. Along the way, he also manages some self exploration as he draws parallels between his subjects and his dream of writing/drawing a Superman tale and balancing his family and work.

A blend of basketball history, sports documentary, and memoir, Yang's Dragon Hoops challenges us all to "step out anyway" and take some risks.

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Review: Little Creeping Things

Little Creeping Things Little Creeping Things by Chelsea Ichaso
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In this YA mystery/suspense/thriller everyone is a suspect after the town mean-girl goes missing and later turns up dead. Filled with teen sleuths, plenty of angst and jealously, and lots of twists and turns, most teens will speed right through this one hoping they picked the whodunit.

Release: 6/2020

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Monday, March 2, 2020

Review: Dear Haiti, Love Alaine

Dear Haiti, Love Alaine Dear Haiti, Love Alaine by Maika Moulite
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Alaine Beauparlant is a witty and honest Haitian American teen whose life is about to change more than she could ever imagine. The daughter of successful Haitian immigrants, Alaine is outspoken and confident. She seldom sees her mother, Celeste, a successful TV journalist who lives in D.C., and lives in Miami with her father, Jules, is a Psychologist and do-it-all dad. When Celeste snaps on national TV and disappears to her homeland for seclusion, Alaine becomes the butt of jokes and is targeted by the resident "mean girls" at school. When Alaine decides use a school project to prove a point, she suddenly risks expulsion on top of everything else. Rather than face expulsion, Alaine is granted a chance to prove herself by spending the rest of her Senior year in Haiti volunteering at a tech startup company founded by her aunt, the Haitian Minister of Toursism, that aims to partner patrons with Haitian children in need.

From this point forward, readers are taken on a cultural journey into the streets, homes, and rich history of Haiti, as well as into a family that is struggling to keep it together.

Told in the epistolary style, through diary entries, emails, text messages, letters and more, the Moulite sisters spin a story that is humorous, heartbreaking, and that transcends time.

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Thursday, February 27, 2020

Create Interactive Slideshows with Poll Everywhere

Google Slides is a go-to tool in most teachers' presentation toolbox, so I love it when I find easy to use extras that can make this presentation staple even more engaging and interactive for my audience (typically students). Poll Everywhere for Google Slides is a Chrome Extension that lets users build interactivity into any slide deck. With lots of options for activities, it's possible to survey, get feedback, assess on the fly, and so much more.

Check out this tutorial of how to get started with Poll Everywhere.


Classroom Applications

  • Brainstorm
  • Formative Assessment
  • Gather Feedback
  • Discussion Starters
  • Bellringers
  • Exit Slips

Review: A Fire Story

A Fire Story A Fire Story by Brian Fies
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fies' powerful graphic novel memoir chronicles the moments, hours, days, weeks and months following his evacuation of his home during one of California's worst wildfires. It immerses readers into the trauma that families who've lost everything must face in the wake of tragedy.

An eye-opening story of destruction, community, and survival.

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