Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Review: The Secret History

The Secret History The Secret History by Donna Tartt
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An over-the-top coming of age story filled with eccentric characters, uniquely intellectual minds, drugs, sex, and even murder.

When a band of egotistical college students immerses themselves so fully into their classical studies, the outcome is an exaggerated but compelling tale that is part psychological thriller and part a drama-filled tale of privileged young people on the brink of adulthood.

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Thursday, December 21, 2017

Review: I Stop Somewhere

I Stop Somewhere I Stop Somewhere by T.E. Carter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As Ellie Frias starts her freshman year at a new school, she just wants to blend in. She's had enough of being picked on and pointed out; she just wants to disappear and go on with her life. But when Caleb, a popular "mean-guy" takes notice of her, Ellie realizes that she does want to be seen. The question is, at what cost?

Carter's story of sexual abuse and misogyny is heartwrenching. It simply rings too true to life for many young girls today.

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Monday, December 18, 2017

Review: As You Wish

As You Wish As You Wish by Chelsea Sedoti
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

If you could make one wish and know it would come true (with a few little restrictions - see Rules for wishing below), what would it be?

Madison is a small pass-through town in the middle of the Mojave desert. It's everything you might expect: gas station, bar, run-down houses, a school, and a cave that grants one wish to each resident (who was born there) on his/her 18th birthday.

Rules for wishing:
1. Never let an outsider find out about wishing. (Zip your lips and throw away the key.)
2. Wishes that would impact the world are off limits (i.e. no bringing back the dinosaurs).
3. Do no harm. (Murder = no bueno.)
4. No time travel. (What's done is done, pal.)
5. No bringing back the dead. (Come on. You've seen what happens in THE WALKING DEAD.)
6. NEVER BREAK THE RULES. (Seriously. We mean it. See Rule #7.)
7. There are always consequences.

As Eldon approaches his 18th birthday, he can't seem to land on a wish even though he's literally had years to prepare. It's that rule #7 that keeps haunting him - and so many other's who've wished before him.

I'd call this one realistic fiction with a little mysticism (aka fantasy) thrown in the mix.

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Friday, December 15, 2017

Review: And the Trees Crept In

And the Trees Crept In And the Trees Crept In by Dawn Kurtagich
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Silla and Norie arrive at their aunt's isolated manor home on a cold rainy night after fleeing an unknown terror at their home in London. From this point forward, Silla's dreamlike narration illustrates a spiral into madness and fear that leaves the reader wondering what is truth and what is imagination. When Aunt Cath locks herself in the attic, the food runs out, Norie "speaks" of a man with no eyes, a mysterious boy appears from the woods, and the trees keep getting closer and closer to their home, Silla slowly unravels a horrific mystery. This is truly more of a dark psychological horror than a "give you nightmares" horror.

I have to admit that listening to this story was difficult because of the circular narration, but it was worth sticking with it until the end!!

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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

TECH Note of This 12/12/2017

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Review: Every Exquisite Thing

Every Exquisite Thing Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Nanette O'Hare had it all - solid family, friends, star status as a soccer player, straight As - but something was missing. When Nanette is given a copy of an out-of-print, cult classic book, her inner-rebel is awakened and things are never the same.

Through zany friendships, reckless abandon, loss, and a little therapy, Nanette learns that her story is more than a sum of what's happened to her thus far, and she's willing to pay the price to push beyond everyone else's versions.

Through Nanette's unique voice, this tale of independence and voice will resonate with many teens (and adults!).

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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Free & Simple Speaking and Listening Activities for Students

Communication is a vital tool for today's students, and a great way to increase students' oral fluency is to have them speak more in class. This doesn't mean you have to build in more time for student presentations! There are many activities that you are already doing that can naturally build in speaking components without taking away instructional time from class. Check out the short video below to see three easy ways to add speaking (and listening) activities to your content.

Resources: check out these links to all of the tools demonstrated in the video.
  • Vocaroo
  • Screencastify or Loom screen recorders
  • Flipgrid
  • Our favorite headphones - Avid w/microphone are a great deal for $6.99 a pair via the REMC Bid pricing if you are in Michigan or you can find them online for the retail price of around $13-14.