Archive for Literature – Page 2



There’s no denying it . . . The Hunger Games Trilogy Revolution is alive and well in Room M126.  Every single copy available (from my library, to the entire SAS library system, to my colleagues’ libraries) has been checked out.  Kids are sneak reading in math, in social studies, even during our writing focus lessons (dang!).  And, the obsession has hit both my gal and guy readers, including some hold-outs who tried to avoid the hype.  Now they’ve become outsiders if they haven’t read (or aren’t currently reading) this trilogy.  Even Jane, who much prefers James Thurber, put aside her thick collection of Thurber’s short stories this afternoon when a copy of The Hunger Games became available.  Thank you Suzanne Collins for creating readers.  And thank you John Mason at Scholastic for dropping a copy of Mockingjay into the (air)mail.  It lasted a whole 10 seconds on my desk before Rohan spied it.  I expect he’ll be at least half way into the novel by morning.  Let’s just hope these kids get some sleep.  We have other work to do.  Yeah right.

Mussel mania (and other assorted tidbits)

Survived last Thursday night’s Back to School Night but was mighty tired when Friday rolled around.  Positive turnout from parents — approximately 80% of my students were represented.  Frankie’s mom told me this was the first year she could remember that Frankie isn’t already complaining about reading (yeah!).  And Friday one of my students said her dad’s response was, “I want to go back to school again!”  At the end of the week, my team-teaching colleague stopped by my room to tell me this was probably the best week of teaching in his life.  I felt it too.

A side note: Eighth grade girls and second grade girls have a lot in common, especially during the read aloud.  Multi-tasking means they can listen and braid hair at the same time — and do so with keen focus and mastery, as I chronicled while sitting at the side of our room while Brian read aloud last week.

hair braiding #1

hair braiding #2

Spent the weekend catching up on sleep, doing some schoolwork, and completing MOCKINGJAY.  I’ll wear my gold Mockingjay pin to class tomorrow and trust there’ll be a group of middle schoolers ready to talk, talk, talk about the end of this trilogy.  We’ll do so with respect for the readers who are frantically trying to catch up.  On Saturday I purchased three copies of CATCHING FIRE for those who started THE HUNGER GAMES last week.  My four copies of MOCKINGJAY should arrive soon, for my eager readers who are finally ready for book three.  I’m loving this reading revolution!!

Robertson QuayAnd now a shot of a glorious Saturday night at Robertson Quay where Fred and I discovered our favorite new restaurant in Singapore, Brussels Sprouts.  While there are no Brussels sprouts on the menu, there are 24 preparations for mussels. We tried just two (Brussels Sprouts Special — mussels with butter, black pepper, onions, celery, & parsley and Devilled — mussels with chili padi, coriander, curry, lime, tomato — hot ‘n spicy and lip-smacking delicious), vowing to try all 24 before we leave Singapore.  Not to worry, they come with unlimited meaty french fries (accompanied with mayo, of course!). For our visitors: We’ll gladly accompany you to this restaurant, right along the river.  And we’ll do our best to host you on an evening as beautiful as last night.

And now, on to teaching — it’s week #3 already . . .

There’s an “Eclipse” at SAS

The first week of 8th grade is now history, but not without an eventful debut assembly of the year.  I can’t remember the last time I attended a middle school assembly (probably when I was in junior high) but I highly recommend doing so.  That is, if you enjoy off-the-wall energy, ear-splitting screaming, and the sight (and sound) of Brass on Bikes (middle school teachers riding unicycles and playing “When the Saints Go Marching In” on trumpets).  All while wearing wigs, tiger-striped pants, and oversized sunglasses.  Got the picture?  And, if that act didn’t bring down the house, the big-screen viewing of the “Eclipse” trailer followed by an “SAS Eclipse” skit, followed by the arrival of a life-sized cutout of Jacob left me near tone deaf.  Clearly Jacob is “the one” for Bella, according to SAS middle school girls.  While their screams echoed off the gym walls, the boys rolled their eyes, plugged their ears, and looked either bemused — or downright disgusted.  Talk about response!  [I wish I could’ve bottled this — or captured it on video — to show my students at Western.  Especially those who scoffed at the “invitation” to read Twilight in our young adult literature class.  The culture of today’s teens (and pre-teens) includes vampires — and a thunderous obsession for Jacob Black, whether adults like it or not.]

What an ending to a memorable week learning from 8th graders!  In only five days we’ve created our Reader’s Notebooks (displayed below are Wooho’s and Riko’s notebook covers) and we’ve written two response entries to the read aloud, Touch Blue (Cynthia Lord’s new novel).

Wooho's RN

Riko's RNWe’ve also worked on the covers for our Writer’s Notebooks, designing heart maps (see Shiv and Kyle hard at work in the photo below) that we’ll use next week to generate ideas for the first extended writing pieces in our notebooks.  The kids’ abilities, interests, and energy is all over the map (SAS is a “real school,” after all!).

But they’ve been engaged and they’re learning the rituals and expectations of our reading and writing workshop in the 8th grade.  My hope is that they’ll soon experience the rewards as readers/writers/learners, if they haven’t already.