Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Working on It Wednesday: Buried in Books

There are lots of great summer linkies going on.  I always enjoy all the blog reading in the summer.  I am going to link up with Kinder Gals' Workin' On It Wednesday and Surfin' Through Second's Workin' It Wednesday.

I know I have been absent for too long.  You think when summer starts you will have so much more time to get caught up on things.  Well, right out of the gate of summer I got a cold.  I concentrated on using lots of vitamins and essential oils and getting rest to keep from getting really sick.  It helped, but I didn't have much energy.  I have also been teaching summer school, so my days are still pretty busy.  I don't go into work until 9am though instead of 7:30am, so I have been trying to walk the dogs more in the morning and do more morning workouts.  You can follow me on instagram at to see more about my workouts.  There are so many great teachers on instagram trying to get healthy. You also can follow my personal blog Balancing the Backpack to read about my workouts and what I am eating.  I am hoping this summer to finally get in a more regular blogging routine on both blogs. Here is a picture of me yesterday when I got done with a 6am hot pilates class.

I just finished up my sixth year of teaching,  primarily at the 4th and 5th grade level.  This next year I am moving to 7th and 8th grade.  So I am trying to purge files, piles of #whoknowswhat and sell books.  I have to make room for new books!  If I had known I was moving to middle school, I would have been buying young adult books in paperbacks instead of all on my Kindle.  Oh, well.  Here are a few of the 300 or so books I am trying to sell, along with classroom stuff on Craigslist.  (I kept about 150 of my books.) Anyone have any other good ideas of where to sell used teacher stuff?

I am finding my biggest challenge right now is choosing novels for 7th and 8th grade.  I really want to have them read from a variety of genres, and it all feels important!  I am trying to shorten my list to have realistic goals, but it is so hard.  I have read about 6 books in the last week.  I have about 20 more I want to read in the next couple weeks.  I have packages arriving from Amazon every day.  At least I have an excuse to buy books though!  I have been getting a lot of the library though, too.

This last week I read all three books in the Ruby Red Trilogy.  These were my fun reads.  It was so entertaining!  I really enjoyed it.  It is a trilogy I plan on having in my classroom library.  The main character finds out she is a time traveler.  It has history, romance, mystery, some supernatural elements, and intrigue, so it is a fun mix of genres. I highly recommend them for a fun summer read.

I want to do a mystery unit with my middle schoolers, so I wanted to read some Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie.  I read And Then There Were None on Sunday.  I found it much easier to read than I expected, so I look forward to reading it with my 8th graders.  It is supposed to be one of her more famous mysteries and one that is often read in 8th grade. Ten people are brought to an island for a holiday and accused of crimes.  Then, they all start dying.  I now want to read some more Agatha Christie, since I never had read any of her books.

I also read the Mysterious Benedict Society since we have a set of them at school.  I thought it was a cute book, but much more appropriate for grades 4-6 than grades 7 or 8.  A group of gifted kids have to solve a mystery and save the world from being brainwashed. If I had known about the book before, I would have been using it with my 4th and 5th graders.  I love The Westing Game, but this is a much easier read so it would have been a great choice for a lower reading group.

I also want to do a drama unit with my middle schoolers.  My 7th graders will read A Christmas Carol. With 8th grade, I want to do a Shakespeare. I am thinking maybe The Taming of the Shrew, The Tempest, or Romeo and Juliet.  I reread The Taming of the Shrew this week and now I need to read The Tempest.  The Taming of the Shrew really is so witty.  It is an easy way to introduce kids to Shakespeare.

That is what I have been working on.  How is your summer going?


  1. Wow, you have done a ton of reading! I haven't started my pile yet. I have been super busy with other things that piled up. I need to just sit down and read. Once I start, I can't stop! You are really brave to be moving up to 7th grade! They scare me at that age ;) Good luck with your purging and all your new adventures!! Thanks so much for linking up.

    Corinna (✿◠‿◠)
    Surfin' Through Second

  2. Holy moly you wear me out thinking about all the things you are doing. I don't know what hot pilates is, but it is making me sweat just thinking about it. I haven't read the Ruby Red series. I will need to check that out. I am reading The Selection right now. I'm only a little way into it so far. It's like a cross between the Hunger Games and the Bachelor. Have you read the City of Bones series? I can't remember if that is too grown up for 7th & 8th grade or not. Erin at I'm Lovin Lit always has some great suggestions for middle school. You could always go back through her blog to check out what she has mentioned in the past year that I have been reading her ideas. :)
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

  3. So excited to find another fellow texas teacher in the same position as me.... I'm moving from 5th ELA to 8th ELA. Two novel studies I know I will be doing in 8th are The Giver & Hatchet. I also have been reading the Texas Lonestar books for this year. There are some pretty amazing titles.

    I would love to share some ideas with you or even collaborate if you want... My email is

  4. Thanks for reminding me about Agatha... haven't read her in a while. And good for you that you can purge your books... I have the hardest time doing that!
    Kidpeople Classroom

  5. I think all that reading sounds like fun! I just went and put Ruby Red on hold...thanks for the suggestion. Have you read Dust Lands Trilogy by Moira is amazing! (As long as you like YA Dystopia:-)
    Chickadee Jubilee


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