Monday, June 27, 2016

What I Have Been Reading - June 27, 2016

Despite it being summer, I am still staying pretty busy. I am taking 6 hours of graduate classes in summer session 1. So the next two weeks will be pretty busy as I finish final projects and papers. I still have been reading in the month of June. I have been tracking what I am reading in 2016 on Goodreads. I am currently at 54 books, so I am on track to meet my 100 book goal for 2016. The majority of what I read is Young Adult/Teen Fantasy books. This week I am linking up with Unleashing Readers for #IMWAYR.

Now that it is summer, I have been trying to make a little more effort to read actual adult fiction. A friend of mine recommended Modern Mrs. Darcy. Every summer, Anne Bogel does a summer reading challenge broken into different categories. She also had a post earlier in June with "Hot New YA books." Between the YA list and the summer reading challenge, I have picked some books to add to my library request list. Here are a few books that I recently finished:

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfield

This was a  modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice. I actually listened to this one on audio and really enjoyed it. It was fun trying to anticipate what the modern spin on the plot would be. Pride and Prejudice is one of my all-time favorite books. I actually want to re-read it now.

Mystic Summer by Hannah McKinnon

This was just a super-easy read that would work well for the pool or the beach. A sweet story and easy to read. I did appreciate that the main character was a teacher.

Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

This is Sophie Kinsella's first YA novel. You may have read her other Shopaholic books. I have read a couple of them, but it has been years. This was a fabulous book though. It was probably one of my favorite reads in 2016 so far. It dealt with bullying, mental illness, the ups-and-downs of being a teen, and family dysfunction, but all with so much heart and humor.  I laughed through the entire book.

These Vicious Masks by Tarun Shankar and Kelly Zekas

This was nothing deep, but I enjoyed it. It is sort of a mystery set in Victorian England, but involves characters who discover they have X-men like powers.  It was an enjoyable and easy to read plot line.  It reminded me a little of The Clockwork Scarab by Colleen Gleason, but not done quite as well.

I have been thinking over the past week that I want to reflect back more on my favorite reads from 2015 to now. So my next couple posts will probably focus on sharing some of my favorite reads from the last 1-2 years. What are you reading this summer?

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Monday Made It (On Wednesday): Branching out with a Bullet Journal

Well, I haven't blogged in awhile... Anyway, one of the nice things about summer is having more time to do things like blogging and reading and napping and eating lunch with grownups.

On Monday morning I was reviewing over the Monday Made Its at Tara's blog (including the ones from last week). I have enjoyed surveying everyone's creations for Monday Made It for the last few years. It is always inspiring and gives you ideas to get you thinking about getting ready for the school year.

I felt completely inspired by Nicole's guest post from last week where she shared her bullet journal. I have seen bullet journals on Instagram, but I hadn't given it too much thought yet. Nicole shared her bullet journal and this blog post, which had been her inspiration.

So for my Monday Made It (shared on Wednesday) for this week, I decided to start my own bullet journal. I actually use an Erin Condren planner that works pretty well for me for keeping up with grad school homework and due dates. I have used both Plum Paper planners and Erin Condren planners. I prefer to horizontal weekly layout; it works better for me. At work, I tend to keep a little task list on a small notepad I found at Staples last year for a $1. On one half, it says "To Do Now" and on the other half it says "To Do Later."

The part I have struggled with keeping organized is more for long term goals and ideas. I liked the idea of trying a bullet journal to organize other parts of my life like lists of books I want to read, long term research goals, projects for grad school, projects for my classroom, etc. I had a cute journal I bought at Barnes and Noble a couple months ago that I hadn't used yet. I love this size journal. It is slim enough to fit in a purse or backpack easily, making it even more portable than my planner.

I have always kept an "idea journal" (hence, part of why my blog is named the Idea Backpack). I am someone who is always coming up with ideas and finding the need to record them somewhere. My idea journals have never been very organized though or necessarily easy to locate things later.  So I liked the idea of creating a bullet journal to organize different lists of goals and ideas with a table of contents.

Below are a few more pictures of some of the pages I started. Of course, one of my first priorities was making different "To Be Read" pages. I love keeping track of my reads on Goodreads, but I also like the idea of a physical list I can add to by genre.

I haven't added any doodles or artwork or done creative lettering yet. I was more just trying to get it started and begin organizing goals and ideas for this summer. Hopefully over time I will branch out and be a little more creative with some of my entries.

Once 2016 is over, I might also try incorporating the planner aspect into the bullet journal as well. How do you organize your ideas and goals? Do you use a journal or planner?

Monday, January 11, 2016

Free Resources for Teaching about Martin Luther King for Grades 4-6

Next Monday is Martin Luther King Day. So this week we will spend a little bit of time talking about Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights movement. You can find a lot of great free resources to help you teach about Martin Luther King:

General Resources:

Text of the Speech

Links to videos and passages from ReadWorks

Martin's Big Words read on Youtube

Online biography of MLK

More official website on MLK

Reading Passages and Questions about MLK:

Passage and questions from Tessa Maguire

Passage with Cause/Effect Activity and Timeline Activity from Fifth in the Middle

Martin Luther King Poem close reading and questions

Reading Passages and Questions about MLK Day:

Differentiated Passages from The Sweetest Thing (These differentiated passages are always really well done.)

Writing Prompts and Activities:

Passage and Writing Prompt from Kathy Adams on TpT

Writing Prompt to Get Students to write their own I Have a Dream Speech
(This assignment is really for grades 5 through high school, so it may challenging for some in grades 4-6).

Timeline Activity from I'mLovitLit (You have to find your own biographical passage or text. The links in the freebie were no longer working)
LSU Timeline link to go with this activity

Activities for the I Have a Dream Speech:

Text and Audio of the Speech

I also have a set of activities in my store to accompany the I Have a Dream speech for $2.75. It includes quotes by MLK with graphic organizers to get students to analyze the quote, an activity to write about their own dream. There are also organizers to get students to analyze the I Have a Dream Speech in their own words in my store for $2.75.

What are your favorite resources to teach about MLK?

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