Sunday, November 23, 2014

Thankful for Books!

In Honor of Thanksgiving...

I give thanks for ten of my favorite books growing up...the ones that have influenced me, taken me to different worlds, and fueled my love for the written word...

Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger

The Outsiders – S.E. Hinton

Gone With the Wind – Margaret Mitchell

Lord of the Flies – William Golding

To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret – Judy Blume

Romeo and Juliet – William Shakespeare

Assorted short stories and poems – Edgar Allan Poe

Carrie – Stephen King

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain

Which books are you most thankful for?  Which books have changed your life?

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Smells Like Tween Spirit: Get to Know Lucy and CeCee

Lucy Pringle and CeCee Cruz are the zany "authors" of the award-winning Lucy and CeCee's How to Survive (and Thrive) in Middle School.  L & C will put your freak-out on pause as they give helpful hints, scary switch solutions, and lingo lessons on how to navigate middle school.  Their solemn promise is to to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth - so help them good fairy of popularity.

Full Name: Lucy Anne Pringle

Biggest Dream: To be popular and have a boyfriend with a one-syllable J name like Jim, Jake, or Joel; to be invited to Kandi Klass’s annual birthday sleepover party*

Favorite Word: Ew!

Favorite Color: Bubblegum pink

Biggest Fear: Being ignored

Siblings: Older sister, Lilly (sixteen years old and thinks she’s all that), and younger sister, Lacey (six years old and soooo annoying!)

Three Words to Describe Self: Bouncy, spazzy, chatty

Thing I Love about Self: Kinda cute toes

Thing I Hate about Self: Eyebrows are bordering on a unibrow but too scared to pluck

Birthday: April 23

Most Valued Possession: My faux Coach purse

Three Things I’d Take on a Deserted Island: My faux Coach purse, autographed picture of Justin Bieber purchased on eBay, Taylor Swift CD

Obsession: Astrology and my less-than-perfect complexion making me feel like Zit-zilla

Biggest Annoyance: Being perpetually grounded to the Tower of Pringle

Secret: I’m 99.9 percent positive everyone at Madison Heights thinks I’m a dork

Bestest Bestie: CeCee Cruz

Luv Her Cuz: She has great specs appeal

Favorite Book: Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham

Favorite Movie: The Princess Diaries (reminds me that dreams do come true)

Hobby: Going to the mall; reading Seventeen, Teen Vogue, and CosmoGIRL

Favorite Food: Cinnabons and Taco Bell (not together, but wouldn’t be opposed)

*Kandi Klass is the VIP queen bee of Madison Heights Middle School. She is the standard by which all other MHMS girls are measured and both my idol and the bane of my existence. Her birthday is April 2—the day of her annual birthday sleepover party. It’s my absolute dream to be invited. If only she knew I existed …

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  

Full Name: Cecelia Elena Cruz

Biggest Dream: To seek the truth and see that good conquers evil (Okay—I’m an over-the-top fantasy geek)

Favorite Word: Tolkienesque

Favorite Color: Magenta

Biggest Fear: Failure to achieve my middle school* scholastic quest

Siblings: Older sister, Cora (fifteen and a sophomore in high school)

Three Words to Describe Self: Quiet, brainy, trendsetter**

Thing I Love about Self: Astute observer of the human condition

Thing I Hate about Self: I hiccup when I get nervous (the superloud kind)

Birthday: August 28

Most Valued Possession: My Lady of Guadalupe locket from my great-grandmother

Three Things I’d Take on a Deserted Island: My Lady of Guadalupe locket, iPod, family photo

Obsession: In lieu of any magical crystal amulet, I shall never be without my Blistex

Biggest Annoyance: People who don’t use the gifts bestowed on them and who are mean for no reason

Secret: I have a belly ring (Shhhhh …)

Bestest Bestie: Lucy Pringle

Luv Her Cuz: She makes me laugh and reminds me not to take myself so seriously

Favorite Book: Lord of the Rings

Favorite Movie(s): The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, The Return of the King

Hobby: Editor of school newspaper

Favorite Food: Twizzler Nibs

*Middle school is kind of like Middle-earth. It’s a magical journey filled with elves, dwarves, hobbits, queens, kings, and a few corrupted wizards. Word to the wise: pick your traveling companions well. Ones with the courage and moral fiber to persevere. Ones who wield their lip gloss like magic wands when confronted with danger. This way, when you pass through the congested hallways rife with pernicious diversion, you achieve your desired destination—or at least your next class.

**Irony alert—I’m a class-A brainiac, but my clothes are way fetch! (Take that, Gretchen Wieners!)

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Three Reasons to Teach The Hunger Games

I decided to add The Hunger Games to my middle school repertoire this year.  I realize I’m coming to the party a little late, but what an academic coup!  Students who sluggishly slog into class, run into class bellowing, “Are we reading today???"  "Can we pleeeeease read The Hunger Games?”  


Upon my post-unit reflection, there are three excellent reasons to teach The Hunger Games:  

1) The Hunger Games Motivates Reluctant Readers:

First it was Harry Potter and then Twilight.  Every few years a magical book comes around that has the ability to captivate even the most reluctant of readers.  The Hunger Games is such a book.  It’s an intoxicating combination of action, suspense, philosophy, and romance that packs a literary punch.  Alongside its action-packed plot, is a profound thematic message about discovering what you truly believe and how far you are willing to fight for your beliefs.

2) Katniss - A Heroine for Today’s Generation:

The Hunger Games appeals to boys and girls alike.  That said, Katniss is a nice break from the whiny, helpless Bella.  Katniss embodies the temperament of most adolescents: difficult, prickly, moody.  Yet, she also possesses enormous physical and moral strength as she volunteers as a tribute, selflessly taking the place of her younger sister, Prim.  Katniss Everdeen is without a doubt, the girl on fire!

3) Heavy Themes Equal Profound Discussion:

The Hunger Games’ profound themes allow for profound discussion.  Students want to be part of the conversation, weighing in on poverty, political oppression, and yes, the violence.  Engaging students with adult topics and capitalizing on their passion for the book generates into real life action.  One tween professed, “I can’t wait to turn eighteen so I can vote and change our own government.”

Game on!!!

For lessons plans and activities on The Hunger Games, visit Kimberly's store at: