Friday, June 27, 2014

The Fourteenth Goldfish

I was fortunate to get an advance reader copy (ARC) of The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer Holm. Her book has been selected as one of the options for The Global Read Aloud. It doesn't actually come out until August 26th, but I had heard there were advance copies out there and I really wanted to get ahold of one. So I found the author on twitter and sent her a message about how I was participating in the Global Read Aloud (this will be my 4th year!) and that I would really love to read her book in advance. She messaged me back and sent me a link to the ebook through NetGalley. I was so excited! A real author was allowing me an advance copy of the book! Twitter is just an amazing way to connect to people...

The story is about a scientific discovery that could change the world forever. Ellie is an 11 year old girl who learns about the cycle of life through her grandfather (and a seemingly immortal goldfish).  Her grandfather, Melvin, discovers a way to turn back the hands of time and be young again. He uses the regenerative abilities found in jellyfish to concoct an elixir that transforms him into a teenager. It is a funny fantasy/science fiction story, that makes you think "What if?" and it has some great science connections, too. References are made to scientists Galileo, Salk, and Oppenheimer, which is a great opportunity for students to research these scientists and make thoughtful connections to Melvin's discovery. Another focus could be to evaluate the ethics of Melvin's scientific process. It is the connections and discussions that will stem from this book that make me the most excited to read it with my class.

The Global Read Aloud

The Global Read Aloud is an amazing project. This October, classrooms from all over the world will read the same story at the same time and connect to discuss and share the book on a variety of platforms. Some will use Edmodo, others will Skype or use a Google Hangout to chat, and more still will create a product to share globally. The best thing about this project is the potential to get kids excited about reading and connecting to others outside of our classroom. And there are five books to chose from this year. You pick the one you think is most appropriate for your students' grade level.

Peter H. Reynolds (Author study)
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
The Fourteenth Goldfish
One For the Murphys
The Fault in our Stars 

To sign your class up for The Global Read Aloud, go to or You can also watch Pernille's video below!

I feel so personally connected to this project since this will be my 4th year participating. I have read Tuck Everlasting and The One and Only Ivan with 5th graders and last year I read Marty McGuire with my first graders. My favorite story to share is how one of my students who often declared how much he despised writing spent hours and hours writing a character analysis to make a Blabberize voice-over video to post on our class blog. You can see it here. We shared it on twitter and author Katherine Applegate saw it and responded to my student. He was so proud!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Getting Ready to Inspire Readers

In preparation for the upcoming school year, I've been a little Amazon crazy....

Here is the first pile of books I am reading! My plan is to read all of these and then put them in my class library for my students to read. I am going to try to review them as I go.

So far, I have read Counting by 7's and Small as an Elephant

Counting by 7's by Holly Goldberg Sloan
This book was amazing! I read it in a few hours and couldn't put it down. It reminds me of Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper.  It's about overcoming tragedy and embracing who you are. Willow is almost magical, the way she affects the lives of everyone she meets. She brings out the best in others and brings people together. The ending had me in tears! I know my students will love this one!

Small as an Elephant by Jennifer Richard Jacobson
I bought this one because it sounded so interesting. At the start, Jack is abandoned by his mother while on vacation and he doesn't want to tell anyone that she has run off again for fear that they will never let him see her again. I was amazed by how resourceful this boy was! I don't think I would be able to be alone and take care of myself like he did. It's about loyalty, survival, and learning to trust others. I can't wait to put this one on my shelf!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

My Blog List

I've been a tech teacher for coming up on four years now. I have a class website, a grade level website, and four class blogs (a different blog for each class/year). Plus this blog, which I never have time to write on because I am updating all the others. This is getting out of control!

As I prepare for another new school year and another grade level change, I find myself reconsidering how I have created a new class blog for each class. I think it is time to consolidate them.

I would like to know what other people do. Do you create a new class blog each year?