Friday Five: Back to School Edition

1. This was back-to-school week, for me as a 7th grade English teacher and for my two kids. It kicked off with a bang, as I realized Wednesday night that I was supposed to be at a cross country meet and two parent orientation meetings simultaneously.  Have we mastered that cloning technology yet?  Thankfully, my daughter’s teacher served these amazing peppermint patty brownies at her meeting – hello, dinner.

2. Today, we’ll start our first read-aloud of the year in my classroom.  It’s Sharon Draper’s OUT OF MY MIND. I have my Kleenex ready…

3. I’m reading Lucy Christopher’s STOLEN, which is written by a kidnapped teen as a letter to her captor. It’s delightfully creepy so far, with a beautifully drawn sparse setting that’s almost a character in itself.

4. I gave my students a quick technology survey yesterday so that I can try to do a better job integrating the kinds of technology that they actually use at home and like. It was interesting. I teach in a district where about a third of the students get free or reduced price lunch, but of 64 students, all but two have computer/Internet at home, and those two have access at a community center nearby. Twenty have uploaded videos to YouTube, and more than half are on Facebook.  We’re going to try edmodo this year — it’s an educational version of social networking with forums and such — to see if it’s a good way to continue our classroom conversations and booktalk after the bell rings.  I’m also wondering if it might make sense to set up a class Facebook Group for our kids who are there, so they can help one another with assignments & book suggestions, but I’m still noodling on that one.

5. I handed out books from my classroom library hand-over-fist yesterday but came up short on one request. Hockey books for middle school kids.  Any thoughts on that one?  Chris Lynch has ICEMAN, but I’ve heard that’s more older YA, as it WAITING TO SCORE. 

Hope those of you who are teachers and parents and back-to-school kids are having a great start to the year, too. Enjoy the weekend!