May 24, 2017

Jump into Summer Reading 2017



Every year I am asked about a summer reading list.  I don't have an "official" summer reading list but the following is a list of books I am either planning to read or have read and enjoyed myself!



This summer, I plan to finish Xenocide, Volume III of the Ender Quintet by Orson Scott Card.  This is the third book in the Ender's Game series and if you haven't read it - you are really missing out!  This is one of mine and the boys' favorite books EVER!  If you have an Amazon Audible subscription, you can listen to the audio book on "Channels" too.








I plan to read:  Astrophysics for People In a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson. I am a person in a hurry but I also love science. If you love science like I do, you'll love it.  This is a book to listen to or read along with a parent though because some science may be above your science level.




But...that's just me!  

The kids and I plan to finish reading the Harry Potter series.  We began reading the books in August, we are now reading The Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling.  When we have completed that book, we will be reading the Half Blood Prince and The Deathly Hallows. Every human being should read the Harry Potter series, but that's just my opinion. Also, once you have finished the series or even if you haven't; you should pop by Pottermore and be sorted, find your wand and your patronus.

If you have already read the Harry Potter series and are looking for other books to read here are some books I strongly recommend:

Read the book - THEN watch the movie!
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
      The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins




      Divergent by Veronica Roth









      Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
        If you want to try BIG books you might enjoy the Lord of the Rings

        The next list of books are books I also plan on reading over the summer to see if I'm interested in adding them to my classroom or home library.  They are:

        This list comes from Barnes & Noble.
        A Little Piece of Ground by Elizabeth Laird - Living in occupied Palestine, twelve-year-old Karim is trapped in his home by a strict curfew. Wanting to play football with his friends, he decides to clear a rocky plot of land for a soccer field. When Karim is found outside during the next curfew, tensions rise, and his survival is at stake.

        Sylvia & Aki by Winifred Conkling - Sylvia and Aki never expected to know one another, until their lives intersect on a Southern California farm and change the country forever. Based on true events, this book reveals the remarkable story of Mendez vs. Westminster School District, the California court case that desegregated schools for Latino children.

        Operation Redwood by S. Terrell French - When Julian is sent to stay with his disinterested aunt and uncle for four months, he discovers that his Uncle’s corporation plans to cut down a group of redwood trees at Big Tree Grove and decides to take a stand to save the trees. Perfect for the young environmentalists in your life, Operation Redwood is an adventurous and gripping tale as Julian and his friends hatch scheme after scheme to save these giants of nature.





        I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban - A MEMOIR BY THE YOUNGEST RECIPIENT OF THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE "I come from a country that was created at midnight. When I almost died it was just after midday."  When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education.  On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive.  Instead, Malala's miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. At sixteen, she became a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest nominee ever for the Nobel Peace Prize.  I AM MALALA is the remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism, of the fight for girls' education, of a father who, himself a school owner, championed and encouraged his daughter to write and attend school, and of brave parents who have a fierce love for their daughter in a society that prizes sons.


        I am Nujood, Age 10 & Divorced by Nujood Ali with Dephine Mainoui - For more mature readers, this unforgettable autobiography tells the true story of Nujood Ali, a ten-year-old Yemeni girl married off at a young age, who decides to resist her abusive husband and get a divorce. A moving tale of tragedy, triumph, and courage, Nujood’s brave defiance has inspired generations of women and young girls.  This book should be read with a parent.






        Return to Sender by Julia Alvarez - After Tyler’s father is injured in a tractor accident, his family hires migrant workers from Mexico to save his Vermont farm. Tyler bonds with one of the worker’s daughters and navigates complicated moral choices in this award-winning novel about friendship, cooperation, and understanding.






        The reason I've chosen those books is because they are empowering titles about boys and girls who are around your age and from around the world. They bring up diverse issues that I feel are interesting to students your ages too; such as: environmentalism, immigration, civil rights, and the world around us.

        One of my favorite summer time reads of all time though, isn't a BIG book, it's not a challenging book or a series; it is Gary Soto's Baseball in April and Other Stories.  The book is a series of short stories; they are fun, easy to read and they remind me of reading Chato's Kitchen to younger classes.  I think you'll enjoy the humor in the stories and love the characters as much as I do. 






        Let me know if you decide to pick any of these up and what you thought of them.  Keep reading!


        Love,


        Sra Raff



        August 25, 2016

        What makes a Hero?

        Sr. Moses Allen came to our class this week to introduce us to the Hero of a Thousand Faces

        What makes a Hero?  This is precisely the question we are attempting to answer. We've been reading Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief and we've just begun digging into Joseph Campbell's Hero myth archetype. During his presentation, Sr. Moses showed the following video; watch it if you need a quick review of the acts heroes go through and ask yourself - does Percy follow the Hero Monomyth?


        July 28, 2016

        The Hero's Journey - A closer look at Rick Riordan's The Lightning Thief


        Welcome to 6th grade ELA at Cien Aguas International School!!!  I am thrilled to see so many familiar faces and happy to meet our new-to-CAIS students. With your school supply list, you received a list of the books we'll be reading this year. I'm sure you noticed that our first book is one that you might've already read - Percy Jackson and the Olympians - The Lightning Thief. 

        Though you may have already read the book and maybe even seen the movie, it is always a GREAT idea to re-read a book for anything you might have missed. In our case, we will be reading the book to analyze it under a slightly different lens. During this unit, we'll be learning about the Greek heroes, gods and monsters that book refers to by reading some of the mythology Rick Riordan references. We will also analyze Percy's Hero's Journey; the pattern or archetype of a narrative that was first identified by Joseph Campbell. We will collaborate to decide if Percy Jackson fits the Hero archetype as presented by Joseph Campbell. The unit culminates with an evaluation of the students understanding of the Hero's Journey where they take some time to write their own narrative. 

        English Language Arts is not only about reading. The expectation is that we read, discuss and collaborate in a productive, collegial environment to enhance our understanding of the literature and to be able to produce our own pieces. Be prepared for an exciting year!  I look forward to working closely with each and every one of you. 


        March 9, 2016

        Voices of Adversity

        You may know about knights in shining armor, princesses, kings and queens of medieval times but have you ever heard a story told through a peasant's point of view?  


        In our next unit, Voices of Adversity we're going to be inquiring about medieval times. First, we'll do some research about that particular time in history and later, we'll read from the book Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! to learn about young people who lived around that particular time. 


        The book is written from the different character's points of view. We'll be reading fictional monologues that detail the character's work and life circumstances in the 1200's.  These monologues not only tell facts about the occupations necessary to sustain life in the Middle Ages; they also put a human voice on the individuals who were so engaged.  These are voices that reveal humanity as it is in all places and in all times. There are difficult tasks to accomplish; there is competition between classes, the wealthy and the poor, the pretty and the not-so-pretty; there are men who feel stuck and on a difficult path with an uncertain and unhappy future. 

        Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! tells human stories in warm and varied voices from a distant time in history, a time with which twenty-first-century readers may be unfamiliar. 

        January 13, 2016

        Rules by Cynthia Lord

        Rules is a GREAT book to read in conjunction with Bud, Not Buddy

        In class, we've been reading Bud Not Buddy, and "If" but if you'd like to read a book related to our unit - Rules to Live by, you may want to read Rules by Cynthia Lord.

        In this book, Catherine has a brother with autism and her life, as well as her family's life revolves around his disability. She is very conscious about it as well as his behavior so, she makes rules for him to help stop his embarrassing behavior.

        This is a twist on our unit because Catherine is writing rules for her brother to live by as opposed to her own set of rules. Want to know more about it?  Here is a link to an interview with Cynthia Lord discussing her book.


        November 4, 2015

        Next Unit Book - Bud Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis

        Meet the author of Bud Not Buddy Christopher Paul Curtis

        Christopher Paul Curtis is the author of Watsons Go to Birmingham, The Mighty Miss Malone and Bud Not Buddy. Here he is in an interview discussing his writing process - he has some advice if you want to be a writer too!
         

         

        July 14, 2014

        Jefferson's Sons ~ a book by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

        This book explores a unique subtopic of slavery.  We discussed what slavery was like meant for women.  In Jefferson's Sons the author discusses slaves owned by the author of the Declaration of Independence.  

        It is well known that Thomas Jefferson had a relationship with one of his slaves Sally Hemings ~ they had children!  What does it mean when the author of the US Declaration of Independence is your father and slave owner?  
        The descendants of Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson
        What would it be like to grow up without being able to tell anyone who your father was and under enslavement?  The book is a piece of historical fiction, it explores the topic of slavery and questions the meaning of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

        This is a great way to revisit our discussions about the topic; visualizing them and "putting a real face on it" sometimes helps you understand what living in slavery - and attempting to escape might have been like. I hope you decide to read it!