Saturday, December 28, 2013

Book Talk and Interactive Journals

Happy Holidays!!! What a week it has been! Since school ended last Friday I have been down to New Orleans for my Aunt Margie’s 90th Birthday party, celebrated Christmas with my family in Memphis, and will soon be heading back to Nashville tomorrow morning.

On our way back from New Orleans I had time to read a WHOLE book! HEAVEN! If you love historical fiction you must read Sarah Jio’s novels. I love her books because they pull you in quickly and are relatively quick reads. I read all of Blackberry Winter on the five hour drive home. I love how her books move between the different time periods. The ends of her stories always end with tears in my eyes and a smile on my face. Beautiful.

Speaking of books, I am hoping to turn one of my spare bedrooms into a library this coming year. And what could make a better table top read than this beauty from Anthropologie! My dad bought me The Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Andersen for Christmas. The illustrations by Isabelle Brent are GORGEOUS, and I’m looking forward to brushing up on my fairy tale knowledge.

On another note, is anyone else starting their back-to-school planning? I must admit that I have not done as much as I would have liked, but I am looking forward to seeing my sweet students soon. I am so looking forward to January and starting a study on Polar Animals! This was one of my FAVORITES last year. I think I learned just as much as my kids. One new addition will be some polar bear and penguin themed supplements that I created for our interactive literacy notebooks. I can’t wait to implement these into our study this winter!

My kids are loving interactive notebooks, and I am too! We are doing Math and Reading notebooks right now, but I'd love to do a science notebook as well next year. Here are some resources I am either using or would like to be using in my classroom. Click on the picture to check them out!

Are you using interactive notebooks in your classroom? What has your experience been? What resources are you using?

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Books That Stick With You

Being the avid booklover that I am, I can't help but notice the bazillion facebook posts detailing all of my friends' top 10 books that have stayed with them. This got me thinking quite a bit about all of the books I have read over the years. My list could probably go on and on, but these 10 books (or series) bring back specific memories, and many of them inspired me over the years to read more books, try out different genres, and write stories of my own.

1. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
Some of my earliest memories are of my dad reading The Hobbit to me. He continued for years to make up bedtime stories centering around this story and typically gave me a starring role. This ignited my imagination and love of storytelling. As a teacher, I look back at these times and praise the good Lord that my parents read to me as a child. I truly believe that reading to your child every night is one of the best gifts that you could ever give them.

2. Sweet Valley Series created by Francince Pascal
I am very aware that the Sweet Valley books may not be considered literary masterpieces; however, they got me addicted to reading. In middle school I was that girl whose Friday night consisted of going to the library for a set of new books, and then I spent the rest of the weekend reading them all. These books had me reading on a very regular basis and was the first time I genuinely felt like the characters in a book were my friends. If somebody were to make a shirt that said "Wakefield Twin #3", I'd definitely buy it.

3. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
I love beautiful words, and this book is full of them. I have read four of the books in the series and absolutely adore them. As a kid I would pass my time at my brother’s baseball practices by imagining different parts of the park as rainbow valleys and haunted woods. If you have not read this book you are never too old to start. I reread them about three years ago and found that I appreciated the writing even more as an adult.

4. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
My 9th grade reading teacher assigned The Count of Monte Cristo as a summer reading assignment. I remember dreading the idea of reading such a long book that seemed so old! Luckily my teacher new better than my 13 year old self and I stumbled upon one of my all-time favorite books. Full of mystery and suspense, this is a must-read in your lifetime. And for all of you “Revenge” fans out there, the show is loosely based on The Count of Monte Cristo.

5. Whistlin’ Dixie in a Nor’easter by Lisa Patton
This book is FANTASTIC and will have you rolling with laughter and wiping away tears in the same sitting. The author is a native Memphian like me, and whenever she talks about my hometown I get extremely nostalgic. There are three books in the series, this one being the first. I just bought an autographed copy of the 3rd installment a few weeks ago, and it is on my January to-read list!

6. Nancy Drew Series by Carolyn Keene
Oh, how I loved Nancy Drew! My grandma had several on her bookshelf that were my mom’s when she was younger. I loved mysteries back then and love them just as much now. Nancy Drew books inspired my writing club I started in the 6th grade. I even wrote a series of short stories called The Ghosts of the Orpheum Theater all inspired by these wonderful books.

7. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
I was hesitant to read this book at first, but I'm so glad that I picked it up. What a wonderful psychological thriller. Since then I have not read another book in this genre that compares. But I would love some suggestions!

8. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
I love southern literature, and this one is no exception. This is also one of the few books that I have read that turned out to be a fantastic film.

9. Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
I remember reading Where the Red Fern Grows in the 5th grade. I hope that everyone had a chance to read this as a child. The biggest reason that this book sticks out to me is because it was the first book to ever make me cry. Huge tears. You can probably relate.

10. The Baby-sitters Club Series by Ann M. Martin
Who can forget The Baby-sitter’s Club books? As you can tell by my list, I had a thing for series. And this was no exception. But I don’t think I will ever forget the year that I hid candy in a million different hiding places. Thanks, Claudia Kishi! Looking back at some of the Super Special titles, can we all agree that these might be some of the most well-traveled, adventurous 13-year-olds you could imagine?

So, there you have it! What books have stuck with you? I'd love some recommendations that I can add to my bookshelf.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Welcome to A Library and Garden

Hey ya'll! So excited to start sharing all my loves in one place! You might have to hear about my endless love of books, teaching, and Diet Coke. There also might be a dream library project coming up. Who doesn't want one of those? And a possible trip to India. EXCITED! So, you might wonder where the name for the blog comes from. I went through names for quite a while, and one of my favorite quotes kept popping in my head. "If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need." -Cicero I have always loved these words for the simple reason that it reminds me to just RELAX and enjoy the many blessings all around. A beautiful garden. The adventure you can have while still sitting on that comfy couch in your living room. I'm looking forward to sharing different things that I love as well as gain inspiration from you!
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