#bookaday day 6 (slm)

MS Post


It’s no secret that our kids are fascinated by World War II. Resistance by Jennifer Nielsen tells about Chaya and her involvement in different resistance groups. Because she looks more Polish than Jewish, she is able to smuggle supplies into the ghetto in Krakow. Then after a failed mission, she is crossing the Polish countryside going to Łodź to Warsaw. She then ends up involved in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.



The book is well paced out and our kids really seem to be enjoying it. One cool monument that connects with this book is the Memorial to the Evacuation of the Warsaw Ghetto.

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This is a book we dove into last year with 7th and 8th grade social studies because we were able to join in on a livestream with the author. Here’s the activity we used to prepare for it. This is one of my favorite books, and I know my ELA teachers agree.


Here is the book trailer for the book: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EyswtDUSKUI


Basically, this book tells the story of 4 different teens. Joana is a Lithuania girl with nurse training, Emilia is a Pole who has dealt with some serious trauma, Florian is a Prussian who has a secret mission, and Alfred is a Nazi. They all end up onboard the Wilhelm Gustloff, which is the largest maritime disaster in history.
This book is incredibly well paced and a really great read! If you listen to youtube interviews with Ruta Sepetys, her motivation is so interesting.  Salt to the Sea and Between Shades of Gray are trying to spotlight moments that may not get told. They have been showing screenings of Between Shades of Gray (which is put out as Ashes in the Snow because…well you know…), they asked Lithuanians high school students  who knew someone who had been deported to Siberia. Every hand in the auditorium was raised. These works are creating powerful conversations around the world.


#bookaday day 5 (slm)

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We’re going to finish our week with a unique read! Ransom Riggs mixes creepy photos that he’s collected over the year’s with a story that keeps you on the edge of our seat. 


Jake has always heard his grandfather talk about living in an orphanage because of the monsters. Most of us assume that it’s a metaphor for the Nazi’s but it turns out that grandpa was fighting real monsters and now they’re after Jake.


Our kids love this book because of the creepy photo, action, and unique characters.In addition to having several copies of this, we also have the whole series!

#bookaday day 4 (slm)

MS Blog Post


Today’s title brings us some nonfiction! The Red Bandanna (Young Readers Edition) is the story of Welles Crowther who saved several lives on September 11th. This story is told through interviews with his family and people who he saved.

HS Blog Post


Today, we’re looking at some nonfiction by the great Temple Grandin. This book is a book of projects, BUT it goes into detail about Grandin’s thought process when she completed these activities as a child. Some activities are STEM experiments, but several force you to look at the project from a new angle (like the AMES window and AMES room).



#bookaday Day 3 (slm)

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In our building, we know that several of our students have heavy issues going on. Several of you are working to try and use trauma informed instruction to try and do what you can to meet the needs of our kids and this book tells the story of six of these kids.


Six kids are placed in the Art room with the challenge to talk and share their stories. All of these students are dealing with heavy issues (death of a parent, parent who is incarcerated, racial issues, deportation, and more.) This quickly becomes a safe space for the kids and they really try and lean on each other and more importantly, protect one another.


One thing I love about this book is that the kids are learning to figure these issues out themselves. Yes, they know where to find their safe adults, but part of books with heavy issues is trying to figure out how to navigate the issues that life is going to keep throwing at them.


HS Blog


In addition to April being School Library Month, it is also Poetry Month! So I really wanted to feature my favorite book of poetry from this year. It is a super short 10 minute read, but it just motivates you to keep trying.


Basically this is a letter For Everyone. Jason Reynolds is trying to tell people that it doesn’t matter what time frame you fall into, to keep dreaming and keep working.

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#bookaday day 2 (SLM)

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Happy #bookaday for school library month! I love that we work in a building that builds a culture of reading! As I’m planning out these posts, most of the MS and HS posts are all of books that teachers have been sharing and discussing with each other.


With all the popularity of Mary Poppins, it’s sometimes interesting to dive into the history of that time period. Bert the Chimney Sweep is a important part of the movie, but there’s more to Chimney Sweeps than singing and dancing. In the book Sweep, Nan is working for a Chimney Sweep. One day, she’s in a chimney and gets stuck. One of the boys on her crew lites a fire under her, and luckily she’s saved by a Golem. She’s not sure what it is, so now she’s trying to understand her new friend and figure out what their future holds.



The writing in this book is just beautiful. It is a historical fantasy that is just brilliant!

HS Blog


Happy #bookaday for school library month! I was pumped with the positive responses from yesterday’s post. Today’s post will cover a book from my teen years AND one that came out last year AND one that came out last month. It’s not that I intended for this one to be about multiple books, but I can’t talk about one without the other (and since Shout came out less than a month ago, it’s still on Angie’s to be ordered list).



Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson is a National Book Award Finalist that is one of the defining books of my generation. Every time an anniversary of this book’s publication rolls around, they do a fundraiser for RAINN and try and make a real world impact. Speak is the story of a girl finding her voice and navigating her first year of HS after a rape.


Speak: The Graphic Novel was published last year, and is just as powerful as the original novel.


Shout came out last month and several MS teachers have been passing it around to each other because (a) it’s just amazing and (b) the poetry is just so thoughtful! Most of Anderson’s work bring a visceral reaction and this books gives you a lot to chew on. It is written in free verse poetry and is her  biography. A few years back Anderson spoke at Bradford and she talks about how she writes for teens because her teen years were so hard.


If you haven’t explored any of her work, check it out!

#bookaday for SLM (day 1)

I’m sharing super short book reviews through email with teachers in my building and in the HS during school library month. I’m also going to share them here.

MS post          


Happy school library month! Because you always need resources for sharing fabulous books with you students, I’ll be sharing some AMAZING books with you to talk about with your students! Later on, we’ll give you a chance to share, and more importantly, win some books and Scholastic credit.


Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus has been one of my favorite books of the year! I really and truly believe it will be the next Wonder. Poor Jess has had to listen to me geek about this book for about a year! Her kids will be diving into it this month!


Aven is born without arms, and her parents are trying to foster independence to prevent her from behaving like “the queen of Sheba.” Because of this, she is pretty good at making things work…and then the family moves for her dad’s job. Everyone is staring at her at the new school and it’s hard to find a friend. Eventually she befriends Connor who has Tourette’s and struggles to manage his tics. Now, Aven is trying to give Connor the tools to be more independent and they are trying to solve a mystery at a local amusement park!


HS post


Happy school library month! Because you always need resources for sharing fabulous books with you students, I’ll be sharing some AMAZING books with you to talk about with your students! I know that I’m not YOUR librarian, but I have some YA titles that I am really pumped about that are more HS. Later on this month, we’ll give you a chance to share, and more importantly, win some books and ARCs.


One of the National Book Award Finalists for this year was Hey Kiddo. Even though the book was a finalist for a prestigious award, it’s an incredibly accessible and an easy and fast read. This is a graphic biography of Jarrett Krosoczka’s life. His mom was in jail, his dad was not in the picture and he was raised by his grandparents.


I know several of the special education teachers in our building just finished reading this and remarked how they feel like several of our students will feel SEEN in this book. Even though it has heavy moments, Jarrett has several good things in his life that balance out his inconsistency with his mother.  I know several of you are working to be the good things in our kids life to balance out inconsistencies in our kids lives.


Here’s a quick video of his art process, just because it’s fascinating.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXgVQozEZTM

3D pen lesson: Bug Exploration

Sometimes things work out for the best. This year, I’ve been sharing my library with the STEM teacher. Due to the fact that I am familiar with a lot of the maker tech, I can be a resource for the STEM teacher. Recently, my STEM teacher and I were brainstorming what would be a good project for 3D pens.

I had done a geometry lesson with a math class where we created 3D shapes and found the volume and surface area. I had suggested that as a basic starter to get the kids exposed to the 3D pens.

While we were brainstorming, I had mentioned that anytime I challenge my kids to make bugs, they always make super cool projects! Since we knew 6th grade studied animals in science, we found a way to connect it to their science class. We started looking for different dichotomous keys for our students to use to classify each others bugs.


First drafts of bug projects

This is where sharing a room really came in handy. I did the intro lesson with geometric shapes and trouble shoot issues as they arose. (Which worked out because I was also working with 8th grade research classes). He took the lead with the bug lesson.

He challenged the students to look up and record some simple facts before they start building. He explained that their classmates would be using a dichotomous key to identify each others bugs. As kids turned in their finished bugs, he reminded them about attention to detail (because some of our ladybugs had 4 legs instead of 6).

Overall, this lesson was well received by the students and felt like it flowed well with the other subject areas in our building. The kids were actively engaged throughout the activity and were awesome at helping each other succeed. Their bugs looked fantastic and after a few reminders, they became very good at being detail oriented.