Welcome friends! I have started this entry in the global technosphere because I have been in love with books since the age of 2. Among the busy business of being a new teacher, this is my outlet for sharing thoughts on a love of reading a wide variety of books. My inspiration can be summed up with a yearbook quote from a teacher written when I was 8: "To the only girl at recess I see reading a book. Good for you!"
My blog title is quoted from a classmate who asked me this once. Believe it or not, I've also heard it as a teacher :D

Friday, August 13, 2010

Harking Back...Part I: Grade School

To respond to my last comment about format & appearance of this blog, I am much happier with how it looks now.  After fiddling with the layout and changing some template colours, I am liking it.  Formatting posts with pictures on the other hand isn't always WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) :oP

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All right...time for some nostalgia.  I have been reading since age 2 or 3, engrossed in books such as Follow That Bird and Disney picture books.  I was not the generation raised on the Dick & Jane series, and in some ways that is a relief as the repetition would have driven me absolutely batty.  The earliest book I remember reading in school was Curious George Goes to the Hospital in kindergarten, which I reread to near memorization.

Grade 1-
I was taken aside to read from a grade 8 science test as either an informal test or bragging rights (not sure which).  Other than that, I can’t remember anything I read that year.

Grade 2-
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Babysitters Club by Ann M. Martin. I collected the whole series and read every book from about age 7 to 13. Yup…obsessed.  Also read others by Martin:  Slam Book, P.S. Longer Letter Later, Ten Kids, No Pets, Ma & Pa Dracula, Bummer Summer, and probably more.  As for the rest of Grade 2, I think there was a poem about apples in there somewhere :oP

Grade 3 & 4-
Fuzzy recall...

Grade 5-

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From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
by E.L. Konigsburg

We learned about ancient Egypt, particularly the mummies, and lots about New York. The museum-set story is a wonderful adventure for many ages!

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Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Before Google (before the Internet, even), I could not for the life of me remember this book’s name, but all I could remember is the Kleenex-worthy ending.  My language arts teacher's college instructor admitted to crying while reading it aloud to students years ago.  It’s likely well-known what I'm referring to, but I can’t bring myself to retell it. The book is a childhood Mecca- for imagination, for pre-puberty boy-girl friendships, for true love before you even know what love means.

Grade 6-

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This Can’t Be Happening at Macdonald Hall by Gordon Korman (the cover was different than this one, same artist as Go Jump in the Pool cover below)

Korman is a hilarious Canadian author now involved in the popular 39 Keys series. This is the 1st book in a series. My teacher read this aloud to us during the first week of school and I still remember how it hooked us with its honest humour and insights on school. Bruno & Boots are the main (male) characters, which appeals to young boys reluctant to read, a bonus for any teacher.

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Go Jump in the Pool!
by Gordon Korman
(This cover is the old one I remember!)

Sequel to above book.  I remember now that the school’s headmaster was named Mr. Sturgeon, which made me picture the “fish-face.”


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Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
Every Gr. 6 class in North America likely read this book and many still do.  Vague memory of it, but I bought it for my (future) classroom library and hope to reread it...eventually.

Grade 7-
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The Pigman by Paul Zindel
(Actual cover from the time I read it; kind of dull, no?)

My dad had taught Gr. 7s this book for several years, along with The Pearl and Sounder.  I think it was another trend.  I adored this book.  It's a testament to humanity, especially during the teenage years when taking advantage becomes second nature to gaining popularity.  Like teaching Hamlet to teens, I think this is an "older book" (to quote students who think anything before today is old) that stands up.  I remember writing to Paul Zindel a few years later but received no reply :o(  I also read the sequel, The Pigman's Legacy, which didn't quite measure up to the first book.  Then again, sequels rarely do...

 Grade 8-

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Underground to Canada by Barbara Smucker
(The cover was different but I like this one, especially the grainy appearance like aged wood)

We read this as part of a civil rights unit, another typical amenity in Gr. 8, but a worthwhile one to teach & learn.  We had finished a poetry unit, then read this novel, and wrote poetry to accompany the story, which was a great idea and something I'd like to try with my class.

Wow!  I'm surprised at how much I remember, but then again it wasn't more than 20 years ago that I was there, so the memory bank is still fresh.  Hope it stays that way right to the end!

Please, if you're out there reading this, post a comment, even if it's just to say hi.  While I write this blog mainly for myself, I'd like to know that it is reaching others out there as well.

Coming soon:  Part II- High School

Teacher/Learner (P.S.  My real name is Megan).

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