Category Archives: 8th Grade

Talk at home about…reading around the world!

Hello CCS Readers! I’m Simone, a former CCS student and current intern in the library. I’m introducing a new reading challenge for all middle school readers: Around the World Through Books! I spent a lot of time traveling around Europe this summer and fall, and was inspired to bring my experiences and love for reading and travel back with me. There are so many fantastic books written with young adult readers in mind that are set all over the world — in all time periods, with or without fantastical elements, and featuring all sorts of perils and adventures! There is simply so much to be learned and enjoyed from immersing yourself in other cultures.

To encourage students to take up this challenge, Mrs. Huestis and I have even offered a special prize for any student who reads six books, each set on a different continent (excluding Antarctica): a free book at the Scholastic Book Fair in February! These six books can be any genre, and don’t need to come from the CCS library (books read for a class certainly count as well). In order to get your free book, be sure to ask at the circulation desk for a Reading Passport, and get a stamp from Mrs. Huestis every time you read a new book. To help get you started, below is a list of suggested books from each of the six continents I’ve compiled (featuring fantastic infographics from EpicReads.com). If you’re looking for more Young Adult suggestions, feel free to find me on Mondays in the library, or check out my own book blog at gwenkatelibrary.wordpress.com!

YA Books Set in North America:

CCS Library Recommendations:

These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly: New York City

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead: New York City

Snow White by Matt Phelan (Graphic Novel): New York City

Around the World  (Graphic Novel) by Matt Phelan: All over the world!

Front Lines by Michael Grant: New York, California, etc.

Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson: California

Ghosts by Raina Telegemeier (Graphic Novel): California

The Pox Party by M.T. Anderson: Boston

The Curse of the Blue Tattoo by L.A. Meyer (Book 2): Boston

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee: Alabama

Day of Tears by Julius Lester: Georgia, Kentucky

The Secret Hour by Scott Westerfeld: Oklahoma

Red Glass by Laura Resau: Mexico

House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer: US/Mexico

YA Books Set in Europe:

CCS Library Recommendations:

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K Rowling: U.K.

The Apothecary by Maile Meloy: London

The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron: London

Secret Letters by Leah Scheier: London

The Clockwork Scarab by Colleen Gleason: London

Bloody Jack by L.A. Meyer: London

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman: London

Mark of the Thief by Jennifer A. Nielsen: Ancient Rome

Nobody’s Princess by Esther Friesner: Ancient Greece

King of Ithaka by Tracy Barrett: Ancient Greece

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs: Wales

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins: Paris

Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick: Scandinavia

The Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer: Scandinavia

Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George: Norway

East by Edith Pattou: Norway

Egg and Spoon by Gregory Maguire: Russia

Cabinet of Wonders by Marie Rutkoski: Czech Republic

Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier: Transylvania, Romania

My Bonny Light Horseman (Book 6) by L.A. Meyer: France

Viva Jacquelina! (Book 10) by L.A. Meyer: Spain

The Book Thief by Marcus Zuzak: Germany

Maus I: A Survivor’s Tale by Art Spiegelman (Graphic Novel): Poland

Courage and Defiance: Stories of Spies, Saboteurs, and Survivors in World War II Denmark by Deborah Hopkinson: Denmark

YA Books Set in South and Central America:

CCS Library Recommendations:

A Company of Swans by Eva Ibbotson: Brazil

The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson: Brazil

City of Beasts by Isabel Allende: Brazil

Enrique’s Journey by Sonia Nazario: Honduras

Colibri by Ann Cameron: Guatemala

Grab Hands and Run by Frances Temple: El Salvador

YA Books Set in Oceania:

CCS Library Recommendations:

Nation by Terry Pratchett: South Pacific Island

Magic or Madness by Justine Larbalestier: Australia, New York City

On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta: Australia

In Too Deep (The 39 Clues #6) by Jude Watson: Australia, Indonesia

I am the Messenger by Marcus Zuzak: Australia

Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey: Australia

Wildlife by Fiona Wood: Australia

Zac and Mia by A.J. Betts: Australia

Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden: Australia

The Wake of the Lorelei Lee (Book 8) by L.A. Meyer: Australia

YA Books Set in Asia:

(No infographic available)

CCS Library Recommendations:

Cinder by Marissa Meyer: China

Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale: Mongolia

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin: China

Starry River of the Sky by Grace Lin: China

When the Sea Turned to Silver by Grace Lin: China

Eon by Allison Goodman: China

Toads and Diamonds by Heather Tomlinson: India

Peak by Roland Smith: Nepal

Huntress by Melinda Lo: China

Shadows on the Moon by Zoë Marriott: Japan

The Mark of the Golden Dragon (Book 9) by L.A. Meyer: China

Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus: Japan

Alphabet of Dreams by Susan Fletcher: Ancient Persia

Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood (Graphic Novel) by Marjane Satrapi: Iran

YA Books Set in Africa:

(No infographic available)

CCS Library Recommendations:

Sphinx’s Princess and Sphinx’s Queen by Esther Friesner: Ancient Egypt

Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine: Egypt

Bad Girls: Sirens, Jezebels, Murderesses, and Other Female Villains by Jane Yolen and Heidi E.Y. Stemple: Ancient Egypt (also Russia, USA, London, etc.)

A Girl Named Disaster by Nancy Farmer: Zimbabwe, Mozambique

Golden Boy by Tara Sullivan: Tanzania

Over a Thousand Hills I Walk with You by Hanna Jansen: Rwanda

The White Giraffe by Lauren St. John: South Africa

Now Is the Time for Running by Michael Williams: Zimbabwe

Around the World with Dorthy’s List:

Full Cicada Moon by Marilyn Hilton: Vermont

The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands: London

Somewhere There is Still a Sun: A Memoir of the Holocaust by Michael Gruenbaum and Todd Hasak-Lowy: Prague

Waiting for Unicorns by Beth Hautala: The Arctic

The Boys Who Challenged Hitler: Knud Pedersen and the Churchill Club by Phillip Hoose: Denmark

Night on Fire by Ronald Kidd: Alabama

A Night Divided by Jennifer A. Nielsen: Berlin, Germany

The Lightning Queen by Laura Resau: Mexico

Echo by Pan Munoz Ryan: Germany, Pennsylvania, California

Good luck and enjoy!

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under 6th Grade, 7th Grade, 8th Grade, booklists, Books, Booktalks, Global Citizenship, Guest Posts, Middle School

Talk at home about…a few weeks in pictures!

Time flies, friends! Here are a few pictures highlighting the things that have been keeping us so busy over the past few weeks.

Kindergarteners are exploring how to find “just-right” books, and we’ve also been sharing great new wordless books with them, working on visual literacy skills. They had great fun designing their own!

1st and 2nd graders have been reading, reading, reading! They’ve also begun learning about our new maker space materials, and getting creative with some awesome literature as their inspiration!

3rd graders have begun their fairy tale unit, and we have begun storytelling workshops as they work to write their own fractured fairy tales! 4th graders have been practicing their Destiny Quest and research skills as they work to find information on their independent topics. They have also been exploring the new maker space materials!

5th-8th graders have been busy with research, writing, and book groups! These are times when I get to visit their classrooms to help, or have students visit me with questions like “I’m using one of the library’s eBooks. Can you show me how to cite it?” and “I know ABC-CLIO is one of the most reliable sources, but what if the information I need isn’t there?”. I love that our older students have things like citations and reliability as part of their every day vocabulary! Here is an example of how I help guide middle schoolers through the research process. Give it a try!

Westward Expansion Pathfinder

Counting on You Pathfinder

Leave a comment

Filed under 1st Grade, 2nd Grade, 3rd Grade, 4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade, 7th Grade, 8th Grade, Collaboration, Digital Literacy, InformationLiteracy, Middle School, Pathfinders, Research, Writing

Talk at home about…Story Time and Beyond!

What images appear in your mind when you think of the library? I hope you see students like preschoolers gathered together listening to a wonderful story, building early literacy skills without even realizing it. Libraries are all about literacy, and it starts in the story square with our youngest students.IMG_5068

The library program also reaches beyond the story square. Here are some other images I’d like to think come to your mind when you think of the library. Picture this – K-2 students gathering together, listening to a good story, AND communicating with others around the world about it through Global Readaloud.Screenshot 2015-10-12 at 8.14.28 AM

Picture this – 3rd & 4th graders practicing information literacy skills with our Destiny Quest library catalog, getting ready to teach others how to use it.

Picture this – Students of all ages taking on a new design challenge in our creation station.IMG_5065IMG_5058

Picture this – 5th graders enjoying a read aloud at the end of the day that I knew would keep them on the edges of their seats and provide tons of opportunities for thoughtful classroom discussions. It not only has a great story, it contains excellent vocabulary, and even math and science connections. The book? Fuzzy Mud by Louis Sacher.

Picture this – 6th graders learning how to ask good questions about big ideas. Knowing how to ask good questions is the start of the inquiry process. Ask a 6th grader what the connection is between a traffic light and asking questions.

Picture this – 7th & 8th graders in the classroom using their information and digital literacy skills with the library’s Digital Reference databases to research the early 1900s. Oh and yes, they still visit the library to use paper books, as well. The best part of all this for me is that I have been here long enough now to see how my students grow and develop these various literacy skills, from preschool to 8th grade.

These are just a few snapshots of learning that have occurred over the past couple of weeks in our school, supported by the library program, in the story square, and beyond!

Leave a comment

Filed under 1st Grade, 2nd Grade, 3rd Grade, 4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade, 7th Grade, 8th Grade, Books, Collaboration, Destiny Quest, Digital Literacy, InformationLiteracy, Kindergarten, Learning, Preschool, Readalouds, Research

Talk at home about…sailing into summer reading!

IMG_4617Wait a minute! What does this picture of beautiful Lake Champlain have to do with summer reading? Today was field trip day for the middle schoolers who participated in the Classical Connections summer reading program! Now in it’s 5th year, this collaboration between CCS and the Charlotte Public Library has grown into one of my most favorite things to do with my students!

Each year, students read a modern novel paired with a classic. This year’s classical connections were The Great Wide Sea by M.H. Herlong and Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. Is the picture making more sense to you now? Good! Over this past week, students have read and talked about two amazing stories, participated in activities like “How to Survive if You’re Lost at Sea”, written about the books using their Young Writers Project blogs, created fictional journals, and today they learned how to sail! The week just flew by, and I hope that this quick jump-start to summer reading will carry through the rest of the summer months for my students. I am so thankful to families that share their children with me. I find constant delight in my students, and am always amazed at their insights into what they are reading. I am also grateful for our strong Vermont community connections. This program would not be possible without the help of Cheryl Sloan and the awesome Charlotte Library staff. I am also grateful to Kathy Folley and the Young Writers Project Staff who provide a tool for students to capture their thinking in writing.  Appreciation to Mrs. Williams and Mr. Lutz for offering this program as a choice to help complete summer reading requirements.  Thanks to Sharon Colvin of the Vermont Department of Libraries for supporting the goodness of this program and helping to spread the word around the state. The Charlotte community also played a huge role this year! A Front Porch Forum request brought out donations for the week of nautical charts that illustrate the very setting of The Great Wide Sea! Alex Bunten of the Charlotte News visited and  graciously answered questions about a recent sailing trip of his own! Thanks also go to the Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center for an awesome experience today. Not only were my students making connections to the books they read as they sailed, they did so on the gorgeous Lake Champlain canvas. I so appreciate the opportunity for my students to make a connection to this beautiful body of water. Stewardship of  our local natural resources begins with simply experiencing them! Many thanks to Alex Kroll, who appreciates the middle school soul, and supports their reading adventures from summer to summer. I cannot forget to thank the entire Charlotte community, who welcome a middle school takeover of our public library space for a week every summer.  As you can see, it really does take a village! I’m so happy that my students get to experience something that develops around them with the help of many community hands.  See the slide show below for the story of our week in pictures, and sail on into summer my friends!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

1 Comment

Filed under 7th Grade, 8th Grade, Books, Collaboration, DCF, Fun, Learning, Middle School, reading, SummerReading, Writing, Young Writers Project

Talk at home about…school and community collaboration!

Last week, CCS celebrated Reading to End Racism. LabanThe goal of this annual program is “to raise awareness of the harm racism causes and to help develop skills and strategies to actively counter racism in order to create a supportive and welcoming environment for all children.” Each year, we work together as a school and community to help the event run smoothly. Our school and public libraries gather great stories, and teachers and community members work together to give our students the best experience possible. We were so happy to be able to access the resources available from the awesome “We Need Diverse Books” Campaign.

Our classrooms welcomed volunteers from the local community to share stories with them. Volunteer readers chose books to share that had personal meaning to them. The books then became the vehicles for sharing their own  stories. There are many things to celebrate about this event. It shows our students how much their neighbors care about them. It makes print and paper stories come to life through the sharing of our own personal narratives. And this year, I noticed that other communities around the state of Vermont are spreading the Reading to End Racism message. The Central VT Reading to End Racism community has great resources to check out!

This year, we were fortunate to have award-winning local author Laban Carrick Hill read aloud from his book Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave. I cannot think of a better way to begin the week. Each classroom followed along  on their very own autographed copies of the book. This was pure magic. Laban’s sonorous voice carried not just the words , but somehow also his Davethepotter-330excitement for the story directly to the students’ ears. Many teachers said it was like he was right in the room with them! We thank him so much for sharing this story of art, words, and the power of hope.

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under 1st Grade, 2nd Grade, 3rd Grade, 4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade, 7th Grade, 8th Grade, Authors, Books, Collaboration, Kindergarten, reading

Talk at home about…the stories we share!

photoWe know that when our students are able to choose what they read, they are more likely to develop strong vocabulary and writing skills. From a librarian’s perspective, I also see that choice in reading allows students to explore the world around them in a safe way. It encourages curiosity, and develops empathy skills.

This week, while enjoying time with 4th graders , I learned that the core idea for their current literacy unit was “story ideas take many forms.” As I listened along with the students to the ways in which different authors shape their stories, I couldn’t help but think about the connections students are able to make with many forms of stories if they are given the power to make their own choices as readers.

Our school library contains a collection of over 20,000 print-and-paper books. If we take into account our online offerings, that number increases in ways I can’t even begin to count. We are constantly sharing books with our students. Booktalks are one of my favorite ways to share stories and show students the variety of books there are to choose from. Over the past week or so, I have been talking about Red Clover and Dorothy Canfield Fisher books. Both of these reading programs offer a wide variety of quality literature for our students to choose from. Take a look at our home page to explore some of the books on your own!

Here are some other links you might like to visit:

Red Clover Book Award Program (K-4)

DCF Book Award Program (4-8)

Leave a comment

Filed under 1st Grade, 2nd Grade, 3rd Grade, 4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade, 7th Grade, 8th Grade, booklists, Books, Booktalks, DCF, Kindergarten, Middle School, Primary, reading, Red Clover

Talk at home about…a great way to start the summer!

We are just ending our first full week of summer vacation, and some of us spent it reading! The Charlotte Public Library and Charlotte Central School are celebrating a 4th year of collaboration on our “Classic Connections” Middle School Summer Reading Program. This past week, thanks to a generous grant from a local patron, 20 CCS 7th & 8th graders spent two hours a day with us at the public library discussing Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld and The Time Machine by H.G. Wells; adapted by Lewis Helfand.

What? Middle schoolers in the library during summer vacation? Whaaaattt? Yes, my friends, your close reading strategies are working. Here’s why the program works.  Our awesome 7th & 8th grade Language Arts teachers offer the completion of this program as a choice for students to satisfy their summer reading requirements. That’s really amazing and has a huge impact on attendance! Their support is the key. I’d like to share some of our students’ accomplishments, as well as some of their own words. Over the course of the week, students:

Read 536 pages! Wow!
“Reading 90 pages [a night] goes faster than I thought.”
“I learned to organize my time so I finished all my reading.”
“Re-reading helps.”
“Power-read!”

Contributed to daily group discussions of our readings.
“Discussing books is fun!”
“Graphic novels are just as good as a normal novel.”
“Steampunk is a fun genre.”
“Reading is fun.”

Contributed to the Young Writers Project with daily writing and podcasts!
“Podcasts are fun to do!”
“When you combine ideas, it has a better outcome.”
“I had fun on YWP.”
“Don’t change the YWP writing.”

Created altered books illustrating major symbols and themes from our readings.
“I learned how to ruin a book and then make it awesome!”
“Don’t change the fun art project.”

Of course, we also asked students for feedback. Middle schoolers are really good at giving feedback! For some, the genre was a challenge. For others, the amount of reading was challenging. Others requested more opportunities for movement, and would love a field trip incorporated into the program. We have done field trips in the past, and I agree. They do add to the program!

Here are a few pictures that show some highlights of the week.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Finally, I’d like to leave you with a quote from one of the students’ exit cards in the section “What I learned this week”:

“The future is what mankind makes of it.” Enough said. Happy summer!

 

 

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under 7th Grade, 8th Grade, Book Groups, Books, Collaboration, Learning, Middle School, reading, SummerReading, Writing, Young Writers Project