Monday, August 31, 2015

25 Fun Facts about Me

I know, I's supposed to be Five Fun Facts, but I sometimes go overboard on things. I promise I'll make it fast! 

Three-year-old me
A salute to the inner child in all of us...

Hi, I'm Melanie and I am so glad to meet you! In order to get to know each other better, let's divulge 25 totally random things about ourselves--I'll go first!

1. If I am awake, I am wearing shoes. I can't stand being barefoot.
2.  Life cereal is my favorite breakfast...if it's soggy.
3. My children are both fair redheads. It was always easy to spot them at the public pool each summer.
4. I went to college to become a kindergarten teacher.
5. I teach at a junior high.
6. We have two cats in our house: Pookie Bear, the bulimic Siamese, and Licky Lou, the cat who loves butter.
7. I am a middle child.
8. My driver's license says I am 5'7" and I weighed 115 2002.
9. My kids say I tend to exaggerate.
10. I can't snap with my left hand.
11. I can touch the tip of my tongue to the tip of my nose. I think that totally makes up for not being able to snap with one hand.
12. I am scared of spiders.
13. Every year, students try to scare me with fake spiders.
14. My colleagues are impressed by my ever-growing fake spider collection.
15. Jesus loves me in spite of myself.
16. I love chocolate chip cookie dough more than the cookies.
17. Despite my mother's warnings, I have never gotten sick from eating raw cookie dough.
18. I don't have cable TV. If I like a series, I wait to watch the entire season all at once.
19. I usually read two or three books at the same time. Well, technically not at the same time, but I alternate between them.
20. If I get bored in the middle of a book, I will read the last few pages to see if it is worth continuing.
21. I do not have the patience to play board games.
22. Despite his giveaway name, I thought SpongeBob Squarepants was a piece of cheese the first time I saw him.
23. I hate scary movies. The last scary movie I saw was Children of the Corn in 1984.
24. I live in Nebraska. We grow lots of corn around here...
25. I am pretty sure I have undiagnosed adult ADD.
26. I can't count and talk at the same time.  ;-)

Whew! Your turn now! I can't wait to visit all of you over at your blogs. Thanks so much for stopping by!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

A Summer Remembered

School is off to a great start, and my 8th graders have wasted no time delving into this little gem...
Almost every single kid has read Gary Paulsen's Hatchet but few have ever heard of, let alone read, this wonderful story. If you have middle-school aged boys who don't like to read, this story is for them!

The work is a fictionalized account of a summer Paulsen spent with a distant cousin's family. Harris, the nine-year-old in the novel, is a put it mildly. In fact, I use this book to teach the concept of characterization because it lends itself so well to the study of primary and secondary characters.

There is mild swearing and some tobacco use in the book, but I tell students that it's Paulsen's way of developing the character of Harris--yes, the nine-year-old!

Every chapter is a short vignette of the trouble that the two boys manage to get themselves into, but let me warn you that Chapter 10 is LEGENDARY!  College kids still visit with me about this chapter when they see me in the grocery store. J

If you've never read it before, I hope you'll try this delightfully funny tale of a summer remembered. It's a great introduction for writing personal narratives or for getting reluctant readers to read.


Monday, August 3, 2015

Back to School

It's that time of year again....
Time to get things spruced up and ready to go!

Each year I really struggle with my "Goldilocks" approach to decorating...
When does it cross over from being "not enough" to the "way too much" zone? I work until I find the "just right" Goldilocks.
This year, I found some wonderful chalkboard-looking posters at the local teachers' store...
I love their positive messages and they add to the general chalkboard theme I have going on.

 Decorating for junior high students has been a challenge for me because I don't want to come off too cutesy, but I do want it to be visual appealing. I tend to add things and take things down until I'm satisfied...or run out of time.

Happy back-to-school time to you!