Thursday, December 5, 2013

September, October, and November Reads.

I realized that I haven't updated about what I'm reading since school started. I also figured that since I require my students to read 30 books in the school year, I was going to try to make that my goal too. I haven't been reading as much since school started since you know, lots to do, but I'm getting better at reading when Fynn goes to bed (after I get my grad school work and grading done) rather than vegging out and watching tv. What's really helped me the last couple of weeks, is a new app I found to read books on. Overdrive is a free app that actually lets be borrow ebooks from my local public library. You can "take them out" for 1-2 weeks, and then they are automatically returned when they're due... which is awesome since i seem to always forget to return actual books on time. (And no, they haven't sponsored me in any way or asked me to saying anything about them, just an awesome app I love and wanted to share).

 Anyway, since September, these are the books I've read, or at least the ones I remember. I am including the books I've read for grad school classes, since they're obviously books, so I think it counts towards my total.

1. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
This summer a couple of people I was working with mentioned that they were reading this book. It sounded interesting, but then I pretty much forgot about it until I was searching for ebooks to borrow from the library. This book sucked me in. I found myself reading it on my phone every time I got a second. When I wasn't reading, I was thinking about the book and what was happening to the characters. Every single time I thought I had figured it out, another twist came and I was thrown way off track. This book is amazing, and so well written. Without giving too much away, the books starts off with Nick coming home to discover his wife, Amy, missing, and signs of a struggle in his house. The cops come, evidence is collected, and the search begins. The story is told from the perspective of both Nick and Amy, including diary entries from earlier in their relationship. 

2. Somebody to Love by Kristen Higgins

Totally chick lit, totally predicable... but I couldn't help loving it. The main character, Parker Welles discovers that her father just lost the family fortune in an insider-trading scheme. Suddenly without a home or the luxuries she is used to, Parker heads to Maine to check out a house she had inherited from her aunt a few years before. Once she arrives though, she discovers that the house is really a shack and needs a ton of work before she can sell it to make some money. Conveniently, James, her father's right-hand man is also from Maine and comes up to help her out. Hmmm... wonder what will happen with these two? Like I said, cliched and predictable, but very well written and a fun easy read. 

3. All I Ever Wanted by Kristen Higgins
Callie has spent her whole life waiting for Mr. Right. Mr. Right just happens to be her boss who has no interested in her since their short-lived fling more then a year ago... that Callie still hasn't gotten over. However, as she turns 30, she realizes that she's wasting her time, and needs to get over him. The rest of the book is all about the search for the right guy to marry. Heartfelt, funny, and super cute. I fell in love with Callie's grandfather who is an adorable grumpy old man who loves his granddaughter more then he can say. 

4. The Next Best Thing by Kristen Higgins
Can you tell I currently have a thing for Kristen Higgins? I'm loving her books right now and I can't wait to read the rest of them. Lucy is a 30 year old widow who is looking for the right guy to marry and have babies with. She doesn't want to love him too much, or have him be too good looking because she had that with her husband and he went and died on her... there's also the fact that all the women in her family end up being widows early, so she's convinced a husband wont last. I enjoyed reading this one, but I knew from the second page on who Lucy was  going to end up with. Surprisingly, that didn't make me enjoy the book any less, which usually happens when it's that predictable. 


5. Classroom Instruction that Works by Dean et. al.
Obviously this was a class book. A pretty good read in terms of teaching strategies books. Most of their ideas are easy, to the point, and (most importantly) effective. I got a lot out of this book and the discussion we had in class about it. It's a quick read with short, focused chapters that don't bore you with a million facts. Definitely one I would recommend to other teachers.

6. Revisiting Professional Learning Communities at Work by DuFour et. al.

Another class book. This one was heavy (literally and figuratively). It has a million ideas on how to create a true learning community withing your school or district. However, it requires the ability to make substantial changes, something not a lot of individual teachers have the power to do. I loved reading about the potentials of Professional Learning Communities (PLCs), but I honestly felt a little overwhelmed and defeated by this book.


7. Differentiated Assessment One Tool Doesn't Fit All by Carolyn Chapman and Rita King

You guessed it, grad school book. I didn't love this one. Yes, it had some great ideas on how to differentiate assessment. Some of which I'm actually using in my classroom. But I found the writing to be both boring and overly wordy. Often I found myself skimming through sections to just get the gist of it and move on.

8. How to Differentiate Instruction in a Mixed-Ability Classroom by Carol Ann Tomlinson
Yet another book for school. This one I really liked. It's all about differentiating instruction (duh!) but in ways that are easy to manage and meaningful. Often books bout DI tell you what you should be doing in theory, but don't explain how to do it in an actual classroom with real kids. This book did just that in a way that was easy to read and descriptive. A great read for anyone looking to better meet the needs of their students. 


  1. I want to read Gone Girl. It's been turned into a movie with Ben Affleck.

  2. I really liked Gone Girl and her other books. Looks like I need to start reading some Kristin Higgins again. It has been a while!


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