The Making of a Superband – Tinley Park : Central Middle School Band

2014 ISU Invitational: The students decided they would each have a chance to touch the trophy and have his or her picture taken by it.

2014 ISU Invitational: The students decided they would each have a chance to touch the trophy and have his or her picture taken by it.

Do you remember what you did in your spare time when you were in seventh and eighth grade? I remember babysitting, playing baseball in the street with my friends, swimming in my backyard pool, and wasting an inordinate amount of time trying to beat The Legend of Zelda. I was also in the school band which met once or twice a week, and I took lessons for which I was rarely prepared. Our band concerts were twice a year, and I am pretty certain our audience consisted of mainly our parents because, quite frankly, they were the only ones brave enough to subject themselves to the torturous cacophony of a junior high band concert. This experience starkly contrasts with the experience the students have in Central Middle School’s Symphonic Band.

Summer Reading Book #9: Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool

Image courtesy of clarevanderpool.com

Image courtesy of clarevanderpool.com

Ok so I’m falling short of my goal of reading forty books. In my defense, two of the books I read were on the heavy side-one in terms of the sheer number of pages and one in terms of content. Navigating Early, the latter of the two, is written for junior high students, but it is not your average teen fiction. Clare Vanderpool outdid herself on this one. Her themes are so intricately woven, I may need to read it again before I even attempt to help students navigate it.

Connecting Students and Authors: Featuring Tom Angleberger

Tom Angleberger and Rachel (photo provided by Rachel)

Tom Angleberger and Rachel (photo provided by Rachel)

Technology: Create your Own Style Online with help from Chicago Stores: Do You Reppio?

Lisa Sikorski chats up Annie Dean of Reppio (Joe Grez)

Lisa Sikorski chats up Annie Dean of Reppio (Joe Grez)

I will admit that just the word “vintage” conjures up memories of poorly organized antique shops and mysterious pungent odors. I love the thought of vintage, but most shops I have ventured into leave me wanting to run for the hills. However, a new website called Reppio.com is out to help guide true lovers of  all styles to the best and brightest privately owned shops in Chicago neighborhoods. “It’s all about helping small businesses,” states Reppio Rep Annie Dean. “A lot of people who come to the city don’t know where to begin and might end up dismissing the charm of a neighborhood like Wicker Park just because they wandered into a store that’s wrong for them and their style.” Reppio is online and ready to help you find the designers, shops, and items that will suit your style whether you’re shabby chic or trendy urban.

Summer Reading Book #2: Queen of Water

 

Queen of Water co-author Maria Virginia Farinango (images courtesy of lauraresau.com)

Queen of Water co-author Maria Virginia Farinango (images courtesy of lauraresau.com)

Students often ask me if the story they are reading is real. The humorous part of this is, it doesn’t matter how unrealistic the book is, they will still ask. To them, the lines are so blurred between fact and fiction that it is difficult for them to distinguish between the two. In my second summer reading book, Queen of Water, those lines are blurred so well that even I am curious as to what was real and what was fiction. This novel is based on a true story of an Ecuadorian indegena young woman, the co-author Maria Virginia Farinango, who was handed over to a mestizo family as an indentured servant at the age of seven.

Summer Reading Book #1: Bamboo People by Mitali Perkins

Bamboo People by Mitali Perkins

Bamboo People by Mitali Perkins

The Hunt is On : Give Book Ideas to Lisa for her Students

Image courtesy of http://frannymiller.blogspot.com

Searching for multicultural literature in this global society ought to be easy. There are millions of books on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, not to mention 142 million books in the Library of Congress. Also, with the growing number of authors who write for children, finding multicultural literature for adolescents ought to be easy as well. Then why do I feel like salmon swimming upstream?


Why is it important to read books from different countries and cultures?

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