Archive | June, 2014

We Were Liars: A Review

29 Jun

Title: We Were Liars

Author: E. Lockhart

Format: Personal purchase hardcover

Release Date: May 13, 2014

Summary (from Goodreads): A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.
We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart. 

Read it.

And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

So I have been hearing about this one for months.  All I knew was that it was amazing and no one wanted to talk about what it was actually about.  I am so glad that no one did and I avoided as much as I could about this one.  This review will be a bit different so I can try to tell you about it without telling you about it.

One thing I can share is that Lockhart’s writing is beautiful.  Just beautiful.  Her descriptions and the language she uses blew me away.  I have not read narration like this in such a long time.  I found myself rereading parts to take it all in.  There are sentences that I can still remember even now after finishing it.

The story is strong, too.  Mystery.  Suspense.  Coming of Age.  There is a little bit of everything in here – but I cannot tell you what it all is.  I just can’t.  I want you to be able to enjoy it the same way I did.  I want you to have to chills and yell out in surprise.  I hope that is not giving too much.

This is one of the hardest reviews I have ever written.  I know there is not a lot here, but trust me, you want to read this book.  And once you do (or if you already have) please talk about it with me.  It is still running trough my mind a few days later.  Great read for this summer that I cannot wait to share with students in September.

4.5/5 stars


Why choice?

23 Jun

I know, I know…it has been far too long since I have given an update.  The end of the year was crazy, as I am sure many fellow teachers also faced.  It was also a little draining.  I am still in a little bit of a slump, but feeling re-energized with a little break and time to myself.  I hope to get some more thoughts and reviews going again this summer.

I did have some uplifting moments at the end of the year.  In my Lab class, students did a reflection on the class.  I am always looking for input in my classes to help me reflect and figure out what I can do to better support my students and reach my goals of creating readers and writers.  Students are so honest when you ask them for their thoughts and opinions.  It has helped me immensely in this class especially.

There is a particular reading question I ask this group of students: What were your opinions about reading when you started this class?  Have they changed?  Why or why not?

A few students in this group really surprised me with their answers.  They gave amazing reasons for why choice is important in reading.  More than one students admitted to not liking reading at all, and while they are not great lovers of reading now, they see there are books that interest them that they may want to read.  Other students stated that a positive in the class was the variety of books they had to choose from.  Two responses really stood out to me the most:

I always was a big fan of reading, but I thought we were going to have to read baby books. Instead Mrs.Crawford let us choose what we wanted which I thought was very cool.

Reading was boring and lame until I read Dope Sick. I’ll only read books like that because I connect with no problem.

This reminded me why I do what I do.  I am the “crazy reading teacher” because I truly believe in choice and the power of it.  This choice helps students change their expectations of a class.  It also helps students find those books.  The second student I had worked with for a good majority of the year.  He finished that book and was proud to have done so.  I am glad I could see that experience for him.

Choice changes students.  I am glad I was reminded that to help wrap up the year on a good note.