Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult book review

Nineteen MinutesNineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

Goodreads Summary:

Jodi Picoult, bestselling author of My Sister’s Keeper and The Tenth Circle, pens her most riveting book yet, with a startling and poignant story about the devastating aftermath of a small-town tragedy. Sterling is an ordinary New Hampshire town where nothing ever happens–until the day its complacency is shattered by an act of violence. Josie Cormier, the daughter of the judge sitting on the case, should be the state’s best witness, but she can’t remember what happened before her very own eyes–or can she? As the trial progresses, fault lines between the high school and the adult community begin to show–destroying the closest of friendships and families. Nineteen Minutes asks what it means to be different in our society, who has the right to judge someone else, and whether anyone is ever really who they seem to be.

My Thoughts:

Bullying is a serious issue in today’s world, and this book explores the many aspects of this very serious topic. It will make you stop and think. It will make you stop and wonder. It might even make YOU feel some rage, frustration, empathy, sadness, grief.

Told from the point of view of many. Where does the responsibility lie when a child has had enough and commits atrocious acts based on feelings and/or irrational thinking?

A must read!

Here’s a website that’s all about standing up to bullying.

The Bullying Project

I also found this video clip last year and showed it to my 6th grade classes. Very powerful.

Running Beauty Pageant Queen

You know how your race pictures just usually don’t look too good? I mean it’s not like your makeup is intact with your hair styled and pretty. OR you even know your picture is being taken so you can flash those pearly whites. LOL! 🙂

Well, I was looking through some of my race pics from August/September and lookie lookie lookie what I found! I will not be a Running Beauty Pageant Queen anytime soon. And Kara won’t be either! 🙂

I’m on the left-no, I don’t think I threw up during that 5k, but it sure looks like I’m about to!

Kara is on the right-what is she doing with her tongue????

This is just a free laugh on my behalf. Enjoy. 🙂

2012 - Walk for Emma - Kara

Expository writing-how to directions

I’m really trying to teach writing this year and not just grammar. Probably still won’t make an A+ in this area yet, but I’M TRYING!! 🙂

Our first “how to” directions were on a game of their choice. Yes, I should have started out with everyone doing the same thing and then progressing to choice… I’m learning. 🙂

The 1st thing we did was read different game directions. These were our mentor texts. 🙂

I broke them up into small groups. Each group had 4 sets of game directions to read and discuss. They had to talk about what they noticed for each set. Then we shared out loud as a whole class. I just googled game directions and chose 4-Bingo, Jacks, Tic Tac Toe, and Heads Up Seven Up.

They filled out a RAFT organizer-short and sweet.

Role-What is their role as a writer

Audience-Who are they writing for

Format-what type of writing

Topic-what are they writing about

For this piece of writing it looked like this:

R-game maker A-kids aged 9-13 (If I remember correctly) F-how to directions T-the name of their game

They wrote a  rough draft. They used the CUPS method to check/edit. They swapped with a partner and used the CUPS method on their paper. They rewrote for a final copy.

This all lasted for about 1 1/2 weeks since we don’t have much time for english/writing each day.

If I had started teaching writing earlier in the year instead of english grammar I would have extended this so that we could play a few of the games based off their written directions. 🙂 I also thought it might have been cool to have them create a gameboard and write directions for that. Possibilites, possibilites…..

Oh, and by the way my favorite game of the ones above is JACKS!!

Anyone have suggestions for expository writing? How to directions? Writing in general?


It’s Monday-What are you reading? 2/18/13

Here we are with another chance to share wonderful books with each other thanks to Jen and Kellee over at Teach Mentor Texts and Sheila over at Book Journey who both sponsor this great meme each week for young adult/children and adult respectively!


I haven’t participated in this meme since January and have probably left A LOT of books out, but here’ s some that I have read lately. Of course, Sarah Dessen and Kristin Hannah are my FAVORITE authors from this assortment that I keep going back to again and again. However, another one that I ended up LOVING was Peeled by Joan Bauer. This book would be good for maybe 5th grade and up. Very wholesome-which is hard to find sometimes-but intriguing at the same time. It had a strong female character who didn’t TRY to be strong-she just was. 🙂 It was a GREAT read-you need to try it! Barbara-I think you would love it! 🙂

The Third Wheel (Diary of a Wimpy Kid, #7)
Between Sisters
Trust Me (Last Stand Series, #1)
Flat Stanley (Flat Stanley, #1)
This Lullaby
Rachel's Tears: The Spiritual Journey of Columbine Martyr Rachel Scott
The Upstairs Room
Stuck in the Middle (Sister to Sister, #1)

 What is the best book you’ve read lately that you think I would like? 🙂

Milkweed by Jerry Spinelli Book Review

MilkweedMilkweed by Jerry Spinelli

Goodreads Summary:

He’s a boy called Jew. Gypsy. Stopthief. Runt. Happy. Fast. Filthy son of Abraham. 

He’s a boy who lives in the streets of Warsaw. He’s a boy who steals food for himself and the other orphans. He’s a boy who believes in bread, and mothers, and angels. He’s a boy who wants to be a Nazi some day, with tall shiny jackboots and a gleaming Eagle hat of his own. Until the day that suddenly makes him change his mind. And when the trains come to empty the Jews from the ghetto of the damned, he’s a boy who realizes it’s safest of all to be nobody.

Newbery Medalist Jerry Spinelli takes us to one of the most devastating settings imaginable—Nazi-occupied Warsaw of World War II—and tells a tale of heartbreak, hope, and survival through the bright eyes of a young orphan.

My Thoughts:

Not my favorite Holocaust book, but liked it enough. Written very differently than what I’m used to. Don’t know how many of my 5/6 graders would like it.

Let me be fair about it. Others have read it and LOVED it. The ratings are great on Goodreads. Another teacher on twitter said his students loved it. So I’m going to book talk it and see what the kids have to say about it. 🙂

Because you know I love Jerry Spinelli!!

3 of 5 stars

Stuck in the Middle by Virginia Smith Book Review

Stuck in the Middle (Sister to Sister, #1)Stuck in the Middle by Virginia Smith

Goodreads Summary:

Her older sister, Allie, is starting a family, and her younger sister, Tori, has a budding career. Meanwhile, Joan is stuck at home with Mom and her aging grandmother. Not exactly a recipe for excitement–or romance.

When a hunky young doctor moves in next door, Joan sets out to catch his eye. But it won’t be easy. Pretty Tori flirts relentlessly, and Joan is sure that she can’t compete. But with a little help from God, Allie, and an enormous mutt with bad manners, Joan begins to find her way out of this rut and into the life she’s been hiding from.

Book 1 of the Sister-to-Sister series, Stuck in the Middle combines budding romance, soul searching, and a healthy dose of sibling rivalry that is sure to make you smile.

My Thoughts:

Honestly I wasn’t sure I was going to like this book as much as I did. I was ready for something lighthearted enough and this seemed to fit, but the main character, Joan, was not making me happy at first. I did like her character change through the book though. 🙂

I knew after several pages that God was going to be a focus, and this is what probably made this book for me. It actually seemed to speak to me. At a time in my life when I feel like I really needed that. 🙂

This is the first Christian fiction book I’ve read and will read more definitely-especially by this author. This is the 1st one in a series for her.

5 of 5 stars

This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen Book Review

This LullabyThis Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

Goodreads Summary:

When it comes to relationships, Remy doesn’t mess around. After all, she’s learned all there is to know from her mother, who’s currently working on husband number five. But there’s something about Dexter that seems to defy all of Remy’s rules. He certainly doesn’t seem like Mr. Right. For some reason, however, Remy just can’t seem to shake him. Could it be that Remy’s starting to understand what those love songs are all about?

My Thoughts:

Remy is a strong willed character who learns a lot about others as well as herself in this one. Sarah Dessen is a favorite author of mine that I just discovered this past year.

If you like YA books with a tough as nails female character that stands on her own, then you’ll love this one!

5 of 5 stars

The Upstairs Room by Johanna Reiss Book Review

The Upstairs RoomThe Upstairs Room by Johanna Reiss

Goodreads Summary:

In the part of the marketplace where flowers had been sold twice a week – tulips in the spring, roses in the summer – stood German tanks and German soldiers. Annie de Leeuw was eight-years-old in 1940 when the Germans attacked Holland and marched into the town of Winterswijk where she lived. Annie was ten when, because she was Jewish and in great danger of being captured by the invaders, she and her sister Sini had to leave their father, mother, and older sister Rachel to go into hiding in the upstairs room of a remote farmhouse.
Johanna de Leeuw Reiss has written a remarkably fresh and moving account of her own experiences as a young girl during World War II. Like many adults, she was innocent of the German plans for Jews, and she might have gone to a labor camp as scores of families did. “It won’t be for long and the Germans have told us we’ll be treated well,” those families said. “What can happen?” They did not know, and they could not imagine… but millions of Jews found out. 
Mrs. Reiss’s picture of the Oosterveld family with whom she lived, and of Annie and Sini, reflects a deep spirit of optimism, a faith in the ingenuity, backbone, and even the humor with which ordinary human beings meet extraordinary challenges. In the steady, matter-of-fact, day-by-day courage they all showed lies a profound strength that transcends the horrors of the long and frightening war. Here is a memorable book, one that will be read and reread for years to come.

My Thoughts:

I did like this book. However, it didn’t grab me like other holocaust books have. It was one of those books that I wanted to finish just because I wanted to find out what happened in the end, and I don’t like to abandon books. But it wasn’t a page turner for me. If you read it and love it please send me a comment. I could even revise my post and add your comment! 🙂

2 of 5 stars

Half marathon on the horizon

This is what I need right now-to look at this and think about how far I’ve come since last January.

THEN-couldn’t run 1 minute

NOW-have run 9 miles at a time

My half marathon(Disney Princess Half) is on the horizon. Like next Sunday, February 24th.

I have not trained for it like I should. Of course.

But I will finish it. Even if I have to drag my own dead body across the finish line. 🙂

Trust Me by Brenda Novak Book Review

Trust Me (Last Stand Series, #1)Trust Me by Brenda Novak

Goodreads Summary:

Four years ago…
Skye Kellerman was attacked in her own bed. She managed to fend off her knife-wielding assailant, but the trauma changed everything about her life. As a result of that night, she joined two friends–also survivors–in starting The Last Stand, an organization to help victims of crime.

But now…
Her would-be rapist is getting out of prison. Skye knows that Dr. Oliver Burke hasn’t forgotten that her testimony cost him his reputation–and his freedom.

Sacramento detective David Willis, who investigated her case, believes Burke is a clear and present danger–and guilty of at least two unsolved murders.

And now Burke is free to terrorize Skye again. Unless David can stop him. Unless Skye can fight back. Because Oliver Burke has every intention of finishing what he started. And that’s a promise. 
Trust me.

My Thoughts:

I liked it. However, it got a little old with David wanting to be loyal to his ex-wife because of her sickness. Does that make me a bad person? I hope not. 🙂 But even with the VERY serious sickness that Lynette had she just seemed whiny and annoying.

Warning that this book has mature content.

4 of 5 stars