Friday, May 28, 2010

Truman Readers Award - Book List Extension

Before, the summer reading list included books from the Mark Twain Award nominees, but I have extended our summer reading options to include books from the Truman awards as well. Students in grades 6 and up are eligible to vote for the Truman award, but everyone is welcome to read from this list. Happy reading!

Chains by Laurie Anderson - After being sold to a cruel couple in New York City, a slave named Isabel spies for the rebels during the Revolutionary War.

Compound by Stephanie Bodeen - After his parents, two sisters, and he have spent six years in a vast underground compound built by his wealthy father to protect them from a nuclear holocaust, fifteen-year-old Eli, whose twin brother and grandmother were left behind, discovers that his father has perpetuated a monstrous hoax on them all.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - In a future North America, where the rulers of the Panem maintain control through an annual televised survival competition pitting young people from each of the twelve districts against one another, sixteen-year-old Katniss's skills are put to the test when she voluntarily takes her younger sister's place.

Jump the Cracks by Stacy DeKeyser - On the way to visit her father in New York City fifteen-year-old Victoria finds an apparently abused child in the train's bathroom and soon finds herself branded a kidnapper and on the run while trying to fulfill her promise to protect the boy at all costs.

Other Side of the Island by Allegra Goodman - Born in the eighteenth year of Enclosure, ten-year-old Honor lives in a highly regulated colony with her defiant parents, but when they have an illegal second child and are taken away, it is up to Honor and her friend Helix, another "unpredictable," to uncover a terrible secret about their island and the corporation that runs everything.

Gone by Michael Grant - In a small town on the coast of California, everyone over the age of fourteen suddenly disappears, setting up a battle between the remaining town residents and the students from a local private school, as well as those who have "The Power" and are able to perform supernatural feats and those who do not.

Otherworldlies by Jennifer Kogler - Eccentric and unusual looking, twelve-year-old Fern, secure in her family's love and acceptance has always been able to cope with the taunts and social ostracism of her schoolmates until a series of unnerving events reveal that she possesses supernatural powers that she barely understands and must learn to control if she wants to escape being the pawn of two ancient enemies.

Boost by Kathryn Mackel - Thirteen-year-old Savvy's dreams of starting for her elite basketball team are in danger when she is accused of taking steroids.

Suck it Up by Brian Meehl - After graduating from the International Vampire League, a scrawny, teanaged vampire named Morning is given the chance to fulfill his childhood dream of becoming a superhero when he embarks on a League mission to become the first vampire to reveal his identity to humans and to demonstrate how peacefully-evolved, blood-substitute-drinking vampires can use their powers to help humanity.

Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary Pearson - In the not-too-distant future, when biotechnological advances have made synthetic bodies and brains possible but illegal, a seventeen-year-old girl recovering from a serious accident and suffering from memory lapses, leans a startling secret about her existence.

White Gates by Bonnie Ratmthun - When his mother becomes the doctor in Snow Park, Colorado, twelve-year-old Tor learns of a curse placed on the town's doctors many years before by an eccentric Ute woman, but suspects that a modern-day villain is hiding behind that curse.

Youngest Templar: Keeper of the Grail by Michael Spradlin - In 1191, fifteen-year-old Tristan, a youth of unknown origin raised in an English abbey, becomes a Templar Knight's squire during the Third Crusade and soon finds himself on a mission to bring the holy grail to safety.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Summer Project #2 - Travel Guide

Project 2 – State Travel Guide

In addition to the book talk, students will make a travel brochure encouraging their classmates to visit another state. Students either need to visit or write to another state’s visitor’s center and collect information to include in their brochure. The brochure may not be a replica of one the state actually produces, and should include information about any other places your family actually visits in their travel guide. 

Hopefully this can be incorporated into any family vacation you already had planned, but if you are unable to travel this summer, then students are encouraged to call or write to other states, visit websites, and obtain other resources for travel information about another state. Students may not choose Missouri for their travel guide projects.

For a day trip, the Oklahoma visitor’s center in Miami is less than two hours away from Springfield. Harrison, Arkansas visitors center is ninety minutes away, and Kansas’ nearest I could find is the other side of Kansas City in Atchison, KS about four hours away.

The students’ brochures should explain basic facts about the state, major features of the state and key places of historical or cultural significance. Please see the attached example about Missouri. Microsoft Office has many free brochure templates that can be downloaded. Students may also hand-write and draw their own illustrations, but attention to detail, good handwriting, and neatness should be emphasized. I want this to be a fun, student-completed project, and we will share this during the first week of school as well. Students are welcome to bring photographs and other small souvenirs from their state trip along with their brochure to share with the class.

Feel free to email me over the summer with any questions (               

Thanks!  Mrs. Garrett

Summer Reading List

Project 1: 2010-2011 Mark Twain Award Nominees – Students need to read at least four of the following books and write a one page book talk about which book they believe should receive the 2011 Mark Twain award and why. These book talks will be presented during the first week of school in August. Throughout the school year, students will have the opportunity to read additional nominees and submit their ballots in March of 2011.

Avi. Seer of Shadows
In New York City in 1872, fourteen-year-old Horace, a photographer’s apprentice, becomes entangled in a plot to create fraudulent spirit photographs but when Horace accidentally frees the real ghost of a dead girl bent on revenge, his life takes a frightening turn.

Barrows, Annie. The Magic Half
Eleven-year-old Miri Gill feels left out in her family, which has two sets of twins and her, until she travels back in time to 1935 and discovers Molly, her own lost twin, and brings her back to the present day.

Haddix, Margaret Peterson. Found
When thirteen-year-olds Jonah and Chip, who are both adopted, learn they were discovered on a plane that appeared out of nowhere, full of babies with no adults on board, they realize that they have uncovered a mystery involving time travel and two opposing forces, each trying to repair the fabric of time.

Hobbs, Will. Go Big or Go Home
Fourteen-year-old Brady and his cousin Quinn love extreme sports, but nothing could prepare them for the aftermath of Brady's close encounter with a meteorite after it crashes into his Black Hills, South Dakota, bedroom.

Kehret, Peg. Stolen Children
Fourteen-year-old Amy's excitement over her first babysitting job ends when she and her three-year-old charge are kidnapped, but a daily video recording sent to little Kendra's parents allows Amy to send clues, in hopes of being rescued before the kidnappers decide they no longer need her.

Kimmel, Elizabeth Cody. School Spirit
Like her mother, a professional medium, Kat has been able to see dead people since turning thirteen, and although they would prefer to be normal, Kat and her best friend come to terms with their own talents while helping free the spirit of a girl trapped at their middle school.

Lupica, Mike. Safe at Home
Playing baseball was the one thing that made twelve-year-old Nick Crandall feel at home until he found acceptance with adoptive parents, but he faces a new struggle to fit in when he becomes the first seventh-grader ever to make the varsity baseball team.

Mills, Claudia. The Totally Made Up Civil War Diary of Amanda MacLeish
While dealing with her parents' separation and her best friend's distance, Amanda is able to work out some of her anxiety through her fifth-grade project--writing a diary from the point of view of a ten-year-old girl whose brothers fight on opposite sides in the Civil War.

Nelson, N.A. Bringing the Boy Home
As two Takunami youths approach their thirteenth birthdays, Luka reaches the culmination of his mother's training for the tribe's manhood test while Tirio, raised in Miami, Florida, by his adoptive mother, feels called to begin preparations to prove himself during his upcoming visit to the Amazon rain forest where he was born.

Nuzum, K.A. The Leanin’ Dog
In wintry Colorado during the 1930s, eleven-year-old Dessa Dean mourns the death of her beloved mother, but the arrival of an injured dog and the friendship they form is just what they need to change their lives forever.

Stanley, Diane. The Mysterious Case of the Allbright Acadamy
Eighth-grader Franny and her friends investigate why most of the students at their exclusive boarding school are brilliant, beautiful, and perfectly behaved.

Feel free to leave comments with questions about this project, the titles of the books you are reading, and any recommendations you have for your classmates.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Civil War in Four Minutes

Watch the video about the Civil War and choose one or two battles to research online. List a few facts about one of the battles below in the comments section. Remember punctuation, capitalization, and your name are required for the comment to be published.
- Mrs. G.