January wrap up…

I am really looking forward to doing these monthly wrap up posts! It’ll be so incredible to look back over the month and see how much (or how little during term time) I have managed to read. It’ll also be great for me, who has a TERRIBLE memory to take a look over all of the books I’ve read. I hope you guys will enjoy these posts too! I love reading other people’s wrap up blog posts to see what they’ve been up to in the past month. This will encompass books I’ve read and books I’ve bought/obtained over the month.

Here we go with January…

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This doesn’t look all that impressive. Nor does it feel impressive!! I have failed in January’s books haha! However in my defense after Christmas holidays and #SundayYAthon ANYTHING looks like a rubbish pile of books! Term time is always a shocking time to read because I’m always tired. However I’ve read 2 books and I’m reading the other 2 simultaneously! That’s something.

BOOKS I READ:

Wing Jones – Katherine Webber.

I don’t have words for how much I loved this. It was truly wonderful. I loved Wing. I loved the story. I loved the honesty of the characters. I loved the supporting characters as much as the main characters. I loved how it was written. Katherine Webber is a total wordsmith (I don’t even know if this is a real word but I am using it. I am using it to mean someone who has an incredible way with words, who writes like they were born to write, who is just magical with a pen/keyboard). You can see my review hereBOOKBLOG: Katherine Webber. I implore you all to find out about it and buy it if you can. It is absolutely splendid. 

The Monstrous Child – Francesca Simon

If you’re a lover of Norse mythology then this will be totally up your street. It is told from the POV of Hel. You go through her life from the beginning and learn all about how she becomes the ruler of Hell itself. I enjoyed it. It took me a while to get into it – Hel is a troublesome narrator. She’s sassy, sarcastic and sardonic… one you’ll either love or hate. I had taught Norse mythology a few years ago to a Y5 class so it was lovely to see some of the names I had taught creep back into my memory again. I’m a sucker for mythology so that was a plus point for me. If Norse mythology is your cup of tea then you’ll enjoy this! 

BOOKS I’M CURRENTLY READING:

Traitor To The Throne – Alwyn Hamilton

I AM SO SO SO SO SO SO HAPPY. I properly squealed when I got an email from Netgalley to tell me that I had access to this book. I was a happy bunny. For those of you who don’t know/haven’t read Rebel of the Sands (you will find my review hereBook blog: Alwyn Hamilton) then you properly should. I’ve been waiting for Traitor 2 SINCE FOREVER. I am quickly speeding through this and can’t wait to finish it (although I don’t want it to be over!) Watch out for a review blog on Thursday as that is Traitor To The Throne release date! 

Winter Magic – curated by Abi Elphinstone

I was lucky enough to receive this incredibly well signed copy of the book from my amazing friend Aimee for Christmas. I’m not usually one for short stories but having read 4/5 of them I’ve loved each and every one. This is obviously a MG book rather than YA but I am game for reading MG books just as much as YA. Plus Abi is amazing so I knew this was going to be a winner. I’m waiting to read this in its entirety to start planning lessons for next winter around some of the stories! This could potentially be incredible for my teacher training year. 

BOOKS I OBTAINED:
(through always entirely legal means… aka my friends are all amazing and my bank balance is always sad with me)

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YA books:

Maresi: Maria Turtschaninoff
I was sent this by her publicist and I can not wait to get my teeth stuck into it!

The Call: Paedar O’Guillin
My lovely friend  Lily (of Youtube  fame) sent me this in a book swap! Along with…

The Diabloic: S.J.Kincaid
I’ve heard so many good things about this that I was over the moon when Lily said she had a copy I could swap with her for!

Word Nerd: Susin Nielsen
I received this book as part of the #SundayYA Secret Santa wonderment – you could choose to send a birthday present to your recipient too! Woo!

Orangeboy: Patrice Lawrence

A Quiet Kind of Thunder: Sara Barnard
I loved this book so much and the cover is so pretty that my gorgeous friend Rachel (of #SundayYA fame and twitter fame) sent it to me for my birthday. I’ve read and reviewed this (BOOKBLOG: Sara Barnard) and I have a giveaway running currently (see this blog post + twitter for more details) with this book included because I loved it SO SO SO much and I think everyone else should too. 

The One Memory of Flora Banks: Emily Barr
Gorgeous friend Rachel also sent me this! I am so lucky! I almost bought it! We recently had a #SundayYA chat with the author and I am so glad that the book arrived not long after that. I can’t wait to read it.

The Reader on the 6.27: Jean-Paul Didierlaurent
I got this from one of my lovely work friends and I had seen it in Waterstones but didn’t pick it up at the time but when I got it for my bithday I was over the moon! Thank you wonderful work friends!

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Kids lit:

I’ll Wait Mr Panda: Steve Anthony

There May Be A Castle: Piers Torday
My gorgeous friend Grace (of Almost Amazing Grace fame) sent me this… I’ve seen so much 

So that was January in books for me… it seems I have A LOT OF READING to do. This is not a problem! 

Hope you’ve enjoyed this blog post! It was lovely to catch myself up on what a mad month January has been! I can’t believe it is almost over already! 

S x

 

What We’re Reading…

My first ‘What We’re Reading’ post went down a storm so I figured I would make it a fortnightly thing after all! 

As per the last blog post which you’ll find here (What We’re Reading!) these books are the books that Year 4 are currently reading. I need to work on showing you how many books they read. This class is a class of book lovers. Story time is their favourite time of day and they will try and steal any kind of minute spare in the day to read. I absolutely love their motivation to read and am a pretty proud teacher when we have discussions about books. 

This week’s prompt was

“Write a sentence about your favourite part of the story so far
OR
Write a sentence predicting what is going to happen”

I would love to start doing this with other classes too! 

If you have any prompt ideas, or would be interested in knowing other things about my class’ reading habits please let me know!

We are still reading The Christmasaurus (I know it’s almost Feb, shush). But I can’t wait to start a new book, we are getting through it and seeing their joy when this happens, or when this person appears is a total pleasure. 

S x

#whatItaughttoday

I just recently started using this hashtag on twitter and it’s been SUPER useful to me as a review tool to see all of the different lessons I teach and seeing the year groups I interact with. Here is my review of the week using #whatItaughttoday (sorry they’re not in order! Silly twitter)

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Just looking at that list makes me super proud! It shows as well that kids take a lot in in one day! My job is so lovely that I am lucky that I am doing all this teaching in a week… but it isn’t always with me as the teacher at the front of the classroom – some of it I am leading the class (as the teacher), some of it I am leading interventions with children 1:1, some interventions as a group, some is in class intervention with children who are in need of stretch and challenge (or whatever you want to call it), some of it when I’m acting as the TA in the classroom. I am lucky that I get to play a part in all of this learning. Some of these lessons are in KS1 – Year 1 and Year 2, some of them are with KS2 – Year 3 all the way to Year 6. 

My job keeps me on my toes. I need to have a broad knowledge of what’s going on in school and in the curriculum… but I love it. It’s challenging and stressful at times, gets on top of me at times but I wouldn’t change it. 

I love that hashtags like this exist so I can see how much I actually do and it’s incredible seeing the bredth of teaching I do in school. One minute I’m doing phonics with Y2, then teaching Y6 about the causes of WW2 and the ripple effects. 

Just shared a few pictures of things I’ve taught this week: 

  • Modelling and adapting stories with Y2.
  • Chinese New Year with after school club.
  • Coding with Year 4.
  • Homophones with Year 4.
  • French words for family with Year 3.

Hope you’ve enjoyed my weekly wrap up! Pop over to the #whatItaughttoday tag and see what other people have been up to! It’s incredible seeing what goes on in classrooms. 

S x

It’s that time again…

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IT’S GIVEAWAY TIME AGAIN.

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

To celebrate this month’s wonderful release of ‘A Quiet Kind of Thunder’ the winner will get a copy of A Quiet Kind of Thunder AND a copy of Beautiful Broken Things. Two wonderful books by the absolutely magical Sara Barnard.

You’ll find my review of AQKOT here: BOOKBLOG: Sara Barnard. It is genuinely one of my favourite reads of the past few years. BBT is wonderful too. They’re also GORGEOUS. JUST LOOK AT THEM. *heart eyes*

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So here’s the boring bit, the necessary bit.

Prize:

  • A copy of Beautiful Broken Things
  • A copy of A Quiet Kind of Thunder
  • Other gorgeous niknaks (chosen by me!)

Rules:

  • You must retweet my tweet which mentions this blog post.
  • British Isles only. Sorry international folks! I will be running an international giveaway soon!
  • Giveaway opens 27.1.17 and closes midnight 9.2.17.
  • Winner will be contacted via twitter on 10th Feb and announced in a blog post on 10th Feb.

Good luck!!

S xx

To the one who got away…

Hello, yes you, hello.

I bet you weren’t expecting to hear from me. To be honest I wasn’t ever expecting you to feature here. My life has none of you in it. Part of me knows this is for the very very best, but there’s a tiny little part of me that wants to know how you’re doing, where you are, what your life is like without me in it. I’m selfish, yes. But there’s part of me that misses the good that you gave me. It wasn’t all good. I know.

I need to get you off my chest. I don’t think about you much, those songs have (mostly) stopped reminding me of you and I can look back at those memories we made as just memories – they sit happily in my brain and in my heart rather than hurting. We made lots of memories together. Some of them good memories, some not so good… but they’ll all stay with me forever.

We had some amazing times together, you were amazing to me – I had never been with anyone like you – you always knew what I needed before I said and sometimes before I even knew myself. You seemed to ‘get’ me. I’m not daft though, we had some not so good times – times we really didn’t get along, times we couldn’t get on the same page of the book, times our lives and our philosophies just did not match. We always seemed to patch through them though. Until that day we just couldn’t any more. I remember it well. There’s no blame to be put on anyone, I understand that. But it hurt.

I learned a lot from you. I learned what I don’t want. I learned what I need in my future relationships. I learned what I deserve. I learned where my own misgivings are. You changed something in me and I’m eternally grateful. You never faltered in your generosity. You were amazing to me. It worked when it was good but when it didn’t it was a total shambles. There were times when it wasn’t easy, it felt like there was always something in the way and I always felt like it was a ‘me’ thing, like it was my fault.

I’ll never forget the first time we kissed, how much you made me laugh, how much we laughed together, how you took me places I’d never been before (or ever imagined that I would get to go) but I now need those things to not kill me. There’s things I let go of quickly. There’s still things that I can’t let go of. You had a personal text tone so I knew when it was you who texted me but it still haunts me – I’ve tried countless times to assign it to someone else but each time I try my heart just plummets. That’s one thing I can’t let go of… it’s always the really stupid, little things.

I was so proud to be yours, to be us but it was never allowed, always just a quiet thing. I know there’s reasons for this and I get it. It was fine at the time but I learned that I don’t want to be that again. I loved you, I really did. We didn’t get what we needed from each other – we weren’t what the other needed. Somehow that was never an issue, until it became evident it was. Eventually that became too big a stone to push.

If you do somehow come across this I don’t want you to be upset or angry – I didn’t write this to upset you.

I miss you every day. I hate that I have no idea how you are or what you’re doing – but I think this way is for the best. This way there is no way back in for me. I think I would take the way back in if it was offered.

Thank you for everything you gave me – your time, the laughter, your generosity, the thoughts, to travels, the secret smiles – you were certainly a joy to be with.

S x

Books I meant to read…

YA books in 2016!

My wonderful friend Jess posted this idea on Twitter and I thought “that’s a brilliant idea!” so I decided I would share with you guys some of the books from 2016 which I meant to get round to buying/reading but never had time for! 2016 was filled with so many incredible books that it was impossible to read them all. I’m hoping though that I get to read some, if not all of these books by the end of 2017.

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Orangeboy – Patrice Lawrence
I was lucky enough to hear Patrice talk about this book on one of the incredible UKYACX panels. Alas I never got round to buying one and therefore reading it 😦

Cell 7 – Kerry Drewery
Now this is one I did manage to buy, but I never got round to reading. Kerry is incredible – she is one half of the organising mastermind behind UKYACX so my copy is even signed. 

Lifers – M.A.Griffin
This is again another book I bought at UKYACX but never got round to reading! The author was lovely and I managed to sneak in getting my copy signed, but like so many other incredible books it is still on my TBR.

The Diabolic – S.J.Kincaid
I didn’t start hearing about this book until November/December of 2016 so I wasn’t fully aware of it but I want to read it! I am very lucky that my lovely friend Lily (over at SweetLoveBooks on Youtube) had read this and she offered to send it to me! So now I have it I have to get round to shoving it up my TBR pile.

Radio Silence – Alice Oseman
I feel like I’ve read some Alice Oseman before and I feel like I loved it (however I have a terrible memory and I read MANY books) so I don’t know how this one slipped out of my way. The #SundayYA girls are always talking about it though, so I should get my hands on it ASAP. 

Holding Up The Universe – Jennifer Niven
This is another one that I feel the #SundayYA crew keep talking about that’s managed to slip through my fingers. I will read it this year. I will read it this year. 

The Call – Peadar O’Guilin
I remember entering a competition to win this and I didn’t win. What a sad time. However now I have managed to get my hands on a copy (again, thanks Lily!) so now I MUST get it read!

Our Chemical Hearts – Krystal Sutherland
Oh this book kept just slipping out of my fingers. I really must get hold of it. I feel like it was talked about A LOT last year so I need to read it for to see what all the fuss was about! 

The Sun Is Also A Star – Nicola Yoon
I got sent a copy of this from wonderful Sarah from wonderful Penguin Books and it is on my shelf just waiting to be read. 

Crooked Kingdom – Leigh Bardugo
I was lucky enough to meet Leigh a few years ago when I met Melinda Saisbury for the first time – they were doing an event together at Seven Stories. They’re both wickedly wonderful ladies and I would like to be real life friends with them both. I didn’t get a chance to buy this book alas, but I shall definitely buy it this year because I have heard SO MANY wonderful things about it!

How Not To Disappear – Claire Furness
I think this is one of the other books that I didn’t get round to reading despite the fact I own it! It’s one of those books on my shelf that I want to read but it is always surpassed by something else. I will make an effort to pick it up soon!

Wink Poppy Midnight – April Genevieve Tucholke
This book has just come into my knowledge in the past few days but MY WORD LOOK AT IT. What can I say? I am a bit of a cover lover. It looks like my kind of book. It certainly has shelf appeal. I need to get this bought and read!

So there we go! There’s just SOME of the YA books released in 2016 that I didn’t get round to reading. I’m sure there are so so many more! If you’ve seen a book that you’ve read that I’ve never mentioned that you loved that you think I should read then PLEASE let me know! I love book recommendations and NEVER need an excuse to go book shopping!!

S x

p.s. You should go and check out Jess’ post too over here: Bookendsandendings – Jess’ blog

This week…

Was the longest week in the world.

It’s been a lovely week however. We started the week with my birthday on Monday. I get the joy of teaching a challenging Year 6 class on Mondays and it wasn’t a great start to the week, or a great way to spen my birthday but it was OK. We had a good history lesson learning all about WW2 leaders – they had to investigate how countries were aligned (Allies vs Axis) and then had to use the iPads to research and write a biography of one of the leaders. I’m hoping to use this information to facilitate a debate in a few weeks time. These plans are still in work though! We then had the first of 2 twilights after school. We’ve recently bought the Abacus scheme of work for maths so we needed some training – Monday after school and Tuesday after school. I learned more on the Tuesday than I did the Monday, but both nights were interesting. It was informative, my brain was ready to explode after the Tuesday night!

This week seems to have lasted forever. After Monday and Tuesday going on forever I hoped the rest of the days would go smoothly but it was not the case!

I got to start my new intervention with some of our Y3 and Y5 girls. We’re using the Better Reading Partnership (BRP) scheme to try and boost the results of some focus children. I had 2 sessions with my 2 focus children and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Both of them were super pleased to be reading with me and they were both super keen to read and talk about books. One of them even asked me on Thursday (my intervention is Tues/Weds) if she could read with me again and was disappointed when I said that we wouldn’t be reading together again until next week. If only I had more time in my timetable to fit it in!

What else have I been up to this week?
Year 4 loved their science lesson! We were proving and disproving scientific theories. They were struggling at first (it sounds really difficult!) but once we did a few together they really got the hang of it. They were thinking about things like “all solids are hard”, “you can’t see any gases” etc and they loved having discussions with the adults in the room and their follow classmates to come up with examples to disprove the statements. We also had a go at biscuit bashing! One of them last week said “Miss, if you break down a solid you get a liquid” so I thought it would be a fun way to show that that’s not always true… it depends what you do to the solid. We have some experiements in the next few weeks with freezing and melting, which they’re super excited for.

Highlight of the week?
We have 2 BA students in Year 4 (they were BRP students helping us before Christmas and now they’re doing their paired placement with us and one of them said the loveliest thing to me on Friday.
“I can’t believe you’re not a teacher. You’re just naturally brilliant”.
That made my heart so happy.

I FINALLY got round to putting Year 4’s resolutions on the window too. It’s one of my favourite displays I’ve ever made I think. It says “Reach for the moon even if you fail you’ll land among stars”. All of the children made a resolution at the beginning of 2017 and I’m going to use this display to promote positive behaviour and to teach the kids that they can be whatever they want as long as they try.

BOOKBLOG: Tom Becker

I’ll Be Home For Christmas: honest, frank and emotive.

This collection of poems and stories by some of the leading UK YA authors is a brilliant book and it’s for a BRILLIANT cause – with each book that’s bought a donation is given to Crisis. Lovely idea. Well done Stripes publishing! This collection is all about homes and families – both those which are chosen us and the ones we choose.

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Now I’m not going to review the whole book in loads of detail because you’d be here forever and I would run out of words eventually but there are some that I totally want to highlight and talk about! 

Ghosts of Christmas Past (Non Pratt)
This story was gorgeous. Told a tale of how one person’s past can be someone else’s future. I didn’t see it coming. It struck me a bit and it was powerful. I loved it. 

The Afterschool Club (Holly Bourne)
I’m a massive Holly fan so was super excited to see that she’d written something for this collection and I was not let down! The main characters were both equally loveable. I love a story where I like both of the main characters. There was no need for anyone else to be involved. It was complex, haunting, dangerous but hopeful. I adored it. I want more from these two. They made my heart happy. 

Homo for Christmas (Juno Dawson)
OH MAN I WANT TO CHAMPION THIS STORY SO MUCH. I COULD TALK ABOUT IT FOR HOURS (I won’t). I must’ve sent Juno about 100 tweets during/after reading this story and I am so glad it exists in my life. There are SO MANY reasons why it’s incredible.
a) A Geordie protagonist – a likeable Geordie protagonist, who doesn’t get drunk all the time. We are not all like that. 
b) So many references that made me laugh – the northerners don’t wear coats thing, yes. So much of this tale made my poor little Geordie heart happy.
c) The relationship between the main character and his mam – I know this is probably true of everyone and their mam, but it made me so happy to see a functioning, supportive mam.
d) THE USE OF THE WORD MAM. Yes. That’s the word we use in these parts and it’s so good to see it in a book!!
e) His coming out – mams are incredible people. I don’t wanna spoil it for you, because READ IT. But know that mams are incredible.
This particular story hit a million nerves with me. I just can not champion this short story enough in my world. Everyone needs to read it. Juno is an absolute goddess for putting this into the world. I need more stories with Geordie protagonists like him. 

Those were 3 of my highlights but I think everyone should read this story because it was such a diverse collection of characters and stories, and situations. I’m not the biggest fan of short stories – I always crave more – but this was a fantastic one to read! Go on, you’re doing a good thing buying this book! 

S x

#ViewFromABook

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One of my favourite hashtags on twitter is #ViewFromABook. I love seeing what people are up to as they’re reading. I’m not sure where it started or how it came into my life but I am pretty glad it is! My views from a book are generally Starbucks, on a bus or on a metro but seeing all of the views of people are wonderful! There are some fantastic views.

I think it’s used in my circles to get teachers reading, which in my eyes is ALWAYS a good thing. Always. Teachers as readers is my thing. Team teachers as readers.

Here are a few of my #ViewFromABook posts! I’d love to see some of your #viewfromabook posts on twitter!

S x

What We’re Reading!

When I asked on Twitter what people wanted to see on my blog, my lovely friend Aimee suggested I had some kind of kids book input. I obviously can’t get the kids on my blog but they can help me with kids books! So this week I asked them all to write on a post-it note what they thought of the book they were reading and here are the results:

This class absolutely LOVE reading! The Christmasaurus is our current class reader (we didn’t finish it before Christmas and they were ADAMANT we would finish it now, even though I suggested new books!) so we did a post it note for that too. It is incredible to see the variety of books that they are reading. We promote a diverse range of books to the children and our library is extensive. They have so much choice. 

The variety of adjectives ranges from “adventurous” (which comes with VARIOUS spellings!), “fun”, “magical”, “scary”, “challenging” to “hilarious”. 

I am so proud that this is the first time we tried this and they came out with some brilliant ideas! I can’t wait to see what they’re reading in a fortnights time! These children change their books pretty regularly so I won’t get the chance to show you everything they read, but I will certainly try to show you what they go through. 

Any book recommendations from these would be incredible! I’m always looking for new books to suggest to them and to add to the library!

S x