Posted in book recommendations, Books, Text/Media Pairings

Anger is a Gift

Moss sat up and glanced over at Martin. “No, I didn’t! I don’t remember that at all.” Martin laughed. “Man, you were a mouthy kid,” he said. “You know you refused to sit in a booster seat?” “You’re kidding, man.” Martin shook his head. “You said you wanted a seat like all the others. You were grown, you said. So you wanted a cut just like them. And your dad supported you, too. He loved how much it annoyed me.” “Sounds like Papa,” Moss said, and he sighed. “I miss him so much.” “Me too, Moss,” said Martin, and he sighed. “Me too.” “I don’t remember that day,” said Moss. “I guess there’s a lot I don’t know.” “We all have memories of your father,” Martin said.

Oshiro, Mark. Anger Is a Gift (p. 388). Tom Doherty Associates. Kindle Edition.

Anger is a Gift by Mark Oshiro is a smoldering pain to fire novel: I won’t reveal any spoilers save for one: read it, and then please pay close attention to the author’s recommendations for other readings.*

Some ideas for introducing this novel, and helping students lead discussions:

Text Pairings:*

Teen Vogue: Don’t Teach Kids How to Survive Police Encounters: Train Cops to Deescalate

Another Black Teen’s Death by Police Brutality Drew Hundreds to Protest in Pittsburgh

https://www.thenation.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Anton-Rose-Protest-ap-img.jpg

Questions:

Are police departments working on deescalation?

Should teachers also be train in deescalation?

The school administrators were complicit in many of the events of the novel. Consider exploring the school systems of institutionalized racism that create the deadly and damaging consequences.

Regarding the novel: What do you think happened to the school administration? What was their role in the events? Esperanza’s parents: intent versus impact discussion.

The Passage of I-940 (Seattle) https://www.king5.com/article/news/local/with-passage-of-i-940-washington-police-focus-on-de-escalation/281-612781268

The How and Why of Trauma Informed Teaching

One last note: Oshiro recommends reading The Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler and I could not agree more. Read this now, and then read Anger.

Posted in Being a better teacher

WIHWT: Preparation Heck No.

This Wish I Had Written That comes courtesy of Emily St. John Mandel, the author of Station Eleven. Granted, again I am sharing a novel with a few adult/mature audiences overtones: when I search through my Kindle and look for profanities, a few bubble up, but nothing I noticed while reading. Not sure what that says about my numbness to vulgarities. There is a tame love scene, but many allusions to much more difficult ‘trigger-warning’ level events. Hey, it’s the end of the world as we know it–people who didn’t behave pre-post-apocalypse sure aren’t going to be better post-post-apocalypse.

station-eleven-logoI include this as my WIHWT, however, because it struck me how much and how little all of us are prepared for world’s end, both literally and figuratively. How much we encourage our students to do “maker spaces” and “genius hours,” to construct whole notions of thinking based off of the borg known as the Internet, encourage them not to learn how to write by hand but by keyboard, yet cherish and make precious artisanship. We send so many mixed messages. Learn to code, but forget teaching math basics: Project-Based learning of ‘real world’ problems but don’t teach them fundamental sciences such as the process of cell division or photosynthesis. Students look at my “teacher” handwriting with such longing, as if I know how to bake a pie from scratch and deny them this knowledge.

They are not prepared.

What the heck are we doing anyway?

When the machines are no longer ghosts, but taking over every aspect of our purposes, how will we adapt? Just what are we making in our maker spaces?

I realize at this point you’re fashioning a lovely tin-foil hat for me, and I’ll take it and wear it with pride. That’s what a good story does: makes us take long, painful looks at the current situation and consider other possible worlds. Perhaps these quaint ‘how to’s’ will serve our future well. In the meantime, I’m thinking of converting all my e-books back to paper and ink ones. Those things are going to be worth something someday.

Posted in Genre Studies, Media and Mischief, New News, Reading

Graphic Novels, Manga, and the New York Times

Sandman

http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/07/17/graphic-books-best-seller-list-july-11/

If you’re looking for some graphic novel/manga recommendations, check out this link from the New York Times newspaper. I am starting the Sandman series by Neil Gaiman, and the Batman graphic novel looks interesting, too.

 

Posted in Big Questions, Burning Questions Book Lists, Exploration, Media and Mischief, New News, Reading, Technology, Tell A Story, Too Good To Miss Assignment, writing prompts

Got Imagination?

http://www.amazon.com/How-Be-Explorer-World-Portable/dp/0399534601

 You know me. I like to be creative. Think. Make art. Write. Read. I really appreciate what Keri Smith put together in her book about exploration.

For example, on page 144-145, she writes:

Thought Experiments: Einstein used “thought experiments” (questions that can only be solved using imagination), on a regular basis. He actually formulated the special theory of relativity by asking the question, ‘what would it be like to travel on a beam of light?’ It is interesting to conduct these thought experiments in the midst of everyday life.

Some thought experiment starters:

  • what if all my neighbors had secret lives?
  • what if the newspaper held all the secrets of the universe in some kind of code?
  • what if all leaves had secret messages embedded on them?
  • what if little elves lived on the roof and only came out at night?
  • what if my house were a playgroun? a blank canvas? had secret powers?

 

Posted in Big Questions, Burning Questions Book Lists, Reading

Stoking the fires of burning questions…

http://www.librarything.com/tag/child+abuse

In a search for books that deal with the tough, sad topics of child abuse, and other big questions you may have, the website www.librarything.com is a great resource. Keep reading, keep searching, keep asking and thinking!

Posted in Big Questions, Burning Questions Book Lists

Books for Boys Who Will Soon Be Men

“Books for Young Men Who Don’t Want Anyone to Know They Read (Or Know How To)”
A list compiled by teacher, cousin, friend, Kelly Love

Warning: Some of these books would be rated PG-13 if they were movies; in some cases rated R. They are tough, honest, and real. They dig deep. They are written in beautiful language, mostly by men, for young adults to be. I wouldn’t hesitate to let my sons read any of these, so take that for what you may.

These are not in any order of preference; these are some of my favorites, and those that some of my guy students have secretly told me they loved. If you want further information, please email me:

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie
http://www.fallsapart.com/truediary.htm

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. Oh, Mr. Gaiman, you are amazing.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. From Death’s perspective – a personification of triumph of the will.

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
This story still holds up today – replace Soc’s and Greasers with Crips and Bloods, if you like.

Slam by Nick Hornby. An honest counter-point to the movie Juno, in my opinion. What’s it really like to be a teenage father?

Schooled by Gordon Korman
Talk about a fish out of water story – poor Cap (Capricorn) Anderson must make his way through middle school after being home-schooled by a hippie grandma – yikes. My students (and I) LOVE this book!

Son of the Mob by Gordon Korman
What would you do if you were a nice kid in a bad family? A really bad family?

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

Milkweed by Jerry Spinelli

Hero Type by Barry Lyga–Kevin did a really brave thing – or did he?

Tears of a Tiger by Sharon Draper

Monster by Walter Dean Meyers

Inside Out by Terry Trueman
What happens when you are 16 years old, have schizophrenia, and can’t get the help you need?

Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelsen

Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie by David Lubar

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

The Lightening Thief (#1) to the Last Olympian by Rick Riordan (series)
http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/imageviewer.asp?ean=9781423101475
The classic “journey of the hero” that all people respond to – archetypes that we all recognize, and the hero struggles, as we all do – this is a fantastic series.

New Found Land by Allan Wolfe: a tale of the Lewis and Clark expedition that made me finally understand why Sacajawea was so important and how a dog thinks.

And always: The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger: the ultimate teen angst story.

Looks promising:
Be More Chill by Ned Vizzini

On the darkside of fantasy:
Ironside, Tithe, or Valiant, by Holly Black: dark fairy stories, with twists – if you need to cleanse your palette after the Twilight series (it’s a guy thing)

I recommend this book to one and all.