Friday, December 16, 2011

Happy Holidays, Rattlers!

Here's an area where we can talk about what we're reading or seeing in the movie theater (love my movies!)-- or whatever-- over break! Anyone doing anything fun? I'll be road tripping to Texas the 22nd-26th to see my siblings; it will be the first time we've all been together since 1998. Should be interesting. :)

Take care, everyone, be safe and have a fun and relaxing break!
Mrs. P

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Change of Plans!

We're doing a pizza party instead tomorrow! Those you signed up for desserts, drinks and chips (Divya), carry on. Those of you not signed up yet, please consider bringing in some sort of dessert or drink for everyone to share. And don't forget your book for your book exchange person!

So who's bringing what?
Mrs. P

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Next Week + More!

Hey bookies!
So next week is our last Thursday meeting before break, and we have a couple different traditions from years past that we like to keep. First, we do a book exchange--

Winter Break Book Exchange:

1. Everyone brings a book to LEND for reading over break (it will be well taken care of), holiday wrapped and ready for the person you chose (if you haven't drawn yet, see me ASAP-- I have names for you!).

2. The book can be either one from your own collection or you may select a library book for your person to check out (meaning YOU check it out, gift wrap it, bring it in and when he/she chooses it, they will in turn check it out to get it off your account).

3. Please try to select something of a manageable size for all-- no War and Peace, no entire Lord of the Rings... you know what I mean! You may, however, select two books if they are very short.

4. Select a book that has meaning to you. Maybe it's a childhood favorite, maybe you read it recently and it's your IT book right now... something that separates it from all the other books you've read!

5. We will meet Thursday the 15th and do our exchange then, along with setting a reasonable reading goal for Phantom Tollbooth.

The second (newest) tradition is that we make this a potluck party! We did this last year, and it was a lot of fun. You guys interested? Here's the sort of things I was thinking that people should bring in, and then we'll have lunch and exchange "presents" (book exchange) and chat and eat and drink:

1. Deli meats (for sandwiches)or other "main dish" items
2. Bread (3 loaves)
3. Veggies (for sandwiches)
4. Chips (assorted)
5. Desserts (")
6. Drinks (")


Questions? Comments?
Mrs. P

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

1st round of discussion questions for PT

Let's talk about these here on the blog and this Thursday in Mr. Custis' room!

1. In chapter one, what is Milo’s dilemma? Discuss the possible causes of the "crisis" he is having.

2. Once he unwraps the tollbooth, where does Milo decide to go? How does he choose his destination?

3. Where does Milo find himself after he passes the tollbooth? Name and describe this new land!

4. Define these words, and discuss how they are used in the story: doldrums, lethargic, and "weather" vs. "whether".

5. Describe the King’s ministers. Why did they say the same thing in different ways? What was their job in the marketplace?

Let's talk!
Mrs. P

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Phantom Tollbooth begins!

Hey Bookies! (silly Blogger won't let me add an image right now!)
So let's give this one a try. :) The Phantom Tollbooth is a classic fantasy story by Norton Juster that is celebrating its 50-year anniversary this year. Copies should start arriving Monday, so swing by and pick yours up. And click HERE to check out the Backseat Book Club; NPR is doing Tollbooth as its book club book as well, so there's all kinds of cool stuff to be found on their website, including interviews with the author and comments/questions. It'll be fun to see what everyone gets out of this very clever book!

FIRST READING GOAL FOR OUR MEETING ON THURSDAY, DECEMBER 8TH: I don't know if I'll have books for everyone on Monday (remember, if you can get your hands on your own copy, excellent! Post a comment here letting me know I don't have to find one for you), so let's make the goal pretty easy for week 1; I think everyone should be able to make it to Chapter 4-- Confusion in the Market Place. This is page 45, but keep in mind that there are tons of illustrations taking up space and the font is pretty big. I think it's very doable.

THINGS TO COMMENT ON HERE: 1. Let me know if you're participating in the club for this book, or if you're planning on sitting this one out. 2. Let me know if you have access to your own copy of this book.

Happy weekend!
Mrs. P

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Blue Sword cancelled-- what's next?

All right, Bookies-- I need to know your suggestions for our next read. Hit me. Patrick G. and I are going to do a mini-book club about The Blue Sword, and if you're enjoying it, you are welcome to stick with it. Just let me know! But if the book isn't what you were hoping for, weigh in with your choice and we'll see what we can do~ I've heard To Kill a Mockingbird and A Princess Bride... what else?
I'm off to Mexico tomorrow... see you guys in nine days!
Mrs. P

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Blue Sword Discussion Questions-- to Chapter 6

All right, so who made it to the page goal? Thoughts so far? Questions? 6th graders, we'll take a vote tomorrow to see who wants to pick a different book. Well, I guess we can see if EVERYONE wants a different book! I'm going to post some discussion questions for the first five chapters for those of you who have hit the goal. Let me hear your thoughts!

1. In the first 3 chapters, we meet a great many characters. With the exception of Harry and Corlath, did any other characters make an impression on you and why?

2. From the first three chapters, what are your general impressions of the Homeland vs Damar/Daria and their respective cultures?

3. What is kelar? What sort of things does it do?

4. What do you think of Harry Crewe? Why do you think she handles being kidnapped so well? What do you predict might happen to her next?

Let's start with those. MEETING TOMORROW!

Mrs. P

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Bookies-- We Have a New Selection!

Our new read is one of my longtime favorite fantasy novels-- The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley. It's a 6.1 book level in AR, so it's no easy read; feel free to ask questions here!

We can't meet next Thursday (Mr. Custis is going to ROME, ITALY and I'll be having eye surgery-- gulp), so our reading goal for the following Thursday, November 17th is to read to page 74, chapter six. We'll talk here on the blog until then.

Come to the library to check out your copies ASAP!
Mrs. P

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Discussion Questions for Sleepy Hollow--Let's discuss them here and at our meeting NEXT THURSDAY, the 20th!

1. Describe Ichabod Crane's character based on what you have read in the story. What type of person is he, exactly? Why do you think this?

2. How does Ichabod differ from Katrina's other suitors?

3. Who are the Hessian soldiers of the American Revolution? Do some research for this one!

4. Contrast Ichabod Crane and Brom Bones. How are they different in physical
appearance? How are their actions different? What would have made Katrina
attracted to each of them?

5. What evidence is there that Ichabod Crane had an active imagination?

6. Who do the villagers believe the headless horseman is? How did he lose his head?
What do the villagers think he is doing out at night? Why is he said to be in such a

7. Here's a big one-- what questions do you have about the story?

Mrs. P

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

First page goal for Sleepy Hollow

Since not everyone has picked up a book yet, let's skip meeting this Thursday and all meet up next Thursday with the book finished. How's that sound?

Looking forward to chatting about this classic horror story with you!
Mrs. P

Thursday, September 29, 2011

We are good to go, Bookies!

We are going to start the year with The Legend of Sleepy Hollow! Swing by the library to check a copy out ASAP, and I'll let you know when each group will meet to talk about it early next week. Keep your eye on the blog for more information!

Two more things:
1. Clarification-- I will try to find the animated version of this story, but it may be difficult; it's old! Also, when I said it was scary... I was YOUNG. Younger than you guys. So you probably won't think it's scary. As a matter of fact, you'll probably think it's funny. But whatever! It will be fun to watch if I can find it somewhere. :)

2. You can register your email on the Feedblitz to the right of this post. It will not spam you or anything, but it will send you a quick update anytime I add a new post. So please sign up! I'll help you if you need it; just come see me in the library.

Mrs. P

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Book Club is about to take off!

Hey Bookies!
Let's meet on Thursday, September 29th during 6th/7th lunch in Mr. Custis' room (B114)to do introductions, talk about the logistics of the club, and choose a first book to read. If you have suggestions for our first book, add them as a comment to this post, and I will take it under advisement as I make the choice. Woohoo for book club!
Mrs. P

Sunday, August 14, 2011

You know what time it is.

Hello, Bookies et al,

I know you guys have a few more days of freedom, but we teachers have just about run out of time. I just wanted to pop in and wish you all a most excellent transition week. Enjoy every last moment of the waning days of summer, and start school with goals for success firmly in place. Hit the blog when you can, and come see me if you want!

Take care!
Mrs. P

Sunday, June 26, 2011

How's your summer going, Rattlers?

Mine has been fairly smashing so far, I must say. :) I've gone to Austin to see some college buddies, tube a river and soak in Barton Springs, done some hiking with Miss Mia, gone to see a movie or two, gardened, played a little tennis (not as much as normal-- I've managed a couple of injuries that have really curtailed my normal playing time-- big bummer!), and I've read some really interesting books. What's to come? Maybe a trip to Dallas in early July for my brother's birthday, a definite trip to Duxbury, MA to see my Auntie and my cousins, and possibly a trip to Yellowstone in early August-- all sprinkled with my normal BoCo activities. All in all, a very fun and relaxing summer. Just what the doctor ordered so that the batteries are recharged for '11-'12.

What are you guys up to? Do tell!

As some of you know, I am in two YA book clubs this summer, so I picked out 12 books to read. First, I read Coraline by Neil Gaiman. Loved it. It's short, but good and creepy in a very British sort of way. Next up was Unwind by Neal Shusterman. I would only recommend this book to very mature middle schoolers, but to them, I recommend it highly. This book blew me away, stuck with me for weeks and I couldn't stop talking about it. But it is very, very graphic in parts and it definitely requires a mature mind to process all the topics. Now I see why it was a Blue Spruce nominee! The third book I read was The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan, a gothic/romance tale featuring zombies. Don't sound like they go together, right? :) It was good brain candy, albeit a bit dark after Unwind... I must admit, my dreams were disturbed for a few nights! After that, I finished What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell which I was very excited to read and a bit disappointed with when finished. It won the National Book Award and has had tons of praise heaped on it, but it just wasn't my style. I could see some girls really liking it, though! Right now, I'm about halfway done with American Born Chinese, a graphic novel by Gene Luen Yang, and I'm really enjoying this one. It won the Printz Award for YA Literature. I was recommending it to my friend Ms. Luchies who teaches at Silver Creek, and she says, "I know! I teach that book." Well, blow me down. :)

So that's where I am with my reading so far. What are you guys reading? Anything good? Anything awful?

Post away!
Mrs. P

Friday, May 20, 2011

Farewell pizza party Tuesday!

Last meeting is Tuesday! I'm providing pizza, and Kaari suggested you guys sign up to bring in drinks and desserts. If you're going to join us, tell us what you are bringing here so we don't have 500 chocolate chip cookies or 80 brownies or 40 bottles of Mountain Dew. You get my point. :)

Woohoo for the final week of school!
Mrs. P

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mrs. P's Summer Enrichment Classes!

Hey Rattlers!
I'm doing two summer enrichment classes that you guys might be interested in. The first, Books and Blogs, will be a free-reading class during which you will design your own book-review blog! I'll help you will all the nuts and bolts, bells and whistles. :) It will run from 9:00-10:30 AM on June 1-3, 7-10, 14-17, & 21-24. The second class, Good Movie...Better Book, is a class designed to really get you thinking critically about what goes into making a strong film adaptation of some of our favorite reads. Same days, but it will be from 11:00-12:30. If you are interested, come on in to the library and pick up the registration info at the circ desk! Plus, I'll answer any questions you might have.

Hope to see you this summer!
Mrs. P

Monday, April 18, 2011

And we've finished!

Or at least we should have. :) Let's discuss the following here on the blog prior to meeting Thursday. If people are conversing here, we can go right into watching the movie!

1. Why, according to Atticus, does Bob Ewell bear a grudge? Which people does Ewell see as his enemies, and why?
2. What explanation does Atticus give for Bob Ewell's attack? What does Heck Tate give as the reason for the attack? Do you think the sheriff's explanation or Atticus's is the more likely to be true?
3. Is Heck Tate right to spare Boo then publicity of an inquest? Give reasons for your answer.
4. How do the events of the final chapters explain the first sentence in the whole novel?
5. At the end of the novel, Atticus reads to Scout. Comment on his choice of story. Does it have any connection with themes earlier in the novel and in its ending?

All right, guys, your thoughts!
Mrs. P

Friday, March 25, 2011

Mockingbird-- Goal #4

All right, Bookies-- it's spring break!

Let's crank out a chunk over break, shall we? I say we shoot for p. 227, the start of chapter 24. Then we'll be a hop, skip and jump to finishing off the book when we get back, and then we can watch the movie version and get one more book in before the end of the year. How's that sound?

Mrs. P

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


The new book in the Inheritance Cycle will be released on November 8th of this year... Check out the title and cover art! There's a bit of info related to the new book on Wikipedia. Click here to read more.
Mrs. P

Friday, March 18, 2011

Mockingbird-- Goal #3

Hey bookies,
Sorry we can't meet during CSAP testing! Let's go ahead and read to p. 166, Chapter 17, for next Thursday, and then we'll set goals for over spring break. If you have any questions, post here! I'll post some discussion questions next week.
Mrs. P

P.S. I started tearing up in the 6th grade hallway yesterday while doing monitoring duty when I was reading. Love this book! :)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

To Kill a Mockingbird page goal #2

It seems we had some issues hitting the page goal this week, so we're going to buy some time next week with a much smaller page goal. Let's go to the beginning of Part II, page 113, and stop there. Then we can have a much more productive discussion next time!

Reading Goal #1 Discussion Questions

Hey Bookies,
Post your answers to the following questions, and let's talk about this amazing book!

1. What do you learn in chapter 1 about Maycomb, Atticus Finch and his family?
2. What do you think of the way Atticus treats Walter Cunningham? What do you think Scout learns from Walter's visit?
3. Atticus says that you never really understand a person "until you climb into his skin and walk around in it". What does this mean? Is it an easy thing for Scout to learn?
4. When the children plan to send a letter to the person who leaves the gifts, they are prevented. How does this happen? Who does it, and why might he do so?
5. How well does Atticus feel he should defend Tom Robinson? Is it usual for (white) lawyers to do their best for black clients in Alabama at this time?
6. In chapter 10, Atticus tells his children that "it's a sin to kill a mockingbird". What reason does he give for saying this?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

1st Page Goal

Okay, everyone has got their copies so we're ready to go. By next Thursday's meeting, let's all have read to page 99 which is the start of chapter 11. Sounds like a lot but I think you'll find it goes fast.

And now we join Scout and Jem and their amazing father Atticus on their journey in Maycomb County, Alabama. I want you guys to be prepared to look up some words to get the meanings, especially in the beginning; this is the most difficult vocabulary we have challenged ourselves with yet! Oh, and feel free to post questions about vocabulary or situational stuff or whatever here; I'll do my best to answer them.

Mrs. P

Monday, February 28, 2011

Bookies--Mockingbird books are here!

Stop by and pick up your copies at your convenience. We aren't going to meet this Wednesday due to Book Fair Madness, so I'll set a goal for us to get to by NEXT Thursday later this week.
Mrs. P

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Next Book Has Been Chosen!

After a three-way tie and vote-off, To Kill a Mockingbird has emerged as the book of choice. We will commence reading as soon as I can get my hands on copies. I put in the order for the lit sets with the district today, but unfortunately, someone else has them checked out until the end of the month. They are due to ship here by the 1st; however, if they come in early, Media Services will send them out ASAP. And so... we wait. I'll keep you posted!
Mrs. P

Friday, February 18, 2011

What'll It Be?

Hey Bookies!
Vote here for our next read. Remember, your options are:

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
The Chosen
Great Expectations
The Hobbit
National Velvet
Oliver Twist
To Kill a Mockingbird

We'll make the final decision next week, so vote today. Happy three-day weekend, everyone-- Woohoo!
Mrs. P

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Bookies Potluck on 2/24

Sign up here. Be specific as to what you're supplying--talk to each other!

Things we need:
1. Three people to bring in deli meats
2. Two people to bring in cheeses
3. Two people to bring in bread
4. Three people to bring in assorted chips
5. Three people to bring in drinks
6. Three people to bring in desserts
7. Two people to bring in paper plates and cups

Am I forgetting anything? Don't forget, this is a Bon Voyage, Mohika! party, so we need to do it up right.
Mrs. P

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Book Club Meeting Tomorrow Postponed!

Hey Bookies!
Thursday is my birthday, so I'm taking the day to mourn the loss of my youth. :) You'll understand one day. Anyway, I want to be there for the wrap-up discussion of The Alchemyst, so I am decreeing we postpone until next Thursday. I am also suggesting that we have a little Book Finishing celebration-- nothing big, but what if we all brought in a little dessert of some sort? Would that be good? If we don't like that idea, I'll take suggestions... Make your comment (or your sign up to bring in a treat) on this post.

Mrs. C and I are attending a conference Friday as well, so I'm out the rest of the week. You guys have a great weekend, and I'll see you on St. Valentine's Day.

Mrs. P

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Alchemyst Discussion Questions

All right, folks-- here are some questions for us today! Answer them here as well so we can get a real blog conversation going. :)

1. Flamel says, “We are all prisoners of a sort here—prisoners of circumstance and
events.” (p. 197) What does he mean? Are Josh and Sophie involved in the battle
between Flamel and Dee because of their destiny, or because they choose to become
involved? What does the codex mean when it says, “The two that are one will come
either to save or to destroy the world”? (p. 199)
2. Why do Josh and Sophie agree to go through the Awakening? Why does Hekate only
“awaken” Sophie’s powers? How does this affect the twins’ connection to each other?
3. What does Hekate mean when she says, “Great change always comes down to the
actions of a single person”? (p. 210) Can you identify times in the history of the world when great change happened because of the actions of a single person?

Let's discuss!
Mrs. P

Monday, January 24, 2011

Discussion Questions Part Deux

Those of you who didn't complete the "homework" for the discussion questions need to do so by Thursday if you can-- I know you guys are busy, but really, this could take as little as five minutes of your time, and I thought it was pretty darn interesting. We are reading to p.159, chapter 18, which come to find out is a pretty good stopping point. I will try to post some real discussion questions for where we are later.

Hope you guys are enjoying the book!
Mrs. P

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Alchemyst discussion questions for Thursday!

Okay, Bookies-- to generate a really interesting discussion, I have a simple task for you. In our book, Josh loves to look up info and see what checks out. I would like you to do the same! Come to the meeting with five interesting facts that you've discovered, either about the people in the book, the places they've gone, or whatever. We will do a big group share!

See you Thursday,
Mrs. P

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Alchemyst-- page goal is set!

Hey Bookies!

If you missed the meeting today, you were missed. :) We decided to take an easy start and get a feel for the book. Please read to page 60 (I believe that is to chapter 8-- I don't have a copy yet, so I can't double-check!) by Thursday's meeting. Woohoo for new books! Nathan, I'm so glad you'll be joining us from afar, and yes, a big shout-out to Mr. Goerner and Ms. Hogan!

Mrs. P

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

New Book, Bookies-- come pick yours up!

The Alchemyst: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flammel is a book that vast the majority of us haven't read (it's like a miracle!), so we jumped on it. For those of you book club members who haven't picked up your copies yet, come see me; I've got six copies available to check out presently, and hopefully I'll be able to procure more as needed. Post here and let me know if you have your own copy or access to a copy! That will be very helpful.

We will set a page goal Thursday. See you then!
Mrs. P

p.s. Nathan, have you read this one already? I'm thinking you have...
p.p.s. The Alchemyst has a page on, so the idea for making a movie is being bounced around-- FYI!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Need the borrowed copies back!

Welcome back, Bookies!

Some of you borrowed copies of The Deathly Hallows, and if you did, I need those copies back ASAP. Meeting this Thursday-- we'll pick a new book!

Mrs. P