English 341: It’s Like This

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Author: saratengelsen

SUPER late last blog

SUPER late last blog

I’m embarrassed at how late this is, but it’s worth a shot. I really REALLY love my graphic novel so even if this doesn’t end up counting towards my grade, I will have enjoyed expressing my unwavering admiration for “Smile” yet again. I would just like to point out that when I received all my books in the mail at the beginning of the semester, I read this book within 2 hours of opening the box. It was just so capturing and relatable, it was hard to put down!

This book differed in that it was written in comic book style, as many graphic novels are. Though the colorful pictures take over the pages, I still found myself reading the text first, and then going back and looking at the pictures after reading the whole page. I’m not sure if kids would do the same, which could potentially propose an issue, but I think mostly as long as the child understands what is going on it should matter too much. I think this changed the way I read, in that I really had to pay attention to what I was reading and all the details in each picture to get the full effect. When I reread this book, I saw so many things I hadn’t even noticed before. I know that when rereading something, you always notice more the second time around, but this book had so many details and easy-to-miss things that the second time reading it was even better than the first.

I wish someone had given this to me when I was starting middle school. Though I never had braces, this book is so spot on. This book perfectly illustrates what middle school and starting high school is like.
The author, Raina, is also the main character, as she is writing about her experience growing up. I love that the timeline is based around her extensive dental procedures, that basically start and finish the book.
I know one issue that might surface with this book is that it is about a young girl, so consiquently younger boys might not be interested in reading it. Though it is about a girl, she isn’t the slightest bit a “girly girl” and I think boys would still enjoy reading about Raina and all her life struggles.
This is a great book for kids who don’t really want to read. I know it really only takes one good book to make a child into a reader, and this could be that book for a lot of kids. I highly suggest it for teachers, and it could be a great model for a real-life comic book lesson plan. Kids could take a simple situation that they experienced recently at home or at school, and creatively use it to make a short story. Even the not so artistic kids could look at how Raina drew her life and copy her style of illustration as well as writing.

It’s OK to be a Monster!

It’s OK to be a Monster!

Part A.

Monster. Ugh. This book is one of the most difficult I’ve had to read. That being said, I find the subject very interesting, as my mother is a lawyer and she has dealt with cases like this before. My mom is a prosecutor for the county of LA, so she defends the people of LA. I love my mom dearly, but I’ve seen her in court and she is a very different person in court; she’s similar to Petrochelli. She does her job well and has to believe that whoever she is against is guilty in order to be successful with her job. Unfortunately for the defense, she wins almost every time. I’ve been trying to keep my mother in mind while reading Monster.

I think my favorite parts of monster are his journal entries. For anyone who hasn’t read Monster, it’s about a 16 year old boy who is on trial for murder, but he is writing a screenplay about his life and the trial (sorry should have mentioned that earlier^). He occasionally separates scenes with journal entries that are very deep and personal. They are pretty much the only time we get to see what he is really thinking and feeling. Because of the way this book is written and structured, it is very difficult to read. Your eyes have to adjust to reading the name of the person speaking before each new line, and you have to develop the emotions and setting more on your own.

This book would be hard for children to read alone, but I think it would be a good middle school group activity to do. I think I would use the journal entries as a guide for their own journal. I would give them a scenario every day and they could write about the hardships of the life in that scenario. It could be a very creative writing piece and they could reference the book if they got stuck. Another idea is to have them write their own screenplays of a situation they remember clearly from home, or even something they have made up. I think it would be really interesting to see what they have to say about the court scenes in Monster. My mother has been a lawyer my whole life and it’s taken me that long to fully understand all the steps that go on. It might be beneficial to go over each character before reading out loud, talk about their significance in the book, and how they think those characters have changed or not.

Part B.

I’m only a Monster ( title) <<< lines used from book

The best time to cry is at night

all the blood in my veins were bubbling

all the thoughts in my head were buzzing

you can’t cut this out

this is reality, this is the real deal

I think about all the tomorrow of your life

and how my whole life will be gone tomorrow

Origami Yoda, Darth Paper, and me

Origami Yoda, Darth Paper, and me

Star Wars and origami? What’s not to love?! This series is awesome and I would like to thank Tom Angleberger. Maybe I’ll tweet at him later! For anyone who has not read this series, it’s about McQuarrie Middle School, a group of preteen boys, and their fascination with a piece of paper folded to look like the green beloved Star Wars character Yoda. Around McQuarrie Middle School they call him Origami Yoda. Origami Yoda gives advice, sees the future and basically makes middle school a lot easier for everyone willing to listen to him. I know what you’re thinking, how can a piece of folded green paper talk? Well, Origami Yoda rests on the finger of the school’s weirdest kid, Dwight, but Dwight does not give the advice, Origami Yoda does.

The whole first book, The Strange Case of Origami Yoda, is a case file put together by Tommy, one of the boys going to McQuarrie. Tommy went around to most of the 6th graders in school and asked them to share their experience with Origami Yoda, and whether or not they think he is real. Tommy then allows his very skeptical friend Harvey to comment after each story, explaining why Origami Yoda is just a big fake. After he collects his evidence, Tommy decides at the end of the book whether or not he thinks Origami Yoda is real.

What I really like about the first book is the writing style. It really is almost like someone is presenting their case for trial. The main writer, Tommy, is very good about not having a bias, even though he gets really frustrated with his rude friend Harvey. Tommy, in my opinion, is one of the characters in this book that young kids can really look forward to becoming when they are in middle school. He makes mistakes occasionally, but Tommy is a good friend who sticks up for “the weird one” Dwight even when Dwight gets really annoying. Tommy learns not to care about being friends with the weird kid and that sometimes the people you’re closest with can be the one’s tearing you down the most (aka Harvey.) Though the kids in this book are 6th graders, I think 3rd-5th graders could most benefit from this book because it could give them something to look forward to. Middle school really is the worst, so if there is any sort of hope that we can give future middle schoolers, we need to provide it!

One thing I didn’t like was Harvey’s character. Harvey is actually really mean, and I found myself hating a 6th grader (applause to Angleberger.) Though Harvey is a really well written villain of sorts, I think some kids could very easily resignate with him, and want to be like him. Tommy is the protagonist and Harvey is the antagonist. Tommy, though heroic in proving Dwight right, is not more heroic than Harvey is mean, rude and downright evil. In other words, Harvey’s meanness is much more prominent than Tommy’s niceness. It just worries me that kids might see this and want to be more like Harvey, despite Tommy’s overall triumph. The world does not need more Harvey’s. Harvey’s are bad. DO NOT BE A HARVEY!

Though I have not finished it yet, the second book, Darth Paper Strikes Back, is written in the same style as the first, though this time Harvey has made an origami Darth Vader called “Darth Paper.” Tommy writes this case file for the school board in hopes that he will be able to save Dwight from expulsion from McQuarrie Middle School. The stories are similar to that of the first book, but now there is a very distinct villain, Harvey, who everyone thinks ratted on Dwight to get him expelled. I think this book is more interesting than the first because there is a much more developed mystery right from the beginning.

Something that is really accurate in both books is the awkwardness of middle school. Both books involve secret girl crushes as well as an understanding of who your real friends are, despite their weird quirks. I know I can relate to the awkwardness involved in the middle school romantic relationships, and though I had great friends in middle school, I think I needed more real friends in high school. The Origami Yoda series is a great transitioning book for a difficult and strange time in every kids life.

Either of these books could be used in a classroom, especially because of their structure. I would have my students use the short story style of this series and have them write a one story case file about anything they would like. It could be about why they think dogs are better than cats, or whatever they want. They could add drawings or pictures too to make it more creative. This project would probably be for 4th or 5th graders, but it could be modified with more or less writing for older or younger grades.

Thanks for calling out the fake readers

Thanks for calling out the fake readers

First let me start off by saying, SORRY FOR THE LATE POST! It was a rough weekend. Anyway, I titled my post “thanks for calling out the fake readers” because I really appreciated Miller’s section about addressing fake readers. It really isn’t something I have ever thought about before, especially since I have always been someone who loved to read in class. Fake readers aren’t just children who don’t like reading, they are also children who are pretending to read so they don’t feel left out or unintelligent compared to the rest of the class. I remember in elementary school that we had to go in during recess once a month and read to the teacher so she would know what level of reading we were at. I’m really glad my teachers took the time to do that, but I know other school aren’t so lucky. I loved Miller’s technique of watching her student’s reading behavior over the course of 3 days, which is so easy and helpful to the students. I think reading level is one of the easiest ways to develop a child’s brain early on, so it needs to be addressed with care and concern. Though this is challenging to add into the already busy curriculum, I think it is doable. Just as any future teacher wants, I am most excited to show my students how to love reading. My fear would be the supposedly incurable book hater students. Though they will be stubborn and difficult, I will also be stubborn and difficult. I consider them a challenge that will not be so easily accomplished. However, no one ever said teaching was easy, and I welcome them just as much as the next student. Miller’s book, along with the other ideals we have discussed in class, really have me beaming about all the fun things I want to do with reading in the classroom.

Again, sorry for the late post comment partner!

Cinderella, what’s your story?

Cinderella, what’s your story?

This story involves a family of sorts

one that isn’t so nice

it’s about a girl and her father

and her step mother and step sister too


this story is about a girl and an animal

one where the animal dies

this animal has less than four limbs

a friendship lost that makes the girl cry


this story is about a girl who gets lucky

with beautiful gifts from the animal

the king of this land found the girl, now so beautiful

and took her back to his kingdom


though many stories sound similar by name,

do you know which Cinderella story is to blame?

I’m Sara!

I’m Sara!

Hello! My name is Sara Tengelsen and this class already seems to be one of my favorite classes since beginning at Chico State (which is awesome.) I am from Southern California and spent most of my child and teen years playing soccer, drawing and painting, volunteering in my community and being a part of leadership. I want to become a teacher because of the wonderful and dedicated teachers I had, especially in high school. This year, I started working as a RA, which has me thinking about going to graduate school for some kind of counseling.

I think being a “reader” means just that you want to read, no matter what subject that may be. Outside of school I read mostly articles that I find online or books that are written on a subject I want to learn more about. My father reads the newspaper every morning, and if he finds an article that he thinks I would like, he sends me a digital copy. I do think I read differently outside of school, but it is much more similar to the way I read outside of school now, rather than the way I read outside of school in high school. In high school, you are told what classes to take and have almost no say in what you’re learning, whereas in college, you can choose a major based on what you are interested in, making the motivation to read for classes that much more appealing. I like reading the books about child development and education because I am passionate about teaching. However, I would like to point out that I am not saying I have loved reading every book assigned in college thus far. The William’s article really struck me in that it is very much so a stereotype to be a “reader.” The general judgement and lack of acceptance that occurs in high school is also why I am so attracted to becoming an advocate and role model to high schoolers. This class already has me excited for my future in teaching, I cannot wait!