English 341: It’s Like This

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Author: cmblue1

OH NO… we’re almost done

OH NO… we’re almost done

Overall, I enjoyed the graphic novel “Anya’s Ghost”. I’ve never read a graphic novel before but I liked reading this. I was skeptical about it at first because I enjoy creating my own characters and images from the authors words. However, Brosgol left enough mystery between scenes, or pictures, for the readers to kind of fill in the blanks on their own.  There wasn’t a distinct order to follow with your eyes as to which scene you should move to next, but it was pretty natural when my eyes moved from box to box.  I really loved the detail put into the illustrations. The color fits the story perfectly because it’s all about teenage angst and it’s a pretty dark story throughout. I love Anya and Emily’s facial expressions depending on what’s going on within the story, and even Emily changing her style was an interesting twist.

I’m not sure if I would like to use this graphic novel in the classroom.  There are a few curse words, which I’m sure the mature ones could handle, but there is a scene that implies sexual interactions that I’m not totally sure the younger grades would comprehend.  I’m also not sure what main theme my students would be able to get out of this book, or if I agree with everything that the book portrays.  The main character, Anya, struggles with her self-esteem, which most girls do, but there’s no turning point in this.  There is never a defining moment when Anya realizes that no body is perfect, but she is beautiful, flaws and all.  Also, some characters in the book smoke cigarettes and illustrate it as being cool, which is not something I would want my students to think.  However, I did enjoy reading this book and it’s definitely turned me on to a new genre that I never would have thought of reading beforehand!

So far I really like “The Book Thief”.  It took me a while to get passed the introduction and get used to the writing format.  Now that I know more about the characters and also understand who is narrating, I’ve enjoyed reading it much more.  I actually like the excerpts from time to time because it gives more information to the characters and what’s going on in the story.  I’m intrigued to see how it ends, although I’ve heard it’s really sad.  And I’m also excited to watch the movie once I’m done with the book!

poetic title goes here

poetic title goes here

I was nervous about reading poetry, honestly.  Not that I don’t like reading it, but because I knew we would have to do some of our own.  My book, Enchanted Air, has been a great read, though.  One main reason why I chose this book was because I’ve always been interested in Cuba and the history that country has with the United States.  Engle’s way with words and her metaphors really stuck with me.

“Somehow, the feathery voices

help me make my decision to sing

instead of speak, and even though

I sing in a voice more froglike

than winged,

I do dare to sing,

and that is what matters” (p. 8)

With this stanza, she foreshadows on the idea of bravery and courage that she will possess later on in the book.  I also really just love the message behind it, kind of like ‘sing like nobody is listening’.  This book would be a great lesson for the history of Cuba and the United States.  It teaches students about stereotypes and prejudice, as well as courage and a love for diversity.

I chose to create my own cento and all of the lines come from the book Enchanted Air.

“her true feelings on display”

“or will I always have to choose”

“or have I just learned how

to imagine?”

“that I’m already grown-up

and independent”

“a gentleness and power”

“I do dare to sing,

and that is what matters”

adventure awaits..

adventure awaits..

Life-is-not-a-fairytale

The series I’m reading is “The Land of Stories” by Chris Colfer. 

FUN FACT: Chris Colfer played Kurt Hummel on the TV show Glee.

When deciding which books from the series I wanted to read, I chose the first two.  I knew if I chose the third or fourth book, I would have regretted it because I wouldn’t be introduced to the characters.  Maybe I would have, but I’d much prefer to start a series from the beginning than in the middle. 

The first book is “The Wishing Spell” and chapters 1-3 are an introduction to the main characters.  Alex and Conner are twins.  Alex is the brains but lacks a social life, where as Conner is the opposite and is always caught sleeping in class.  However, despite their differences, they get along fairly well. 

Growing up, Conner and Alex always looked forward to going to their Grandmas house in the woods with their father because they would read fairytales together.  About a year ago, their father passed away in a car accident and money has been tight ever since.  Their mom has been picking up extra shifts at the hospital in order to pay the bills and unfortunately, one of these extra shifts landed on the twins 12th birthday.  As a surprise, mom asked grandma to come and stay with the kids for their birthday.  Grandma brought over the book that she and their father would read to them when they were younger(ironically it’s called “The Land of Stories”) and gave it to them as a birthday present.

Long story short, the twins discover that this book is actually magical.  They fall into the book and are now trapped inside the fairytale land.  So far, the story has been about Alex and Conner touring a land of magic that was once their favorite bedtime stories.  With the help of a friendly frog man, they get their hands on a journal which helps them find their way back home.  They don’t know if fairytale time is the same as reality, or if reality stops once they are in ‘The Land of Stories’.

I’ll be honest, I was a little worried when I first started reading the book.  I was afraid I wouldn’t like it because it took so long to get into the juicy fairytales!  I wanted to hop straight into the fairytale world, but Colfer took about three chapters introducing the characters.  Once I got passed those first 61 pages, I could hardly put the book down.  I was actually out with my friends this past Thursday and I told them how excited I was to go back home and read my book.  They all thought I was a little weird, especially considering that it’s a children’s book, but I’m loving getting lost in an imaginary world again!

There are a few lines from the book that have resonated with me that I think could help promote some discussion in a classroom, and also have some moral value:

“‘I’ve learned that the more people embrace their disadvantages, the less disadvantaged they become!”’ (Colfer, p. 92).

“‘Do you ever find it overwhelming?’ Alex asked Smithers.  ‘Does it ever get frightening living here and knowing that at any moment a fairy could fly by and grant you a wish, or an ogre could run up and eat you?’  Smithers looked at her curiously.  ‘Does such a place exist where people can’t unexpectedly be helped or hurt?’” (Colfer, p. 170).

“What if, as they were speaking, Lampton was putting together a band of soldiers to find them and take them into captivity? ‘Then we’ll tell him the truth and worry about it when it happens,’ Alex said” (Colfer, p. 197).

I think this last quote in particular would be a great discussion starter for a classroom.  To give you a little background knowledge, Alex and Conner need to find eight items for a wishing spell to send them back home.  One of those items is one of Cinderella’s glass slippers.  They went to her palace and were treated very kindly by Cinderella and the head of her Royal Guard, Lampton; both were not informed by Alex or Conner of their need for the glass slipper.  They were brought into the room where the glass slippers were held, but decided that it would be unethical to steal the slipper right then.  After they left the palace, they discovered that the slipper had magically appeared in their bag.

Although I haven’t put too much thought into the discussion, I think it would interesting to hear what students would do if they were in this situation.  If Lampton was “putting together a band of soldiers”, would they tell the truth even if it could risk them getting home to the real world?  Would they try to lie their way out of the situation?  Or would any students have a different idea as to what they would do?

Enough about my series book, I have a few comments about Miller’s “Reading in the Wild”.

I’ve enjoyed reading the first two chapters, however, my only complaint is that she kind of rambles.  I loved her idea of the classroom read-alouds, but she goes on and on about it when I think she could have gotten her point across in a few paragraphs.  But, on a better note, she has a lot of great ideas that I’m looking forward to implementing into my classroom!  And I also love how she puts blank copies of her handouts in the appendix!

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy your weekend :)

READING IS WILD!!!!!!!!!!!

READING IS WILD!!!!!!!!!!!

Honestly, reading the first few pages in this book and the first chapter made me miss reading for fun.  It’s difficult for me to read during the school year because of all the academic texts I need, and then when I do find free time I find myself on netflix.  I need to take a step back and get back into that new and wonderful world of reading.  One quote in the book that really resinated with me was, “When you are swept up in a wonderful story, there is something satisfying about falling into a book and walking with the characters until the journey ends” (Miller, p. 16).  I loved Miller’s idea on ‘Reading Emergencies’ and bringing a book with you everywhere you go.  When I’m indulged in a really good book, I’ll take it with me everywhere and even if I have only a few seconds, I will whip it out and read whatever I can.

I also totally caught on to the fake reader or reading avoidance.  I can think of a few kids that I work with who I know don’t actually read their book.  They sit there with the book in front of their face and pretend to read.  There is one kid in particular that I think about, and I brought it up to him the other day.  He asked me if he had been reading for ten minutes and I told him straight up that he hadn’t been.  I told him that I knew he wasn’t actually reading and he was only sitting there with his book in front of his face.  I went about much more nicely when actually speaking with him, but I think he was quite surprised that I caught on to his ‘sneaky’ trick.

I’m excited and also nervous for my future ‘fake readers’.  One thing I wish Miller elaborated on, and maybe she will in future chapters, is how exactly to deal with fake readers.  I know she gave us a few tips, like find ‘the right book’ and switching their seats, but there has to be more than just those two.  I’ve tried these tactics with the kids I work with and still have not prevailed with all.  I am, however, excited to create my own reading environment in my classroom.  I want it to be comfortable and casual, a place where my students can escape into their books and a different reality with ease.  I would also like to have a large library, which I know I need to get started on, so my students will have a plethora of books to choose from!

Cindy who?

Cindy who?

No infatuated father

No fish bones or fairy godmother

All were overcome by her beauty and grace

And the skin that she wore to cover her face

She was beaten and battered with very little laughter

But in the end she was a happy ever after

Oops, I forgot a title :)

Oops, I forgot a title :)

Hey guys! I’m Cora and this is my fourth year at Chico State.  I will not be graduating this year, taking a victory lap, but that’s okay because I am so not ready to leave this wonderful town I now call home.  My major is liberal studies and I’ve known for a very long time that I wanted to be a teacher.  For one reason, I love working with kids.  I love their imagination, their youthfulness, and their bitter honesty.  I also want to make a difference.  I know we all have those teachers who inspired us to be better people/students and I would love to be that for someone else, even if it is just one.  As I mentioned on the first day of class, I love the spark in the students eyes when something finally clicks.  And it is so rewarding to walk into the classroom every day and have them excited to see you and ready to learn.

I agree with Williams as what it means to be a reader.  It’s actually comprehending what the author is trying to portray and being able to read between the lines when necessary.  I love reading any kind of books!  I am open to any suggestions for fun reads outside of school.  Unfortunately, I don’t have much time to read for fun because there is so much reading that needs to be done for school.  I think my outside of school reading connects with my school reading in the sense that it broadens my vocabulary and also helps with me reading faster, which is very helpful when you’re on a time crunch!  I enjoyed the Williams article because it put what I had always felt about being a reader into words.

I’m really looking forward to this class and reading more fun and interesting pieces of literature :)