IMWAYR: Middle School is AWKWARD

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I happened to catch this book while browsing other graphic novels and comics online. I can’t believe I never heard of this one before this year! As a middle school teacher, I know that daily life in school is awkward, and this book brings my middle school days back to life. Awkward, by Svetlana Chmakova, was published in 2015, but the plot took me back to 1980. Middle school has always been the same — unfortunately awkward.

The main character, Penelope (Peppi) is new to Berrybrook Middle School. What does she do on her first day? She breaks Cardinal Rule #1 for Surviving School (Don’t get noticed by the mean kids). When she trips over her own feet and falls into the quiet boy, Jaime, she definitely gets noticed. Talk about embarrassing yourself on the first day of school! How she handles herself after that is even worse, though.

Next, she tells herself that maybe she could follow Cardinal Rule #2 for Surviving School (See out groups with similar interest and join them), instead. She makes new friends in the art club, all the while re-living her awkward moment with Jaime, and trying to think of a way to reconcile. Later, when the art club and the science club face off in an all-out war, middle school lives are turned upside down.

If you’re a middle school fan (like me — crazy as it seems), check out Awkward. I have also ordered the sequel, Brave, about a boy named Jensen. I can’t wait to see what happens next at Berrybrook Middle School.

 

 

“What Did She Say?” — My Answers to Twitter Chat Questions This Week

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What Did She Say? My responses to the Twitter chat, #titletalk

Hosted by Donalyn Miller and others on Twitter

September 7, 2014 at 7:00 pm EST

Q1: What is your definition of “uninspired reader?”

(A1: T.S. said, “ An “uninspired reader” is one who hasn’t had the chance to form a reading identity, feels no sense of ownership.)

My A1: Agree! Many students/people don’t have a chance yet to be inspired.

Q2: Considering your definitions of uninspired readers, what can we do to help Ss find reading personally inspiring?

A2: I make sure I allow my students to like and dislike – and share my likes and dislikes. Opens a door.

Q3: How can we negotiate academic and personal reading goals with our students, so they find reading personally inspiring?

A3: It’s hard to find time for everything. Reading is a non-negotiable. Even 15 minutes a day. Do it for you.

Q4. How can we engage a school/home community in the goal of inspiring more readers?

A4: Many families don’t have books or other reading in the home. Ss and P-T conferences help. Also ads for book clubs.

(E. S. said, “I have a future NBC post on this topic. My own children became uninspired readers because of AR.”)

I replied, “My 2nd daughter hated AR! Wouldn’t read at school. Is a wild reader at home!”

Q5. What books, series, authors have sparked uninspired young readers who you know?

A5: Scieszka’s KNUCKLEHEAD had the whole class rolling! Wild reading of wild stories! Also:

So many! Percy Jackson, Divergent, and 39 Clues, as well as Dork Diaries and Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Just starting…

(K said, “Several mentions of read aloud as powerful. It really helps level playing field for those who can’t quite access certain texts.”)

Q6. I just finished Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer. Intriguing connections to Plath’s Bell Jar.

(I didn’t respond here. I lost the conversation for a bit.)

Q7: Last minute BONUS question: What are you reading your students this week? 

(W.C. said, “Whatever they want!”)

A7: I agree. I said, “I agree with W. They choose. Class reading is The Tiger Rising. Studying setting etc.”

Thank you so much to Donalyn Miller and others who host these amazing Twitter chats! I had a great time becoming part of the conversation!