The Fever Code by James Dashner

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I first fell in love with Thomas, Theresa, Newt, Alby, Minho and the gang in 2009. Since then I have read “The Maze Runner” series aloud to countless students, recommending the entire trilogy and prequel to anyone who is willing to listen to my book suggestions!

The Fever Code was satisfying for this die hard Maze Runner fan, as I was always curious about the maze’s conception and Thomas and Theresa’s role in it. The Fever Code does not disappoint in providing answers. It felt good to be back with Thomas, where it all started–WICKED headquarters. I loved watching his friendships with Minho, Newt, Alby and Chuck blossom. His relationship with Chuck brought back the feelings of deep sadness experienced during the heart-wrenching finale of The Maze Runner.

While Thomas and company’s growing friendships were fun to watch unfold, it was his relationship with Theresa that took centerstage in this novel. I recall not being particularly fond of Theresa throughout the series, and this novel solidified my distaste for her character. Her manipulation of Thomas throughout the book–especially knowing how the series ends–makes the end of this book a jaw dropper for sure!

Lots of answers are contained in this book, but the action is fairly limited (how much action does a controlled research facility allow, after all?). I would highly recommend this book to all Dashner fans, and cannot wait to talk about The Fever Code with students when I return to school after break!

 

VOYA CODE: 4Q    5P

Book Review: “The Wrath & The Dawn”

unknownI was excited to read Renee Ahdieh’s The Wrath and The Dawn after a student e-mailed me eagerly requesting that I read this novel, as she had recently finished it and thought I would like it. In my efforts to become a better global citizen, I acquiesced and excitedly snagged a copy to read and discuss with her.

In this book, with the coming of each dawn, a young king takes the life of his new bride, and the feisty protagonist, Shahrzad, vows to get revenge for the families who have lost their daughters to this murderous Caliph of Khorasan. Shahrzad finds herself in the presence of the Caliph and as she weaves intoxicating tales night after night as his new bride, she wonders if she will come to see the dawn, or if she will find herself meeting the same fate that befell the many girls before her. What Shahrzad does not bargain for is learning the truth and falling in love with the very man who takes the lives of these young women.

This novel will appeal to young readers who enjoy a love story where a strong female protagonist is torn between her true feelings and what she thinks she should feel (ala Twilight and Divergent). The setting of the story will challenge some readers, as names and places are not traditional to “white America,” but there is significant allure to young readers as a result of the exotic backdrop and characters found in this story.

Ahdieh, Renee. The Wrath & The Dawn. G.P. Putnam’s Sons/Penguin Group, 2015. 388p. $17.99. 978-0-399-17161-1.

VOYA rating: 3P  3Q

Until we meet again, remember the happiness there is to find in this world, especially on the pages of a book.

Mrs. J

from Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine

“Should a Happiness Machine, he wondered, be something you can carry in your pocket? Or, he went on, should it be something that carries you in its pocket? ’One thing I absolutely know,’ he said aloud. ‘It should be bright’” (Bradbury 63).

Journal #13: Student Choice-Tech

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For the purpose of this week’s blog post, I explored Good Reads, a social networking site for book lovers (https://www.goodreads.com). I signed up for a Good Reads account and found that this tool is incredibly extensive. It allows readers to establish a profile listing favorite book genres, books a person is reading, books a person would like to read, and books completed, along with reviews and ratings. This system encourages readers to interact, socially, much like Facebook. As a reader, I did not like how I felt overwhelmed to begin the process of listing and reviewing the many books I read and loved. While it would not be at all necessary to go back and write reviews of every book I have ever read, if I were to use this regularly in my courses, I would want to have go-to reviews available for students to peruse.

I enjoyed writing reviews of the books I had recently finished. I also liked updating my “currently reading” and “wants to read” lists. Much like other social networking sites, Good Reads is easy to get lost in, as it welcomes people to explore content and create content, interacting with other readers to whom one is connected.

I immediately put this tool to use in my classroom, encouraging students to read reviews on the site to help them select a book for their upcoming exposition assignment. As I have not read nearly everything there is to read, nor do I always challenge myself to read books outside of my comfort zone, I find that relying on Good Reads reviews is a great way to understand whether or not I would like a book, and I encouraged my students to use it in much the same way. I know that I will continue to use this site as someone seeking information about books, but I hope to use the site to also create content that can be shared with students. Good Reads is a perfect way to connect with students (and parents) and extend the classroom beyond the assigned time period, inviting students to find a book that will change their lives.

Until we meet again, remember the happiness there is to find in this world, especially on the pages of a book.

Mrs. J

from Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine

“Should a Happiness Machine, he wondered, be something you can carry in your pocket? Or, he went on, should it be something that carries you in its pocket? ’One thing I absolutely know,’ he said aloud. ‘It should be bright’” (Bradbury 63).

Journal #12: Student Choice-Reading

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Because I already regularly follow several librarians online, I decided I would actively seek out an ed tech blogger who could provide reviews of tech tools and/or websites for classroom use. For the purpose of this blog post, I explored Alice Keeler’s “Teacher Tech” blog (http://alicekeeler.com/2016/11/11/are-the-students-thinking/). I read the article entitled “Are the Students Thinking” where Keeler outlines her steps for engaging students in problem solving through a framework using Google Slides. Keeler is a Google certified teacher, and her blog invites teachers to explore the many sites, apps, and content-related tech tools available to educators looking to enhance their instruction.

This blog post cites research from Robert Kaplinsky and Jo Boaler who both explore the importance of deepening student understanding through engaging students in metacognition. Keeler’s Google Slides presentation is simply a modification of Kaplinsky’s research. This simple 5-slide presentation can be used in multiple subject areas and requires students to think about their thinking process.

While Keeler’s site is ranked #43 of the Teach 100 blogs, and it includes a variety of resources, it may better serve teachers who are working 1:1 with Chromebooks. Working in a 1:1 environment with MacBook Airs, there are unique software programs that can challenge students to create content that shows mastery of skills and knowledge that differ from what is available on Chromebooks or other Google programs.

The content on Keeler’s blog is vast, and would be highly useful for school librarians who are seeking to use Google products in the library: Sheets, Docs, Slides, and Pixlr. Teacher librarians can help students research, organize their sources, create presentations, and edit pictures with ease using advice and how-to information found on Keeler’s blog.

Until we meet again, remember the happiness there is to find in this world, especially on the pages of a book.

Mrs. J

from Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine

“Should a Happiness Machine, he wondered, be something you can carry in your pocket? Or, he went on, should it be something that carries you in its pocket? ’One thing I absolutely know,’ he said aloud. ‘It should be bright’” (Bradbury 63).

Journal #11: Social Media

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This week I explored Twitter (www.twitter.com).  Twitter is a social media site that allows people to connect through the sharing of ideas in under 140 characters. I am new to Twitter, but I enjoyed creating a profile for professional purposes (@MrsJHasBooks). Through this profile, I was able to connect to other library and education professionals to explore the latest content related to my field. On the other hand, I was also able to connect to students and their parents and guardians by sharing my Twitter handle with them, as well as links to course-related content and pictures and videos of activities occurring in class.

While I liked being able to connect to others via social media, I found that this platform seemed to contain a significant number of advertisements. In addition, some people and organizations I chose to follow posted quite a bit of content—clearly, when they were available to peruse online—and it flooded my feed with an extraordinary amount of information, which made it difficult to sift through.

I see myself continuing to use Twitter to connect to other professionals, students, and parents; however, I understand now that I need to limit myself to only reading a little in my feed at a time. Ultimately, I see how powerful Twitter can be as a tool that allows me to discover new ideas in the fields of education and library science, as well as a medium for communicating with parents and students to share updates about exciting classroom activities.

Until we meet again, remember the happiness there is to find in this world, especially on the pages of a book.

Mrs. J

from Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine

“Should a Happiness Machine, he wondered, be something you can carry in your pocket? Or, he went on, should it be something that carries you in its pocket? ’One thing I absolutely know,’ he said aloud. ‘It should be bright’” (Bradbury 63).

Journal #10: Library Journal

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This week, I had the pleasure of scrolling through the Library Journal website (http://lj.libraryjournal.com) where I happened upon an article by Steven Bell entitled “Empathy as the Leader’s Path to Change: Leading from the Library” (http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2016/10/opinion/leading-from-the-library/empathy-as-the-leaders-path-to-change-leading-from-the-library/). This article explores the idea of what makes a good leader and how good leaders can move institutions to implement changes. He highlights the importance of acknowledging stakeholders and their role in the decision making process, as well as Elizabeth Borges’s practice of “cognitive empathy.” It is through this practice that effective leaders can become self-aware and determine how best to bring about change.

This resource provides the most recent news in the world of library science. This includes feature articles, award winners, lists of events, as well as webcasts, jobs, and tips for managing a successful library. The incredible number of resources available on this site makes Library Journal a place to go for the latest news. Not only does this site include links to quick reads about relevant library topics, but it also includes current research and case studies that reflect the scholarly elements of library management.

The content on this site is helpful for those who are working to stay abreast of topics related to managing libraries. This includes award winners, technology integration, and links to numerous library-related issues. Regular visits to the Library Journal website ensures that librarians are working hard to remain relevant and important to the communities they serve.

Until we meet again, remember the happiness there is to find in this world, especially on the pages of a book.

Mrs. J

from Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine

“Should a Happiness Machine, he wondered, be something you can carry in your pocket? Or, he went on, should it be something that carries you in its pocket? ’One thing I absolutely know,’ he said aloud. ‘It should be bright’” (Bradbury 63).

Journal #9: Symbaloo

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This week, I had the opportunity to explore Symbaloo (http://www.symbaloo.com/). I like that this tool is a one-stop shop for a variety of web links: social media, shopping, file management, and entertainment. The ease of clicking on the Amazon link allowed an immediate search that opened results on a separate page; however, the default web mixes did not necessarily meet my browsing needs, so as a result, if I were to regularly use Symbaloo, I would have to delete the default web mixes and create my own.

When I first began exploring Symbaloo, I found it be very similar to what occurs on my MacBook when I open a new webpage on Safari. Links to both my “Favorites” and “Frequently Visited” pages pop up, and they are all found in one place, on one page, much like Symbaloo. However, Symbaloo allows users to select many more links all at once, as well as color-code and categorize those pages.

I would find this tool useful in helping students organize favorites. Oftentimes, students incorrectly type web addresses into their search bar, even though those pages are frequently visited. Using Symbaloo would streamline both their favorites and their frequently visited pages. Because I use Safari on a Mac, I do not foresee myself using this program on this device; however, this would have utility for students who like to personalize and organize their favorites in this way.

Until we meet again, remember the happiness there is to find in this world, especially on the pages of a book.

Mrs. J

from Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine

“Should a Happiness Machine, he wondered, be something you can carry in your pocket? Or, he went on, should it be something that carries you in its pocket?’One thing I absolutely know,’ he said aloud. ‘It should be bright‘” (Bradbury 63).