Monday, December 27, 2010

Florence & The Machine - Dog Days Are Over

I love this sound! Makes me want to jump around and smile!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sunday Movies

How to Train Your Dragon

I can't say enough about this movie. I even watched it twice to make sure I wasn't swayed by my glass of wine. To my joy, it wasn't the wine that made this movie so adorable. I'm not a collector of anything but I want to collect the figurines from this movie, I even want some stuff animals of the dragons. So why is it so good? It covers every human emotion, I cried, laughed, cheered, booed, it pulled me in to movie. Gerad Butler (always a plus) plays the very large viking dad, who never seems to understand his rather scrawny son, who doesn't seem to have any viking potential. The main dragon, Toothless (I so want one), is adorable, fierce, funny and loyal. There are a few things that may be disturbing to young viewers. There is a dragon raid of the village in the opening scene, these are not your friendly dragons. They are carrying away sheep, other livestock and people. There are battle scenes with the vikings and the dragons with both sides having causalities. Towards the middle we see some of the loot that the dragons take being dumped into a large pit, where a even meaner larger dragon lives. At the end this dragon comes out for the biggest battle. Now I don't want to give away anything else but right at the end there is a scene which is very heartbreaking and it will be OK but not for a little bit. Whew, I hope that doesn't spoil it. So I give this movie ☺☺☺☺☺

Toy Story 3

Before you ask, yes I watch adult movies, sometimes. But its hard to find movies that one female and four males all want to sit down and watch. So, anyway, I liked this movie too, which I was very surprised about. I wasn't a huge fan of the first two, I thought they were good but I didn't want to see them again. This one is the best of the three. It is appropriate for most ages, though the mean teddy bear and the creepy baby doll might scare some of the younger audience (the baby doll does come back around to the good side, not so much for the bear). I cried at the end, not because its scary but because I'm a mom and the ending is written from a mom's point of view, or at least that's how I saw it. The whole child grows up, leaves the house and is no longer a child thing, oh yeah, I cried. So all you adults out there, give into your inner youth and watch both these movies, you won't regret it. ☺☺☺☺☺

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Books, books and more Books!

This last semester was all about literature. I had one class about 18th century British literature and two classes about teaching literature and writing to middle school and high school students. I had to read a lot of books. Now that I have this break I wanted to share some of the books that I read, the good and the bad. My boys love to read (not sure where they got that - wink, wink) and I am constantly reading what they read and then trying to find new books to engage them in. So here goes my Saturday Book Club slash review.

First I am currently reading book one in a young adult fiction series called 100 Cupboards by N.D. Wilson. I will let you know next week how it is. Feel free to join me in this exploration of books. They won't all be young adult novels but I am trying to find books that I can use at the middle and high school level.

Now on to a review of a series that I have read. FYI, two of my sons have read this series and my husband is about to start book one. The first book in the series was a required read this past semester as an example of a good book with possibilities for using as a "whole class" read. Meaning I could use this novel to teach literary terms, it has possibilities for teaching writing techniques and with some homework on the teachers part could be used to do a literary analysis.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Let's get the basics out of the way, I liked this series. It was fast paced, easy to read and it kept me hooked until the end. For those of you who care, rumor is they are making these books into a movie. This is a three book series, Mocking Jay (book three) just came out. The premise is a world divided because of war. You have small communities of people with one central government who controls everything (for the good of the people, not so much). Every year they have the Hunger Games. Two people are chosen from every community to go and participate in a game of death, last one standing wins. The story focuses on one particular city and one girl who changes the course of the games and then eventually the course of the world. I think that is as much of a plot summary as I can give without telling everything.

What the book as going for it:

A.     This is not a "mirror" book, this is not written in the way that kids speak everyday. There are new vocabulary words and the dialogue is intelligent.

B.      The author uses description techniques really well, the movie making process in a readers mind needs very little help.

C.      You care about the characters and you can become easily emotionally involved. My boys would tell me that they were upset about how something went down or if they wanted a scene to go a different way.

D.      There is plenty in these books to have discussions about; war, ethics, loyality, decisions, consequences, accountabilty, etc.

Things parents might not like:

A.     Strong violence, battles - group and individual. Children die, sometimes in cruel and visual disturbing ways. Torture, cruel words and hurtful conversations.

B.     There is rebellion, children and adults. There are kids breaking rules and asserting their independence.

C.     There is no sex but there is kissing, though not written in any descriptive ways, just they kissed.

This book is for teens, though I would caution that it should be read by emotionally strong teens. If I were to teach from this book I would use it in 8th or 9th grade. I haven't given it to my 6th grader because I don't think he's ready to process the cruelty that is done, one human to another. This is a book that I would recommend to teens and adults. Happy reading!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Another One Bites the Dust

I can't believe I did it! I have just finished my first semester of my junior year at college. Next semester I start student teaching, it is truly mind blowing.

Now I just have to wait for grades to be posted and I can relax until mid-January when the madness starts all over.

I hope to get caught up on all my favorite blogs and see what's new in the community. Of course I will also be watching junk TV, reading some great books and of course watching some Bollywood movies (still dreaming of going to India).