Friday, December 9, 2016

Short Story Contest Winner!

The SCC High Library ran a short story contest in November as part of NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month. Students entered original or fanfiction stories throughout the month, with a total of 24 entries. These were read by the ELA teachers and myself, and the student with the best story received an Apple TV. Most of the stories have been posted on if you would like to read them.

This year's winner is Kylee Daivdson, (pictured with Ms. Olson) who wrote a wonderful fanfiction story based on the Fire Emblem: Awakening video game. Congratulations Kylee!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Books of the Week, Dec 5

Some oldies but goodies!

Elementary - Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan
When their father invites a mail-order bride to come live with them in their prairie home, Caleb and Anna are captivated by their new mother and hope that she will stay.
FIC MAC @ the school library.

Middle School - Midwife's Apprentice by Karen Cushman
A homeless medieval waif who names herself Alyce is taken in by the village midwife, befriends a cat, learns about delivering babies, and confronts failure when an infant dies.
FIC CUS @ the school library.

High School - Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
Seventeen-year-old Richie Perry, just out of his Harlem high school, enlists in the Army in the summer of 1967 and spends a devastating year on active duty in Vietnam.
FIC MYE @ the Library.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Reading is a Gift

"There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all."–Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

I don't know how to express its importance. Maybe that is because I've never found it unimportant and can't fathom why anyone would. It's kept me company on lonely days. It's shown me happiness in places and situations I couldn't imagine. It's been a source of hope and understanding when I've needed it. It's given me empathy for people unlike myself, with an understanding of why they are the way they are and why I am the way I am. But most of all it's been a way to connect. My love of reading is an important part of me, and I believe reading should be an important part of everyone's lives.

"Great books help you understand, and they help you feel understood." –John Green

In my elementary years, I don't remember having a love of reading. I remember going to the library and learning about the card catalog, though I'm not sure why since the school had just purchased a computer catalog system to replace it, but I don't remember checking out books or sitting for hours reading. My love of reading didn't start until middle school from my recollection.

"There’s nothing wrong with reading a book you love over and over." –Gail Carson Levine

My school was fortunate enough to have a RIF program. The Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) program gave away books to students once or twice per year. Every student went down to the auditorium, where table after table was set up with stacks of books from every genre, reading level, and length. Sometimes you picked up a book that had an interesting cover without giving it much thought. Sometimes you skimmed the back cover and found one that you had never heard of but sounded interesting. And sometimes you were lucky enough to pick up the book that everyone was excited for (Harry Potter was such a book for me).

"A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading." –William Styron

On this particular RIF day in middle school, I skimmed through the tables with the rest of my class. All of us standing in front of these tables, some of the students grabbing any book in front of them just to be done, while others like myself took some time to actually look. I don't remember that title of the book that caught my eye, but the author certainly became a favorite - Lurlene McDaniel.

"You know you’ve read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend." –Paul Sweeney

Lurlene McDaniel writes books for middle school age children, and the stories usually revolve around a young adult who has some sort of illness to be dealt with (cancer, diabetes, transplants, etc) and there is usually a hint of a romance in it. So basically it's middle school appropriate books that sound like Lifetime movies. Yep, that's what pulled my interest. But once it had me, boy was I hooked.

"Where is human nature so weak as in the bookstore?" –Henry Ward Beecher

Every trip to the mall my family took included a stop at Waldenbooks. And to the back corner of the book store I went, looking through the books in alphabetically order until I found M. And there they were - a whole shelf of books by Lurlene McDaniel. Eventually my trips to the book store and gifts at holidays built my McDaniel collection to upwards of 30 books. I read and reread them over and over again. Eventually I branched out into all the Little House books, other teen romances, and suggestions from teachers. From then on wherever I went, I had a book with me; my love of reading had taken off.

"If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all." –Oscar Wilde

So what is the point of this story. The SCC community didn't need to know about my story, about the RIF program or about my youthful love of Lurlene McDaniel. The point is the gift. The gift of that first book, even though it was for school, even though I got to pick it, even though at the time I probably wasn't as enthused about it as I would later be, that gift made all the difference in the world to me. It made me into the book and story lover I am today and led to a career I truly enjoy.

"Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him." –Maya Angelou

So as you go into the holiday season and start purchasing gifts for loved ones young and old, consider adding a book to your offering. You never know when a book will spark a persons imagination and passion, for reading or for anything else in life.

Need some help figuring out what might be a good book to give as a gift? Check out these websites!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Book Fair - Reading is My Superpower!

Reading for pleasure unlocks the power of information and imagination and helps children discover who they are. Here’s what you can do to help children develop stronger reading skills and a love for reading:

  • Set the example. Let children see you read!
  • Have a collection of books in your home. Update this collection routinely to keep pace with changing tastes and reading skills.
  • Support our school’s Book Fair. Allow your children to choose their own books to read.

Our Scholastic Book Fair is a reading event that brings the books kids want to read right into our school. It’s a wonderful selection of engaging and affordable books for every reading level. Please make plans to visit our Book Fair and be involved in shaping your child’s reading habits.

Book Fair at SCC Middle School: Nov 30-Dec 7
Students can shop: in the library anytime during the school day, as long as their teacher okays it
Parents can shop: before and after our concerts or online (see below for more info)

Book Fair ONLINE: Nov 23-Dec 7  →
This is a splendid option if you would like to shop a larger variety, shop for children not at the middle school, or just want to shop on your own time at home. Purchased items will be shipped to the school after May 20 and delivered to students.

Shop Before & After Concerts: Dec 1 and 6 from 3:30-8:00 p.m.
Stop by before you’re the musical concerts with your child to support their continued reading success. If items are sold out, the online fair is always a great option.

Remember, all purchases benefit our school. To that end, we are running a classroom wish list program again this year. Teachers will be pulling books that they would like for their classrooms, and if you feel able, you can purchase one of these book to donate to your child’s teacher. Building classroom libraries and having children surrounded by books will lead to reading success.

There are also a couple ways for students to win books from the book fair. Locker lottery is an event every year where students are randomly chosen each day and will find a winning ticket attached to their locker or presented by their teacher. All students are automatically entered into the locker lottery. Students also have the opportunity create their own superhero mask and return it to the library by Dec 2; winners in each grade level are chosen for their outstanding artistic abilities. Winners in both contests will receive a free book from the book fair.

As part of our superhero theme, students are also encouraged to wear their blue and white on Dec 2 to show that they are SCC Super Students.  And our new green screen area will be available for pictures with superhero props on Dec 7 to wrap up our fair.

We look forward to seeing you and your family at our Book Fair!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Books of the Week, Nov 28

Here are some wrestling books to kick off the SCC wrestling season!

Elementary - Nino Wrestles the World by Yuyi Morales
Lucha Libre champion Niño has no trouble fending off monstrous opponents, but when his little sisters awaken from their naps, he is in for a no-holds-barred wrestling match that will truly test his skills.
E FIC MOR @ the school library.

Middle School - Four Days to Glory: Wrestling With the Soul of the American Heartland by Mark Kreidler
Jay Borschel and Dan LeClere aspire to be four-time high school wrestling champions in Iowa.
796.812 KRE @ the school library.

High School - Pinned by Alfred C. Martino
Dealing with family problems, girls, and their own competitive natures, high school seniors Ivan Korske and Bobby Zane face each other in the final match of the New Jersey State WrestlingChampionship.
FIC MAR @ the Library.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Books of the Week, Nov 21

Happy Thanksgiving!
Here are some ebooks for the season!

Elementary - Thanksgiving Mice! by by Bethany Roberts and illustrated by Doug Cushman
A group of mice has some problems when they put on a play to commemorate the first Thanksgiving, but everything works out all right in the end.
ebook @ the school library.

Middle School - Why did the pilgrims come to the New World? by Laura Hamilton Waxman
Discusses the who, what, where, when, why, and how of the Pilgrims arrival in the New World, describing why they left England, what challenges they encountered upon their arrival, and related topics. Includes instructions for a related activity, a time line, and additional resources.
ebook @ the school library.

High School - The Other Way Around by Sashi Kaufman
To escape his offbeat family at Thanksgiving, Andrew West accepts a ride from a band of street performers who get their food and clothing from dumpsters, but as he learns more about these "Freegans" he sees that one cannot outrun the past.
ebook @ the Library.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Books of the Week, Nov 14

High School - Declare Yourself: Speak, Connect, Act, Vote: More Than 50 Celebrated Americans Tell You Why 
A collection of essays by celebrities-including actors, authors, and athletes-encourages young adults to think about what democracy means, to register to vote, and to speak up about the issues that matter the most to them.
323 DEC @ the Library.

Middle School - Every Human Has Rights: A Photographic Declaration for Kids by Mary Robinson
Based on the thirty rights listed in the "United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights," explores the basic freedoms of human beings, especially children, with examples of how these rights have been implemented around the world.
341.4 EVE @ the school library.

Elementary - Child of the Civil Rights Movement by Paula Young Shelton & illustrated by Raul Colón
A daughter of civil rights activist Andrew Young describes her experiences of growing up in the Deep South at the height of the movement, sharing her witness to the efforts of her father, family friend Martin Luther King, Jr. and thousands of others who participated in the historic march from Selma to Montgomery.
323.1196 SHE @ the school library.