Friday, July 31, 2009

Who is really being left behind? The students or the educators?

No Teachers Left Behind by HBF (Hopeful But Frustrated) Teacher

No Teachers Left Behind is a fictional look inside an American middle school. The story, told through emails, poetry, and scenes of dialogue, is a sometimes funny sometimes infuriating examination of some of the public school systems short-falls. Schools top heavy with high paid administrators who are little more than figureheads. Teachers over worked and over scheduled with meetings before, during, and after school, not to mention additional duties such as sporting events and buses. No time for effective lesson planning. The consequences of overlooking behavioral issues in an effort to streamline. The lack of resources. The focus on standardized test scores rather than meaningful lifelong learning.

To some readers this work of fiction may seem an exaggeration of the problems many schools face. But for those of us who teach in the public school system, particularly at the middle school level, No teachers Left Behind is a poignant reminder of the uphill battle educators face every single day.

But in the end, as this book reminds us, we do it for the children. To give the children the skills, tools, hopes and dreams necessary for a brighter future.

I recommend this book to any teacher and any parent with a child in the public school system.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The NEighbor by Lisa Gardner

The Neighbor by Lisa Gardner

Boston crime reporter, Jason Jones, has a big secret. A past full of skeletons he is trying to keep hidden away. When is wife, Sandy, goes missing suddenly in the middle of the night, Jason becomes Sargent DD Warren's prime suspect. The mysterious and cold Jones seems the obvious choice. That is until the investigation gets muddled by a host of other possibilities.

I have read all of Gardner's books to date and have really liked every one of them. The past few have been different than her earlier romantic suspense and I like it. I think they have become more disturbing.... in a good way! Love this author. I also love that she is a New England-ah!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Dismantled by Jennifer McMahon

Dismantled by Jennifer McMahon

Ten years ago, four art students met at the small and nontraditional Sexton College in Vermont. Suz, Henry, Tess, and Val/Winnie banded together, forming a renegade group of artists known as the Compassionate Dismantlers, believing that Dismantlement=Freedom. In order to truly understand something it must be taken apart.

Under Suz's misguided direction, the group carried out missions that became more dangerous and reckless with each one until one fateful night when it all came to a crashing halt. Years later, married and raising a smart but odd daughter, Emma, Henry and Tess begin coming apart at the seems as the past comes back to haunt them.

I became a fan of McMahon's after reading Promise Not to Tell and Island of Lost Girls. This book has the same feel to it, slightly creepy and ghosty, a bit of mystery, well-written. I found myself drawn in to the story and the characters. Of the three, I still like Promise Not to Tell the best.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

8th Confession by James Patterson

The 8th Confession by James Patterson

Somehow I forgot to add this on here before Just Over the Mountain.

This is the 8th installment of Patterson's Women's Murder Club series. I really enjoy this series and always like catching up with Lindsey, Cindy, Clair, Conklin, and Jacobi.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Just Over the Mountain by Robyn Carr

Just Over the Mountain by Robyn Carr

Just Over the Mountain picks up where Deep in the Valley leaves off. it is the second book in the Grace Valley Trilogy. In this book we catch up with June, her budding romance with undercover officer Jim, the gang at the clinic, and Aunt Myrna has to answer some tough inquiries about the whereabouts of Morton Claypool. I am really enjoying this trilogy and in fact, I think I may have even liked this one more than the first. I enjoy the small town characters and the characteristics of the town itself.