All posts in 5) Middle School

Jerry Spinelli and Clare Vanderpool, author visits, Newbery authors, meeting children's authors, meet children's authors, Maniac Magee, Stargirl, Moon Over Manifest, Hokey Pokey, Navigating Early

Meeting Jerry Spinelli and Clare Vanderpool

Author Visit with Newbery Winners Spinelli and Vanderpool

PickyKidPix and I were excited to meet Newbery winning authors Jerry Spinelli and Clare Vanderpool who have been on the road together promoting their latest works.

At first glance, they are a pair of contrasts.

Jerry Spinelli and Clare Vanderpool, Needham Library Newbery author event

Clare looks like a young mom. She has two chapter books under her belt. I had met her at a Random House LiveChat along with Rebecca Stead, yet another Newbery winner. Not a real life meeting per se, more of a Twitter Party-like atmosphere. But she remembered it, and if she didn’t remember me exactly — I was one of a half-dozen co-hosts — she was as gracious and charming as she was on the LiveChat.

pragmatic mom, clare vanderpoolRead more…

soccer for girls, coaching girls soccer, beautiful, boston breakers coaching film, why girl soccer players are different

I’m a Girl Soccer Player: Coach Me Differently

The Word Syndicate, a Massachusetts-based production company, is teaming up with the Boston Breakers, one of America’s premier women’s professional soccer teams, to produce a groundbreaking new film for girls called “Beautiful: Teaching Girls Soccer the Boston Breakers Way” but they need your help!

Kickstarter Project for Girls Soccer with the Boston Breakers

Kickstarter funding is all or nothing – if we don’t reach our fundraising goal in 30 days, “Beautiful” will not be made.

Girls and Soccer: The Positives

Soccer offers huge benefits for girls – the self-confidence, the friendships, the joy taken in hard work and achievement. And those are just the results you can see. Studies show that girls who play soccer and other sports reap benefits that stay with them throughout their lives, including:

  • Better grades in school
  • Better jobs after college
  • Lowered risks of obesity and other health problems
  • Lowered likelihood of involvement in early sexual activity

Girls and Soccer: The Down Side

But girls’ soccer also has a lesser-known dark side. Young female players are different from boys in fundamental ways, both physically and psychologically – and the failure to address those differences has led to a rash of problems. Here are just a few:

  • Girls who play soccer are more likely to suffer a serious concussion than any other young athlete except boys who play tackle football (more than boys who play soccer, lacrosse, or hockey)!!
  • After puberty, girls are as much as six times more likely to suffer a serious knee injury (ACL, MCL) injury than a boy playing the same sport.
  • Inappropriate coaching and competitive pressure to win and train harder and longer are resulting in higher rates of burnout and girls quitting, potentially depriving them of a lifetime of benefits.
  • The top women’s coaches in the world all say that girl athletes process information and feedback very differently from boys – but that those differences aren’t widely understood or regularly incorporated into youth coaching. Read more…
fun fun elmo, sesame street chinese, learn chinese, kids learn chinese

Teach Kids Mandarin Chinese in a Fun Way

Teach Kids Chinese Through Songs

When my kids were younger, I found that Spanish Sesame Street, Plaza Sesamo, entertained my kids while also teaching them Spanish. Songs were also an effective and pleasant way to expose my kids to foreign languages. As my kids got older — 2nd or 3rd grade — they rebelled and no longer would allow Plaza Sesamo DVDs in the car. They preferred silence. Ditto to foreign language CDs.

My point is that there is a window when kids are open to learning foreign languages. Both their brains and attitudes are receptive. As they grow older, not only do they not want to learn, but also making the sounds are more challenging.

I was excited to discover that Sesame Street is now in Chinese with a series geared for teaching kids Mandarin. For a CD of fun songs to accompany your Chinese language experience, try A Little Mandarin by NYC mom Toni Wang.

I’m not saying that this combination will have your kids conversing in Mandarin, but you are laying a foundation both for training their ear and for exposing them to the concept of non-word for word translation. Who knows? This might be the introduction that makes them actually want to learn Chinese when they are older. I’m still shocked that both of my girls are choosing to learn Mandarin as their mandatory foreign language in middle school!

How about you? Are your kids getting exposure to foreign languages? How do you manage this? Please share your tips!!! Read more…

Noodle.org, education search engine, educational search engine, college search engine

Education Search Engine: Noodle.org

Getting into College Search Engine

From the creators of the Princeton Review, meet Noodle.org. It’s a personalized recommendation engine in Beta geared towards education. It’s focus is on the best way to help users — from parents and adults to high schoolers — to find the best schools and programs to fit their needs. Think of it as an interactive Princeton Review library of all their published works plus everything collectively in their brains.

Noodle.org, education search engine, educational search engine, college search engine

Stressed about getting your high school student into college? This is a good place to start your journey. Noodle.org is FREE and allows users to search colleges, graduate programs and K-12 schools, find study abroad programs, identify the best local tutors and test prep programs, search for a guidance counselor or education consultant, and access hundreds of thousands of free learning materials.

  • Noodle.org features data on over 130,000 schools and hundreds of thousands of education providers
  • Noodle.org offers content from the most credible sources, including federal and state education departments and agencies, LinkedIn, Forbes, Newsweek, YouTube Education, and US News & World Report
  • Users can select from over 350,000 interactive learning materials covering an expansive range of subjects, compiled from noteworthy sources such as National Geographic, The Smithsonian, Khan Academy and BigThink
  • With over 120,000 K-12 schools, 2,900 4-year colleges, 5,000 graduate programs,135 study abroad programs and 80,000 tutoring listings, Noodle.org has the largest compilation of education resources found anywhere on the web
  • Once users narrow their search selection and want to engage with friends, family and others who have shared experiences, Noodle.org enables them to share their findings from the site via Facebook and Twitter, and save their results for easy access Read more…
best new chapter books, best books for kids, best chapter books, 5th grade books for kids, 6th grade books for kids, 4th grade books for kids,

Great New Chapter Books For Ages 9 and Up

Best Chapter Books for Ages 9 and Up

Need new book ideas to keep your 4th grader, 5th grader, 6th grader or 7th grader reading? From realistic fiction to action adventure series, here are some new discoveries to get excited to read.

What if your child is a reluctant reader? Try the Orca Currents series or a graphic novel. For Percy Jackson fans, try the graphic novel of The Lightening Thief or The Ghost Leopard for a new action adventure series that is similar.

Kids who like Newbery quality book and realistic fiction will find Sharon Creech’s latest, The Great Unexpected, to be her finest work to date. See You at Harry’s and Precious Bones with both make you wonder why they didn’t get a Newbery nod. Alas, all these great books can’t win the Newbery!

What are your child’s favorite chapter books or graphic novels?

 

Oracle by Alex Van Tol

The Orca Currents series targets middle school reluctant readers with pocket-sized very short chapter books and a high interest fast-moving plot. Each line on the page has 8 words or less! It’s a formula that works. 8th grader Owen has a crush on the Queen Bee Mean Girl Camryn, who in turn, is crushing on his older brother. With the help of Hannah, the class president, Owen sets up an anonymous blog that gives relationship advice. It seems to be working but Camryn discovers the truth and Owen must face the music. Middle school boys who find girls puzzling but attractive are the natural audience for this quick read. [chapter book, ages 11 and up]

Read more…

7th grade books, 7th grade reading list, best books for 7th grade, best books for 6th grade, 6th grade reading list, 6th grade books, 8th grade books, 8th grade reading list

7th Grade Reading List

Best Books for Middle School

Seven words fill me with dread, “Mom, I have nothing good to read.” Ironic that our house bulges with books for kids. Everyone room has a bookcase or a pile of books but like the Cobbler’s kids, mine have nothing good to read.

I can usually always find something for my younger two, but my oldest has a good point. We have much less inventory for her. Young Adult is new to me and our shelves lack pre-screened YA books for her.

It’s a new year and that will change. But first, to find good YA books for her. I turned to her amazing English teacher (post parent/teacher conference) and am now consulting StorySnoops, a blog she recommends. I’m collecting book lists from the middle school librarian like this one below. I found Your Next Read on Pinterest. It makes book recommendations similar to the one you type in. I’ve also asked my daughter for book recommendations from her friends.

What do you do to find good books for your middle school kid? Please share!!! Mine likes realistic fiction, and action adventure fantasy. Paranormal is great but it has to be set in modern times. The books I am selecting for her to check out are starred. Read more…

YA graphic novels, Young Adult graphic novels, graphic novels for young adults, graphic novels for teens, gritty graphic novels for kids

ABCs of Graphic Novels, U through Z

Graphic Novels from A to Z

Many teachers are turning to comic books as a tool to develop reading skills as well as a deeper love for reading. 

Authentic Education

This final collection has some Young Adult (YA) graphic novels that are not Manga (I didn’t cover Manga simply because I haven’t read any. My son is not old enough yet). From gritty to fantasy, YA graphic novels cover the gamut.

Thank you for reading my collection of posts covering the ABCs of graphic novels. You must love graphic novels too!

Day 1ABCs of Graphic Novels, A-E

Day 2ABCs of Graphic Novels, F-J

Day 3ABCs of Graphic Novels, K-O

Day 4ABCs of Graphic Novels: P-T

Day 5ABCs of Graphic Novels: U-Z

 

U is for Underpants. Captain Underpants that is! And now there is Super Diaper Baby too! Read more…

best graphic novels for girls, girls graphic novels, girls and graphic novels, graphic novels and girls

ABCs of Graphic Novels, P through T

Graphic Novels Get Kids Reading!

Graphic novels are great to kids to realize that reading is fun. While most graphic novels seem geared for boys, I’ve found a few great ones for girls. Check out the trailer at the bottom for Smile, our very favorite graphic novel for girls!

Day 1ABCs of Graphic Novels, A-E

Day 2ABCs of Graphic Novels, F-J

Day 3ABCs of Graphic Novels, K-O

Day 4ABCs of Graphic Novels: P-T

Day 5ABCs of Graphic Novels: U-Z

Read more…

ABC of graphic novels, best graphic novels for preschool, best graphic novels for boys, best graphic novels for kids

ABCs of Graphic Novels, K through O

Graphic Novels Get Boys to Love Reading

Research has found that graphic novels address the needs of multiple learning styles, and that the visualizations help readers to understand the story first and the text after. 

Journal of Classroom Research in Literacy

My son is an example of how graphic novels help to solidify the concept that reading is fun! This collection of graphic novels are all books he loves.

My favorite graphic novel is the mystery series Max Finder. You have to use both the words and images to solve the short mysteries — about 5 pages each and they’re hard! What are your favorite graphic novels? Please share! Read more…