SYNC: YA and Classic Audiobooks

Written on January 27, 2014 – 11:29 pm | by Mrs. Klein

I received the email today listing the titles that will be available for FREE during the summer months. I read reviews for some of the titles I had not seen before, and I think I’m going to like a lot of them. I tried this for the first time last year, and I loved it. Not only did I get to listen to some really good contemporary YA fiction, but I caught some classics that I had not read.

Click on this link to go to the SYNC home page to look at the list. Ask your parents or other teachers about The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom. That’s another classic that I missed along the way. Just think–you can find your favorite summer spot and let someone read to you. How much easier can it get?

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On the Inside

Written on January 20, 2014 – 10:27 pm | by Mrs. Klein

This music video is by Kyle Kupecky, a former member of my favorite group, Anthem Lights. Kyle decided to go solo, and this is his first release since then.


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Written on January 20, 2014 – 10:18 pm | by Mrs. Klein

By now, I should know that I will not like the third book of a dystopia series as much as I like the first two. Allegiant, the third book in the “Divergent” trilogy, by Veronica Roth is no exception. I did like it, but I thought it was too long, and I didn’t enjoy the politics involved in the attempt to clean up the society. I thought the politics were on a par with Mockingjay; although Allegiant was not as violent as Mockingjay. Tobias was not the strong character that he was in the first two books, so I was disappointed by that. Tris was still strong, but at one point, she was kind of a know-it-all. Generally, the book was a satisfactory ending for the trilogy, but it was not what I expected. I suppose that is a good thing, but I think it will turn off some readers.

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The Eleventh Plague

Written on January 12, 2014 – 10:16 pm | by Mrs. Klein

By the time I finished listening to this book, I decided that it is mistitled. It is not about the plague but about the aftermath of the plague. There were certain elements that brought to mind the TV series, Revolution. The United States has been devastated by disease and war and people have returned to an agrarian society. As I  listened to what the main character, Steve, had to say about his grandfather, I was glad that the grandfather was not a major character, even though Steve did learn something important from him. When Steve and Jenny were set up by bullies and had to serve detention, I wondered why Steve even bothered to go to school since he was just a visitor to the town. There were a couple of good action scenes that made up for the fact that I didn’t get into the characters as much as I usually like.

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The Maze Runner

Written on December 30, 2013 – 10:11 pm | by Mrs. Klein

As I reflect on this novel, I am surprised that I liked it as well as I did. Typically, I prefer character-driven stories, but the action in this book trumped the character development. Thomas was a likable character, but he didn’t have strong relationships with the others in the Glade–until Teresa arrived. Even then, the two were still trying to figure out their part in beating the Maze, so they were not really attached to each other emotionally. Perhaps it was the challenge of beating the maze and the Grievers that kept me reading (or listening, since it was an audiobook). The elements of mystery and danger were enough to hold my attention.

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Fox Forever

Written on December 25, 2013 – 7:33 pm | by Mrs. Klein

This was a satisfying conclusion to the “Jenna Fox Chronicles.”  Like  The Fox Inheritance, Locke is the main character; he must fulfill his obligation to the Network who helped him in the second book. The Favor turns out to be more complicated than he expected, and there were a few tense moments. I’m not sure if boys will find enough action to endure the love story bits. Locke’s trip into the tunnels was fairly intense, but of course, readers must make it through the first two novels first. Have any boys tried reading the first book?

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Avatar Help

Written on December 9, 2013 – 10:56 pm | by Mrs. Klein

For those who want instructions on how to upload an avatar, please read this post, written by Miss W, the former teacher who coordinates the Student Blogging Challenge. Make sure you save your picture in your My Documents and open it in Student Paintbrush.

Miss W recommends that you open your picture with MS Picture Manager in order to crop it. However, you can crop it right in Student Paintbrush. When you crop the picture, you will likely paste it into a new Paint file. You can check the size of your picture by clicking on Image–Attributes. You may have to play with the sizes a bit to get it to 97 x 97. If the picture does not turn out the way you want it, don’t save it. Open your original picture in Paint again and start over.

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Mitch Albom’s column

Written on October 27, 2013 – 6:43 pm | by Mrs. Klein

I enjoy reading Mitch Albom’s articles in the Sunday newspaper. I find that I often agree with him. This week, he commented on an event that will honor former Tigers manager, Jim Leyland and Judge Damon Keith will be in the spotlight as examples of how people of different races can get along. I love this because too often we hear about conflicts between the races. I hope the event makes the national news because Detroit needs some good press. Please read Albom’s article to get more details. Leyland and Keith show what matters on Page 19A of Sunday, October 27, 2013 issue of The Detroit News


Blog Topic Choice

Written on October 3, 2013 – 10:12 pm | by Mrs. Klein

Follow this link to find a brief news article in the “grades 6–8″ section of News Bytes. Write a blog post that discusses the topic in a way that invites comments. Include a link to the News Bytes document as I did. The following is my example.

“Impact of Comets Leads to Life”

Microsoft Clip Art

Microsoft Clip Art

While the concept of amino acids being formed by a collision between a comet and a planet is slightly interesting to me, in no way can I agree with the statement, “The findings may help explain the origins of life on Earth.” Certainly, there are people who continue to look for an answer to the question of the origin of life on Earth. I feel no need to search for such an answer because I believe that God created all forms of life.

I have often been gullible in the past, but I am developing a healthy skepticism toward statements that I hear or read. After reading this brief article, I did a quick search on Google to see what has been written about this lately. An NBC online news article quoted one of the authors of the study: “Study co-author Zita Martins, a researcher at Imperial College London, said ‘the catch is that these building blocks need the right conditions in order for life to flourish(Boyle).’”

Another author of the study said, “This increases the chances of life originating and being widespread throughout our solar system.” I am just not convinced. It seems like there have to be too many coincidences for life to begin in a random fashion. I wonder how often comets collide with other celestial bodies. Would there be enough to say that a random occurrence could have happened elsewhere? Furthermore, I have never been particularly interested in the possibility of life outside of Earth. What would be the effect of finding life out in space?


No Twitter

Written on September 30, 2013 – 11:47 am | by Mrs. Klein

Many parents do not have Twitter accounts, and this student’s parents were interested in seeing his post, so I have put it in my blog so that they can see it. I want to figure out how to get the entire Twitter feed to appear on my sidebar.