Description from Goodreads:
Seventh grader Jordan Banks loves nothing more than drawing cartoons about his life. But instead of sending him to the art school of his dreams, his parents enroll him in a prestigious private school known for its academics, where Jordan is one of the few kids of color in his entire grade.
Here we go: New Kid is the first book from th 2021/2 Mark Twain Award nominees I've been able to get my hands on, and let's just say, I hope the rest of the books on the list are a million times better than this. He does have outward resilience, but inside, this main character - Jordan - is simply offended by everything that goes on around him. There are some important concepts presented in this graphic novel, but they are lost in the Jordan's defeatist attitude.
For me, the most interesting character in the book is an annoying secondary character who wears a puppet on one of her hands. She really seems out of place in this storyline, but for some reason Jordan treats her with kindness and gets her to reveal her story to him. All of a sudden, the girl starts acting normal and making friends - for no real reason - but her story never really seems to reach resolution. Neither, in fact, does Jordan's. It's a blah ending for a book that only serves to shout at readers.
We were impressed with a fireworks show that lasted about 25 minutes. The fireworks came at a steady pace, and none disappointed. I was even pleased to capture a few photos and some short videos, the best of which are here for you to enjoy as well.
Now, a couple of weeks later, it is Flag Day in our nation. In a couple more weeks, we celebrate Independence Day. Our summer is full of reason for celebration for the future, but we must always remind ourselves of the past. Appreciating heritage is important to understanding our present, and honoring those who served should always be in our hearts.
There is a good deal of waste in government...and yes, oh yes, make no mistake about it, education is a government organization. There are so many areas where schools can be better stewards of the people's money. Most recently, and the trigger for this writing, teachers selected prizes for a drawing for some kind of behavior incentive that none of the kids anticipated. That's right: we spent money to buy prizes for a reward that was supposed to encourage kids to behave, but the kids didn't know about the prize.
That's a waste. Even if the money was donated for that purpose, it's a waste. And it doesn't make sense.
There are so many examples of money being wasted - or at the very least not being spent wisely. We just don't stop to think enough about it. People are hired for positions that aren't necessary, or the people aren't effective in their jobs. Materials are purchased for every classroom - even when every teacher doesn't need the materials. Field trips are taken for the sake of a vacation from the school day, rather than with education in mind. We spend money on party favors that don't make the parties that don't make the parties any more memorable for students (and again, I wasn't contracted to be a party planner; I am a teacher).
Many of these things aren't to impact students culturally, academically, or emotionally. They don't affect student health or career preparation. I'm talking about funds that could be better spent to engage students and truly make their education memorable. Some teachers seem to believe they are in a school solely to make it fun.
Saying that makes me sound like a Scrooge, and I even caught myself muttering his infamous catch phrase recently regarding this very subject, but I am not against a fun school experience. I just think some are short-sighted when they don't tie the fun to an actual lesson or class project. Why isn't your class enjoyable and fun on a regular basis, rather than stopping the class to have a standard, traditional party? Why spend money on party decor and trinkets that will soon wind up in the trash when you could spend those funds on something that can be used again and again. Again, short-sighted and wasteful. Can't we do better?
The interpretive center at Cahokia Mounds in Collinsville, Illinois, is very informative without becoming too cerebral. We really enjoyed looking at the archaeological artifacts from the area and the recreated village from a people who lived there some 800 years ago. Some of the dig sites are even preserved on the pavement where paint marks the locations of walls and poles.
We learned about flint knapping, the tattoo methods of the time, and a game called Chunky. We marveled at the intricate figures and articles of jewelry. And we wondered about one display that contrasts the sizes of the Great Pyramid in Egypt, the step pyramid at Chichen Itza, and Monks Mound just across the highway from the interpretive center. Since we haven't stood at the bases of the former sites, we have stood at the foot of Monks Mound (and climbed the ten stories to the top), so this helped us envision how large they are.
The day after our school year ended, our family was in the car enroute to Collinsville, Illinois, for an afternoon at the Cahokia historical site. We revisited the ancient grounds where pre-Columbian people created earthen mounds in a city that rivaled today's population of Joplin, Missouri. Some mounds are thought to have been place markers, while others are burial sites. Still others were foundations for buildings.
The largest is now known as Monks Mound. While the mound was initially between the 11th and 13th centuries by Mississippian-culture, in the 18th century, those people had disappeared - moved on or captured by aliens or something. French monks set up operations at the same location where human sacrifice was likely to have been performed years earlier. Their goal was to convert the newer Indian culture to their form of Christianity.
To think that these men were standing atop Monks Mound at the same time as George Washington was leading the struggle against the British in the American colonies far to the east. They were still there around the time that Lewis and Clark ventured west through nearby St. Louis and St. Charles in the first years of the 19th century.
Back on the ground, we also caught glimpses of reconstructed representations of the stockade that surrounded the Cahokia city, also known as the City of the Sun. Woodhenge (not pictured) is a mile away, also rebuilt to demonstrate how the Cahokians were able to map out the exact times of the solstices.
The flora of the area included some massive nettles, some in full bloom, but on the horizon to the west another item emerged from the dirt - Missouri's Gateway Arch - beckoning us all to come back to the lands on this side of the Mississippi River.
I sent a link for the Revolution dark ride (planned and completed by BROOKLYN, DOMINICK, and PARKER to the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I also sent a link of our Mount Vernon ride (executed by ALICE, ANDREW, LANNIE, and SHAY) to George Washington's Mount Vernon in Virginia.
The Senior Manager of Education Communication and Outreach at Mount Vernon acknowledged, "This is fantastic and such a great way for students to share their research! I’m sharing with the rest of our K12 team..." She also asked if she could share a link to the ride on their Facebook page.
The Manager of School Programs at the Museum of the American Revolution also responded. His response is below:
We set the record for multiplication mastery quite some time ago, but we increased that record again during the last week of school. SHAY added her name to the list, ended with 15 Hoggatteers on the Multiplication Masters list:
Two final students were also on their way: ALEAH and EMMA with one star out of three. A couple of others were also pretty close. Our class average began at 47.8% in September, but we ended with 97.3%, higher than any class I have ever had.
Twenty Hoggatteers made the list for the last quarter Honor Roll. Twenty!
And fourteen of those earned straight A's! What a great way to end the school year!
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Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko
Because of Mr. Terupt
by Rob Buyea
by E. B. White
by D. Ed. Hoggatt
by D. Ed. Hoggatt
Echo by Pam Nuñoz Ryan
Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
Holes by Louis Sachar
The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
Loser by Jerry Spinelli
Love That Dog
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by D. Ed. Hoggatt
Out of the Dust
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Out of the Wind
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Ramona the Pest
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