Wednesday, April 30, 2014

To be a writer, you have to read

I don't know of any author out there who would not agree with the above statement. Reading is such an integral part of being a writer that the two should just naturally go hand-in-hand. If fact, reading is one of the single most important resources a person can use to increase their success in school.

So in celebration of reading, what book is everyone reading? Current book? Favorite book of all time? Favorite series? Favorite author?

There is so much discussion that could happen when talking about books that we could go on forever. I'd love to hear what is on everyone's shelves.

Currently Reading:

"Taken" by Benedict Jacka, 3rd book in the Alex Verus series

I'm proud to say that a student loaned this book to me. I introduced him to the Alex Verus series by Jacka and he fell in love with them.

Favorite Book:

This book is hands down my favorite book I have ever read. I'm a little happy and sad at the same time that my copy of this book went missing after I loaned it to someone to read. Oh well, someone's enjoying it, right?

Favorite Series:

I would be willing to bet that this is on quite a few favorite lists out there. The fantasy and magic aside, this is a wonderful series of books with a very strong message about doing what is right vs. what is easy.

Favorite Author:

All hail the Future Dark Overlord! I have been a fan of Scott Sigler's since he first start podcasting his novels back in 2005. His writing draws you into the story and won't let go. Scott Sigler first started giving his novels away for free as serialized podcasts, and has since landed publishing contracts with two different major publishers, as well as self publishing his Galactic Football League series and starting his own imprint. Sigler is the epitome of working hard to reach your goals.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Yeah. More...state...testing...

And while the students are hard at work on the second round of state testing, I thought I'd share some pictures of the participants. This isn't quite all of them, but we were in a rush to get pictures in for the yearbook (the first time we'll have our own page!). We had a lot of fun writing this year, and every few days another student is asking for more ink in their pens. My goal is to turn this into a full year writing club. Who knows? Maybe one of these kids will be the next great author...

Friday, April 4, 2014

Band Contests, STAAR, and a Spring Break thrown in

Things have been extremely busy here in Hippo-land. Both the HMS Concert and Symphonic bands attended their annual UIL Concert & Sight-reading contests. While the Concert Band didn't quite walk away with what we wanted, I am extremely happy with their performance and all of the effort that they put into preparing for their performance. The Symphonic Band walked away with a Sweepstakes trophy! Simply put, they received the highest ratings possible on both the stage performance AND sight-reading performance. Congratulations to Mrs. Champion and all of the Symphonic Band students for their great performance!

Spring Break -- as always -- was way too short, but was much needed downtime for students and teachers. And this week, we completed our first round of state mandated STAAR testing (the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness -- who comes up with these?). After two days of testing for over four hours a day, the kids (and directors!) were ready to jump back into playing some fun and exciting music for our spring concerts.

I've got some pictures and new things coming soon. Right now I'm working on some reviews for my current journal traveling, a Field Notes Expedition. I'm also working through my new pencil acquisition -- a Blackwing Pearl. I'll be posting some writing comparisons between the three Blackwing offerings as well (the Blackwing "original", Blackwing 602, and Blackwing Pearl). I hope to have more reviews and posts up soon.

Have a great weekend!