Wednesday, April 18, 2012

"What I'm Reading" Wednesday

Yay! It's Wednesday again and time to talk more about books. I finished the Steve Jobs biography, and ended up buying an iPhone! Now I've moved on to reading about a woman named Henrietta Lacks. Ever heard of her? Most people hadn't until this book came out...
I have only read the free sample on my Kindle so far, but I plan to buy the full version tonight. Basically, Henrietta grew up poor and suffered cervical cancer as an adult. When she died, the doctors asked her family for permission to save her cells for medical research. This request was denied, but doctors took her cells anyway. Her cells became immortal (and were called HeLa cells) as they were grown in laboratories all over the US. In fact, her cells are still alive today. The review on says that:

"HeLa cells were vital for developing the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer, viruses, and the atom bomb’s effects; helped lead to important advances like in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions."

Yet, Henrietta's family has never seen a dime of the money. This story follows the journey from her cancer through all the amazing things her cells have done for the medical world.

Sounds really interesting. I'll keep ya posted! :-)

I'm also reading a book for my 4th grade book club at school. Actually, I am re-reading it- I read it through once to make sure it would be appropriate for elementary school, but I always reread the chapters I've assigned the kids each week. This book is: Floors by Patrick Carman.
I love this book-not only because it is a cute story that the kids are really seeming to enjoy, but also because it is the first in a series. I always like to interest kids in a series because then there will be many books for them to enjoy. I, myself, like to find a good series because then I know that I will be guaranteed something good to read for quite awhile.

This book has a little fantasy, a little mystery, and even some realistic fiction elements. Leo and his father,Clarence, live in the famous Whippet Hotel. The whimsical owner-Merganzer D. Whippet has been missing for over 100 days, and strange things are starting to happen. Leo stumbles upon 4 mysterious colored boxes that lead him through a series of adventures through some of the hotel's many secret rooms. There is a little "twist" at the end, which is always fun.

At each meeting, we discuss what we've read for that week and answer some discussion questions. We've also been designing our own versions of the 4 boxes that Leo finds during his adventures according to the boxes' descriptions in the book. We end each session by answering some "Reading for Detail" questions. I will ask some very detailed questions from the pages we read that the students will only know the answers to if they really read closely and paid good attention to what they read. If someone gets the right answer, they win a rubber "ducky". Ducks are central characters in the book-adding to the quirkiness of the story. I found some little rubber ducks from Oriental Trading, and that is what I give the kids if they get a right answer. It's lots of fun and they are very motivated to read for those details! 

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