by Deanna Interlicchea, English Teacher
Gwyneth is a little girl with a great big secret, and her reputation hinges on nobody finding out the truth. She can tell absolutely no one—except for maybe just one friend. In no time flat, the entire class is talking about Gwyneth and her terrible truth. What will Gwyneth do once everybody knows that she no ordinary fourth grader, but a genius bound for the seventh grade?
When I purchased Jimmy Brunelle’s children’s play, Eggheads, to read in my Children’s Drama class, I had no idea what it would become. I intended it to merely be a 20-minute in-class reading to serve as a model for their own one-act plays. At the end of the play, though, I heard an energetic chorus of, “we should perform this.” Before I knew it, we had a student director, a costumer, a tech designer, a set manager, a marketing crew, a full cast, and two weeks to pull it all together. (more…)
Posted in: Authentic Learning, Eleventh Grade, Highlights, Ninth Grade, Tenth Grade, Twelfth Grade, Upper School
Allendale Columbia’s Upper School students present Lewis Carroll’s play Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There, adapted by Rosemary Nursey-Bray, on Friday and Saturday, April 20th and 21st, at 7:00 p.m. at AC’s Curtis Performance Center. Tickets are now available at acs.booktix.com for $8.00 (higher at the door).
Posted in: Eleventh Grade, Highlights, LS Birches, MS Birches, Ninth Grade, Tenth Grade, The Birches, Twelfth Grade, Upper School, US Birches
‘Tis the season for book lists, and for me, they are truly the gifts that keep on giving. I love book lists for both affirmation (That book is awesome; so glad it’s getting some love!) and exploration (Woah! I’ve never even heard of that book; I better check it out!) and I take a lot of pleasure in creating my own list for the AC community. Although many AC children are under the impression that I’ve read all the books in the library, I must confess that I haven’t even read all the books from 2013. However, I have read a lot of book reviews and best-of-the-year lists and as many books as I possibly can, which culminates with my interpretation of The Best Books of 2013. Enjoy!
-Ms. Van Alstyne, Librarian
The complete list can be accessed at the library website. But for starters, here are the cream of the crop.
Celebrating both individual expression and companionship, Mr. Tiger Goes Wild is a joy to read aloud and expertly illustrated. Ages 3 – 8.
Every year, the slew of new holiday books rarely fails to disappoint… until 2013 with Little Santa! Silly and charming, this tale of Santa’s childhood feels like it has always been true. Ages 4 – 9.
Breathtaking watercolors depict the travels of a girl with a magical red crayon, where adventure awaits anyone with a little creativity. Ages 4 – 10.
Why did they quit? They are sick and tired of always being used in predictable ways: blue for sky, green for grass, gray for elephants. A little creativity goes a long way to soothe these irascible crayons. Ages 5 -9.
Not surprising: Jenkins’ outstanding paper collage depictions of animals. Surprisingly awesome: the thematic arrangement; graphs, timelines, and other infographics; a whole section on making books the Jenkins way. A tour de force! Ages 5 – 11
Have you ever wondered why graphic novels (or graphic memoirs, in this case) are taken so seriously these days? When done well, they are a beautiful marriage of art and story, such as in Relish: a warm, funny coming-of-age tale of an artist raised in a foodie family. Ages 12+
Perhaps you’ve read books about orphans, or children on the spectrum, or misfits trying to find a place in the world to fit in. But none of those books had Willow Chance in it. Counting by 7s has Willow Chance in it! She is utterly charming, disarmingly precocious, and apparently a magnet for other lovable misfits. Delightful! Ages 10 – 14
The timeless feel of the small-town setting, elegant writing, very real danger, and the ghost of Jacob Grimm all combine to create an engaging and disturbing contemporary fairy tale. Transporting. Ages 11+
Are you still not sure about graphic novels? If anyone can convince you of their merit, award-winning Gene Luen Yang must be the one. Boxers and Saints are two books telling opposing views of the Boxer Rebellion in China. Brilliantly conceived and expertly realized, this is how history should treat every war: with multiple perspectives, through the lenses of individuals’ perceptions, and showing beauty, honor, and the inevitable costs. Ages 12+
I don’t think it’s possible not to love this book, even if you think you can’t appreciate Young Adult literature. Eleanor and Park are both immensely relatable, quirky and sweet. From their first prickly exchange on the school bus through their tentative romance, you will be cheering them on with a fervent compassion that may surprise you. Not to be missed. Ages 12+
Posted in: Highlights, Lower School, Middle School, Upper School
Aaron Shepard’s 7th grade English students just finished a project where they first had to read a book set in a country other than the United States. They all then created presentations (iMovie, Keynote, or Prezi) to share information about the book and the culture and/or geography where the story takes place. The culminating activity this week was to submit their books to an exciting new web site called The LitMap Project. From the website:
“Explore the world through literature with the LitMap Project, the geographic book database. Books are mapped onto the LitMap by where they take place or the place they are about. We map nonfiction, fiction, mystery, science fiction, any kind of literature that can be associated with a specific geographic location.
We hope that the LitMap will be a great resource for you to discover great books about the places you love. We have big plans for the future of this project. In the coming months we hope to be able to enhance the LitMap to make it searchable by location, author, title, and other criteria. We also hope to allow you to access the LitMap through a mobile app. But in order to accomplish any of this, we will need your help.
You can help make the LitMap as great and as useful as it can be by becoming a LitMapper.”
We now have over 30 LitMappers at the school and hope to have more this year. Go ahead and explore the site. If you limit your search to Young Adult or Middle Grade books, you are sure to discover the books our students submitted. If you check out the Hall of Fame, you’ll notice Allendale Columbia right at the top with the most submissions and the first school to contribute. We even put the world-famous, award-winning The Book Thief by Markus Zusak on the map! Congratulations Class of 2019!
Posted in: Highlights, Middle School, Seventh Grade
Posted in: Lower School