Book blog: Paula Hawkins

The Girl on the Train… very Gone Girl.

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“Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She’s even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. ‘Jess and Jason’, she calls them. Their life – as she sees it – is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough.

Now everything’s changed. Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she’s only watched from afar.

Now they’ll see; she’s much more than just the girl on the train…”

I’ve just finished The Girl on the Train and I’m a little bit like… ugh, slight anti-climax. Don’t get me wrong it was an excellently written story, with a plot that will keep you enthralled but I was just expecting SO MUCH MORE. I guess that’s the trouble with hype. 

Things that I loved about the story:
The way in which it’s written. The diary entry form was great to see the story from different perspectives. To get the chance to hear the different voices in the story.
The entire plot. It was gripping, there’s no way around that. The story is excellent.
The author’s writing style. It was so easy to spend hours and hours reading this book, because I enjoyed the way in which the author manipulated words.

Things I didn’t quite enjoy about it:
The women. They all irritated me. Sorry.
The other characters. None of them were particularly likeable.
The way in which it’s written. Sometimes with the diary entries I had to keep checking who was saying these words.

In much of a Gone Girl style… I loved and loathed this book. The big reveal that comes at the end was a good reveal (I didn’t see it coming, I had my money on one of the women) and it rounded everything off… but the book just didn’t sit right with me. 

It’s absolutely worth a read, and fans of Gone Girl will love it! I am looking forward to the film coming out to see how they do it on the big screen. I’ve seen the trailer for it, and it looks good. An interesting cast too. It should be a film worth watching.

Have any of you read it? What did you think? Let me know in the comments or tweet me @eenalol.

S x

Display: Magic Maths

To try and encourage my rather reluctant Year 6’s this past year I decided to make a Magic Maths display with challenges on.

There were 2 challenges per colour, and 4 colours. The children had to pick to do all set 1 challenges or all set 2 challenges. The challenges explored the 4 different operations in maths and set 1 challenges were slightly easier than set 2.

Initially the children were reluctant to have a go as they didn’t want to get the answers wrong, but after a bit of coaxing and a bit of help from the head (who loved the display and was more than happy to join in) we managed to get all of the children engaged. Challenges would be set on a Monday and children had til Friday to complete the challenges. Housepoints were rewarded for a) taking part, b) challenging yourself (set 1 challenges worth 5HP and set 2 worth 10HP) and c) getting answers correct. This was essential for my boys who wouldn’t try as they wanted to get the most housepoints so they would try set 2 challenges and they’d be rewarded. The more risk you take the more reward you gain!

As well as the challenge there was always a thinking challenge (which lives in the hat in the centre of the board). In the pictures you can see that it is a ‘how many triangles/squares?’ challenge. The children would write on their answer sheet which thinking challenge they were doing and their answer. If anyone is interested, I will share my challenge sheets and my answer sheets – just leave me a comment and tell me!

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As you can see the display was chopped into quarters and I used board pens to write the vocab that the children needed to know on the lines that separate the quarters. Unfortunately the yellow wasn’t so great so next time I’ll know not to use yellow! As usual the wonderful Twinkl is to thank for a lot of the display stuff. I’ll put links at the bottom of the page if you’re interested in downloads! If you search ‘Magic Maths’ on twinkl you get a whole load of things but below is what I used on this display:
Challenge cards template Multiplication wizards Wizard hats (FREE, just log in!) MAGIC MATHS lettering Shape challenge (the one in the top hat) Maths strategies posters

Hope you enjoy my display! What’s your favourite display? Let me know in the comments or tweet me @eenalol!

S x

My bookshelf!

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This is my bookshelf. There is a whole host of different types of books on my shelf. This is just one shelf. I have a drawer full of books too! This also doesn’t include my picture books… we will get to that collection another time.

Most of this is my TBR pile.
I’ve probably read about 9 of these books.

Some of my favourite authors and books on this shelf include:
– Melinda Salisbury (The Sin Eater’s Daughter, The Sleeping Prince)
– Kiran Milwood Hargrave (Girl of Ink and Stars)
– Ross Montgomery (Perijee and Me)
– Mitch Albom (The Five People You Meet In Heaven, Tuesdays with Morrie)
– Rainbow Rowell (Eleanor and Park, Carry On)
– Holly Bourne (How Hard Can Love Be?, What’s A Girl Gotta Do?)
– Ceceilia Ahern (The Marble Collector, P.S. I Love You)
– Abi Elphinstone (The Shadow Keeper, The Dreamsnatcher)
– David Walliams (The World’s Worst Children, Awful Auntie)

(My Harry Potter collection is all the same edition and they’re kept safe in my drawer!)

As you can see from my book shelf there’s a whole range of book types in my collection: YA books, children’s books, books for adults. (Do we call them books for adults?)

What do your bookshelves look like? Anything on my shelf take your fancy?
Let me know in the comments, or @eenalol on twitter!

S x

Lesson ideas: The BFG #2

As a follow up to my Dream Jars idea, I thought I would share another BFG themed resource.

This time it’s a resource linked to the emphasis the new curriculum puts on being able to edit and check sentences. I used this sheet with Year 1, but there is no reason why it couldn’t be used with Year 2. There are lots of spelling errors and some missing punctuation. The activity went down a treat. I used the premise that the BFG was still learning to write and he still got his words a bit jumbled!

Can you help the BFG correct his sentences ?

Hope you enjoy!

Let me know if it’s any good! Happy editing!

S x

 

UKYACX blog tour!!

Super excited to tell you all that I’ve been asked to be involved with the UKYACX author blog tour!

I have the absolute pleasure to be blogging for MG author Gabrielle Kent, author of the wonderful Alfie Bloom series! Check out her website here!

Also featuring the wonderful UK YA authour Sarah Grant too, author of exciting new book Chasing Danger! Check our her website here!

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For more details about the event, visit @UKYACX on twitter, or you can buy tickets from Seven Stories or via their website!

Can’t wait to share the event and the featured authors posts with you all! What a pleasure!

S x

Lesson idea: Science

Whilst teaching Year 6 Science I wanted to get some extended writing out of them and decided that the digestive system was quite a good topic. I didn’t want them to just write a report about the digestive system or something dull like that so I decided a diary entry was a great idea. We did a few weeks about the digestive system and the whole process and then they had to decide which food they were and write a diary entry about being eaten, going through the digestive system all the way to becoming poo (one of the kids just giggled all the way through the lesson because I said poo!). I was nervous to see how it would come about, because it was quite out there and I had never done it before, but I have to say I think it was one of my favourite lessons of last year! The kids thoroughly enjoyed it and the work produced was of such a high standard too. They really had remembered and applied some amazing knowledge!

Science 1Science 2Science 3Science 4Science 5Science 6

I used a lot of Twinkl’s Plan It resources for this topic of Science. Follow the link, log in if you’re a twinkl member (if you’re not then you SHOULD be) and download away!! (http://www.twinkl.co.uk/resources/planit-science-primary-teaching-resources/planit-science-primary-teaching-resources-y6/planit-science-primary-teaching-resources-y6-animals-including-humans

The digestive system resource you see in some of the pictures is available here: http://www.twinkl.co.uk/resource/t-t-14552-digestive-system-interactive-visual-aid

What have been your favourite Science lessons of the last academic year? Do you enjoy teaching Science?

S x

Oh the places you’ll go, Lane 7!

I visited a place called Lane 7,
It’s Newcastle’s bowling heaven.
You get to go inside,
It’s really hard to decide,
Just make sure you’ve decided by eleven. 

We were greeted with a lovely big smile,
The place has just top notch style.
The decor is lush,
All swish, swash, plush.
The kitchen has beautiful tiles.

I ordered a Raspberry Beret,
It should be cocktail of the day, 
Cold water was brought,
The charge was nought,
That’s how I like it anyway!

The menu is full of delights,
Main meals and even light bites.
We went there for restaurant week,
Their choice was not for the meek.
A menu of food fit for a knight.

I ordered some BBQ wings,
They were incredibly sticky things.
Then came my tasty sammich,
With chicken it did some damage,
Would even be too big for kings.

Then came our strawberry sweet,
The bowl was silver and neat.
The ice cream was fun.
Once the popping candy was done,
I was most definitely beat!

So that was my meal of the day,
A splendid one I would say.
If you fancy a treat,
Get up on your feet
And go to Lane 7 today!

Lane 7 website, click here. They currently have a deal on til the end of August: £27 for 2 drinks, 2 courses, 2 activities… see that deal here. They’re over on Twitter (@Lane7Newcastle) give them a follow, their twitter folk are lovely!!

Have any of you been to Lane 7 in Newcastle yet? Let me know in the comments, or tweet me @eenalol.

S x

I won a prize?

I’ve been following Bloomsbury Ed on Twitter for a while and they do an awesome thing on a Friday… they give away a prize. Good old #freebiefriday. I’m one of these people who’ll RT something, because hell I’m not losing out on anything but I generally NEVER win. So I RT’d their tweet and thought nothing else of it. I went on with my Twitter life. Bloomsbury Ed is an incredible twitter to follow as a teacher, they produce some incredible books.

About a week after RT’ing the tweet I got a notification telling me I had won. WHAAAAAAAAT? How exciting. Someone from Bloomsbury sent me a message telling me I could choose from their ‘Teaching Primary’ series… French, Science, History or Spanish. I knew Spanish would be no good to me as we don’t teach it at my school. I toyed between the other 3 for a while. I would love them all, but that’s not how the competition works! Ha. I decided on Science. I generally get asked to teach science when I cover classes, so it’ll come in handy (and hey more knowledge is always good!).

And now, 3 days later it’s arrived! And it’s BEAUTIFUL. I can’t wait to get stuck into it! I’ve had a quick flick through and it is going to be invaluable… especially as I’m moving to Y4 to cover and I’ve not done Y4 Science for a while!

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Now I need the other ones in the series! Woohoo!
If you fancy following Bloomsbury with your own chance to win in #freebiefriday they’re over at @BloomsburyEd!

Twitter competitions are awesome! A review post is sure to come in the future!

S x

Book blog: Alwyn Hamilton

Adventure filled, badass main character and daringly exciting!

Recently in my blue haul I talked about Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton. I decided that there was no time like the present and that I would read that next. I finished another the book I was reading, read the amazing King of Rats and decided that this was going to be my next read. And man am I glad it was!

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“Tell me that and we’ll go. Right now. Save ourselves and leave this place to burn. Tell me that’s how you want your story to go and we’ll write it straight across the sand.”

Dustwalk is Amani’s home. The desert sand is in her bones. But she wants to escape. More than a want. A need.

Then a foreigner with no name turns up to save her life, and with him the chance to run. But to where? The desert plains are full of danger. Sand and blood are swirling, and the Sultan’s enemies are on the rise.”

First off… look at that colour scheme. It is beautiful. There’s nothing more appealing about a book with gold and turquoise colour scheme. And it’s so pretty to touch too. (I’m not weird, I like books!) It just sitting on my bookshelf makes me wanna pick it up and read it again. If you don’t want to pick up a book this beautiful, well then you should change your ways.

I am so torn about talking about this book because I want it to be a spoiler free post but then I want to talk about ALL OF THE AMAZING THINGS IN THE PLOT. There’s THIS and then there’s WHEN SHE SAYS THAT and then when she DISCOVERS THIS. There’s also when THAT HAPPENS ON THE TRAIN and then when she MEETS THOSE PEOPLE. And then the ending. And WHEN THAT HAPPENS TO HIM. There’s the another part with a train. But that’s all I’m telling you.

I loved this book. I got through it in 2 days.

I loved Amani. She’s so tough and stubborn. She’s loveable. She’s hard on the outside but so so soft on the inside. The way her character grows throughout the story is incredible. The adventure she goes on from the balshy girl who dresses up as a boy to shoot guns at the start to this badass newly discovered hero at the end, but never loses her smart mouth and her sense of humour throughout is brilliant. When you come to the revelation about her (you’ll know the one I mean WHEN YOU READ THE BOOK) everything makes sense again. You’ll know why she fits in where she’s meant to. Amani is very much like Twylla (from The Sin Eater’s Daughter): they’re both incredible female male protagonists who will stand up for themselves. I love them both.

You can’t read this book without falling in love with the incredible descriptions that Alywn writes. You can certainly imagine that you’re in these paces that Amani visits. That you battle the battles that she does. That you are overcome with the emotions that she is overcome with. The words blend so well with each other. It’s like reading a painting – strange analogy I know.  There’s no part of it that doesn’t fit. I love the way Alwyn plants a seed early on in the story and then as you go through it it’s suddenly become a flower and you’re reading it going OMG THAT’S WHAT THAT WAS. I had many of those moments.

I can’t write this review of this book without mentioning ‘the foreigner’. I like him. You’ll fall for him too.

To anyone who loves books, you should read this. It’s an adventure.
Amazon and Waterstones sell it, but check any bookshop! You’ll find it!

Keep your eyes peeled for the second in the trilogy… February isn’t THAT far away. I can’t wait! You can tweet Alwyn on twitter @AlwynFJH

Have you guys read it? What did you think? Tweet me @eenalol or comment below!

S x

BOOKBLOG: Holly Bourne

I recently finished the third installment of Holly Bourne’s Spinster Club/Normal Series trilogy and it was amazing. 

What’s A Girl Gotta Do officially is described as “HOW TO START A FEMINIST REVOLUTION:
1. Call out anything that is unfair on one gender
2. Don’t call out the same thing twice (so you can sleep and breathe)
3. Always try to keep it funny.
4. Don’t let anything slide. Even when you start to break…
Lottie’s determined to change the world with her #Vagilante vlog. Shame the trolls have other ideas…”

Before I get onto the book I will give you some background. Holly Bourne is an amazing author who started the Twitter trend #IAmAFeminist. The responses she got both online and when she was at YALC were incredible. You can see some of them here: http://hollybourneauthor.tumblr.com/post/148091076807/i-am-a-feminist. The responses given show the whole reason why the world needs feminists and why it is SO IMPORTANT to stand up for what you believe in.

And this is the overlying message in ‘What’s A Girl Gotta Do?’. It follows Lottie (the other two books are centred around the other 2 members of The Spinster Club… they’re incredible) and Lottie’s mission to change the world. She decides to set herself on a mission of calling out all the sexist things she witnesses: against men or women. Throughout the story I was highlighted to things that I wasn’t even aware were a thing. It opened my eyes so much to how sexist this world really is sometimes. ‘What’s A Girl Gotta Do?’ will make you laugh, shock you, make you cry and make you proud to be a woman/man/person/human.

The world needs books like these, it needs people to stand up for itself… the world needs amazing women who stand up for amazing women. 

If you wanna know more about these books, you can check out Holly’s Tumblr (http://hollybourneauthor.tumblr.com/) and she’s a prolific tweeter (and she’s hilarious) over at @holly_bourneYA.

Have you read these books? Why are you a feminist? Share your ideas in the comments or over on Twitter using the #IAmAFeminist tag!

S x