La Vampirata

I must admit that before I bought this book, I had misunderstood the title. I was expecting a more fanciful story about a vampire rat. I am not sure why exactly, since the cover clearly shows a pirate ship. But, be that as it may, I was still really excited to get my hands on another Mira Canion book. I’ve got class sets of several of her other books and know her writing is always top notch in my opinion. This book was no exception. From sword play to bullying, this book had a lot of reality in it while still being fiction. Be warned though, this book has quite the cliff hanger ending. If you like your stories wrapped up in a nice little box then you may wish to choose another of her books, as the ending here is wide open. This story is 53 pages long, written in the past tense and has 240 unique words. It does have a lot of illustrations, but not enough for me to say it is ideal for a first-year student. While the topics are hefty and do include a level of implied violence, no one is seriously injured during any of the conflicts, so I would give this to my fifth graders as an option in their library. Since I change my books out every quarter, I would probably not add this one into the rotation until third or fourth quarter, just to make sure they have become experienced enough readers to handle the higher word count.

La Vampirata begins in the time (and location) of the Salem Witch Trials. This is not an ideal time to be very pale skinned with jet black hair, but Sarah is and the whole community ostracizes her. She is looking for any way out of her situation when she comes to possess a mystical emerald and a story about a magical place where it comes from. She decides to hop the first ship out of Salem to seek out adventure and to learn the truth of the emerald. Unfortunately, her choices lead her to more danger as she finds herself on a pirate ship filled with dangerous pirates in search of the very same emerald that she is hiding. How long can she keep her secret? How long before the crew turns on her just like her old community had? Will she ever get where she is going? The only way to know is to read it!

Honestly, I’m not sure my students, even after three years with me, will have the stamina for a book of this length. They are still quite young, and prefer much more pictures still. But, I’m still thrilled to have it, and plan on keeping it in my rotation of books to read during our FVR time. I will just keep it tucked away, putting it out for the last quarter for my oldest students, in hopes that someone is just chomping at the bit for a great pirate story.

EdCamp CI VA coming soon

EdCampCIVa is back for it’s fourth year, and better than ever! I am so excited to attend for my third time. This year will be a little different from the past three years because it is now a(n optionally) two-day event. On Tuesday, June 23 there will be a paid training from Elevate Consulting. This $75 day is quite a deal for a day of culturally responsive teaching methods that is designed for novice and advanced CI teachers. Plus, if you plan on going to their three-day training in DC the following week, they will apply a $50 credit to that registration for attending this event!

Whether or not you attend on Tuesday, put Wednesday on your calendar now! This is a completely free event that you do not want to miss. If you have never been to EDCamp before, it’s an unconference. There is no preapproved session list, only a preset time schedule. When we meet in the morning, attendees can write down what they are willing to present on (if anything) and what they are most interested in learning about. Once all have had a chance to add their thoughts, the sessions are designed right there matching the available presenters to the needs of the other participants. Plus, space is provided for people to go and have more private conversations with colleagues who have more specific conversations. The Latin teachers really took ownership of that last year, and said they really loved having a place to just be, while still popping in and out of other sessions. It’s really that relaxed, while still being high quality training.

For more information please go to: EDCampCIVa’s website to learn about what they do and why they do it. And remember go here to sign up for one or both days of this year’s event. I hope to see you there!

Late notice: Free PD Alert!

Apparently, I am as behind on reading my email as I am in reaching my goals for this website. But there is still time to join the Ditch Summit this year! Go to to join in and get access to tons of PD videos. In addition to ten new videos for the 2019 summit, you also get access to all of the previous summit videos! I’ve seen them, and there are so many great videos to watch. Best of all, you get a certificate for an hour of PD for every video you watch. There are also Flipgrid conversations you can participate in, and downloadable notes that I love to use to follow along with the videos. It’s much handier to have the notes there so I can personalize them, rather than having to write everything out myself.

So, go now! Time is limited! Enjoy ten new videos all about managing teacher stress (the topic of the year) which is quite appropriate for this time of year. Enjoy!