Welcome to the Inklings

Hello Readers and Writers,

I sure wish I had the time to post this a little earlier, but the weekend raced up on me and I was away from good internet service for the long weekend.

So here we go this Tuesday afternoon…

The PHMS Inklings have formed!

We started with some introductions, and answered some questions on a from. Here are some of the important results…

So we have some readers and writers with us for Inklings… and it looks like we might have some fantasy lovers as well.

After introductions a long title share ensued with Mr. H and many of the Inklings sharing their current reads and favorite titles. It was epic.

Then we had some fun with our Reading and Writing brains…

I wish we had another hour to get some writing going, but not to worry, next meeting we will have some time to get out hands inky!

Remember we meet again on September 16!

Are You Ready For The PHMS Inklings?

Hello Pilot readers and Pilot writers. Are you ready for a new after school club devoted to ink? I doesn’t matter if you prefer reading inked letters in the form of novels or you like to get your fingers inky as you write your own stories… The PHMS Inklings club is made for you.

We will meet fortnightly (that’s every two weeks) from 3:30 to 4:30 in Mr. Hutchinson’s room. You will need to make sure you have a ride home after club meetings, and if you can’t stay after school… don’t fret there will be online opportunities for you to join us.

This won’t be your typical book club… no sitting around in circles talking about hidden metaphors and main idea. No we will talk about the books you want to talk about. We will look at all sorts of genre from graphic novels to zombie poetry and everything in-between. You won’t be assigned readings, just come with the stories you love to read and be ready to share and argue the greatness of your favorite books and authors. You might just find your great next read as we share our reading and play games and do crazy activities found in the pages of our books.

And writers… this club has a space for you as well. Sometimes a writer needs a place to sit and write and sometimes it’s a community of writers you need to share your WIPs (that’s works in progress). During the month of November Mr. Hutchinson always participates in NaNoWriMo and helps student writers participate in the Young Writers Program. This year we will probably also do a little work in Camp NaNoWriMo later in April of 2022. But writers, you are welcome at all Inkling meetings… every author I know tells inspiring young writers…. read everything you can.

So if you love ink…. reading it, writing with it, or some fun combination of both… join us for Inklings… Starting September 2.

Feel free to fill out this form to let Mr. Hutchinson you are interested and help him get ready for the club.

New Reads… From an Empty Classroom

Hello Readers,

Today I sit in my empty classroom, with a few free minutes between emails and lesson planning, to share some of my recent reads with you.

So check out what I’ve been reading of late…

Share Your Rainbow by lots of illustrators and Black Brother, Black Brother by Jewell Parker Rhodes
The Weirn Books – Be Wary of the Silent Woods #1 by Svetlana Chmakova
Resist by Alan Gratz

***So… I have no idea why these videos look upside down in the still shot?

…But I sort of like the ‘World Turned Upside Down’ vibe.

I don’t know if Covid is giving me more time to read, or I’m more motivated to turn pages, but my Goodreads Reading Challenge says I’m 3 books ahead of schedule… The length of Share Your Rainbow and Resist helped I’m sure. I hope you are finding time to turn some pages. Don’t forget your PHMS Library is getting set to begin loaning out books again… so no excuses!

Read on,

Mr. H

P.S. I forgot to tell you that 100% of the net proceeds from Share Your Rainbow will be donated to the World Central Kitchen… which is awesome and another reason our family bought two copies.

New Reads…

Hello Readers,

I hope the summer is giving you loads of time for new reading? I know I am enjoying this strange longer summer that I have this year. Most of the time my year round schedule sees me off during the month of July and back to school by the first of August. I haven’t really been in my classroom since March 13 and we just found out yesterday that we are starting school online, so I might not see students in my classroom until September, or later.

But let’s talk about books… I have three new reads that I finished over the last few weeks of summer reading that I would like to share with you.

So if you need a few new reads, and have safe access to newer books, why not check out When Stars Are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed, One Last Shot by John David Anderson and Ravenmaster by Christopher Skaife.

Read on,

Mr. H

Fits and Starts

Hello Readers,

Mr. H back from the land of dormant websites. How have you all been doing in this time of quarantine? I know it was certainly a long strange trip for me these last few months, the end of my 21st year teaching will be memorable… for sure. I’ve tried to get this blog going again time and time again over the last few years, maybe this time?

I find myself with both time and a longing to get back in the blogging business. Just the other day I was working on a rough draft for an article I am writing with our school librarian and it took me back to book clubs and book activities of my past. I found I missed it, and started that back of the brain wondering if Guys Read needed to be finally resurrected as an after school club? I decided that in fact yes it does need to rise from the ashes…. I just have two little teensy, tiny road blocks. One, will we be back to school this fall in a way that I can start an after school club? Two, will I have a day after school that my family schedule allows me the time to stay and run a book club? My hope is that the answer to those two questions are… sure, no worries… but we will have to wait and see.

So what to do while I wait out this summer… my first since 2006… I think? Year round schedules always gave me a few weeks off in July, but never this long break I’m working with now. I’m going to do a little book reviewing while we wait to get back to school and clubs. I’m going to do a little fiction writing… I did Camp NaNoWriMo in April (here is Chapter 1, if you are interested?) with a few students, and plan to do the July Camp… I think a 15,000 word story is something I can accomplish? Then hopefully sometime this fall we will see the Phoenix of Guys Read return…. Right now I think my first title will be One Last Shot by John David Anderson. I haven’t been able to get a copy, thanks Covid, but I have loved everything I’ve read from Anderson, and I see a mini golf course forming in the classrooms and hallways of Pine Hollow Middle School, even as I type this from my dining room in June.

Now on to the book reviewing…

Over the last few weeks of at home school our country started to unravel, and many of the authors and educators I follow on social media started to voice their support of the often marginalized and mistreated. I wanted to do something from my little keyboard and so I penned this note and challenge for my students. I’ve been working with books as mirrors and windows for awhile and I love the metaphor or finding a story that looks familiar to you or one that might find you peeking into a world that is new and different from your own.

So here are my virtual book talks for the last three books I have read. (sorry the popup in front of my face)

Enjoy and Read On,

Mr. H

BoB Quiz 3/27/2020

Hey Readers,

Welcome to club day in quarantine times.  I hope you are reading new Battle Books, remember you have access to the online books through Destiny Discover (go in through Follett in the Wake ID portal).  I just checked and The Hired Girl, Salt to the Sea and Wolf Hollow are all in there as eBooks and Audiobooks.  Outcasts United is there as just and eBook.  So if you need a read… check those four out.

After you’ve done some reading, see how you do on this quiz…

BoB Quiz 3/27

Clubs Day!

Hey Battle of the Books Club,

Have you been reading over this Quarantine time?  I finished Book Scavenger and am reading Other Words for Home right now.  I know you all have loads of time on your hands now so I am going to put some Battle activities up on this HutchinsonReads page each Friday.

I know it’s only Thursday, but here is a practice Title and Author Quiz for you all.

Stay safe and Read On,

Mr. H


Book Basketball Deathmatch

Back to the blog, my head says, as I sit here on a rainy Friday afternoon in North Carolina.  The rain is welcome as the pine pollen is out in abundance and my brown minivan was starting to turn a strange yellowish green.

But I’m not here to write about pollen counts and weather forecasts, this is HutchinsonReads not HutchinsonMeterology for goodness sakes!

Last Friday was my last Battle of the Books club meeting for a few weeks, as I am currently on a three week track out break.  So for this final meeting I wanted to do something engaging and memorable.

Boy… I think I found it in a little game called Book Basketball Deathmatch.  I found the game whilst Googling book club games and modified the questions to meet our current needs.  We are still very new into the 2019-2020 battle season so most of the club members have not had a chance to read much.  Because of this I decided to just go with a simple titles and author challenge.

The game requires a play basketball hoop in the style of the famous NERF basketball hoops that adorn most middle grade boy’s bedrooms, and a supply of some sort of treasure counters.  I used unifix cubes borrowed from the math classroom.

Break your club into groups of four or five members and give each group ten unifix cubes.  The game from there is simple… ask a question to a group, if they get the question correct they can steal a cube from any of the other teams.  Then they can nominate one member of their group to shoot the basketball, this time, if they score, the team can steal five cubes from any team they choose.  As you can guess it can get a little cutthroat as teams start to pick on a certain team, you know that blood in the water mentality, until they figure out some of the teams have loads of cubes and they need to be slammed back to reality.  If a team runs out of cubes, they are out of the game.

In our version I gave each team a list of current Battle of the Books authors and then asked each team to tell me the author of a title from the list.  Again, because we are so new to the lists, we had lots of misses and the excitement rained as teams finally got a book they knew who the author was.

But… we are a reading club, not a sporty club, and the shots on the hoop tended to go just a little awry.  I even bricked one pretty hard as I was explaining the game to the club.






It was a lot of fun, and I think the kids still tracked in might have repeated it today.  I can’t wait to get back to school so we can play again… I might even adapt it for a social studies review.

Do you have a reading club and a NERF Hoop?  If not, why not?  Go get a reading club and drop the $8 on a toy hoop and get playing Book Basketball Deathmatch!

Read On,

Mr. H


A Return to Writing

Well, dear reader, it has been a minute since we last interacted.  I can only say that I got lazy and writing for the blog seemed like the last thing I was interested in doing.  It’s not like I stopped reading or loving books… I just got out of the habit of writing.

So, let’s remedy this lack of discourse and get this blog back in good standing.

Battle of the Books finals

Let’s reignite this blog with a review of our recent trip to the 2018-2019 Wake County Battle of the Books finals.  Each year NC librarian types generates a list of 27 books for the state wide Battle of the Books competition.  Teams of students from all over the state spread a year reading the list and preparing for their regional finals.  Our county finals were held on March 2nd.

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Pine Hollow Middle took nine Pilot readers to the finals and faced off against an anxious Heritage Middle (they were warned three times for conferring before they were allowed to, and even lost points) and a scrappy Fuquay-Varina Middle.  We felt good with our combined score of 27 points after our first two battles… we were ahead of lots of schools, but lots of schools still had to finish their second battle.  Alas, in the end our 27 points only afforded us a 13th place and didn’t allow us to move to the next round.

We came home proud of our battles and eager to get into the new battle list.  We didn’t have to wait long, as the 2019-2020 list came out just a few weeks after the finals.  This coming year, the list was reduced by a few book titles.  I guess 27 books seemed too daunting, and they decided to reduce the title list ot 22 books.

So we continue on, with only two 8th graders on our finals team, we have a good core of Pilot Readers ready to get going on the next list of books.  Hopefully next year, we can get that unlucky 13 out of the way… and get into that top 8 and move to the second round.  Fingers Crossed.

I’ve enjoyed getting this post done, and have a few ideas for posts in the next few days, so stay tuned.

Read On,

Mr. H