We Celebrate…

Hello Readers,

Today is close to the end of our school year and marks the end of the 6th Grade Chapter of Guys Read’s year.  We will be having one more Imaginary Obstacle Course Run on Monday.

To celebrate the end of our school year I produced a creepy squirrel pinata based on our work with squirrels from last year.

So we pulled out the cricket bat, hung up the squirrel and let our guyness take over!

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The lads in the 7th/8th Grade Chapter also got in on the Creepy Squirrel Pinata fun.

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… and we got some video…

We hope you have enjoyed the reading year, don’t take a reading holiday over the summer!

Read on,

Mr. H

Attack of the Bostitich SuperPro 6

Hello Readers,

On this Monday the 13th, the slightly less creepy litter brother of Friday the 13th, the 7th/8th Grade Chapter of SMS Guys Read proudly presents…

It was a lot of fun coming up with the script and then filming and editing this little masterpiece, which was all inspired by a character in Donna Gephart’s story, Death by Toilet Paper.  You really should check out Death by Toilet Paper for some good summer reading.

We would really like to hear what you thought of our horror film.  Think about hitting that comment button and giving us some feedback.  What was your favorite part?  Will you ever use an electric pencil sharpener again?  Let us know.

As always

Read on,

Mr. H

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Next Meetings

Hello Readers,

So, it has been quite a while since we last had a post, thanks to our spring break.  Well, we are back, but meetings will not start right away.  I, unfortunately have meetings over the next two Tuesdays, so Inklings will meet on May 10 and the 7th/8th Grade Chapter of Guys Read will meet May 17.

I have been coming up with next reads and reading challenges for both Inklings and Guys Read and I’m pretty excited about what we will finish this year with.

Inklings will be looking at Fortunately the Milk by Neil Gaiman.  This gonzo short story will help us write a short story and then binge on cereal and milk on our last meeting.

Guys Read will finish our epic horror movie, which is nearly finished, and release it to the wide world.  I can’t wait for Donna Gephart to see our work, based on characters in her story, Death by Toilet Paper.  Once Guys Read is finished with their movie they will be looking at a collection of short stories called, Been There, Done That.  This will lead us to a final reading and writing project to finish out the year.

So keep reading and I will see you in a few weeks.

Read on,

Mr. H

Final Inklings Meetings…

May 10, 24

June 7, 21

7th/8th Grade Guys Read final meetings…

May 17, 31

June 14, 28

 

Do You Prefer Your Gore Medium or Mild?

Hello Readers,

Today was gory day at our 7th/8th grade Guys Read meeting.  The lads and I have been reading Death by Toilet Paper by Donna Gephart for a few weeks now and it was high time to get some reading challenges under our belts.

We started out meeting by introducing our older guys to the Limburger cheese the 6th graders messed with last Friday.  Of the seven older guys in the meeting today, only two we brave enough to try a taste, one had seconds!   😦

Once the stinky cheese was safely stowed away I did a quick reading from the opening pages of Death by Toilet Paper to get the guys in the proper mood for our activity.  The opening scene in DbTP is a perfect Guys Read hook… you seem to be walking into a horrible crime scene and find out you are only in a horror film, in a kitchen, using salsa as blood and guts.

So with that in our heads, we had a quick chip and salsa snack and got to our big reading challenge… scar wax.

If you are a horror film aficionado, like the character Toothpick is, then you know a few things about scar wax.  Scar wax is the stuff movie makers use to make actors look all cut up and gross.  I found out that there are tons of DIY lessons on YouTube for making the stuff, so we did.

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After a lot of mixing and remixing we were able to get some small batches of scar wax to the proper consistency and we were off making wounds and seeping warts using the leftover salsa and school markers.

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It was super gross, but a lot of fun.  Our next challenge is to take our new fx skills to the writing department and develop a little horror film movie.  So check back in a few weeks when we bring scenes from a middle school, or horror school.

Read on,

Mr. H

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Another Guys Read Mess…

 

Death by Toilet Paper Review

Hello Readers,

I’m not one for New Year’s Resolutions, I’ve never had much luck with them, so what really is the point?  But this year I just happened to finish a book right at the end of the year and it got me thinking about something I’ve wanted to really try for some time now… I want to try and write more book reviews.

Now according to my recent Reading Challenges on Goodreads, I read between 50 and 60 books a year, I can’t promise full reviews on everything I finish, but I do certainly want to give it a go.

So without further ado I give you my first review of 2016, Death by Toilet Paper by Donna Gephart.  I came to this book two ways, first it was available in my latest Scholastic Book Order, one of my go to avenues for affordable titles, which reminds me, I think I owe them for my last order?  The second path to this book was, of course, the title.  How could you not pick up a middle grade novel that looks like this?

image

I needed a new title for my middle school Guys Read book club to tackle and a book called Death by Toilet Paper for $4 bucks in the book order really seemed to be perfect.

I thought I was in for a zany, madcap sort of story, and it is funny for sure, but I wasn’t ready for what the story turned into.

The story begins, and is peppered throughout, with a correspondence between Royal-T toilet paper company  and our main character Benjamin Epstein.  These letters will become an interesting thread though the story as they are used to break up the action and it gives Ben the chance to talk to someone outside of his situation.  The letters between Ben and the TP company act as a sort of counseling session where Ben can get a few things off of his chest.

Why might a seventh grader need counseling services, well there is where this book caught me off guard.  The title and the cover art promise laughs and silliness.  The whole opening scene deals with Ben’s best friend and his chef father creating a horror scene for a home movie, with fake blood (salsa) covering everything in the kitchen including the cat!  But what we soon learn is that Ben’s father has just passed and his mother is struggling to make ends meet.  Soon Ben’s grandfather shows up unexpected and quickly shows signs of memory loss.  All of this cast a pretty heavy tone over what I was thinking would be a goofy and lighthearted little story.  Ben and his mom, along with grandpa are now just days away from eviction and also just days away from Ben’s mom passing her CPA exams and getting a job that would save them from all of their financial woes.  In the end Ben hatches a few ingenious schemes and everything works out.

I really enjoyed Death by Toilet Paper and here are a few of my highlights.

First the chapters are headed with random toilet paper facts.  These facts are often hilarious and make me want to do more research on toilets and toilet paper history.  Next, Ben’s friend, Toothpick, has a wonderful pension toward making horror films.  I am already cueing the rabbit scene from the movie Summer School and Googling recipes for homemade scar wax.  The lads of SMS Guys read will have some fun with that idea for sure.  Toothpick also always goes to the Mutter Museum for his birthday.  Just take a look around their website to see what kind of fun you could have there on a birthday excursion.  Finally the grandfather, or Zeyde, as he is referred to in the story adds humor, struggle, heart and heroism to a story that basically is a story about the struggles of family.  I dare you to not laugh out loud or pitch your cookies at the scene on page 82 dealing with Ben drinking a glass of water being used by Zeyde.  I read it four times to my classes and it still gets me!

I do have to say that my one criticism is that the story is simple in plot and fairly predictable in resolution, but I really did enjoy the read and look forward to some fun Reading Challenges with my Guys Read book club.

So there is my first review of 2016, I hope many more to come.  I am just pages away from finishing Most Dangerous by Steve Sheinkin, so look for that review in the coming days.

Read on,

Mr. H

Gummy Worm Attack

Hello Readers,

I hope the effects of eating too much turkey, or tofurky if you live in my house, and are ready to dive head first into the reading month of December.

Last week the 7th/8th Grade Chapter of Guys Read met right before our long Thanksgiving Break and we had an epic Nerd Sport meeting.

We have been reading and talking about The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare, and if you remember back on November 19 we invented a game based on the Gummy Worm Attack launched by Master Rufus in Chapter 10.

Well at last Tuesday’s meeting we had a full group of students and could actually play our version of gummy Worm Attack!

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It was an epic challenge as you can clearly see here…

The game ended in an 18 to 18 tie, so we had to go to penalty shots and found our epic nerd sport, Gummy Worm Attack Champions.

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Check back in soon as we continue reading challenges and general reading silliness.

Read on,

Mr. H

Gummy Worm Attack

Hello Readers,

This week the 7th/8th Grade Chapter of Guys Read met with very small group of guys.  Many of our regular members were either tracked out or on an overnight field trip.

I wasn’t sure we were going to be able to complete the activity that I had planned, but actually it worked out pretty well.

We have been reading The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare.  This week we took a look at the beginning of chapter 10 and gummy worm fight that Master Rufus starts as the William Tell Overture plays in the background.

What a perfect scene for the SMS Guys Read treatment.  So check out of Reading Challenge we called Gummy Worm Attack….

We even played a bit with the slow-motion…

We took these practice runs to develop a complete game.  All you need is a few friend, a cone, and lots of gummy worms (to both eat and throw).

Here are the basic rules.

Gummy Worm Attack

Needed Equipment

cone (inverted)

markers to outline the playing field

Lots of Gummy Worms

Rules
  1. Defenders may not use their hands or raise their arms
  2. Attackers can move anywhere within the attacking zone
  3. Points awarded for a worm in the cone
  4. Attack lasts for a set time and then teams switch sides
Scoring

Defense

Score 1 point for worm hit to the face

Score 5 points for worm in mouth

Attack

Score 2 points for worm thrown into cone

Score 3 points for worm thrown from distance

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So why not read The Iron Trial and then find a few friends, a cone and a few bags of Gummy Worms and give Gummy Worm Attack a try.

Enjoy.

Read On,

Mr. H

 

 

Iron Trial Knife Shaping

Hello Readers,

Yesterday afternoon the 7th/8th Grade Chapter of SMS Guys Read attacked my classroom armed with tagboard, colored tape and chopsticks.  The goal for this strange assortment of items was a paper knife based on Seriramis from The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare.  We have been enjoying the story of Call and his problems at the Magisterium.  The knife that his mother shaped when she was a student at the Magisterium struck us as interesting.

So to start our reading challenge we took the elemental test found on the homepage of Scholastic’s Iron Trial page.  Most of us got the earth element the first time through, but being 7th and 8th graders the lads took the test until they managed to find their path to Chaos…. you know as boys will do.

With an element as a guide the guys started shaping their blades.

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Unfortunately our hour long meeting was not enough to fully complete our blades, so check back soon as these Iron Trial inspired paper blades find their final forms.

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Read on,

Mr. H

The Guys Read Iron Trial Entrance Exam

Hello Readers,

Yesterday we held our second 7th/8th Grade Guys Read Chapter Meeting of this school year.  At this meeting we got into our first read, The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare.

We started by reading from the Prologue, introducing Semiramis the dagger and the terror of losing friends and family.  Semiramis will become our next reading challenge as the lads prepare to design and build a paper knife at our next meeting.  Who knows they may sleep with their blades the way Call did his first night at the Magisterium?

After our introduction work we started talking about the Magisterium and how Call had been coached for his entire twelve years of life to fail the entrance exam… spectacularly if at all possible.  This got me thinking about a Guys Read version of the entrance exam.  So why not take a look at our five question entrance exam and how we did?

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The Guys Read Iron Trial

At the end of the video we hint at a few extra credit opportunities, so challenge yourself… can you answer them?

  1. Find the sum of -7 through 800?
  2. Old McDonald had a farm.  What happened to his farm since it says “had a farm?” Explain Deeply.
  3. If an earth mage uses dragon scales to make tea and a fire mage uses lichens to heat the tea, when does a dragon kill everyone in the city where the mages live?
  4. If a golem, composed of admantine, shatters a warven craftsman and embeds the shards with fire stone, how many standard size hammers can he make?
  5. Do you know the muffin man?
  6. A dragon flies at 45 mph, but the goblin runs at 50 mph.  The dragon is 20 miles ahead of the goblin in 2 hours.  What potion did the dragon take to get the boost?

Challenging I know!

So check back soon as the 7th/8th Grade guys build knives, carve ice and read deeper into The Iron Trial.

Read on,

Mr. H

Book Order

Hello Readers,

The 7th/8th Grade Chapter of SMS Guys Read is planning on reading The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare.  It just so happens that you can get that great story in this month’s Scholastic Book Order.

I am attaching an order form if you would like to order The Iron Trial, the next story we will attack, I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest, or the sequel to The Iron Trial.

Let me know if you have any questions.  I hope to make the order by September 10.

Read on, Mr. H

SMS Guys Read Book Order