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Elaine's Circle: A Teacher, a Student, a Classroom, and One Unforgettable Year
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Elaine's Circle: A Teacher, a Student, a Classroom, and One Unforgettable Year

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  203 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
Elaine Moore, a veteran teacher in Eagle River, Alaska, is a firm believer that the classroom is, first and foremost, a community—and that learning is best when shared in a circle of peers. When one of her students, ten-year-old Seamus Farrell, is diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, Elaine, her students, and her innovative methods of teaching are put to their most severe ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published July 8th 2005 by Da Capo Press
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Jul 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Nicole by:
I really loved this book. Yes, it was sad, but it was so well-written and compassionate that the underlying story was not about death, but life, and how his illness affected a community, and how one person can become an everyday hero and role model. As an reviewer said: “The story is so well written, before you know it the book is done and your life is changed forever.” I totally agree.
Oct 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing
This book is a true story about how a teacher and her class support a student as he is fighting brain cancer. It was a hopeful, but poignant story.
May 09, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2006, library
This woman is the teacher I hope to be someday. What she does for her students is incredible. Do not start it without a box of tissues handy!
Sep 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Amazing story, amazing woman. My fourth grade teacher :)
Touching read. Predictable but shows the beauty of a classroom.
The Reading Countess
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Linda Madden
May 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A true teacher at heart...a selfless servant to a classroom of fourth graders. She had a special gift of teaching and loving her students so well, especially Seamus. Elaine Moore established a close-knit community of learners, and modeled care and compassion for a student dying of a brain tumor.
Baylie Embry
Strategy #1 Predict- While reading the book Elaine’s Circle you knew that Seamus wasn't going to make it much longer. How the author described him you could tell he was very weak. In the beginning of the book I predicted that Seamus would pass away at the end of fourth grade. “...Seamus made out a list of things he wanted to do…He wanted to go to fifth grade”(Katz 188). After reading this part I predicted that he would make it too the fifth grade. In the end II found out that I was right.

Dec 03, 2012 rated it really liked it

“This year,” she would tell them, “we are going to learn to love learning. That is our main goal, Always keep that in mind. Learning is what life’s about. We are going to be learners not just this year, not just while we’re in school. We will be learners throughout our lives. We will be learning until the day we die. In fact, if we stop learning we call that dying.”
Elaine Moore is an old timer in the teaching department, in Eagle River, Alaska. Her joy is to teach, to touch the lives of young
Jan 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009
I am giving this one 4 stars based on the story (or point of the story). I didn't think the writing was the best and it did drag on at times but how you could not read this and feel good and hopeful about life would be hard. It is a heart warming real life story of a teacher, her students and a school system and community. I have had teachers that were this special and they do make a difference. I wish we heard more about stories like this because I know they are out there. I bit of a tear jerke ...more
Aug 21, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: listening-to
Had I read this story of a 5th grade class, who had a classmate dying of brain cancer, I may have really liked it. It's touching how the class took turns going to his house during their lunch time to tutor and keep him caught up in his school work and his social life. The details of living in Alaska and being a classroom teacher intrigued me too. However, I listened to it and did not like the reader at all. I found her very off-putting, which completely altered my feelings for the teacher, whose ...more
Apr 05, 2008 rated it liked it
What can we learn from a teacher in Alaska? She teaches 4th grade and one of her students has cancer. She brings the class together and the community together as they continue to include this young boy in school. The boy is a testimony of how to live your life to the fullest even in the midst of a terminal illness.
Feb 09, 2012 rated it liked it
I had higher hopes for this book but it was okay. Sweet story about a community/school/teacher supporting a family as their child is dying from a brain tumor. The teacher went above and beyond. I liked the very last quote at the end of the book..."Not everything that counts can be counted."
I couldn't agree more.
Jul 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
This was just such a nice book. It's the true story of a teacher and her class and how they deal with a student's terminal illness. It was 220 page book that could have easily been written in 150 pages, but the people and experiences are just so inspiring that I didn't mind. Very worthwhile read.
Mar 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
In a search for books about Alaska, I happened upon this true gem! A 4th grader in Elaine's democratic classroom in a public school in Alaska is diagnosed with a type of incurrable cancer. This book documents the student's reactions and humanitarian efforts to keep him involved in school life. Wonderful!
Laura Warwick
Jul 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was a wonderful book, especially for educators. I highly recommend reading this before beginning a new year. It's such a strong reminder that with a classroom community, anything is possible. Further, the book deals with the difficult topic of death, which is always so hard.
Feb 03, 2016 rated it liked it
I would actually give this 3.5 stars. I should mention that listened to it on audiobook. While it was a little slow to start, I really enjoyed the story and found myself enthralled with the journey surrounding her student Shamus and his circumstances.
Oct 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is a true story of a fourth grade class who rallied around their classmate stricken down by a terminal cancer. Elaine is their teacher, and she handled a difficult time in the best way possible. An inspiration to all!
Sue (booknbeachbag)
Oct 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
I loved this book. Elaine was way ahead of her time in terms of Circle Time and many other of the teaching practices she adhered to back in 1992.
Jan 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Great story. A little slow, in parts, but worth the time.
Nov 07, 2012 added it
Audio book. Wonderful story!
Jul 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
I listened to this on audiobook... I'm not sure I would have enjoyed it as much if I'd read it, but it was a very sweet story to listen to.
Gae Broadwater
Apr 24, 2011 rated it liked it
I have just started listening to this on tape and am hooked. Can't wait to hear more.
Sep 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
This book made my cry at one point. It was a little bit of a downer after "32 Third Graders" but I enjoyed the story and I am amazed at how this teacher handle the situation.
Apr 04, 2008 rated it liked it
I havent finished this one yet...its a bit sad because its about a teacher in Alaska and one of her students has terminal brain cancer. A life book.
Pat Arnold
Apr 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
What an excellent book! What an excellent teacher. Everyone should read this book.
Jan 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Kristin by: fellow co-worker
Great book about a class coming together. A teacher with a wonderful teaching method. A quick, easy, fun read.
Sep 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
Insprirng teacher story.
Aug 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
A very uplifting story, the kids were so inspiring.
Jul 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
Great book, especially for teachers and lovers of children. Don't get turned off by the subject matter - it's really a wonderful book.
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