Thursday, January 31, 2008

Revealers page 17, 85-86

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"I had known Elliot since we were in kindergarten, and I had seen a lot of stuff happen to him. I never really joined in, but I never tried to stop it either, not that I could have." (Page 17)

"…everyone knows about feeling alone…If a few people persecute somebody, most of us pretend it isn't happening, right? We don't want to see it." (Pages 85-86)

  • Why do you think Russell watched Elliot get bullied for years, but never did anything to help? What causes us to "not see" bullying or to "pretend it isn't happening"?
  • Are those who don't get involved partly responsible for bullying even though they are just bystanders?
  • What do you think prevents students at your school from standing up for others? What would it take to create an atmosphere of support?

Revealers page 27

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"The new girl stood up. People started whispering. "I am from near Manila. In the Philippines," she said, and sat down. The whispers turned into giggling." (Page 27)

Questions:

  • How must if have felt for Catalina to be laughed at and whispered about on her first day in a new school?
  • What motivates people to treat those who are different as outsiders?
  • What would it take at your school to make those who are new or different feel welcome?
  • The Revealers page 63

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    "For some reason, sometimes when you are new or different in some way, people decide to tell lies about you. I don't know why…I'm somebody people have been telling untrue things about." (Page 63)

    Discussion:

    • People often think of bullying as physical harassment, but telling lies and spreading rumors can also be bullying. What other forms does bullying take? Which are most problematic at your school?
    • Do you think one form of bullying is worse than another? What do all types have in common?

     

    Wednesday, January 30, 2008

    The Uglies pages 200-285

     

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    David's parents reveal a secret about the operation that makes the Uglies become Pretties.  What shocking news did they reveal to Tally?  Why did the Specials want the Pretties to be different from the Rusties?  On page 285, Tally finally tosses the pendant into the fire?  What does this action symbolize?  Why has she changed her mind?

    Monday, January 28, 2008

    Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

     

     

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    A novel in cartoons  -4 stars"Like I said, I'll be famous one day, but for now I'm stuck in middle school with a bunch of morons."

    Greg is tired of being picked on, sick of being considered a loser, and more than ready to impress all the hot girls at his middle school. Told through Greg's diary and hilarious cartoon drawings, you'll get hooked on reading this new series which first began as an online cartoon at funbrain.com. I loved this book! The drawings really added to the story, and Greg will make you laugh out loud.

     

     

     

     

    Sunday, January 27, 2008

    Surprises at Smoke

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    Pages 100-200

    Once she finally arrives at Smoke, Tally is surprised at how happy she is to see Shay again. Life at Smoke is very different from life at Uglyville. What are some of the differences? Though life at Smoke can be very difficult, Tally is finding enjoyment and happiness there. At this point in the novel, do you believe Tally will activate her pendant and disclose the location of Smoke to the Specials? Why or why not?

    Thursday, January 24, 2008

    Hello world!

    Welcome to WordPress.com. This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!

    Wednesday, January 23, 2008

    Pages 9-17

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    "Middle school…was basically a place you tried to survive…Everybody was rushing around and you hardly knew anybody, and there were predators. Even some of the kids you knew started turning into them. Plus, a lot of kids at our school were changing and making these tight little cliques, and if you didn't fit in somewhere you could be in trouble." (Page 9)

     

      "…the whole place is an obstacle course of kids alert for someone they can pound on or ridicule. If you have no hope of being accepted in a cool clique, or any clique for that matter, you're safest if you can manage not to get noticed at all." (Page 10)

    "You know how there's always one kid in school who's the dirty one, one kid who's the smelly one, one kid who throws the ball over the backstop…and one kid who it's okay for anybody, absolutely anybody, to trash? In our school that last kid was Elliot…I wasn't really sure why he was the one, but the fact was that in Parkland School seventh grade, no matter who you were, Elliot Gekewicz was lower on the social scale than you." (Page 17)

    Russell describes middle school as a place with "predators" that you "try to survive."

    Can you relate to his experience?

    How was your transition to middle school similar or different?

    Why do you think fitting in to "tight cliques" or groups is important to people?

    What types of people are considered "cool" at your school?

     

    Opening Discussion

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    Theme: Feeling like an outsider/the importance of "fitting in"


    http://www.adl.org/education/

     


    Russell states on page 3 of The Revealers:

    "…when seventh grade started I found out I was out. It was like everyone else took a secret summer course in how to act, what to say, and what groups to be in, and I never found out about it." (Page 3)

    "I wanted people to say, "Hey, Russell! Sit with us!" But I'd open my mouth and what would come out would be loud and clanky and wrong. And they would give me that quick, flat, puzzled stare that is the stock weapon of the cool seventh grader and seems to ask, "What species are you, exactly?" And I would go away thinking I was hopeless." (Page 3)

    Russell describes feeling "out" and "hopeless."

    Do you think he is the only seventh grader who feels this way? What feelings and experiences might Russell have in common with his peers?

    Tuesday, January 22, 2008

    Pretty: To be or not to be….

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    Tally has decided to turn over her coded message from Shay to the Specials.  Do you view this decision as an act of betrayal?  Why or why not?

    Pretty: To be or not to be….

     

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    Tally has decided to turn over her coded message from Shay to the Specials.  Do you view this decision as an act of betrayal?  Why or why not?

    Normal is Ugly…..

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     "Don't judge a book by its cover."  What is the meaning of this cliche?   Does this reflect the ideals of the society presented in Westerfield's Uglies?

    Normal is Ugly…..

     

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     "Don't judge a book by its cover."  What is the meaning of this cliche?   Does this reflect the ideals of the society presented in Westerfield's Uglies?

    Monday, January 21, 2008

    Games by Carol Gordman

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     A tale of two bullies

    A tale of two bullies

     4 stars- love how they have more in  common than anyone would have had ever expected

     

    Eigth graders Mick and Boot hate each other. They have been enemies from the moment they laid eyes on one another.  It’s the first week of school and Mick and Boot have already been in two fights.  When Boot makes fun of Mick’s alcoholic father, Mick has had enough.  He is three times the size of Boot and normally held back when punching him, but not this time!

    When the new principal finds out, he comes up with an unusual punishment.  Every day the boys must come to his office to play games during lunch - board games, card games, etc.  Instead of this punishment of bringing them closer, Mick and Boot just come up with their own games.  The fights become more dangerous dares.  They even begin fighting for the affections of Tabitha – the hottest girl in middle school.  Will these two ever get along?  Or will they destroy one another in the end?

    Hard Hit by Ann Turner

     

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    3 1/2 stars - An especially good read for anyone dealing with the loss of a loved one

    Hard Hit can be read in one day – the compelling story that’s told in verse flows easily on paper – but is hard-hitting emotionally.  Mark Warren is a sophomore in high school.  His life is all perfect:  new beautiful girlfriend, star of the baseball team, and a great family.  Everything crumbles around him, though, when he learns his dad has cancer.  Suddenly Mark finds himself dealing with fear, hatred, anger and grief.  Can his faith and God, the love of his family, and his faithful girlfriend pull him through?

    Friday, January 18, 2008

    Peak by Roland Smith

     

     

    Peak by Roland Smith

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    4 stars

     

    Peak never thought about how much trouble he could get into when he began climbing skyscrapers and spray painting murals of mountains on the sides of buildings.  To him, they were works of art.  He also loved the thrill of the risky climb.  When Peak is caught and arrested, a copycat climber decides to mimic Peak’s stunts– only to fall to his death.  In order to avoid a long stint in a juvenile detention center, 14 year-old Peak agrees to live with his father – a man he barely knows.  Peak is led to believe that his father, Josh, wants a chance to establish a relationship with him.  He later finds out his father, the owner of a climbing expedition group that scales Mount Everest, has an agenda of his own.  Josh wants Peak to be the youngest climber ever to reach the summit of Everest.Will Peak risk his life in order to please his father?  Will he climb Mount Everest to prove his determination and skills to his family and to himself?  I am normally not a fan of outdoor “survival stories” but Peak had me hooked.  The thrill of the climb, the threat of death that lingers around every peak and valley, the friendship and competition between Peak and Sun-jo (another young climber) all make this an interesting read.  The ending is also a great surprise.  Recommended.

     

    The Uglies by Scott Westerfield

    This month’s Book Club reading selection is Uglies by Scott Westerfield:

     

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    Please remember to post to at least 3 questions:
    Pages 1-971.       Most people are unhappy with some aspect of their physical appearance.  In this novel, 16-year-olds are provided with an incredible opportunity – cosmetic surgery that will transform them to become physically perfect.  Tally has waited eagerly for this all of her life – goodbye plain face and wide nose.  Hello, America’s Next Top Model!  Plus she gets to finally be with her friend, Peris, who turned 16 months earlier.  Though the Pretties are physically perfect, we find out (mainly through Tally’s newfound friend Shay) that life as a Pretty may not be as wonderful as everyone thinks.  What are some disadvantages to becoming a Pretty?

     

    Tuesday, January 15, 2008

    The Geography of Girlhood by Kirsten Smith

     

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     Penny hates her life.  While it seems that everyone else is enjoying their high school years, all Penny dreams of is an escape.  Why not leave forever and never look back – just as her mother did after Penny’s 4th birthday?  She would never be as pretty as her sister Tara.  Or as popular as her friend Elaine.  In The Geography of Girlhood,  Penny chronicles her life in verse: including the death of  an ex-boyfriend,  the remarriage of her father, trouble with the law and the birth of new, exciting friendships.  Penny spares no details about how truly difficult her journey is to young adulthood– the pain, the happiness, the joy, the fear, the hate.  In the end, the reader realizes that Penny has triumphed after all just by accepting her life for what it is – and all the imperfections that includes. 

    Acceleration by Graham McNamee

     

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     If you enjoy fast-paced mysteries, Acceleration will have you hooked from the first page.  Seventeen-year-old Duncan hates his job.  He has to sort through lost and found articles at the Toronto Transit.  He works in a dark, grim basement with no one to keep him company except, Jacob – a seventy-something, cranky, quiet old man.  Soon Duncan finds he has more excitement than he can stand.  One of the lost items is actually a diary.  A diary kept by a madman and wannabe serial killer.  In the diary, the man describes three women he has been stalking.  He has plans to hunt them all.  Frantic, Duncan looks for clues in the diary for the man’s identity.  He even takes the diary to the police – but they don’t take him seriously.  Duncan realizes it is up to him to save these women before it’s too late.  Maybe, just maybe, by saving three lives, he can make up for the life he has lost.  The one person he could not save.  The girl who haunts his dreams every night.Acceleration is impossible to put down.  The story has many twists and turns as you learn more about the stalker through his diary – as well as Duncan’s not so innocent past and the guilt that haunts his every waking moment.  The title of this novel has more than one meaning.  The most important is that Duncan’s life is at a standstill.  Solving this mystery before any crimes take place is the only way Duncan will be able to move forward – to accelerate.  Not only is this book exciting, the reader will appreciate the humor in Duncan’s voice and the relationship he has with his two best friends.  Check it out!  You will be glad you did.