S 2 – 3 Week Plan 4th – 6th Grades haring Stories “Reading & Writing Ourselves & Others”



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S

2 – 3 Week Plan

4th – 6th Grades

Language Arts
haring Stories


“Reading & Writing
Ourselves & Others”




Teacher Tips (page 2 of 2)
Activity 3: Understanding Characters: While the story “Priscilla and the Wimps” is protected by copyright, your use may be considered “educational fair use.” Please consider the details below, adapted to reflect this specific lesson. For example, because the story (in Appendix C) is less than 2500 words—it’s about 1000—and contains a notice of copyright, those provisions are not addressed below. You may make copies for yourself and your students as long as these requirements are met:

  1. Your use of the story is too timely to expect a reply to a request for permission.

  2. The copying is for only one course in the school.

  3. There will not be more than nine instances of such copying for the course during the term.


Activity 4: Give & Take Stories: These Quests are located in Room D (the 2nd on the left). They are also located in the regular 3D space:

  • “Sharing Stories with Luna”: Culture World, Words of Meaning Village, 5 South, 2 West
  • “Give and Take Stories with Julie”: Unity World, All about Us Village, 1 North, 3 West


There are four Quests in the “Luna” series and two in the “Julie” series (the regular 3D space has an additional “Julie” Quest not included here). Moreover, for each Quest, students are automatically assigned to one of two variations. As a result, few students will be responding to the same narrative prompt. The topics range from descriptions of parents and neighbors to recollections of visits to the beach and stories from the parents’ early years of marriage. The complete texts are included in Appendix D.
Activity 6: Writers Workshop: For this activity, students rework material from a previous activity (either Activity 4 or 5). Since that material has already received a peer response and at least cursory revision, it may be difficult to persuade students to revise the material further. Indeed, the material may not apparently need further work. Encourage the students to play with their work:

  • The point of view might be shifted from 1st to 3rd person, or from 3rd to 1st.

  • The sequence of paragraphs might be changed so that the ending becomes the opening.

  • A central object in the anecdote or descriptive passage might only be described but not named until the final paragraph.

  • New material, beyond the original assignment, might be added to round out the work.



Appendix A


Story Inn” Virtual World

All of the Quests embedded in the unit plan are housed in a single building in a unique virtual world. You may reach this world through the Quest Atlantis browser by clicking the “Teleport” menu item; then click “To” on the drop-down menu, and type “storyinn”(one word; capitalization does not matter).


When you arrive at “Story Inn,” walk up the stairs and through the front door (all doors open automatically). Each room houses a different activity, as shown below:



(unused)

(unused)

Room D

(Activity 4)
Quests for Julie & Luna:

scrolls on tables



Room C

(Activity 2)
Quests M1–M4 & P1–P4:

bookstands along walls



Room B

(Activities 1 & 8)
Quest B1:book on chair

Quest B2:book on table



Room A

(Activities 1 & 8)
Quest A1:book on chair

Quest A2:book on table


(Front Door)

Appendix B (Activities 1 & 8)
Identifying with Characters”
Below are the texts narrated in each of the “Identifying with Characters” Quests, along with the sources from which they were adapted.
Room A

Quest A1 (linked to book on chair):

I remember my first day of school after moving here. A new school was planned to be built at the edge of town, but the building I found myself in that Monday morning looked like an old-fashioned railroad station, one made of dull red bricks and with turrets. Somewhere in the middle of it there was a gym, because at various times during the day I could hear the “thunk” of a basketball.

No one paid me much attention that first morning except the teachers who kept announcing that I was new here. They weren’t unfriendly, but I felt like I was from another country, not just another town. I ate lunch in the cafeteria, which must have been a classroom in the past; there were still a few desks nailed to the floor.

I played the time game with myself—tomorrow it would be easier; next week I wouldn’t remember how strange I felt today; next month it would be as if I’d always been in this school. But sitting there, alone, eating a dry, shriveled hot dog and beans as hard as pebbles, I thought to myself, only the present tense is real. The past and the future are just grammar..

(from A Place Apart, by Paula Fox, 1980)


Quest A2 (linked to book on table):

I remember when my dog Freckles died. As I was getting ready to play sports after school that day, Miss Carroll, the school nurse, came up to me and told me to go strait home. She said my mother needed to talk with me, but her face said it was more than that. When I got home, my mom was waiting for me, her face caved in under sadness. She came up to me and started crying bad.

She told me Freckles had got hit by a car crossing the street in front of the Florist Shop. I asked if I could see him, but she just said that wasn’t going to happen.

I remember the tears after that and the absolute deadness. I didn’t believe Freckles could be gone, but I was crying like I did believe it. Freckles wouldn’t be coming back, and it was a real loss to the family, that’s what Dad said. He lifted me up and held me, and we cried.

(from Squashed, by Joan Bauer, 1992)
Room B

Quest B1 (linked to book on chair):

I can remember my first day of school after moving here. Fifty or more students waited at the sidewalk for the traffic lights to change. I knew my homeroom was in the Art Building, so I started to search for it. The school looked like it had been built in pieces: no big building, just a lot of low-looking greenish structures—the kind where the government stores nuclear waste.

At first the kids didn’t look all that different from the ones at my old school, but when I took another look, they were a little more polished than I was used to seeing; they were dressed like me, but they were dressed better. So I fit in, but I didn’t fit in. Not if you looked close. I walked past a display cabinet and looked at the silver-painted sculptures.

I thought about mirrors: if I were like a mirror, anyone looking at me would see that I was just like them, and I wouldn’t feel out of place. But if I were a mirror and I looked into a mirror, would I be able to see myself at all? And then I looked down at my pants and shirt, a little frayed and faded, and I thought, this isn’t a reflection, it’s reality.

(from Confess-o-rama, by Ron Koertge, 1996)


Quest B2 (linked to book on table):

I remember when my dog Bangles died. My friend and I were riding our bicycles around the neighborhood when Mr. Beltser, who managed the pool, pulled up beside us in his car and told me that I needed to go home. He said that there had been an accident, but he wouldn’t say any more. When I got home, Mom was sitting on the porch. She looked small and dazed. She hugged me tight, and I could feel her shaking.

Bangles got hurt real bad, she said. She tried to say something else but she couldn’t do it. All she could do was pull me to herself again and hold me.

I learned afterward that a load had fallen off a trailer, and Bangles was directly under it. I felt numb. I knew he was gone, but for some reason I wanted to keep food in his bowl. Mom squeezed my upper arms. Her eyes were red and her face was wet. She said it would be hard getting used to Bangles not being there any more.

(from Roughnecks, by Thomas Cochran, 1997)
Appendix C (Activity 3)
Understanding Characters”
On the following pages are two versions of the short story “Priscilla and the Wimps.” One is printed in large (14 point) type and fills four pages, and the other is printed in small type (10 point) type and fills two pages. Unless your students are advanced readers, you will likely want to use the large-type version.

Priscilla and the Wimps”



by Richard Peck

Listen, there was a time when you couldn’t even go to the rest room around this school without a pass. And I’m not talking about those little pink tickets made out by some teacher. I’m talking about a pass that cost anywhere up to a buck, sold by Monk Klutter.

Not that Mighty Monk ever touched money, not in public. The gang he ran, which ran the school for him, was his collection agency. They were Klutter’s Kobras, a name spelled out in nailheads on six well-known black plastic windbreakers.

Monk’s threads were more … subtle. A pile-lined suede battle jacket with lizard-skin flaps over tailored Levi’s and a pair of ostrich-skin boots, brassed-toed and suitable for kicking people around. One of his Kobras did nothing all day but walk a half step behind Monk, carrying a fitted bag with Monk’s gym shoes, a roll of rest-room passes, a cash-box, and a switchblade that Monk gave himself manicures with at lunch over at the Kobras’ table.

Speaking of lunch, there were a few cases of advanced malnutrition among the newer kids. The ones who were a little slow in handing over a cut of their lunch money and were therefore barred from the cafeteria. Monk ran a tight ship.

I admit it. I’m five foot five, and when the Kobras slithered by, with or without Monk, I shrank. And I admit this, too: I paid up on a regular basis. And I might add: so would you.

This school was old Monk’s Garden of Eden. Unfortunately for him, there was a serpent in it. The reason Monk didn’t recognize trouble when it was staring him in the face is that the serpent in the Kobras’ Eden was a girl.

Practically every guy in school could show you his scars. Fang marks from Kobras, you might say. And they were all highly visible in the shower room: lumps, lacerations, blue bruises, you name it. But girls usually got off with a warning.

Except there was this one girl named Priscilla Roseberry. Picture a girl named Priscilla Roseberry, and you’ll be light years off. Priscilla was, hands down, the largest student in our particular institution of learning. I’m not talking fat. I’m talking big. Even beautiful, in a bionic way. Priscilla wasn’t inclined toward organized crime. Otherwise, she could have put together a gang that would turn Klutter’s Kobras into garter snakes.

Priscilla was basically a loner except she had one friend. A little guy named Melvin Detweiler. You talk about The Odd Couple. Melvin’s one of the smallest guys above midget status ever seen. A really nice guy, but, you know, little. They even had lockers next to each other, in the same bank as mine. I don’t know what they had going. I’m not saying this was a romance. After all, people deserve their privacy.

Priscilla was sort of above everything, if you’ll pardon a pun. And very calm, as only the very big can be. If there was anybody who didn’t notice Klutter’s Kobras, it was Priscilla.

Until one winter day after school when we were all grabbing our coats out of our lockers. And hurrying, since Klutter’s Kobras made sweeps of the halls for after-school shakedowns.

Anyway, up to Melvin’s locker swaggers one of the Kobras. Never mind his name. Gang members don’t need names. They’ve got group identity. He reaches down and grabs little Melvin by the neck and slams his head against his locker door. The sound of skull against steel rippled all the way down the locker row, speeding the crowds on their way.

“Okay, let’s see your pass,” snarls the Kobra.

“A pass for what this time?” Melvin asks, probably still dazed.

“Let’s call it a pass for very short people,” says the Kobra, “a dwarf tax.” He wheezes a little Kobra chuckle at his own wittiness. And already he’s reaching for Melvin’s wallet with the hand that isn’t circling Melvin’s windpipe. All this time, of course, Melvin and the Kobra are standing in Priscilla’s big shadow.

She’s taking her time shoving her books into her locker and pulling on a very large-size coat. Then, quicker than the eye, she brings the side of her enormous hand down in a chop that breaks the Kobra’s hold on Melvin’s throat. You could hear a pin drop in that hallway. Nobody’s ever laid a finger on a Kobra, let alone a hand the size of Priscilla’s.

Then Priscilla, who hardly every says anything to anybody except to Melvin, says to the Kobra, “Who’s your leader, wimp?”

This practically blows the Kobra away. First he’s chopped by a girl, and now she’s acting like she doesn’t know Monk Klutter, the Head Honcho of the World. He’s so amazed, he tells her, “Monk Klutter.”

“Never heard of him,” Priscilla mentions. “Send him to see me.” The Kobra just backs away from her like the whole situation is too big for him, which it is.

Pretty soon Monk himself slides up. He jerks his head once, and his Kobras slither off down the hall. He’s going to handle this interesting case personally. “Who is it around here doesn’t know Monk Klutter?”

He’s standing inches from Priscilla, but since he’d have to look up at her, he doesn’t. “Never heard of him,” says Priscilla.

Monk’s not happy with this answer, but by now he’s spotted Melvin, who’s grown smaller in spite of himself. Monk breaks his own rule by reaching for Melvin with his own hands. “Kid,” he says, “you’re going to have to educate your girl friend.”

His hands never quite make it to Melvin. In a move of pure poetry Priscilla has Monk in a hammerlock. His neck’s popping like gunfire, and his head’s bowed under the immense weight of her forearm. His suede jacket’s peeling back, showing pile.

Priscilla’s behind him in another easy motion. And with a single mighty thrust forward, frog-marches Monk into her own locker. It’s incredible. His ostrich-skin boots click once in the air. And suddenly he’s gone, neatly wedged into the locker, a perfect fit. Priscilla bangs the door shut, twirls the lock, and strolls out of school. Melvin goes with her, of course, trotting along below her shoulder. The last stragglers leave quietly.

Well this is where fate, an even bigger force than Priscilla, steps in. It snows all that night, a blizzard. The whole town ices up. And school closes for a week.

Priscilla and the Wimps”



by Richard Peck
Listen, there was a time when you couldn’t even go to the rest room around this school without a pass. And I’m not talking about those little pink tickets made out by some teacher. I’m talking about a pass that cost anywhere up to a buck, sold by Monk Klutter.

Not that Mighty Monk ever touched money, not in public. The gang he ran, which ran the school for him, was his collection agency. They were Klutter’s Kobras, a name spelled out in nailheads on six well-known black plastic windbreakers.

Monk’s threads were more … subtle. A pile-lined suede battle jacket with lizard-skin flaps over tailored Levi’s and a pair of ostrich-skin boots, brassed-toed and suitable for kicking people around. One of his Kobras did nothing all day but walk a half step behind Monk, carrying a fitted bag with Monk’s gym shoes, a roll of rest-room passes, a cash-box, and a switchblade that Monk gave himself manicures with at lunch over at the Kobras’ table.

Speaking of lunch, there were a few cases of advanced malnutrition among the newer kids. The ones who were a little slow in handing over a cut of their lunch money and were therefore barred from the cafeteria. Monk ran a tight ship.

I admit it. I’m five foot five, and when the Kobras slithered by, with or without Monk, I shrank. And I admit this, too: I paid up on a regular basis. And I might add: so would you.

This school was old Monk’s Garden of Eden. Unfortunately for him, there was a serpent in it. The reason Monk didn’t recognize trouble when it was staring him in the face is that the serpent in the Kobras’ Eden was a girl.

Practically every guy in school could show you his scars. Fang marks from Kobras, you might say. And they were all highly visible in the shower room: lumps, lacerations, blue bruises, you name it. But girls usually got off with a warning.

Except there was this one girl named Priscilla Roseberry. Picture a girl named Priscilla Roseberry, and you’ll be light years off. Priscilla was, hands down, the largest student in our particular institution of learning. I’m not talking fat. I’m talking big. Even beautiful, in a bionic way. Priscilla wasn’t inclined toward organized crime. Otherwise, she could have put together a gang that would turn Klutter’s Kobras into garter snakes.

Priscilla was basically a loner except she had one friend. A little guy named Melvin Detweiler. You talk about The Odd Couple. Melvin’s one of the smallest guys above midget status ever seen. A really nice guy, but, you know, little. They even had lockers next to each other, in the same bank as mine. I don’t know what they had going. I’m not saying this was a romance. After all, people deserve their privacy.

Priscilla was sort of above everything, if you’ll pardon a pun. And very calm, as only the very big can be. If there was anybody who didn’t notice Klutter’s Kobras, it was Priscilla.

Until one winter day after school when we were all grabbing our coats out of our lockers. And hurrying, since Klutter’s Kobras made sweeps of the halls for after-school shakedowns.

Anyway, up to Melvin’s locker swaggers one of the Kobras. Never mind his name. Gang members don’t need names. They’ve got group identity. He reaches down and grabs little Melvin by the neck and slams his head against his locker door. The sound of skull against steel rippled all the way down the locker row, speeding the crowds on their way.

“Okay, let’s see your pass,” snarls the Kobra.

“A pass for what this time?” Melvin asks, probably still dazed.

“Let’s call it a pass for very short people,” says the Kobra, “a dwarf tax.” He wheezes a little Kobra chuckle at his own wittiness. And already he’s reaching for Melvin’s wallet with the hand that isn’t circling Melvin’s windpipe. All this time, of course, Melvin and the Kobra are standing in Priscilla’s big shadow.

She’s taking her time shoving her books into her locker and pulling on a very large-size coat. Then, quicker than the eye, she brings the side of her enormous hand down in a chop that breaks the Kobra’s hold on Melvin’s throat. You could hear a pin drop in that hallway. Nobody’s ever laid a finger on a Kobra, let alone a hand the size of Priscilla’s. Then Priscilla, who hardly every says anything to anybody except to Melvin, says to the Kobra, “Who’s your leader, wimp?”

This practically blows the Kobra away. First he’s chopped by a girl, and now she’s acting like she doesn’t know Monk Klutter, the Head Honcho of the World. He’s so amazed, he tells her, “Monk Klutter.”

“Never heard of him,” Priscilla mentions. “Send him to see me.” The Kobra just backs away from her like the whole situation is too big for him, which it is.

Pretty soon Monk himself slides up. He jerks his head once, and his Kobras slither off down the hall. He’s going to handle this interesting case personally. “Who is it around here doesn’t know Monk Klutter?”

He’s standing inches from Priscilla, but since he’d have to look up at her, he doesn’t. “Never heard of him,” says Priscilla.

Monk’s not happy with this answer, but by now he’s spotted Melvin, who’s grown smaller in spite of himself. Monk breaks his own rule by reaching for Melvin with his own hands. “Kid,” he says, “you’re going to have to educate your girl friend.”

His hands never quite make it to Melvin. In a move of pure poetry Priscilla has Monk in a hammerlock. His neck’s popping like gunfire, and his head’s bowed under the immense weight of her forearm. His suede jacket’s peeling back, showing pile.

Priscilla’s behind him in another easy motion. And with a single mighty thrust forward, frog-marches Monk into her own locker. It’s incredible. His ostrich-skin boots click once in the air. And suddenly he’s gone, neatly wedged into the locker, a perfect fit. Priscilla bangs the door shut, twirls the lock, and strolls out of school. Melvin goes with her, of course, trotting along below her shoulder. The last stragglers leave quietly.

Well this is where fate, an even bigger force than Priscilla, steps in. It snows all that night, a blizzard. The whole town ices up. And school closes for a week.

Appendix D (Activity 4)

Give & Take Stories”
Below are the texts narrated in each of the “Luna” and “Julie” Quests, along with the sources from which they were adapted.
Give and Take Stories with Julie, part 1
Version 1:

When my brother Steve comes into the house, it’s like dapples of sun beneath the trees. Bright, flickery, never staying long in one place. In one way, Steve is like my father: he’s tall, about six feet. But that’s where the resemblance ends. My father is all bones and angles, with a shock of white hair that sticks out like a scarecrow’s straw. But Steve is a mischievous boy, with a full lower lip and round cheeks, light sandy hair and hazel eyes. He drives an old blue Chevy convertible, and in the summer, when the top is down, his skin freckles and peels in the sun. But even when he spends months outside, like he did this summer, he doesn’t get hard or muscular. I wonder sometimes if he’ll always look as if he’s in high school.

(from Paper Doll, by Elizabeth Feuer, 1990)

Version 2:

Mr. Gilroy’s idea of dinner is a paper plate swimming in Spaghettios, with a Del Monte peach half in heavy syrup thrown in for variety. Huh! The Gilroys live in a ranch house on half an acre up in Inscape, near the bay, and Mr. Gilroy has crammed the yard with old cars, front seats of old cars, assorted old tires, a boat which no longer floats, rusted lawn mowers and broken garden tools, and an American flag, on a pole with the paint peeling off it, which has been raised one time only and never lowered. It flies on sunny days in hurricanes and through Christmas snows, a tattered red-white-and-blue thing that must resemble the rag Francis Scott Key spotted after the bombardment of Fort McHenry.

(from I’ll Love You when You’re More like Me, by M.E. Kerr, 1977)

Give and Take Stories with Julie, part 2
Version 1:

My folks were high school sweethearts. They married each other the summer after they graduated. Daddy went straight to work in the oil field and Mom checked groceries at the Safeway Store. Daddy started out as a roughneck on a Marathon crew Grandpa put together, and he’d worked himself up to derrick hand by the time Glen was born. He was a driller when I came along. He had his own crew and the money he made as a boss was what eventually helped Mom decide to quit her job at the store and start commuting to LSU-Shreveport three days a week to study nursing. They weren’t ever going to be anywhere near rich but they were beginning to get ahead. They were making it. They were steadily building a comfortable life for themselves in their hometown.

(from Roughnecks, by Thomas Cochran, 1997)
Version 2:

My parents were married in the Party Room of the Dominic Hotel in Atlantic City, with only her mother and his parents in attendance, along with a few lost partygoers who stumbled in from a bar mitzvah a couple of doors down. It was low-key, just what they needed, seeing that my mother’s father disapproved and refused to attend and my father’s family couldn’t afford much more than the Party Room for a couple of hours, a cake, and a cousin playing the piano; my father had paid for the justice of the peace. There are pictures of them all around one table together, my mother and father and grandmother and my father’s parents, plus some white-haired man in Buddy Holly glasses, each of them with a plate of half-eaten cake before them. This was the wedding party.

(from That Summer, by Sarah Dessen, 1996)

Give and Take Stories with Julie, part 3 (not in Story Inn—not for unit plan)

Version 1:

I remember the first day at my new school. On the way to school I worked up my big plan. So okay, it was an enormous school. I’d be a private citizen. I’d just go to classes and keep to myself. It’d probably be great for my grades. Adults can do that can’t they? They can just live their lives. They don’t have to join or fit in or anything. They don’t have to worry about who’s watching. I figured I’d try for invisibility. But that didn’t happen.

The first days were Registration in a gym big enough for zeppelins. Faculty sat at tables all around the walls. Once I found out which lines to stand in, I didn’t mind how long they were. I liked it out there in the deafening middle of the gym floor, being anonymous near the end of the line. I’d have let people go ahead of me if anybody had asked.

(from Princess Ashley, by Richard Peck, 1987)


Version 2:

I remember the first time I stole anything. I don’t know what I expected. Maybe bells going off and Mr. Clark, the old guy who owns the drugstore, grabbing my arm and saying, “Ah-ha! Caught ya red-handed!” Those were the exact words I expected, even heard in my head as I slipped the roll of Life Savers into my shorts pocket.

When we got outside, I grabbed Grace by the wrist and dragged her down the street. I was sweating and my heart was pumping so hard I was sure I was about to have a heart attack, and all I could think was, If I do have a heart attack right here on Center Street, and the paramedics come, they will discover this whole roll of Passion Fruit Life Savers in my pocket and somehow they whole sordid tale will come out, and my parents will not just be in mourning but disgraced as well.

I didn’t let go of Grace until we down to the docks.

(from Ever After, by Rachel Vail, 1994)

Sharing Stories with Luna, part 1

Version 1:

My Aunt Katherine’s house smelled of wet diapers and tuna fish, and it took a little getting used to. I baby-sat a lot for her that year while she took classes at Adelphi, and it took about ten minutes of being in the house before I stopped smelling it. I guess Katherine, her husband, and the kids weren’t even aware of it. The place was a mess, but I guess three kids in six years is a lot. Katherine was always busy with the dishes, or she had the baby hanging on to her leg or something, but it didn’t seem to faze her.

(from Ever After, by Rachel Vail, 1994)
Version 2:

I remember sitting on the catwalk with my dear friends Alice Hacket and Bobb Shriner. Alice is five feet four inches, has short black hair, and the palest skin imaginable, which she accents by wearing thick black mascara and deep red lipstick. Someday she’s either going to be a vampire or a really great character actress. Bobby is six feet tall and must weigh ninety pounds. He has deep blue eyes and long blonde dreadlocks that are the envy of every girl in school. He’s a fabulous artist, and someday he’s going to be a world-renown set designer. It’s wonderful to have friends that are going to be famous.

(from How I Changed My Life, by Todd Strasser, 1995)
Sharing Stories with Luna, part 2

Version 1:

Mom and I went to the beach every day. There was a snack bar, run by a beautiful silver-haired woman who had a sixteen-year-old daughter named Priscilla. But her nickname was Laura. Funny how you remember things like that; I mean, who cares? (I do, I guess.) They sold these ice-cream things called Rockets – vanilla fudge ice cream in a cylinder-shaped piece of cardboard with a stick at the bottom, which you pushed up. Mom and I called them Jets. And in the evenings Mom and I would walk to a lake nearby and watch the swans.

(from Second Star to the Right, by Deborah Hautzig, 1981)

Version 2:

I used to go to Harbor Beach a lot, the public beach for North Bay, and it was all right, but you could see factories and the Long Island Lighting Company building across the harbor. That kind of ruined the effect. Here, there was nothing but beach and water, the bay on one side, the harbor on the other. Sand, beach grass, a tide line of rocks and the broken shells, some large jagged gray rocks jutting out over the water. The only sign of civilization was the blanket that Michael had put down.

(from Blues for Silk Garcia, by Erika Tamar, 1983)
Sharing Stories with Luna, part 3
Version 1:

I remember how my dad usually did the garden. He always planted seeds at the beginning of July, which is why he only got a few tomatoes, maybe as big as marbles, before the first front. This must have happened for the last five years in a row, but he always did it the same, anyway. He had ideas about the way things should be done, and never let reality get in the way.

(from These are the Rules, by Paul Many, 1997)
Version 2:

I never forgot our first autumn here. Dad wore his new glaring red plaid lumberjack shirt from Abercrombie and got a terrible case of blisters all over his hands from the first leaf raking. I thought the village was on fire because everybody burned mounds of leaves as big as haystacks at the curbs. That was back when I was always at Dad’s elbow, “helping” him.

(from Are You in the House Alone?, by Richard Peck, 1976)
Sharing Stories with Luna, part 4

Version 1:

I remember this woman named Mira. She rode her bike everywhere, even at night, when she attached an incredibly bright light to the handlebars, which occasionally blinded oncoming traffic. She lived off grilled chicken salad, homemade doughnuts, and junk cereal. She was constantly beginning projects: among other things, the living room contained a cane chair with a broken seat, halfway re-strung; a china pig with three legs, sitting next to a tube of Super Glue; and a toy bus with two missing wheels and a dented front fender, as if it had been in some kind of very violent accident.

At night, while she sat in front of the TV Mira worked on her projects. Nothing ever seemed to get completely fixed, just tinkered with and then labeled with a note. I came back one day to find she’d taken apart the alarm clock in my room – which, although I reset it each day, had been consistently five minutes behind – and then put it back together. She was very proud of herself until she discovered she’d left out one huge spring. The next day I’d snuck out to the drugstore and purchased a nice, new digital clock, which I kept hidden under my bed as if it was contraband and illegal just because it worked.

(from Keeping the Moon, by Sarah Dessen, 1999)

Version 2:

Let me tell you about my dad, Russell Smith. He owns a grocery store called Russell’s Market, which is a cross between Allen’s – this huge supermarket on Main Street – and a 7-Eleven, and doesn’t make a whole lot of money. He always brings home all the wilted vegetables, like carrots grown limp, their ends curled under. My mother feeds us all that wilted junk, usually in some kind of casserole, the veggies overcooked and mixed with Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup. I’m not going to eat another cooked-vegetable casserole when I leave home.

Anyway, because of the store my dad is rarely home except on Sundays, when the store is closed, and then he goes to church with us, eats a big dinner, and naps the rest of the afternoon. During the week he comes home for dinner and stays long enough to watch Wheel of Fortune and then returns to work until about ten o’clock. When he’s not too tired, he will do his Vanna White imitation.

(from My Name is Sus5an Smith, by Louise Plummer, 1991).






Quest Atlantis Survey

Name: __________________________________ Date: ____________

In this activity, you will read a description of the city of New York. Then, you will answer some questions about what you have read.
Now read “New York City” and do the questions on the next page. You may look back at the story as often as you like.




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