Saturday, February 20, 2016

Remember and Celebrating Harper Lee

As we remember and celebrate the deeply influential Harper Lee, I couldn't help but think back on the effect To Kill a Mockingbird had on me as an eighth grader.  Its message still resonates with readers today as it imparts a powerful lesson: empathy.

Scout learns how to empathize with people who are different than her, many of whom are symbolic mockingbirds shunned by society, including Walter Cunningham, Boo Radley, Mayella Ewell, and Tom Robinson.  As Atticus explains to Scout, "“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”

I haven't taught To Kill a Mockingbird for several years, but I picked up a copy this weekend and started to read it.  I was of course transfixed and before I knew it, created several projects and activities for my future students.  It's apparent that to celebrate Harper Lee is to celebrate this powerful book.

So when was the last time you read To Kill a Mockingbird?  How well do you remember the book?    Take the quiz below to find out:

To Kill a Mockingbird Recall Quiz

1) What is Dill’s real name?
(A) Jack Harris    
(B) William Peter Harris
(C) Charles Baker Harris    
(D) Truman Harris

2) What does Jem use to try to deliver a message to Boo Radley?
(A) A fishing pole  
(B) A rock
(C) A paper airplane  
(D) A slingshot

3) What does Scout dress up as for the Halloween pageant?
(A) An eggplant  
(B) A ham
(C) A werewolf  
(D) A mouse

4) The story takes place in
(A) Atlanta, Georgia
(B) Maycomb, Alabama
(C) Nashville, Tennessee  
(D) Maycomb, Georgia

5) What is the name of the mad dog?
(A) Heck Tate
(B) Tom Johnson
(C) Tim Johnson  
(D) Dolphus Raymond

6) Tom Robinson's wife is named
(A) Hannah
(B) Mayella
(C) Maudie  
(D) Helen

7) During the trial, Atticus proves -
(A) Tom Robinson wasn’t even in town the night of Mayella’s alleged rape.  
(B) Mayella Ewell is a perpetual liar and needs psychologcial help.
(C) Tom Robinson is left-handed and therefore, guilty.
(D) Mayella Ewell was most likely beaten up by a left-handed man.

8) During the trial, what makes Mayella think Atticus is making fun of her?
(A) He shakes her hand.  
(B) He calls her Miss Mayella.
(C) He sneers when she tells her story.
(D) He laughs at what she’s wearing.

9) What does Atticus read to Scout the night of Bob Ewell’s attack?
(A) The Bible  
(B) The Gray Ghost
(C) The Maycomb Tribune  
(D) Robinson Crusoe

10) How does the Sheriff contend Bob Ewell died?
(A) Heart attack
(B) Boo Radley stabbed him.
(C) Jem Finch stabbed him.  
(D) He fell on his own knife.

1) C,  2) A,  3) B,  4) B,  5) C,  6) D,  7) D,  8) B,  9) B,  10) D

"[Courage] is when you know you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what."  Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird

For more TKAM classroom activities and reading support materials, please visit my store at:

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Advice by Lucy and CeCee: How to Snag a Hottie in Time for Valentine's Day

Okay, let's be honest.  No one wants to fly solo on the day that shall be nameless.  But the clock is a ticking.  So if you need a sweetie for the Valentine's Day Dance or just for general appearances (oops, we said it!) - here are some quick tips...  

Find a good candidate starting with someone who likes you for you. Other quality traits to look for in a guy are sweet, funny, and genuine. And let’s face it: cute doesn’t hurt, either. Stay away from boys who ego trip or only think about themselves.

When talking to him the first few times, you may be a little nervous. If so, ask him questions about himself or his classes. Here are some good questions to ask:

  • What's on your playlist?  
  • Do you have (name a teacher)? How is your project coming along?
  • Are you going to the football game on Friday?
  • Do you know what time the bell rings?

Try to be friends first and get to know him in a casual setting. This will make the going-out stuff less awkward.

If you want to ask a guy out, approach him when he’s alone—not when he’s hanging with “the guys” and absolutely not when he’s talking with another girl. If the coast is clear, pop a breath mint, take a deep breath, and go for it!

Do a little recon investigation, and find out what your dude is into. If he likes sports, talk about a local or state team; if he likes music, chat up tunes and bands.

Don’t talk too much about yourself. For most guys, this is a turnoff.

If he makes a joke, laugh. Guys like to think they belong on Comedy Central.

If you’re apt to blush when you gush, don’t fret. Most guys think this is cute.

Make signs that you like him and are interested by smiling, making eye contact, lightly touching his arm, and the like.

It sounds dorky, but practice talking to your crush in the mirror. When the time comes, you’ll be a silver-tongued smoothie.

Helpful Hint #1: Don’t be a psycho-stalker.  Guys are pretty simple to figure out. If they like you, you’ll know it. If they don’t, move on.

Helpful Hint #2: Don’t have a friend tell his friend to tell his friend that you like him. Do your love work yourself! It shows confidence!

 Happy Valentine's Day!!!
 Lucy & CeCee