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Middle School: Get Me out of Here!

Last updated Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Author: James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts
Illustrator: Laura Park
Date of Publication: 2014
ISBN: 0316322016
Grade Level: 4th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Sep. 2016

Synopsis: From School Library Journal:
Rafe Khatchadorian is artistic, uber-creative, and prone to embellishing stories. In this sequel to Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life, Rafe relates his adventures during the seventh grade. When his mother loses her job, the family is forced to move into the city with grandma. Her house is tiny and crowded, and she keeps calling Rafe by the wrong name. Rafe is accepted into the prestigious Cathedral School of the Arts, and he makes his first "real, live human friend" since starting middle school. Things are looking up, but not for long. The trouble begins with a couple of bullies at school and continues when Rafe decides to embark on a mission to "get a life." What ensues is a tale of things broken-families, water balloons, artwork, and trust.

Note to readers:
•  Try to read to page 48 or 51. There are lots of pictures so it should not be that long.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  This is your last year in elementary school, are you happy or sad?
•  Are you looking forward to starting a new school, middle school?
•  How do you think middle school will be different from elementary school?
•  Vocabulary: tendency--leaning, inclination; steer--guide, direct; understatement--the presentation of something as being less important than it is; accomplishments--completed tasks, acquired skill; muse--ponder, reflect or a person who inspires you in the arts; persistence--continuing in a course of action despite difficulty

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Would you want to move away from your school?
•  What will you miss about elementary school?
•  How would you make friends at a new school?
•  What do you think your talent is?

Craft ideas:
•  Draw a picture of the path from your home to your school or of your school. Look at page 16-17 and 36-37 for examples.
•  Make a book cover for your prize book! You will need a paper bag cut open with the rectangular bottom cut off, or a long piece of paper or newspaper. Place your book in the middle of your paper and with the book open, mark the paper along the top and bottom so that it matches the height of the book. Push the book aside for a moment, and fold the paper along those two marks. Now put the open book back on the paper and mark the left edge and the right edge. Fold along the marks on the left and right. You have just created a pocket on either side that the covers of the book will fit into. Tuck the front cover into the pocket created by the left-hand fold. Fiddle with the book’s back cover until it too fits into the pocket on the right side. Decorate your book cover!
•  See examples on Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/readingtokids/september-2016-back-to-school/

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!