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Punk'd and Skunked

Last updated Monday, October 27, 2008

Author: R.L. Stine
Date of Publication: 2007
ISBN: 0060788305
Grade Level: 5th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Nov. 2008

Synopsis: Bernie Bridges has always dreamed about going to PPP—the exclusive Preppy Prep Prep school. All the kids at PPP are rich, rich, rich! And if there is one thing that Bernie loves it's money, money, money! But how will Bernie get to PPP? All he and his buddies have to do is win the National School Make-a-Great-Invention Contest, and off they go to PPP for a week to compete in the final round. There's just one problem—their best ideas are a Hamster on a Stick and a light-up comb! With a little scheming and a lot of luck, Bernie and his guys manage to win their school contest. But when they get to Preppy Prep Prep, Bernie must come up with yet another invention—this one cleverer than the first. No sweat! But the filthy rich PPP kids are smarter and sneakier than any kid at Rotten School. Has Bernie finally met his match? -Barnes&Noble

Note to readers:
•  Cool map at the beginning—look at it with the kids before you begin.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Have you ever read any other books by R.L. Stine?
•  Why do you think the book is called “Rotten School?”
•  What is the motto of the school?
•  How would you describe your school?
•  What contraption is the boy wearing?
•  What do you think this book will be about?
•  Vocabulary: modest, humble, blazer, prep, snooty, butler, jacuzzi, tensely

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Do the announcements sound like ones you hear at your school?
•  Is Bernie really being modest?
•  Does excitement really start with an “X?”
•  The boys live in a boarding school. Do you know of any other books where the kids live at school? (i.e. Harry Potter)? Do you think you would like to live at school? Why or why not?
•  What you do you think “PPP” stands for?
•  Do you think Bernie has a good plan? Do you think they’ll be able to win the contest?
•  Have you ever invented anything? Can you name any inventors and their inventions?
•  Have you ever entered a contest? Did you win anything?
•  Is it nice to slap people?
•  Do you know any twins? How do you tell them apart?
•  Is April-May June really Bernie’s girlfriend? What makes you think so (or not)?
•  Do you think Sherman’s invention should be allowed in the contest? Did he follow the rules?
•  Do you know what a bribe is? Is it right to offer people money to win?
•  Which invention do you like the best?
•  Who do you think will win the contest?
•  Do you think it’s fair that April-May and the rest of the girls don’t get to go to Preppy Prep Prep?

Craft ideas:
•  Look at the school’s crest on the cover (the worm in the apple with the words “growth, learning, pizza). Make a crest for your school and/or yourself.
•  Make your own invention. Draw the blueprints and description of what it does.
•  Look at the map at the beginning of the book. Use this as inspiration to make your own school map.
•  Make a notice board with silly announcements.

*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!