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Because of Mr. Terupt



Last updated Friday, September 11, 2015

Author: Rob Buyea
Date of Publication: 2010
ISBN: 038573882X
Grade Level: 5th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Sep. 2015

Synopsis: It’s the start of fifth grade for seven kids at Snow Hill School. There’s . . . Jessica, the new girl, smart and perceptive, who’s having a hard time fitting in; Alexia, a bully, your friend one second, your enemy the next; Peter, class prankster and troublemaker; Luke, the brain; Danielle, who never stands up for herself; shy Anna, whose home situation makes her an outcast; and Jeffrey, who hates school. Only Mr. Terupt, their new and energetic teacher, seems to know how to deal with them all. He makes the classroom a fun place, even if he doesn’t let them get away with much . . . until the snowy winter day when an accident changes everything—and everyone. (Amazon)

Note to readers:
•  The book features seven narrators, each with a unique story and a different perspective on what makes their teacher so special. The story is divided into 10 months and each of the 7 sections are from the perspective of a different student. You may want to read the back cover before you start reading the chapters/months. I suggest you start with September which introduces the characters. Skip to the 'event" which occurs in February and read into March or further if the students wish. You can also pick a student and read the story from their perspective.
•  Peter - class wise guy
•  Jessica - new student in school
•  Luke - likes school, gets all A's
•  Alexia - class bully
•  Danielle - girl who is being bullied
•  Anna - quiet girl in class
•  Jeffrey - doesn't like school

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  What do you think "because of Mr. Terupt" means?
•  Do you think it is a good or bad thing that happens?
•  What are the things that all students have in common? What are the things that make students different? (common--all must go to school, don't like all of their classes, like recess, all have homework; different--some are shy and don't raise their hands, some like to make jokes, some don't like math, some don't like reading...)

Vocabulary

•  disinfected - Freed from dirt, defilement, or guilt; purged or cleaned.
•  syndrome - A group of symptoms that collectively indicate or characterize a disease, psychological disorder, or other abnormal condition.
•  concoction - mixture, using skill and intelligence; contrive: devised plan.
•  ostracized - To exclude from a group or society.
•  shunned - to avoid deliberately; keep away from
•  phototropisms - Growth or movement of a sessile organism toward or away from a source of light.
•  geotropism - (Botany) the response of a plant part to the stimulus of gravity. Plant stems, which grow upwards irrespective of the position in which they are placed, show negative geotropism.
•  botanist - someone who studies plants
•  confrontation - a state of conflict between two antagonistic forces, creeds, or ideas etc.

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  What was your favorite part about starting fifth grade?
•  Can you think of any dollar words? (see page 8-11 for explanation)
•  What makes Mr. Terupt a good teacher for the different students?
•  How did he change their lives?

Craft ideas:
•  Create a Word Search or Crossword Puzzle using "dollar words" (pgs. 8-11) the kids thought of.
•  Fold a piece of paper into 4 sections, then add a word and picture on each square.
•  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!

*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!