We’re up through chapter 9 of The Giver. And I think I have most of them buying in pretty well. The ones that haven’t read it before (dagnabbit, you dagnab  6th grade teachers who “steal” books), are actually asking questions and not just trying to sneak spoilers into the discussion, so that means I turned them on to something new. The ones that haven’t read it are suitably weirded out and eager to find out more.

Since it’s a short “week” (we get Wednesday off too), we didn’t have our usual spelling or academic words pretest today, there’s barely any homework to explain or whine about, and no pink sheet to preview.

“Is there a test this week?”

“It’s tomorrow, and it’s worth double.”


“C’mon, (to quote Steve in “Monsters are Due on Maple Street”) would someone think a thought around here? What would the test be on? We have the usual reading quiz on the two chapters you’re reading tonight, but that’s about it.”

So we had time for a little MadLib action. I like using MadLibs for parts-of-speech review. I like to tell the kids that one of the reasons we work on PoS so much is so they won’t embarrass themselves when they play MadLibs. Usually I take a paragraph or two from whatever we’re reading at the time, and pull out words for MadLibbing. This one comes from the first page of chapter 3, when Jonas notices Gabriel’s eyes. I made sure we sampled the first four parts-of-speech we’ve worked on: noun, verb, adjective, adverb. Here’s a link. I have the kids fold the sheet on the line so they can’t see the paragraph and “cheat.” The whole point is to have sort of random words.

Seventh graders aren’t very creative on demand. They have a hard time thinking outside the…bathroom, let alone the box. If I charged a dime for every noun that was poop, past tense verb that was farted or barfed, or adjective that was stinky (the adverb of choice was stinkily), the Popple would be full.

They also can’t spell. One genius spelled barfed – barrefed.

“Bar refed? Is that some sort of tavern term?”

“Maybe he’s talking like a pirate!”

I also got “loshun” for a noun, “redalan” for a noun (ritalin – interesting choice, that), and “you’re mamaish” for an adjective. I didn’t think kids still said that.

This book they’re reading mostly at home, but yesterday we read chapter 9 in class. Jonas is reading his single sheet of instructions. They like the one where you can be rude.

“I think it’s mostly about asking personal questions.”

“We like that too.”

“What about the one about not talking about your training?”


“No more sharing…no more circle time.”

Then we get to #8: You may lie. This is the first time I’ve read this part in class, so I don’t have any other years to compare, but I was a little surprised at their reaction.

“I want to be Receiver of Memory!”

It happened in every period; they thought that was soooo cool. OMG! Permission to lie!

More on this topic next week.