Crash by Jerry Spinelli A Writing Project

Free Writing Project to use with the book Crash by Jerry Spinelli

Red shoes are an important symbol in the book Crash by Jerry Spinelli. This made me think about what types of shoes would represent the main characters. This turned into “When the Shoe Fits – A Writing Project to use with Crash by Jerry Spinelli.” This is a free printable activity that can be used as an interactive notebook activity.

Crash by Jerry Spinelli Symbolism Activity

Crash is extremely athletic. Because he excels in sports, he gets attention from the other students in his school. He is especially proud when he can beat the older (8th-grade) students.

Crash is obsessive about winning during football games. He doesn’t just want to win the game, but destroy the other team. He is ruthless, running right over the top of the other players in an attempt to reach the goal line.

Crash’s attitude about football spills into the way he lives his life. In life, he is also ruthless and doesn’t treat others as he should. Cleats represent Crash both on and off the field as he “walks” on and hurts others.

When the Shoe Fits...A Creative Writing Project to use with Crash by Jerry Spinelli

Crash by Jerry Spinelli Symbolism Activity

Abby becomes good friends with Penn. She loves his Quaker beliefs. She becomes a vegetarian, wants to buy her clothes at the thrift store and tries to turn her backyard into a wildlife refuge.

Abby joins Penn in trying to stop workers from building a mall in a nearby grassy field. Abby actually gets on television during her protests, but her success is short-lived as construction begins the day after the protest. Scooter does help pull off Abby’s wet and muddy shoes when gets home the day of the protest, but the author makes no mention of the kind of shoes she is wearing; however, Crocs seem suitable for a young girl who wants to build a refuge in her backyard.

Crash by Jerry Spinelli Symbolism Activity

Penn does not have many material things: a Conestoga wagon his great-grandfather made for him, a small house that looks like a garage, no television, and a pet turtle. Material possessions do not matter to Penn. On the first day of seventh-grade Crash laughs at Penn thinking — It was Webb-and I mean the same old Webb. Same old supermarket sneakers, same prehistoric pants, probably from that great-grandfather of his.

Later Crash pulls a terrible prank on Penn. Mike gives Crash a squeeze bottle full of mustard. During class when Penn takes off his shoe, Crash empties the mustard from the bottle into Penn’s shoe. He even paints the tongue and laces with mustard. Ironically, Crash sees Jane (the girl he has a crush on who doesn’t return his feelings) at the water fountain helping Penn wash out his sneakers.

Crash by Jerry Spinelli Symbolism Activity

Scooter is Crash and Abby’s much-loved grandfather. He comes to live with the family. They love his cooking and storytelling. Scooter also supports his grandchildren in their interests. He attends Crash’s football games and practices. He also supports Abby in her backyard habitat project.

Boots seem to fit Scooter. He is a tough fellow with a big heart.

Crash by Jerry Spinelli Symbolism Activity

Jane is the new girl in seventh grade. When Crash first sees her, he is instantly smitten. He makes it his mission to get her attention. This comes to head at the school dance. Jane is friends with Penn. She wants to dance with Penn, not Crash. His jock status holds little interest to her. Crash really shows himself when he tries to force her to dance with him and she refuses.

A simple sneaker seems to fit Jane’s personality.

Crash by Jerry Spinelli Symbolism Activity

Scooter has a massive stroke and is hospitalized. Crash realizes that Christmas is the day after tomorrow and he hasn’t bought Scooter a present. He thinks this means that he doesn’t expect Scooter to live. Crash throws on his clothes and dashes out on his bike to find a gift, any gift. He tears into a store and buys the first thing he sees, a pair of bright red high-heeled shoes with glitter all over and a red bow in front. The shoes cost $6. Buying the shoes is a comfort to Crash because he has his grandfather a present.

Later Crash learns the shoes were bought in the thrift shop. This is the place Crash despises because it represents all the things he is trying not to be.

Free – A Writing Project to use with Crash by Jerry Spinelli

Get the free writing project here.

Crash by Jerry Spinelli Writing Project - Students must explain using proof from text why each character would wear a specific type of shoe based on their character traits.


Free Samples from Crash by Jerry Spinelli Book Unit

FREE Samples from Crash Book Unit

If you would like to try the Crash Book Unit before you buy it, this download provides the following samples:

  • Vocabulary Practice for Chapters 1-4
  • Comprehension Questions for Chapters 1-4
  • Constructed Response Question – Character Traits of Crash
  • Plus a lot of photos to show you what the rest of the unit contains

The Crash Book UnitCrash by Jerry Spinelli

Crash Book Unit contains graphic organizers for an interactive notebook and game activities covering vocabulary, comprehension questions, constructed response writing, and skill practice.

Gay Miller

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  1. Hello,

    I love your units and I am trying to find the Crash activity “If the Shoes Fit”. I looked on TPT but could not find it. Would you please help me out? I need some good hands-on activities for my students.

    Thank you very much

    1. Hi Diane,

      Here is the link to the blog post. A link to the free printable is toward the bottom of the post.

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