Because of Mr. Terupt is a phenomenal book! Mr. Terupt is the new 5th-grade teacher at Snow Hill School in Connecticut. Among his class are the seven narrators of the story. Each narrator has a unique problem s/he must work through. Peter is the class clown. He blurts out comments and is mischievous. Jessica has just moved from California after her parents split up. Anna is an extremely quiet student. Her mother had her when she was just 16, so she is considered an outcast. Luke is the class genius. Danielle is overweight. Her family is super religious and thinks she should only be friendly with “acceptable” students. Jeffrey has hidden problems that he won’t talk about. Lexie is the class diva. She dresses in flamboyant clothing and starts a girl war by telling lies.
The students like Mr. Terupt almost immediately. He has fun and engaging projects:
- Dollar Words
- Plant Experiments
- Figuring how Many Blades of Grass the Soccer Field Has
- Visiting the Collaborative Classroom
- Celebrating Different Winter Holidays
- Class Meeting
- A Paper Chain Reward System
Activities for Because of Mr. Terupt
Because of Mr. Terupt Book Unit Samples
Grab your free novel study samples including vocabulary, comprehension questions, and constructed response writing prompt here.
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Teaching Idea #1 – Theme
With so many conflicts to solve, Because of Mr. Terupt is a perfect book for teaching themes. In this activity, students complete a table by thinking about the main characters in the book. What challenge, problem, or conflict does each character go through? Add what the characters learn. In what important way does each character change? These will be the major themes in the book.
You can download the free printable here.
Here are the instructions.
The theme is THE MEssage the writer wants to share with the reader. It is usually an understanding of life or human nature.
Complete the table by thinking about the main characters in Because of Mr. Terupt. What challenge, problem, or conflict does each character go through? Add what the characters learn. In what important way does each character change? These will be the major themes in the book.
Luke is extremely smart. He does not like for others to do better than him. Luke becomes annoyed when others know the answer to questions before he can figure them out. He also becomes upset when his plant project doesn’t work. Learn from Failures – Luke learns that he is not the only smart student in school.
Jeffrey hates school. Later the reader learns, de is really depressed because he blames himself for his brother’s death. His parents are silent at home. He has a difficult time getting past all the sadness. Reach out to Others – Jeffrey decides he can be the first to reach out to his parents. He doesn’t need to wait for them. He lets them know he loves them, and they start to heal.
Peter is the class clown. He constantly blurts out whatever he is thinking. He is a prankster. Other students find Peter’s behavior annoying. Accountability – Peter throws a snowball that injures Mr. Terupt. He learns he must be accountable for his actions.
Danielle is upset because she wants friends. She feels that Lexie is her only friend, but Lexie is often mean when it suits her needs in the “girl war.” Danielle cries a lot when she is home alone. Friendship – Danielle learns that she likes Anna even though her grandmother disapproves of her. She also makes friends with Jessica. The three form a bond without Lexie. Later Lexie is forgiven and she becomes friends as well.
Jessica has recently moved to Connecticut. She wants to move back to California. She wishes her parents were together. Responsibility – Jessica feels a lot of guilt over the snowball accident because she angered Peter before he threw the snowball.
Anna is an outcast. Her mom had her at age 16. She says, “My mom has warned me not to get involved in that popularity stuff. She was ostracized once.” Acceptance – Anna makes an effort to be friends with Danielle and Jessica. Once they get to know her they like her. They do not judge her based on her past.
Lexie wants others to like her. She needs attention. She is getting none at home. Her mother finally threw her father out of the house. Lexie learned that if she told lies about other girls they would stop being friends with each other and becomes friends with her, so she began starting “girl wars.” Being Kind – Lexie goes about making friends by telling lies. She soon learns that the others have caught on to her lies. She takes responsibility for her actions and the others forgive her.
Teaching Idea #2 – Audible Version of the Book
You’ll find dozens of YouTube videos featuring readers of Because of Mr. Terupt. This video link takes you to the full playlist.