Are you looking for a great unit to read with your middle schoolers? Try Schooled by Gordon Korman.
Thirteen-year-old Capricorn “Cap” Anderson lives at Garland, a farm that had once been a commune in the 1960s, with his grandmother Rain. Rain falls and breaks her hip. With no phone to call 9-1-1, Cap drives Rain into the city an hour away. Police arrest Cap for driving without a license and quickly ‘unarrest’ him when they realize how naive Cap is. He doesn’t know he is supposed to have a license in order to drive.
Rain’s broken hip prevents her from returning to Garland for a couple of months. This means Cap must live with the social worker and go to public school for the first time in his life. The students at Claverage (nicknamed C Average by the students) Middle School immediately see Cap as a loser because of his tie-dyed clothing, beads, and long hair. Since it is the custom to pick the lowest person on the social ladder as class president in eighth grade, Cap is elected to the position.
Cap spends his days being hit by spit wads, dodging legs that wish to trip him, going to meetings in non-existent rooms, finding objects in his locker, and receiving love notes from ‘Lorelie Lumley,’ a fictional person made up by Naomi, one of the popular people, to keep her friends laughing at Cap’s expense.
THEN…One day as Cap rides the school bus home, the bus driver, Mr. Rodrigo, has a heart attack and passes out.
Read Schooled to see how Cap copes with bullies. What does he do when the bus driver passes out? Will Cap be a hero or a bystander?
Book Unit Samples
If you would like to try out the Schooled Unit, this download contains free samples including:
- Vocabulary Practice for Chapters 1-2
- Comprehension Questions for Chapters 1-2
- Constructed Response Question for Chapters 1-2 on Setting
Teaching Idea #1 – On the Web
- Schooled Fun Activities from Bookrags
The lesson plan handout includes projects and an author interview. One project includes Rain’s playlist. Have students listen to some of her favorites such as The Times They Are A-Changin’ by Bob Dylan and You Can’t Always Get What You Want by The Rolling Stones. Ask students to explain why the author selected the songs he did for Rain’s playlist. Were they random sons from the time or did they have a connection to the story?
Teaching Idea #2 – Compare and Contrast Activity
I created these questions to help your students compare characters from two popular books by Gordon Korman. The file contains three versions of the activity. You will find the full-color version for students to complete online. A black and white version for printing makes this activity extremely flexible. An answer key is also included. Click here to get the file.