Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson is an exceptional book about six students who are placed in an experimental class during their 5th/6th grade years. The teacher decides that the last hour of each Friday will be ‘talk time.’ She takes them to an empty classroom and leaves the six alone. Slowly the students open up and talk about their troubles.
Authorities take Esteban’s father and move him to Florida where he will be deported.
Amari’s dad becomes overprotective after police kill a kid with a toy gun.
Ashton opens up to the group and tells them he is being bullied. Bullies call him Casper, Wonderbread, Ghostboy, Paleface, and a number of other insulting names. Worst of all the boys are hitting him to the point of leaving marks.
Holly’s hands and mouth work faster than her brain. She wishes she could sit still.
Someone criticizes Tiago and his mother for talking in Spanish, not English. After this Tiago and his mother hide that they are Spanish speakers in public. They can only truly open up when they are at home.
Haley’s mother died in a car crash when Haley was only three years old. She is being raised by her uncle because her dad is in prison.
FREE Teaching Ideas for Harbor Me
Activity #1 Book Trailer
Author Jacqueline Woodson introduces her new book in this short video. In the second video, she reads an excerpt of the book.
Activity #2 Animated Short Google Docs
Students love watching animated shorts. Using them to teach reading skills is an extra bonus. Here are two free practice pages to use when teaching main idea and supporting details. Have students watch the animated shorts below. Then use the printable or Google Slides version to summarize the videos and tell the main ideas. These videos were selected because they share the same setting as Harbor Me, New York City.
If you would like to try out the Harbor Me Book Unit before you buy it, this download contains free samples including:
- Vocabulary Practice for Chapters 1-4
- Comprehension Questions for Chapters 1-4
- Constructed Response Question for Chapters 1-4
Harbor Me Book Unit contains graphic organizers for an interactive notebook. Vocabulary, comprehension, constructed response writing, and skill practice including a series of lessons on teaching main idea and supporting details are all included. Printable and digital versions are available.