Harbor Me Teaching Ideas

Harbor Me Teaching Activities

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.

Harbor Me Activities

Book Unit Samples

Harbor Me Novel Study Samples

his sample contains the following:

  • Vocabulary Practice for Chapters 1-4
  • Comprehension Questions for Chapters 1-4 
  • Constructed Response Question for Chapters 1-4 

Teaching Idea #1 ~ Writing Prompts

Diversity and Inclusion: Discuss the themes of diversity and inclusion in the book, and have students reflect on the importance of understanding and accepting people who are different from themselves.

Empathy and Understanding: Discuss the theme of empathy and understanding in the book and how it relates to the experiences of the characters. Have students write about a time when they showed empathy to someone who was different from themselves.

Teaching Idea #2 ~ Animated Short Google Docs

Animated Shorts Teaching Activities

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 the main idea and supporting details.

Have students watch the animated shorts. 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. 

Teaching Idea #3 ~ Learn about the Author

Jacqueline Woodson is an American author and poet. She was born on February 12, 1963, in Columbus, Ohio. Woodson is best known for her work as a writer for young adults, and has written numerous award-winning books, including the Newbery Honor book “Miracle’s Boys,” and the National Book Award-winning “Brown Girl Dreaming.”

Woodson grew up in Greenville, South Carolina and Brooklyn, New York. Her experiences growing up in these communities have had a profound influence on her writing. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English at Adelphi University.

Woodson’s writing is known for its powerful and moving stories. She explores themes of race, identity, and family relationships. Her books have been praised for their lyrical writing style and her depictions of her characters.

In addition to her work as a writer, Woodson is also an advocate for children’s literacy and has been actively involved in various literacy initiatives. She has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors for her writing, including the Newbery Honor, the National Book Award, and the Coretta Scott King Award.

Hear Jacqueline Woodson introduce her new book in this short video. In the second video, she reads an excerpt from the book.

See the product that inspired this post.

Harbor Me Novel Study

Harbor Me Novel Study includes vocabulary practice, comprehension questions, constructed response writing, and skill practice.  

Gay Miller

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