Stargirl starts on the first day of eleventh grade for our narrator, Leo Borlock. The buzz around the school is, “Did you see the new girl?” Stargirl goes to school for the first time as a tenth grader. Up till then, she had been homeschooled. Due to Stargirl’s unusual behavior including carrying her pet rat to school, singing while playing the ukulele at lunch, wearing strange clothing, and so on, most students peg her as an outcast even though she is extremely friendly to everyone. Leo develops a crush on Stargirl. He even follows her one day after school just to see where she is headed. He discovers that she is delivering a congratulations card to a stranger.
After attending a football game in which Stargirl runs across the football field playfully cheering and stirring up the crowd, she is asked to join the cheerleading squad. Students began to like her. At this point, students love Stargirl’s upbeat, quirky actions. People begin attending the football games, not to watch the game, but to see Stargirl’s playful antics including cheering for the opposing team. By Thanksgiving, Stargirl is the most popular person at the school.
This will change…
Stargirl Teaching Activities
Book Unit Samples
This pdf contains novel study samples including:
- Vocabulary Practice for Chapters 1-3
- Comprehension Questions for Chapters 1-3
- Constructed Response Question for Chapters 1-3
The unit Stargirl contains a tie-in unit about how to give a speech. You can check out the sample for it here.
Teaching Idea #1 – Free Teaching Guides
Enjoy this free activity. This link takes you to Google Slides. Choose between the online and printer-friendly versions. Students answer four questions to compare different characters in the novel. You’ll also find an answer key.
Teaching Idea #2 – Comparing the Book to the Movie
The book Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli and the movie adaptation starring Grace VanderWaal are both based on the same story, but they have some notable differences.
In terms of the plot, the movie sticks fairly closely to the book, following the story of a unique and quirky high school student named Stargirl and her experiences as she tries to fit in at a new school. However, the movie does make some changes to the story, such as adding additional scenes and dialogue, and compressing some of the events from the book.
One of the biggest differences between the book and the movie is the character of Stargirl herself. In the book, Stargirl is depicted as a quirky, free-spirited, and independent young woman, while in the movie, she is portrayed as more vulnerable and introspective. The movie also places a greater emphasis on her relationships with other characters, such as her new friend Leo, and her family.
Another notable difference is the ending of the story. In the book, the ending is left somewhat open-ended, with the reader left to interpret what happens to Stargirl. In contrast, the movie provides a more clear resolution to the story, and gives the audience a more concrete understanding of what happens to Stargirl and the other characters.
Overall, the book and movie versions of “Stargirl” are both enjoyable in their own ways, and offer different perspectives and interpretations of the same story. Both versions capture the spirit of the original story, and both are worth experiencing for fans of the book.
Teaching Idea #3 – Writing Prompts
- Write a letter from Stargirl to Leo. Explain what it was like for her to attend Mica Area High School and why she left.
- Imagine you are one of Stargirl’s classmates. Write a journal entry about your thoughts and feelings about her.
- Write a persuasive essay arguing why Stargirl should be accepted for who she is, despite her unique and quirky personality.
- Imagine you are Leo. Write a personal reflection on your friendship with Stargirl and what you learned from her.
- Write a dialogue between Stargirl and one of her classmates. In the conversation explain her unique perspectives and values.
- Write a short story from the perspective of one of Stargirl’s former classmates. Reflect on memories of her and what they learned from her.
- Imagine you are Stargirl. Write a letter to Leo about what you have been up to since you left Mica Area High School.
- Write a poem that captures the spirit of Stargirl and her unique qualities.
- Write a personal reflection on what you would have done if you were in Leo’s position. Be sure it include how difficult it was to choose between fitting in and being true to yourself.
- Write a story that explores what would happen if Stargirl returned to Mica Area High School after several years. How would her classmates react?
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Stargirl Novel Study (Jerry Spinelli) contains vocabulary, comprehension, constructed response writing, and skill practice.