Sunday, February 21, 2010


By Wendy Mass
Publisher: Scholastic
ISBN-13: 978-0-545-05239-9

FROM THE FLAP: On their first birthday, they learned to walk. On their fifth, they planted seeds in homemade pots. On their tenth, they learned there are some words you can never take back.

Amanda’s eleventh birthday should have been a happy occasion. Instead she’s dressed in an itchy costume her mother picked out for her Hollywood-themed party (Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz, even though the flying monkeys have always creeped her out). Meanwhile, across town, her ex-best friend Leo is celebrating their joint birthday with a huge bash including a hypnotist, a football star, a giant iguana, and a rock band. SO not fair!

Amanda can’t wait for the day AFTER her birthday so she can stop thinking about the fight that led her and Leo to have separate parties for the first time in their lives. There’s just one problem. The next day is her birthday all over again.

In this hilarious and touching adventure, Amanda must figure out how to get unstuck, in more ways than one.

KATE’S TAKE: This is Groundhog Day for eleven-year-olds. It’s a great way to lighten up the assessment-heavy spring.

ALL OVER AGAIN: (Verbal/Linguistic)

Ask students to create a character and a problem. Have the students write the scene three different times. Each time the character should change his or her action which will move the character toward the solution.

APPLE SEEDS: (Naturalist and Logical/Mathematical)

Have students plant apple seeds, take care of them, measure and record their weekly growth.

FORGIVENESS: (Verbal/Linguistic, Intrapersonal, and Interpersonal)

Amanda has to forgive Leo in order to move forward in time. Write about a problem you had with someone, and how you solved it.

RHYTHM SEQUENCES: (Musical and Bodily Kinesthetic)

Amanda longs to play drums in the marching band. Write a measure of music on the board. Put our four chairs to represent the 4 beats in 4/4 time and fill them with kids to represent the rhythm. For example, if you write out 1 quarter note, 1 half-note, and two eighth notes, you would have one child sit on the first chair representing the quarter note, the second child would cover the second and third chair representing the half note, and the last chair will have two kids on it to represent the eighth notes. Then, clap out the rhythm as a class. Special thanks to Scott Rossley for this fun and effective activity.

WHO AM I?: (Verbal/Linguistic and Interpersonal)

Amanda has a Hollywood-themed character party. Ask students to write out three or four clues about a Hollywood character. Have them read their clues in front of the class, and see whether or not the other students are able to guess who they are.


-Camille McPhee Fell Under the Bus by Kristen Tracy
-Extra Credit by Andrew Clements
-Fourth Grade Rats by Jerry Spinelli
-Mudshark by Gary Paulsen
-The Secret Language of Girls by Frances O’Roark Dowell

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