Sunday, March 13, 2011


By Blue Balliet
Publisher: Scholastic Press
ISBN: 978-0-439-85209-8

FROM THE FLAP: A boy in a small town who has a different way of seeing. A curious girl who doesn’t belong. A mysterious notebook. A missing father. A fire. A stranger. A death. These are some of the things you’ll find within the danger box, the new mystery from Blue Balliet. Open with care.

KATE’S TAKE: This mystery pulls readers in and doesn’t let go until the last page.

CODE CRACKERS Visual/Spatial, Verbal/Linguistic, and Interpersonal

Ask each student to write a question about a story element in the book. Then, have each pupil rewrite the question using the code on page thirty-eight of the book. After the questions are rewritten in code, ask students to exchange questions and have them crack the code and answer the questions.


Ask students to create a diorama of Darwin’s trip to the Galapagos Islands based on information found in the book.

GAS GAZETTES Intrapersonal, Interpersonal, and Verbal/Linguistic

Ask each student to write a “Gas Gazette” about him or herself at the beginning of the school year. When you send home your newsletter, include one of the “Gas Gazettes” with each newsletter. This is a great way to introduce the “star of the week” if you implement Responsive Classroom techniques.

HOMETOWN HOTSPOTS Verbal/Linguistic, Visual/Spatial, and Interpersonal

Ask pairs of children to build a scale cardboard model of a famous town or state landmark. When all the models are built, students can take a walking tour of the town or state. Special thanks to Derek O’Riorden for this great end of the year activity.

LIKELY LISTS Verbal/Linguistic and Interpersonal

Next time you study biographies, ask each student to make up a list of words that describes their famous person. After students have presented their biography book reports, number the lists and post them around the room. Ask students to write down the name of the famous person that each list describes.

-Charles and Emma: The Darwin’s Leap of Faith by Deborah Heiligman
-Masterpiece by Elise Broach
-The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly
-The Puzzling World of Winston Breen by Eric Berlin
-The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

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