-AWARD-WINNING YA AUTHOR-
Blood Don't Lie Scaffolding Activities
Scaffolding Activities/Discussion Questions
(in order of appearance in the text)
1. Ask children to identify where Larry lives (New Jersey) on a map of the United States so that they may better visualize his location. Theere is even the possibility of having students use pins or stickers to identify each location Larry talks about in the text on a World Map (eg: Beer-Sheva--where Sara is moving, Gaza Strip--and the politics of why this is important to the people).
2. In chapter 1 of the text Larry experiences a life changing moment while listening to Maroon 5's Daylight. Allow students to listen to this song, or view this video, or read the lyrics in the classroom and talk about how the words relate to Larry's situation.
3. When discussing Larry's experience of re-enacting the Holocaust in chapter 6 of the text, consider the students in your classroom, and then decide the amount of detail they should see and learn about the experience. For example, students in high school should be able to handle pictures, videos, and frank discussions about the tragedy. However, students in the lower middle grades may not need to know as much information. Students should consider their feelings, and be reminded that this happened to children just like themselves not very long ago. If teachers are considering this text as part of a unit on the Holocaust, The Diary of Anne Frank, or Night may be anothe text to include as it is written in the words of a young girl.
4. In chapter 9 of the text, Larry finds out he will be square dancing. Since students may or may not know how humiliatiing Larry feels this is, a video of square dancing shown to the class may be appropriate to properly illustrate Larry's distress and to allow students the chance to connect with him.
5. In chapter 10 of the text, Larry begins to be bullied by Robert Bullock. Have students talk about a time when/if they have been or have seen bullying. What is bullying? How would students define it? How would they handle bullying? Could they write themselves into Larry's situation by writing about what they might do given the chance?
6. Larry really seems to identify with super heroes. Since he says the ones he prefers are very old, like the Justice League or Super Friends (from 20 years ago) students may not be familiar with them. Check and see if students have heard of these cartoons. Maybe look at some of them and talk about why Larry might like them. Who are some of their favorite super heroes? Why do they like them?
7. Larry has an interesting relationship with his sister Marna. Do your students have siblings? Are their relationships similar or different than those between Larry and Marna? How does having an older sibling or younger sibling make one act differently? Students may understand Larry more if they make an effort to understand his relationship with his sister.
8. It seems like sports are very important to Larry. He seems to feel that if he makes the basketball team he will gain friends and popularity, maybe even height. Karate also seems to give him some self confidence or make him feel strong. This can be true of many students participating in sports at school. Ask your students if they have ever felt like sports could define who they are or who they are not when they are at school. Why?
9. In Chapter 10, Larry's mom finds out he stole Girl Scout Cookies. Have you ever stolen something? Why or why not? How do you feel when you're in trouble with your parents? Do you identify with any of the things Larry thinks and feels in Chapter 16?
10. [TENTATIVE] In Chapters 15 and 16 Larry's parents are really tight on money because their school has gone on strike. SOMETHING ABOUT MONEY. Make students see how much things cost: food, clothes, housing. Look at monthly statistics/avergage costs for certain areas on how much different people make? IDK. Talk about average salries? Monopoly money? See how much they take for granted. Separate students into families (groups of 4) with average salaries and make them buy common necessities (utlities, rent, clothing, food)? Students will then be able to see how much, or how little, they have left.
11. Chapter 17 is all about punishment. Larry's mom wants Larry's dad to punish the children because they stole, but he doesn't really do that. At least, he doesn't spank them. How does he punish them in other ways? What does he mean by, "I beat the children, Dear?" Clearly, he didn't beat the children. Is he being facetious or is he trying to make Larry's mom feel like he did what she wanted him to? What reasons does he have in saying the above sentence?
12. Why do you think the black and white footage of the Holocaust is so much scarier to Larry than some of the R-rated movies he's seen? When he says, "seeing it (a gun shot) in black and white and not even hearing it makes it so real that it's not real," what does he mean?
13. [TENTATIVE] Chapter 18 can be very rough for some students, especially on pages 66-67. How to help students with this? Perhaps show students a similar video?
14. In Chapter 21, Larry's parents talk to him about fighting Robert Bullock. Larry's dad talks about how he was small when he was Larry's age, but he stood up for himself and that Larry should too. How do you think this makes Larry feel? Do you think it could make him feel like he doesn't measure up to how tough his dad was/is? Do you ever feel as though you don't measure up to your parents in some way or another? How does that make you feel?
15. After Kevin makes the basketball team in Chapter 22, he begins to treat Larry differently. In fact, Larry isn't even sure whether or not they are still friends. Especially after what happens in Chapter 25. Do you think it can be hard to navigate friendships in middle school or high school? Why or why not?
16. In Chapter 24, Larry calls a girl for the first time. He feels very nervous and even has a hard time asking what her to dance with him. Yet, she keeps giggling non stop in the background. Why do you think this was so difficult? Have you had a similar experience?
17. In Chapter 26, why do you think Heather is so angry with Larry? Do you think she's right or wrong for being upset? Why or why not?
18. So often during the text, Larry mentions that the bus driver sees when Robert Bullock is bullying him, but the bus driver never seems to say or do anything to help. Why do you think the bus driver allows it to continue? Do you think he even notices the bullying in the first place?
19. In Chapter 29, we find out that Jeff died. Were you surprised to hear this news? How did finding this out make you reflect differently on all the things you had read previously about Jeff? Like how Kevin drank his iced tea at Larry's Bar Mitzvah? Have you ever experienced a death in your family, of someone close to you? How did you feel when/if this happened to you?
20. In Chapter 30, what do you think is the reason Ms. Fitzgerald, Jeff's mom, decides to take the yellow plastic off today of all days? Symbolically, what could taking the plastic off of the couch mean?
21. In Chapter 32, Larry gets in the hatchback and falls asleep. Why do you think he felt the need to get into the hatch back? Did it help or hurt how he was feeling? After he falls asleep in the hatchback, his parents take him to see a psyhcologist. Why do you think they do this? Have you ever seen a psychologist? Do you know what they do? What is your opinion of psychologists? Why?
22. Larry finally recieves a letter from Sara Rothman. But, it's delivered by his sister. Is this suspicious to you? Do you think Marna sent the letter to Sara? Or do you think Sara just wrote Larry because she missed him? Why do you think Larry writes Sara, but never sends his letters?
23. Larry's dad begins to smoke again in Chapter 34, after they have a bad day selling comforters at the flea market. Why do you think this happens? How do you think this affects Larry? What do you think Larry's dad is thinking/feeling?
24. What do you think about Marna's decision to move in with Bucky? Do you think her parents will allow it? Do you think it will work out between the two of them? There's a lot of dicussion about love when it comes to Marna's decision. How do you define love? Do you think Marna and Larry are in love with Bucky and Sara?
25. In Chapter 38, Larry's mom is really upset about the Salisbury Steak TV Dinner. It's just a TV dinner; Why do you think she's so upset? Who do you think ate it? or do you simply think Larry's mom miscounted? Soon, things really begin to erupt over this TV dinner. Larry's dad begins to hurt him. Why does he seemingly "lose" his temper so quickly? Why is it so scary? How does it make you feel as a a reader?
25. At the end of Chapter 40, Larry wakes up with a black eye. His parents are willing to let him stay home, but he wants to go to school. Why do you think he wants to go to school? What would you want to do in Larry's situation? How do you think Larry's relationship with his father has changed? What do you think of Larry's father? Is there any foreshadowing at play?
26. In Chapter 42, Larry finally beats up Robert Bullock. How does this make you feel as a reader? Are you proud of him? Why do you think he picked today of all days? How do you think Larry feels about this decision? After the fight is over, Larry gets different stories from his friends. He seems to think he fought better than they think he thought. Why do you think there are some discrepancies between stories?
27. In Chapter 45, Larry says that Jeff came and prevented him from jumping off the top of the roof. He says that no one will believe him about whether or not this happened, yet he confides in us--his readers. Do you believe him? Why or why not?
28. Unbelievably, Kevin comes to the rescue. He's followed Larry up to the roof. How does this change or cement your opinion about Kevin? Did you foresee Kevin as someone who would come to Larry's rescue?
29. In Chapter 46, Larry finally decides to mail his letters to Sara, but what does he find out that prevents him from doing so? How does this news affect you as a reader? When Larry reads Sara's letter, how does it make you feel? Does it make her death better or worse after knowing she liked him too?
30. So many things go down in Chapter 50, Marna's parents find out she has a boyfriend, that she was planning on moving in with him, that she's been skipping school to see him, and now that they've broken up. Larry mentions, on page 195, "I'm wondering if you have to skip school, quit Girl Scouts, take up smoking, and break a 21 yr old boy's nose just to be able to really talk to my mom." What does he mean by this statement? Why does it seem like, now that the entire family is hurt, that they can all finally talk? Have you ever experienced a similar situation with your family? Why does it feel like it's so hard to talk to adults when you're a teenager?
31. When Bucky asks Marna's dad if he taught her to fight, Larry says he gets all shaky and says that he thinks he did, but that he didn't mean to. What does he mean by this statement? Why would he not want to teach Marna to take care of herself? Why does he get all shaky?
32. How do you feel when Dr. Levy asks Larry's dad if he hit him? Suddenly, Larry wants to protect his father. He says he's not a child abuser, yet he's clearly abused his child in some way. What do you make of this incongruency?
33. At the end of Chapter 52, we find out that Larry grows. Why do you think he's just now had a growth spurt? Why do you think he didn't notice before now? Symbolically, what could this mean for Larry as a character?
34. Why doesn't Heather seem to hear what Larry hears in Chapter 53, on the bus with Robert Bullock and his minions?
35. What are the numbres tattooed on the bus driver's wrist? Why does the bus driver decide to show Robert and Larry right now of all times, stopped in the middle of the road?
36. Why do you think Larry decides to read his paper to the class in Chapter 54? What do you think finally convinces him? What do you think about his paper? Is it worthy of an A? Why or why not?
37. Why do you think Larry tells Monica he's moving to Israel? Why does he decide to end his story there?