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Book Club- Starfish by Lisa Fipps, Told in Verse -Powerful,Life-Changing Themes

Mike P
Average rating:5.0Number of reviews:(616)
Learners will cheer as the main character gains the ability to confront bullies with honesty and self-control and will not allow cruelty from others to define her any longer. A must read! #academic

Class experience

US Grade 4 - 7
Learner goals include growth in vocabulary, vocabulary in context, understanding the realism and details used regarding bullying, judgement of others, body image, and the inherent life-long risks associated with being the focus of such actions,  decision making,  learning to take control of your emotions and actions in order to claim power over the bully while not letting yourself go to their level, conflicts/resolutions, character development/motives/ quirks ,lifelong friendships, the genre of realistic fiction, turning points, figurative language, and overall powerful themes including how situations can bring people together to see the greater good and the chance to overcome such painful moments, the implications of making correct healthy choices, reaching for your goals against all odds, grief , sorrow, greed, body judgement,stereotypes, reaching out for help,  the positive outcome that can occur when  people set aside differences for a greater common good.  This book is a significant and important piece of literature that handles all of these topics in a way that will have you rooting for the main character as she learns to value herself  and even change the behaviors of some others around her.  This novel is such an important read for male and female learners.

After 33 years in 5th and 6 th grade classrooms, I have much experience in dealing with bullying and the affects on those being bullied while also teaching skills for bystanders and bullies.  I am a strong advocate for the safety of all and absolute decline in bullying action in any form.  I worked on these skills, and taking away power from bullies, with 5th -8th graders and family/ adult education to search out solutions and coach students towards being in control and never allowing others to lower the respect you need to have for yourself, now more than ever.
Homework Offered
The book is quick to read as it is in verse, however there is magic in the words on each page and I suggest reading each section more than once and using notes on your paper or post it notes in the book that capture special phrases, topics you want to discuss, conflicts etc so you are ready to have incredible discussions. PLEASE DO NOT READ AHEAD. Prior to class #1 please read to page 78. Prior to class #2, please read to page 160. Prior to class #3, please read to end of book.
1 - 2 hours per week outside of class
Assessments Offered
Grades Offered
Copy of  Starfish by Lisa Fipps
Parents need to know that Lisa Fipp's novel-in-verse, Starfish, takes on anti-fat bias, bullying, and self-acceptance. Middle schooler Ellie lives by the "Fat Girl Rules" -- don't wear bright colors, don't move so fast that your body jiggles, make yourself as small as possible, and on and on. But the rules aren't protecting her from her bullies, and Ellie realizes if things are going to change, it'll have to start with her. While this book is ultimately hopeful, verbal abuse in the form of bullying and rejection from family and peers is at times intensely cruel. The verbal violence tips over into physical when peers remove bolts from Ellie's desk and it collapses on her as she tries to sit down, resulting in minor injury. No swearing or other content concerns, including Ellie in the novel, is taking charge of the situation while not stooping to the level of the bullies.
I encourage adults in the family to read this book also.
Average rating:5.0Number of reviews:(616)
There is nothing more exciting than when you see a student think deeply, question ideas, share a new thought, or explore character’s actions/ decisions or a quote  or a purpose the author had when writing a novel and then connect the information... 
Group Class


for 3 classes
1x per week, 3 weeks
55 min

Completed by 11 learners
Live video meetings
Ages: 9-14
2-6 learners per class

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