Friday, September 25, 2015

CIS Parent Book Club - Week One

     Welcome to the first CIS Parent Book Club over Sharon Draper's Out of My Mind!  We're excited you're here to talk about this fantastic book and to read along with your fifth grader.  This is the first part of the club.  Each week we will post the chapters we'll be reading and discussing along with discussion questions on this blog.  We'd love to hear your thoughts below in the comments. Commenting and replying to others' comments is a great way to keep the discussion going. You may choose to comment on one or all of the questions. If you'd like to comment on something in the reading that isn't part of the questions, feel free to bring up the topic. Comments will be moderated, so if they don't show up right away, do not be concerned.  We will culminate the club on Monday, October 26th at CIS.  More details to follow about that. For now, let's get started!


1.  In chapter one, Melody describes her love of words.  The power of language is strong.  Describe how you feel about words and language.  What role has reading, writing, storytelling, conversation, etc. played in your life?  What would it be like if verbal language was taken away from you?

2.  We've been talking about point of view and perspective in fifth grade.  Why is the choice of narrator so important in Sharon Draper's book?  Why do you think we decided to start fifth grade with this common text?

3.  Melody loves music, especially country.  Music has been called a universal language.  How has music impacted you and your family?

4.  Melody expresses frustration at not being able to communicate.  The story she tells about how her mother misunderstood her "temper tantrum" in the toy section at the store is heartbreaking.  What is it like to be misunderstood?  How is it frustrating when your intentions are misinterpreted?

5.  Compare and contrast how Melody's mom and dad interact with her.  With whom do you identify most and why?  What would it be like to be Melody's parent?

6.  In chapter 6, we learn about one of Melody's doctors in a flashback.  Our students get infuriated with Dr. Hugely and cheer when Melody's mom stands up to him.  How does that scene change the trajectory of the plot?

7.  In chapter five, Melody describes her years at Spaulding Street Elementary School.  She describes each of her classmates.  What do her descriptions of them tell us about Melody?  She also describes her early teachers.  What are their attitudes toward children with special needs?  

8. Then there's Mrs. V!  We've been talking about characterization with our fifth graders.  How did Sharon Draper develop Mrs. V's character?  What traits does she have and how does she influence Melody?

9.  What is the difference between empathy and sympathy?  What characters in Melody's life show her sympathy and what characters show her empathy? 

10.  Chapter 8 gives us a perfect opportunity to talk about symbolism and metaphor with our fifth graders.  How does the goldfish leaping out of the bowl represent Melody?  Does it apply to any situations in your life?  Was there a time when you needed to leave your comfort zone and "leap" into the unknown in order to reach a goal or pursue a dream?

11.  Our fifth graders love Butterscotch.  What makes Butterscotch so important to Melody?  If your family has a pet, describe what he/she means to you all.

12.  What would YOU ask for from the Great Oz?  Why?

13.  In chapter 9, Melody overhears her mother blaming herself for Melody's condition.  Parents feel so much responsibility for their children!  Describe what being a parent means to you.

14.  How does a new child change Melody's family's dynamics?   Describe Penny's impact on each family member.

15.  More about Melody's relationship with her parents is revealed in chapter 10.  What new things do we learn?

     Thank you for joining us this week.  We'd love for you to choose some of these questions to discuss not only here, but with your children - maybe around the dinner table, to and from sports activities, or anytime you get a chance to talk books!

     Remember to choose a "Comment as..." option.  If you have a Google or WordPress account, you can choose that, and it will automatically identify you.  You can also choose Name/URL and just put your name in the Name section, leaving the URL blank.  We'd love to know who you are if you are contributing to discussions!

     Now....let the discussions begin!