Because I always think like a teacher, I decided to create a page for teachers, librarians, and anyone else that will be reading this book along with kids. Feel free to use and adapt these resources to fit your group’s needs.
Why do you think the story is titled Grounded for Good?
At the beginning of the story, Derek tends to jump to conclusions about people and make fun of them. How does that change throughout the story?
Are Derek’s community service hours at the library a punishment? How does it impact him?
How is Mrs. Johnson different from other adults in Derek’s life?
Which of the characters in the story would you want to hang out with? Why?
What are the challenges and benefits of being part of a team?
Why do you think there is tension between Derek and Sean throughout the story?
Do you think Derek is a good role model for Jared?
Do you think Derek should have gone to Boston?
In what ways does Derek feel more connected at the end of the story?
What cool, old buildings in your town do you want to learn the story about? What do you think they were originally used for?
If your school or library hosted a talent show, what skill would you like to learn and perform? Why?
Other Activity Ideas:
The book makes lots of quick references that readers will hopefully be curious to learn more about. Engage kids in future exploration with this Scavenger Hunt.
Learn to juggle! Click herefor a video on DIY juggling balls and juggling instructional videos. You can run these sessions on a limited budget.
Have kids create a collage with images from the story: Jackson Pollock paintings, Alfred Hitchcock movies, Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, vaudeville theaters, etc.
Host a movie night showing old silent films starring former vaudeville performers like Charlie Chaplin or Hitchcock movies (The Birds is rated PG 13)
Host your own talent show.Click here for more resources.
More About Vaudeville:
Vaudeville was a popular form of entertainment from 1881-1932. During this same time period big changes were happening in the United States in areas of technology, industrialization, transportation, movement to cities, etc. To give kids a better sense of different people living during that time, use these Vaudeville Perspectives. I wrote and used these for a session at the NC Council for Social Studies Conference. The perspectives were created based on information from a variety of resources. Once kids read and discuss the perspectives, have them share out. You may also want to show a clip from the PBS American Masters series called Vaudeville. It shows some of the old routines and has an interesting explanation of how they decided the order of acts.
Extension activities can include:
Re-enacting vaudeville skits with kids (i.e. Who’s on First?)
Research your area: Is (or was) there a vaudeville theater in your town or a nearby community? How is it being used today?
Does art reflect the time period or shape it? You can use vaudeville performances as part of the discussion, but have kids use contemporary music, dance, movies as examples to support their opinion.
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