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Part 1: Vocabulary
As you read the novel, make a list of words that you come across that are unfamiliar to you. When you are finished the novel, choose ONE of the following activities. Include a title and necessary headings.
1. Dictionary/Thesaurus: Choose at least 15 words from the novel that you do not know the meaning of. Record the dictionary definition, as well as synonyms and antonyms. Include the page number from the novel for each word.
2. Crossword Puzzle: Create a crossword puzzle using at least 15 unfamiliar words from the novel. Provide a clue for each word, and an answer key that includes the page number for each word.
3. Personal Response: Identify at least 15 interesting words from your novel and explain why you think each word is interesting. Consider the meaning of the word, and what other words could have been used in place of the selected word. Include page numbers for each word,
Part 2: Comprehension Questions/Guided Note-Taking
Complete the questions provided for each chapter of the novel. Try to answer in as much detail as possible, using quotations when appropriate. Some of these questions will prompt you to add details to a character chart for Jamal; further details regarding these charts can be found below, in Part 3.
**Note: your work on these questions will be used to complete a final project.
Part 3: Character Analysis
As you read, record details that reveal insight into who Jamal is as a person Remember that characters are human beings with human thoughts and emotions. How can we understand Jamal by paying attention to his thoughts and emotions? How can we understand him by paying attention to their interactions with others? How can we understand him by paying attention to the context within which he exists?
Consider the struggles that Jamal encounters throughout the course of the novel and how those conflicts shape him. Consider the choices that he makes, and his motivations for doing so. Consider how others view Jamal: their assumptions and expectations, and how those assumptions and expectations either help or hinder him.
**Note: your work on this character analysis will be used to complete a final project.
Part 4: Exploring the Setting
After reading Part One of the novel, choose ONE of the following creative responses to explore the setting of the novel. Please note that I’m marking for detail, accuracy, and presentation, not artistic ability!
1. Create a visual representation of Jamal’s room. While you should use the description provided in the novel as a starting point, you are encouraged to add additional elements/details that you feel contribute to your understanding of Jamal as a person. This can be in the form of a drawing, painting, collage, diorama, etc. Be creative! All of your choices should be purposeful – this means that you should consider the reasons you’ve chosen to include specific colors, objects, images, etc. Include a typed rationale that explains the choices you’ve made and the elements you’ve included.
2. Create a visual representation of Forrester’s apartment. While you should use the description provided in the novel as a starting point, you are encouraged to add additional elements/details that you feel contribute to your understanding of Forrester as a person. This can be in the form of a drawing, painting, collage, diorama, etc. Be creative! All of your choices should be purposeful – this means that you should consider the reasons you’ve chosen to include specific colors, objects, images, etc. Include a typed rationale that explains the choices you’ve made and the elements you’ve included.
3. Create a color map that includes significant locations from the novel. Each location should be neatly and clearly labelled, and include a drawing or symbol that visually represents the location you’ve chosen. Your map does not need to be geographically accurate, however you should consider how the layout and presentation of your map suggests the differences between the two worlds that Jamal lives in. Include a typed rationale that explains the choices you’ve made, and the major events that happen at each location.
4. If you have any ideas for a different creative project, please see me to discuss.
Part 5: Jamal’s Journey (Final Project)
Finding Forrester Comprehension Questions
1. Describe the setting (Jamal’s neighborhood) as introduced in the first chapter.
2. Describe Jamal’s bedroom using as much specific detail as possible.
3. What is Jamal good at? What does he love about it?
4. What do we learn about the “guy in the window”?
5. What do we learn about Jamal? How does his mother view him? Answer in your character chart.
1. Summarize what Kenzo shares about the man in the window.
2. What is Jamal doing on the basketball court? How often does he do this?
3. What does your answer to question 3 tell us about Jamal? Answer in your character chart.
4. How does Ms. Joyce view Jamal? Answer in your character chart.
5. What does Ms. Joyce tell Jamal’s mother? What makes Jamal’s situation “unusual”? Explain why this may be the case.
1. Describe the man’s apartment – what catches Jamal’s attention?
2. What happens when Jamal is in the apartment? What does he leave behind?
1. How does Jamal behave in class during the discussion of Edgar Allan Poe? Why does he behave this way? Answer, then add any relevant details to your character chart
2. How does Ms. Joyce react? Why? Consider what this tells us about how Ms. Joyce views Jamal, and add details to your character chart.
3. How does the man in the window get Jamal’s attention?
4. What does Jamal’s interaction with the man in the BMW tell us about Jamal? What does it tell us about the assumptions the man makes about Jamal? Why does he make these assumptions? Answer, then add any relevant details to your character chart.
5. When Jamal gets his backpack, what does he discover? How does he feel about this?
6. When Jamal first knocks on the man’s door, why does he take up the challenge to write 5000 words on why he should stay away?
1. What is Mailor-Callow School, and what opportunity is presented to Jamal?
2. What further description is given of Forrester’s apartment?
3. Describe the man at this point in the novel. Consider what you learned about him as “the man in the window,” as well as what you can surmise of his personality based on his interactions with Jamal thus far.
1. What are Terrell’s concerns about Jamal attending Mailor-Callow?
2. Where is Mailor-Callow located? How does the description of this neighborhood compare with the description of Jamal’s neighborhood? Why does Jamal feel like he doesn’t belong?
3. Describe Jamal’s initial observations of Mailor-Callow, and the differences he notes between this school and his current school.
1. When the man corrects Jamal’s grammar, Jamal says that he “knows,” and that to speak correctly sounds “phony.” What does he mean by this? Why does Jamal choose to speak in such a way that is grammatically incorrect if he knows better? Answer, then add any relevant details to your character chart.
2. Describe, in your own words, why the man tells Jamal he knows he will go to Mailor-Callow.
3. What arrangement do Forrester and Jamal come to? What are the rules of this arrangement? Why does Forrester make these rules?
4. What is Jamal’s “secret life”? Why does he think his life will change, and why does this make him change?
5. How do Jamal’s friends feel about him attending Mailor-Callow?
1. Describe the interaction between Professor Crawford and Jamal. How does Crawford treat Jamal? What assumptions does he make about Jamal? Answer, then add any relevant details to your character chart.
2. How does Jamal’s life begin to change as he settles into his new routine?
3. What writing advice does Forrester give to Jamal? What does he mean?
4. Why does Forrester have Jamal type out a copy of his “A Season of Faith’s Perfection”?
5. Why does Forrester insist that whatever he and Jamal write must stay in the apartment?
1. Describe the interaction between Hartwell and Jamal at the start of chapter 9. How does Hartwell view Jamal? How do you know? Answer, then add any relevant details to your character chart.
2. What does Forrester tell Jamal about Crawford? What does he mean when he says that “Bitterly disappointed teachers [of writing like Robert Crawford] are either very good or very dangerous”?
3. How does Jamal describe his neighborhood as he walks home at midnight? What does this description suggest about his neighborhood?
1. Why does Jamal think he must gain acceptance through his athletic abilities rather than his academic abilities?
2. Why is Fly upset with Jamal after they speak to Claire?
3. What is implied about the way Dr. Spence feels about Jamal? Why does he feel this way? What assumptions might he be making? How does Jamal react? Answer, then add any relevant details to your character chart.
4. Add any additional relevant details to your character chart. Consider the assumptions and expectations of others, (Crawford, Coach Garrick, Forrester, Claire, family, friends, etc), and how the perceptions of others either limit or encourage Jamal.
1. At the start of the chapter, Jamal comments that basketball, and his friendship with Claire, have prevented him from just being “another smart ghetto boy on scholarship, tolerated and condescended to and always on the outside.” What does this tell us about how Jamal feels he is viewed by others at Mailor-Callow? Does he feel accepted? Does he feel like he fits in? Why do you think he feels this way? Answer, then add any relevant details to your character chart.
2. What does Jamal mean when he says “home talk”?
1. How does Crawford describe his feelings about Jamal at the start of the chapter? Why is Crawford suspicious of Jamal? What does he suspect, and why? Answer, then add any relevant details to your character chart.
2. Describe Jamal and Forrester’s relationship. How has it changed?
3. Where does Jamal initially take Forrester? What happens while they are there?
4. Where do they go after they leave their original destination? Why does Jamal take him there?
5. In your own words, describe the personal information Forrester reveals to Jamal.
6. How did this event from Forrester’s past change his perspective on life? How did it shape his future?
1. What does Crawford imply Jamal has done? What biases led him to this conclusion?
2. Add details to your character chart: how does Crawford view Jamal in this moment? How might this contribute to Jamal’s sense of identity?
3. How does Forrester explain the nature of Crawford’s assumptions to Jamal? What does he mean when he says “it’s bred in the bone”?
4. What does Jamal mean when he says “maybe kids from the Bronx belong in the Bronx”? What is Jamal struggling with? Answer, then add any relevant details to your character chart.
1. Do you agree with Jamal’s choice to challenge Crawford? Why or why not? Why do you think Jamal made this decision? Answer, then add any relevant details to your character chart.
2. Why do you think Forrester cautions Jamal at the end of the chapter?
1. Why does Jamal feel like the board has put him in an impossible situation? What are his options, and why does neither one seem appealing? Answer, then add any relevant details to your character chart.
1. Why is Jamal upset with Forrester? Why is Forrester upset with Jamal? What does Forrester want Jamal to do, and why? Who do you agree with in this situation?
2. Why is Jamal crying in his mother’s arms?
1. Why does Jamal feel so alone?
2. What decision does Jamal make at the game? Why does he make this decision? Do you think he would have made the same choice at the start of the novel? Why or why not? (Consider how Jamal has changed). Add any relevant details to your character chart.
1. Why does Terrell take Jamal’s notebook to Forrester?
2. How does Terrell describe Forrester? What does this suggest about how the fight has affected him?
1. Why does Forrester come out of retirement to defend Jamal?
2. Using details from Forrester’s speech, add details to your character chart. How does Forrester describe Jamal?
1. What are five specific ways that Forrester helps Jamal?
2. What are five specific ways that Jamal helps Forrester?
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