Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures! This middle grade novel won the Newbery medal for 2014.
The story is about Flora, a self-described cynic, who witnesses a tragedy/miracle in her neighbor’s backyard. She is able to revive the squirrel and names him Ulysses. The book is very funny but also tackles some serious issues such as divorce, abandonment issues and more. The book is written as part narrative and part graphic novel.
I formatted the unit as follows. It begins with an explanation of close reading and how to format a lesson. I also included sentence stems aligned to Webb's Depth of Knowledge. Then, there is a summary, themes listed and character descriptions. I created focus questions for each and every chapter. Along with the focus questions, I culled out vocabulary you might need to review and creative writing activities, research activities or discussion points. There are explicit gradual release formatted lessons throughout for pivotal moments in the story. I included a close reading sheet for each of the explicit lessons. You could use the focus questions to create more close reading lessons using the blank templates or for class discussions. At the end, there is a blank sheet for planning and to use with close reading of different chapters. Finally, I added my version of Cornell Notes, which I use for homework reading. I added a sheet for using with the idea of a capacious heart and a printable for creating comic strips. There is also a rubric for grading the close reading sheets. I hope your students enjoy it as much as my students did.
Awards for Flora and Ulysses:
The John Newbery Medal Winner 2014, National Book Award Longlist, Texas Bluebonnet Award 2014-15
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