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My father was killed on 9/11.

When eighth grader Bart Rangely is granted a "mercy" scholarship to an elite private school after his father is killed in the North Tower, doors should have opened. Instead, he is terrorized and bullied by his own mentor. So begins the worst year of his life.

Curriculet Details
51 Questions
60 Annotations
3 Quizzes

Designed for students in eighth grade, this free digital curriculum contains annotations explaining historical references, character behavior and how to respond to bullying. It also contains interactive videos that support comprehension, such as videos about figurative language and allusions. Over the course of the book, students will answer Common Core questions and quizzes related to the subjects of characterization, plot elements, and figurative language. This free online unit will increase student engagement while building reading comprehension.

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Chapter One

The highlighted phrase is a type of figurative language called a "simile." Watch the video below to learn more about similes and their close cousins, metaphors. (This annotation contains a video)
Notice that because the story is being told by a teenager, the word choice is mostly informal and conversational. 
Based on the highlighted paragraph, most of this story will be taking place 
By capitalizing this phrase, the author is signifying the importance of this event. 
This is an allusion to the fairy tale "Jack and the Beanstalk." You can read a simplified version of the story at the link below. (This annotation contains a link)
The narrator's description indicates that he 
This is a reference to a 1960's sitcom about a blended family. Check out the introduction below. (This annotation contains a video)
Which Aunt does the narrator's mom like the least? 
Notice how the author ends the chapter with a cliffhanger. The reader is in suspense, wanting to know why the phone didn't stop ringing for days. 

Chapter Two

The "Twin Towers" is a reference to the attacks on the World Trade Center towers and other U.S. sites on September 11, 2001. Follow this link to read more about what happened on that historic and tragic day.  (This annotation contains a link)
Why does the narrator's mom survive the attacks on the Twin Towers? 
Watch the video below to learn more about point of view, then answer the following question. (This annotation contains a video)
From what point of view is this story told? 
Why would Bart say that he and his mom should have talked about how close he came to losing both parents? 
How could taking a lot of time to write thank you notes be both the best and the worst part about getting gifts? 
Do you think this was a realistic expectation on Bart's part? 
Why did people lie about losing family members? 
The highlighted phrase is an example of a type of figurative language called "personification." Watch the video below to learn more. (This annotation contains a video)

Chapter Three

Based on the word choice in the description of Dr. Bratton, what can you infer is the author's tone or feeling towards him? 
Notice how Bart and his mother are trying to deal with their grief. This is one of the recurring ideas in this novel. 
It is a very common reaction for the child to feel like he has to care for his grieving parent. 
Why does Bart agree to Dr. Bratton's visit? 
Here we see the author mixing in some humorous observations to break up the seriousness of the mood. 
When Dr. Bratton can't remember Bart's name, what does that reveal about his character? 
The highlighted phrase is an example of a type of figurative language called "hyperbole." Watch the video below to learn more. (This annotation contains a video)
Dr. Bratton sure seems out of touch with the public's perception of the students and atmosphere at Baileywell. 
The highlighted phrase is an example of what type of figurative language? 

Chapter Four

This is a reference to the concentration camp/ghetto of Theresienstadt. Follow the link below to read about how the Nazis cleaned up the camp just before the Red Cross inspectors arrived and to see a photo of the "cheerful and healthy" children. (This annotation contains a link)
Notice how the author is creating suspense by already telling us that Tyro will torment Bart. 
Based on the tone of Tyro's responses, which of the details below would not be a correct inference? 
Which phrases in the highlighted section indicate Bart's negative feelings toward Bailewell? 
Is Bart's mother's reaction to his pleading understandable after all they've gone through? 
What details tell you that Bart is not impressed with his fellow students? 
We meet another Baileywell person with a nickname. What do you think Bart's nickname will be? 
What do the highlighted similes indicate about Bart's first impression of Baileywell? 
Do you think Tyro was trying to be friendly or nasty with his shove? 
To what does Bart compare his time in the hallway? 
Notice how the author uses a technique called foreshadowing to create suspense about Tyro Bergen. Watch the video below to learn more.  (This annotation contains a video)
The highlighted phrase is an example of a 
Why do you think the Baileywell students like talking about themselves? What does it tell you about some of their personalities? 
What does the highlighted phrase tell you about Seth? 
Does your school have a spot in the cafeteria where the "cool" kids congregate? 
What detail does the author include to create suspense in this section? 
Why would Tyro have such a strong reaction to Pork saying the "burger hemorrhaged"? 
Why would Seth deny saying anything about Tyro? 
Do you think it's right that Tyro is allowed to get away with bad behavior because his father gives money to the school? 
Which of the following reasons does Bart not give of why his mom is so desperate for him to like Baileywell? 

Chapter Five

Why do you think Bart doesn't tell anyone what's happening to him or try to get help? 
What does Bart realize about his desire to return to Hillbrook? 
Kids should never feel ashamed about getting bullied. It's not their fault. They should tell an adult and get help. Check out the link below for more tips about responding to bullying. (This annotation contains a link)
What detail does the author include in the highlighted paragraph to increase suspense about what will happen to Bart? 
Part One 
In the instance of the phone call, what do we as readers know that Bart's mother does not? 

Chapter Six

Bart started at Baileywell in mid-October, so the bullying has been going on for about a month at this point. 
How is Bart dealing with the trauma of getting shoved into a locker? 
Where are all the other students who should have been in the hallway before school? Why aren't they helping Bart? 
Visit the link below to read one teenager's bullying story. Then answer the question that follows.  (This annotation contains a link)
Bart is telling his story in a detailed narrative. Kristen, who submitted her story online to the Pacer site, wrote a summary of her experiences being bullied over the past 10 years. What kind of information do you learn in Bart's story that Kristen's story doesn't contain? 
According to Dr. Bratwurst, the bullying incidents 
When you buy a whole turkey, inside the bird is a plastic package of giblets--the neck, heart, liver, and gizzard. You need to remove that package before roasting the bird. Many people saute these pieces and make a gravy from them.  (This annotation contains an image)

Chapter Seven

Why is Bart so upset at his mother's announcement? 
The dishes Bart mentions sound like Italian food, so that must be where his grandmother is from.  
How do you think Bern feels at this point? Do you think it was easy for him to decide to even show up to Gran's house? 
Why does Bart call his wanting to cover Bern's plate with ketchup a "shameful desire"? 
Note how Bern's visit serves to take the focus off Bart's and his mother's loss and allows the family to act normally again. 

Chapter Eight

Why does Bart think that Tyro and his friends are leaving him alone? 
It's common for those who lose loved ones to feel regret for things they feel they should have done or said. 
In the highlighted passage, Bart compares his grief to 
Below is a picture of a Cadillac Escalade. (This annotation contains an image)
The highlighted phrase is an example of a 

Chapter Nine

Is this how you expected Bart's mom to react? Is this how Bart expected his mom to react? 
Based on her behavior with Dr. Bratton, which of the following statements about Bart's mom is not true? 
Do you think Tyro's parents already know he's a bully? 
What makes Tyro's apology seem insincere? 
The author uses a ___________ to compare Bart with a lab rat. 
Note that no one has said a word about kicking Tyro out of school. What would happen at your school if someone did everything Tyro has done to Bart? 
Is this an appropriate consequence for Bart's actions? Why or why not? Be sure to support your response with details from the text. 
Do you think Bart's perception of seriously ill children is accurate? 
Patch Adams is a character in movie of the same name. Watch the trailer to get an idea of why Mrs. Strauss uses this allusion. (This annotation contains a video)
What is the significance of the highlighted phrase? 
What is the significance of the highlighted phrase? 

Chapter Ten

Notice how Bart finds out that his impressions of Freddie being creepy were incorrect. 
Bart feels a connection to these people in the hospital, so why would he want to get far away from them? 
Why do you think Ramon is not interested in talking to Bart? 
From his response to Bart's visit, you can infer that Stimmer 
Does Stimmer react as Bart hopes he would? 
What does Stimmer want from Bart? 
Is it fair for Stimmer to react this way, considering his situation? 
Yellow skin can be a condition called "jaundice," which is most often cause by a malfunctioning liver, gallbladder or pancreas. 
How are Nola and Bart's mom similar? 
Note how Bart cares what Nola thinks of him. 
Why does Nola apologize to Bart? 
Why does Bart refer to Nola as his guardian angel? 
Part Two 

Chapter Eleven

What metaphor does Bart use to describe the new students at Baileywell? 
Why does Bart enjoy hanging out with Nola? 
Planning for escape makes Bart realize that Nola is  
"Clinical death" is the medical term for cessation of blood circulation and breathing, the two criteria necessary to sustain human life. 
This seems like unexpected behavior on the part of Tyro. What do you think he wants from Bart? 
What does Tyro's conversation with Bart tell you about him? 

Chapter Twelve

Note that Bart has a premonition that the change in Nola's condition is worse than Mrs. Straus makes it seem. 
To what "punishment" is Bart referring in the highlighted phrase? 
What does the author mean by this phrase? 
Why doesn't Bart want to introduce his mother to Nola on his next visit? 

Chapter Thirteen

How do you think Bart feels about not knowing Nola's last name when he's supposed to be her friend? 
Note how this plot twist brings the two story lines together. 
Why is Bart uncomfortable seeing Mr. Bergen cry? 
What type of figurative language is used in the highlighted phrase? 
How does Bart's mom know that the "him" to which Bart is referring is his father? 

Chapter Fourteen

Do you think this is realistic? 
Why are Bart and Tyro fighting? 
This is a significant claim. Do you agree with it? 
What do you think happened to Tyro? 
Part Three