The Mighty Miss Malone

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Curriculet Details
73 Questions
72 Annotations
3 Quizzes

This free digital curriculum for elementary school students contains interactive videos exploring figurative language, as well as annotations describing The Great Depression, poverty, and discrimination. Students will explore the themes of friendship and the love of family. The Common Core aligned questions, answers and quizzes in this free online unit will increase student engagement in the book while supporting reading comprehension.

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One of the best features of Curriculet is the dictionary. When you see a word that is unfamiliar, highlight it, and click define. Try it with the word "archipelago"!  
In describing the word aharuf, the author is telling us that his wife and daughter make him 

Part One

This is a Scottish idiom that means "sometimes things do not always go as planned". You might wonder what an idiom is... (This annotation contains a link)

Homework #9

From what you have read so far, who is telling the story? 
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French ruler who many believed was tyrannical and obstinate because he was trying to compensate for his short stature. Hence the term, "Napoleon Complex". (This annotation contains an image)
Gary and Flint are cities in what states? 
Libraries to this day will discard books and sell them to the public for a small price. Jimmy knows how much Deza loves to write, so this is the perfect gift for her. 
It is human nature for us not to realize what our most annoying trait might be, although we all have them. Thinking about Deza and what you know about her so far, what do you imagine hers could be? 
Do you have a motto that you live by? Here are some common mottos that may be familiar to you. (This annotation contains a link)
From what you've read so far what is unique about Deza's family? 

Homework #10

You may recognize the Chesire Cat from the book or the movie "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland". The cat is known for his mischevious grin. (This annotation contains an image)
Deza is saying that the 1-1-1-1-1- lines on Mother's forehead tell her that Mother is 
If you have ever seen a rooster-strutting, you will have an image of how Jimmie walks. (This annotation contains a video)
In the 1930s, when this story takes place, many people were left homeless. People resorted to living in cardboard boxes sometimes.  
How are Jimmy and Deza different? 

Homework #11

Jimmie aspires to be a jazz singer. Here is a short introduction to the popularity of jazz music in the 1930's. (This annotation contains a link)
Dr. Bracy is making a joke. Pretty Boy Floyd was a notorious gangster in the 1930's. Read the caption for more. (This annotation contains an image)
Dr. Bracy is an educator, rather than a medical doctor. 
Why is Dr. Bracy holding Jimmie accountable for taking the pie, even though he paid for it? 
Here are some more examples of alliteration. (This annotation contains a link)
In case you are not familiar with the story of Robin Hood, here is a little information. You may want to read it sometime! (This annotation contains a link)

Homework #12

"Hope springs eternal" is a quote from the poem "An Essay on Man", by Alexander Pope and over the years it has become a common saying, or adage. What do you think it means? 
The author uses humor to describe Deza's two brains. What could happen if Deza's second brain takes over? 
As we can tell, an A- instead of an A+ is devastating to Deza. Write a few sentences explaining why this might be good for her and why the teacher may have given her the A- for a reason. 

Homework #13

The author is using a simile to describe how the A- was so painful to Deza. Here are the definitions of simile and metaphor with some examples:  (This annotation contains a link)
By telling Deza that she is "grandstanding" her writing, Mrs. Needham is giving her the message that she is 
There are probably several unfamiliar words featured throughout the story. Be sure to use the dictionary feature! 
Mrs. Needham is making an analogy. An analogy compares the features of two things. Think about what she might be comparing. 
Think about a person you know who is as kind and generous as Mrs. Needham. Write a short paragraph to explain how Mrs. Needham is similar to the person you know. 

Homework #14

The Great Depression, during the 1930's was a terrible time in history for people of all races. Here is a picture of how Deza and Clarissa may have been dressed. (This annotation contains an image)
What is Father attempting to do here? 
Here is a checklist of symptoms of tetanus from the Center for Disease Control: (This annotation contains a link)
Deza is worried about showing her mother the clothes and shoes because she is afraid her mother will 
This image will give you a visual of what calico print looks like. (This annotation contains an image)

Homework #15

Deza is describing the famous logo for Quaker Oats that still exists today. Do you recognize this? (This annotation contains an image)
Little brown bugs in flour, cereal, grain or rice are called weevils. Deza's family is so poor that they cannot afford to throw the oatmeal away. (This annotation contains an image)
What does it mean to "come at things sideways"? 

Homework #16

Father is a fan of boxing and has taught his children how to defend themselves like a prize fighter would. 
Deza feels powerful, but at the same time she feels 
Mecurochrome is a topical antiseptic used for minor cuts and scrapes that can still be found in drugstores today. (This annotation contains an image)

Homework #17

Here is a little history on the Negro Baseball Leagues: (This annotation contains a link)
A scorecard was used to keep track of the game because the stadium did not have a scoreboard. (This annotation contains an image)
Although radios came in many shapes and sizes in the 1930's, here is one example of a Depression-era radio.  (This annotation contains an image)
Write a few sentences to describe how you would feel if someone told you that you were a "credit to your race".   

Homework #18

Here, the author is giving us an example of the______ that existed in the 1930's. 
Think about what a tough job that must be for Mr. Steel Lung. (This annotation contains an image)

Homework #19

Use this map to find Gary, Indiana and Flint, Michigan. Notice that Gary is near Lake Michigan. (This annotation has embedded rich content)
What do you think " a watched pot never boils" means? 
Deza continues to wear her new shoes to bed because  
Quiz: Part One 

Homework #20

Here is an explanation of a "hobo". (This annotation contains a link)
Deza does not recognize her father because he has been 

Homework #21

Because he has lost his teeth, Father now speaks with a "lisp", a speech defect in which the sound of "s" is pronounced like a "th" in thick and "z" is pronounced like "th" in this. 
Here is a short video clip on how a couple of words are pronounced in Castillian Spanish, the language of Spain.  (This annotation contains a link)
As Deza tells the story about the King of Spain who has a lisp, what is one character trait the King has in common with Father? 
Think of a humorous alliteration of at least three words to describe yourself. Write it down and share it with your classmates. 
Jimmy's comparison of father's stress over the accident to lockjaw is an example of a (an) 

Homework #22

A huge wake or waves from a larger boat can cause a smaller boat to capsize (flip over) and sink. 
Father uses the example of the thin, blurry line between humor and tragedy to tell his children that a joke 

Homework #23

Reflect on what you read about the boxing match and write a few sentences to explain how the boxing match relates to Father's explanation of how people can be manipulated. 
What is the lesson Father is trying to teach Deza and Jimmie? 
The author is referring to the first Louis/Schmeling fight, which occurred in 1936. (This annotation contains a link)
Although the author does not specifically tell us, what was the outcome of the boxing match? 

Homework #24

During the Great Depression of the 1930's, local and state governments as well as private charities were overwhelmed by needy families seeking food, clothing, and shelter. In 1935, welfare for poor children and other dependent persons became a federal government responsibility. 
The conversation between Rosco and Peg tell us that in this period of time many families were very poor. Write a few sentences describing what you are thankful for in your life compared to what Deza and Jimmie live with on a daily basis. 
Soaking a cotton ball in camphor oil was, and still is, a home remedy for toothaches. (This annotation contains an image)
Thinking back about the map you viewed earlier, where is Flint? 
"Genuine gentle jumpin' giant" is a good alliteration to describe Jimmie because he is 
Why is Deza choosing to be angry? 

Homework #25

Deza, who loves the library, knows how to search for a book using the old-fashioned card catalog. Finding a book in the library is much easier these days. Do you know how to use your library's online search tools? 
This short encyclopedia article will give you an idea of how difficult life was for African American families during the Great Depression. (This annotation contains a link)
What does this sentence tell you about Deza? 
Reflect on the Carsdale family and the Malones and how their lives are so different. Write a paragraph describing why the Malone family probably has better survival skills than the Carsdales. 
Here, Jimmie is referring to the outlaw Jesse James. (This annotation contains a link)
Click on the definition of this word. From the definition and the clues from other words in the sentence, what do you think "foolscap" means? 
Reflect on how Deza feels now compared to how she felt earlier in the story when her teacher told her how wonderful she was. Write a list of adjectives (describing words) that express she must be feeling now compared to how she felt then. 

Homework #26

mortifried again???? 
How does the idiom "gang aft a-gley" illustrate that life does, indeed, get in the way? 
Deza finds it too difficult to say good-bye. Write a good-bye letter to Clarice from Deza's perspective. 
Think about Deza and Jimmie as you watch this short video, and decide what character traits they seem to possess. (This annotation contains a video)

Homework #27

Why would it be dangerous for Jimmie to have a razor? 
This link from The Grammarphobia Blog explains what the old saying "What in Sam Hill" means... (This annotation contains a link)
What Mother is telling Deza is that Mr. Rhymes' car was repossessed by the bank because he could not make the payments. Times were very hard for people during The Depression. 
Thinking about the situation the Malone family is in right now, what does "any port in a storm" mean? 
Deza is referring to a "jumpseat" which was a feature in Buicks during the 1930's. This is an image of what the car may have looked like. (This annotation contains an image)
Here is some fun and interesting information on Burma-Shave and their road signs which originated in the 1920's. (This annotation contains a link)

Homework #28

Which of the following tells us that Mother is not happy with driving to Chicago with Marvelous Marvin? 
An atomizer. (This annotation contains an image)
From Mother's description of what can begin with a straight razor, we can infer that she believes Marvin is a  
Look at the section of this website on riding the rails to get an idea of how people used freight trains to get from one place to another. (This annotation contains a link)
Deza's feelings go from ______ to ______ in this chapter. 

Homework #29

What does the text tell us about Epiphany's character? 
Click on the definition for "shantytown". Here is an image that might help describe where the Malones will be living. (This annotation contains an image)
What other saying does this relate to that was mentioned earlier in the story? 
Quiz, Part Two 

Homework #31

This webpage from explains how many Americans were forced to live in camps or "Hoovervilles".  (This annotation contains a link)
Jimmie's character reveals that even though he is small, he wants people to see him as  
Jimmie attracts girls because he is  
Watch this video about text-based evidence and think about why Deza may be wrong about staying at the camp for only one night. (This annotation contains a video)
Write a few sentences to describe how people can help each other when faced with adverse situations. 
You may be familiar with Reader's Digest, a magazine that has been in publication since 1929. Here is the cover of the September, 1936 issue, which is close to the time of the story setting.  (This annotation contains an image)
Remembering what you read earlier, "gang aft a-gley" means 
Reader's Digest has a crossword puzzle at the back of every issue.  
Knowing Deza's character, how do you think she will cope with the prejudice she is faced with at school? 
The example of the two little boys finding the camp by themselves paints the picture that life in the 1930's was ____________________ for many African Americans. 

Homework #32

The song, "Shenanodah"... (This annotation contains a link)
Write a list of character traits for both Father and Mother. Think about how they are alike and how they are different in character. 
Mr. Zee is using a metaphor to describe how they will play and sing together. Here is a video that explains simile and metaphor in reading and writing. (This annotation contains a video)
When Jimmie sings he is happy and 
 The metaphor "an alley cat at a gathering of lions" tell us that Danny thinks  
As a baby, Deza did not talk because she was 
Watch this video on summary and think about what events make this story meaningful to you. (This annotation contains a video)

Homework #33

A scene similar to what Deza is watching. (This annotation contains an image)
Here is an example of a simile, which compares one thing to another. See if you can find some more examples of simile and metaphor as you continue reading the book. 
Describe in a few sentences how you would feel if you were in Deza's place. Think about how worried she is about Jimmie and how, in a few hours, her life has changed significantly. 

Homework #34

Look at the three definitions of the word "breach". What is Mother referring to in the sentence? 
Why does Deza want to be near the post office? 

Homework #35

This sentence tells us that Deza is  
Deza is referring to this series of books...  (This annotation contains a link)
How much time has passed since Deza's story began? 
"The Silver Fleece was written by W.E.B. DuBois. Here is some information on the author and his books. (This annotation contains a link)
Why does Deza not care for "Penrod and Sam"? 

Homework #36

Think about how much Deza has been through and how receiving the letter from Father causes her to be so emotional. Write a few sentences describing why Deza is crying.  
Although Prohibition ended three years before this story takes place, speakeasies were still in existence. Here is some history on Prohibition and the speakeasy, similar to the house where Jimmie is singing. (This annotation contains a link)
Knowing Jimmie and his history for getting into dangerous predicaments, Deza is probably feeling ___________ . 

Homework #37

This map will show you where Detroit is, as compared to Flint. (This annotation has embedded rich content)
What will happen if Deza does find Jimmie? Write a few sentences to predict what you think will happen next. 

Homework #38

The Arabian Night stories originated the ideas of the "magic lamp". Here is some information that will explain... (This annotation contains a link)
How would Mother feel about Jimmie wearing fancy clothes and riding in fancy cars? 

Homework #39

Do you think Jimmie knows more about this letter than he is letting on? 
Why do you think Jimmie tells Deza the truth about what happened to Father on Lake Michigan? 

Homework #40

The elevators of the 1930's were operated by people who were hired to run them. Here is a short video of how they worked. (This annotation contains a link)

Homework #41

What is the one thing that Mrs. James does not say to Deza that proves she is a true friend? 

Homework #43

Here is an historical overview of poorhouses.  (This annotation contains a link)
Since the story began Deza's mother has realized that Deza has 
Poorhouses were created from homes, hospitals, and other public buildings. Here is an image of what the poorhouse in Lansing could have looked like. (This annotation contains an image)
Before the Civil Rights movement in the 1960's, hospitals were segregated, meaning African Americans were not allowed in public hospitals that served white people. The hospitals were often called "colored hospitals." 
Fighting is wrong. 
Deza does not run to Father and hug him because she is probably 
Even though Father is almost unrecognizable because he is so frail and unkempt, what one thing allowed Mother to know it was him?  
How did Deza meet Dr. Bracy? 
An epiphany? 
What has caused Father to be so confused? 
Write a few sentences to describe how the Malones are living proof that "hope has wings". 


Quiz, Part Three 


As you read this biography of Christopher Paul Curtis, reflect on Deza's character and how happy she was to find books that were "about me". (This annotation contains a link)