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Curriculet Details
43 Questions
43 Annotations
3 Quizzes

Designed for students in 5th grade, this free digital curriculum contains annotations explaining theme, idioms, and characterization. It also contains interactive videos that support comprehension, such as videos about author’s use of flashback, character traits, and various uses of figurative language. Over the course of the book, students will answer Common Core questions and quizzes related to the subjects of how character decisions propel the action, theme and point of view, and analyzing the text to support inferences. This free online unit will increase student engagement while building reading comprehension.

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The Pigeons of Ponzini

From this first interaction between Julian and Lonnie, we begin to learn important information about their personalities. Watch this short video about character traits, and as we keep reading, think about words you would use to describe Julian and Lonnie. (This annotation contains a video)
How does Lonnie convince Julian to throw the rock into the birds? 
Many times an author will provide clues to help us infer, or guess, about something in the story. Before you read the next part, what can you infer Lonnie has? (Hint: "he staggered" with it, so it must be something heavy!) 
These events show us that Julian is  
Here's a picture of the real George Sauer, Julian's favorite football player. (This annotation contains an image)
Did you anticipate George Sauer, the pigeon, dying? Look back over this section, select, and quote the best evidence that the pigeon would probably not survive. Explain why you chose the evidence you did. 

Me and Shakespeare

From Julian's point of view, Shakespeare 

Racing with Cars

Just like the earlier story of the pigeon, the author is using a writing tool called a "flashback". Watch this short video to learn more about how a flashback can teach us a lot about a character. (This annotation contains a video)
How is Julian's interaction with the man in the car accident similar to his interaction with the pigeon? 

Quentin’s Eyebrows

The theme of a story is the central idea that the author wants to share. This story seems to be developing a theme about friendships. What specific details in the paragraph let you know that? 
A metaphor is when two different things are compared to each other. In this section Howie is compared to ______ when he is around Beverly. 
Sometimes authors build suspense to get readers anxious about what is going to happen next. If we put together the clues so far including the chapter title, "Quentin's Eyebrows", the fact that Bernard is fumbling with the match, and Quentin packing the firecracker powder into the cup, we can make a pretty good prediction about what is going to happen! 
Which quote helps us to infer that Bernard will not get blamed for what has happened? 
Did you know when you are reading in Curriculet, you can use a built-in tool that will give you the definition of an unknown word? Click on "hysterics" and hold. A box will pop up. Choose "Define" and you will be able to see what that word means. Use this tool whenever you come to a word you don't know. 
If we could rename this chapter, which answer choice would be the best? 

Messing with Mr. Caricone

Look at this chart of world populations. As you look at the numbers keep in mind that the county of India is eight times smaller in size than the United States. India is about the same size as the state of Texas! (This annotation contains an image)
How is Lonnie's reaction to the joke different than Julian's reaction? 

The Love Letter

What does Lonnie mean by "it'll always be gnawing at me"? 
Julian thinks this is "ironical", or just the opposite of what you would think he would do. Think back to earlier in the story when he said he hated Shakespeare. None of us, even Julian himself, would think he'd actually be choosing to read some poems by Shakespeare! 
Author's often use dialogue between characters to help us better understand the character traits of people we are reading about. What can you tell about Jillian just from the comments she has been making to Julian? 
The conversation and reactions between Jillian and Julian in this section suggest that she is ___________. 
So far in the story, we've gotten small clues about a major incident that has occurred. We know Julian is having to write this story because of it, and we know it involves a boy named Danley Dimmel. The author provides another clue about the incident on this page. What was the clue, and what do you infer happened? 


"I've got bigger fish to fry" is another example of an idiom. Watch this video clip to better understand its meaning. (This annotation contains a video)
How does Julian's point of view influence how he describes Eduardo? Use details from the last couple pages to support your answer. 
"Ole" is what is often called out at a Spanish bullfight when the matador successfully moves out of the way of the bull. It means "bravo" or "hooray". 
What do Julian and Eduardo have in common? 

Mrs. Fine

Explain Julian's point of view concerning the name Lonnie's father chose for their dog. 
Read this short article to learn a little bit more about what a minyan is in the Jewish faith. Why do you think Julian would not want to participate in a minyan? (This annotation contains a link)
Let's Review the First Eight Chapters 

Amelia’s Room

What can you conclude from this paragraph? 
Thoughtful readers are always looking for clues that will help them learn more about the characters in a story. The description of Amelia's room tells a lot about her personality before we actually get to hear her speak. How do you picture Amelia at this point? 
When a person taps her finger against her chin, it often means she is thinking. Do you ever put your finger on your chin when you are deep in thought? (This annotation contains an image)
Amelia definitely has a point, although she didn't give Julian the advice he was looking for. Pretend you are the author, but you've decided Amelia should give Julian some words of advice. What would you have Amelia say? Make sure you use details from the story so it fits with events that have occurred. 

Waiting for the Bus

The author uses some very vivid similes here to help us understand what worrying about Eduardo and Jillian is like for Julian. Watch this short video to learn more about similes. (This annotation contains a video)
How does Julian view the invitation to go to Jillian's house? 


In this sentence, the author is using a writing tool called personification. Watch this short video to learn more about personification, and then look back at the sentence to see if you can identify it. (This annotation contains a video)
How can you tell Lonnie really wants to impress Jillian? 
Raquel Welch and Elizabeth Taylor were popular movie stars in the 1960's. They were known for their beauty, which is why Julian compares Mrs. Rifkin to both of them. Here is a picture of Raquel Welch back then. (This annotation contains an image)
Which evidence from the text best supports the idea that Julian and Jillian are growing up in very different settings? 
What is ironic about the space in which Eduardo is staying at the Rifkin's house? 
Why do you think the author chose for Julian and Eduardo to have this conversation? What important things have we learned through their dialogue? 
What two reasons does Julian give to support his point of view that it is unfair for Eduardo to be in a lower grade? 
The fact that Julian doesn't mind being embarrassed if it means his friend is benefitting, really supports the theme of friendship being important! 
Julian is definitely caught in a difficult position right now. If you were Julian and valued your friendship with Lonnie as much as you know he does, how would you answer Jillian's question? 
"Four-point-nine" means Julian ran forty yards in 4.9 seconds. Football players in the NFL also run the forty yard dash so their coaches can determine who the fastest runners are. Look at this graph of the fastest forty yard dash runners to help you better understand how fast Julian really is! (This annotation contains an image)
Without changing the meaning of this sentence, which word could best replace the word "tragic"? 


Have you noticed how the author is building curiosity in us, the readers, in this chapter? The author does this by starting at the end of the event that occurred, providing clues, constantly keeping us guessing about what actually happened. 
Given the title of this chapter and the clues so far, what can you infer is going to happen? 
The author uses an interesting strategy here to bring our attention to the events of the story and give emphasis to certain things. Look how short this sentence is. Reread it and notice how it sounds being placed between the two larger paragraphs. Look just above at the sentence, "That made us step back." As you keep reading watch for these "attention getters"! 

The Truth Comes Out

What evidence from earlier in the story allows us to infer that Julian's statement about being able to stop writing is not true? 
This sentence has two great similes that describe Lonnie's face. Why would his face start out really red, and then get white? 
Eduardo is pretending to be the matador in a bullfight, while Julian is the bull. "Toro" means bull in Spanish. Look at this picture of a Spanish bullfight. Does it resemble what is going on in the game of tag between Julian and Eduardo? (This annotation contains an image)
Why does Julian describe what he is feeling as "shame"? 

Buddying Up with Beverly Segal

Watch this quick video to see what kinds of exhibits you might see if you could go on a field trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. (This annotation contains a video)
From Julian's perspective, why does he tend to get along with Beverly so well? 


What do you think about Jillian telling Julian she would "never" tell his secrets? Sometimes authors include clues which foreshadow, or give hints about something that might happen later in the story. Do you think Jillian will be able to keep Julian's secrets? 
Let's Review the Middle Eight Chapters 

When They Get Started …

Good authors use lots of imagery to help readers picture ideas and events in a story. Have you ever seen someone so angry their eyes stick out farther than normal? (This annotation contains an image)
Why does Julian describe Lonnie's response to "pulling off a Band-Aid"? 

The Rabbi’s Advice

Our story takes place in 1969. Read a few sections of this table to find out what was going on in Guatemala at the time, and why Julian would have mentioned that particular country. (This annotation contains a link)
How does this event at Hebrew school relate to the tag game with Eduardo at the park? 
The story of the schlemiel spilling the soup on the schlimazel is a popular story in the Jewish culture. Which character in this drawing best represents Julian, the schlimazel? (This annotation contains an image)

The Punch Line

We have been talking about how the importance of friendship has been an obvious theme throughout this story. Watch this short video about themes that develop in stories, and think about whether a new, additional theme might be emerging. (This annotation contains a video)
Julian currently has an interesting perspective on life. Do you agree or disagree that people are a "quintessence of dust"? Explain what you would say to Julian about his opinion using information you know about him. 

Date Night

The phrase "I would've given my right arm" is called hyperbole. Hyperbole is an extreme exaggeration used in order to make a point. In this case, this phrase tells us how very much Julian would like to talk with Lonnie. 
How does Julian thinking of himself as "a quintessence of dust" affect the decisions he makes? 
How is Amelia acting in this scene? 
The saying "par for the course" is a common idiom. Read this short description about its meaning, and where the idiom started. (This annotation contains a link)
How does the current setting change the mood of the story? 
The Adventurers Inn was a real amusement park in New York that was open in the 1960's and 1970's. Here is an actual picture of the Batman Slide Julian is talking about. (This annotation contains an image)
Which statement by Devlin helps you infer that the night is not going to go as Julian had planned? 
"Indian Giver" was a popular song in 1969. You can listen to what Julian was hearing by clicking the link. Why do you think the author included this detail? (This annotation contains a video)
Even though Jillian just did a terrible thing, from Julian's perspective he should still 

Track and Field Day

Throughout this story, the author has given us clues about what a close friendship Lonnie and Julian have without having to use the word friendship. This highlighted section is another good example of that. 
How are the boys who are changing in the locker room different from Julian? 
The author is using the mangled gray sock as a symbol of how Julian thinks of Willie when he finds out he has to race against Eduardo in the first heat. Watch this short video about how authors use symbolism so you can become even better at noticing it while you read. (This annotation contains a video)
Why does Julian keep calling himself a fake? Be sure to use evidence from the text to support your answer. 
Julian used the power of positive thinking to help himself accomplish a goal. Can you think of a time that positive thinking really helped you? 
What has changed about Julian's focus for the race? 
"You can take that to the bank" is an idiom which means what I am saying is the honest truth and you can rely on it. 

It’s Not Fair …

"You pulled the rug out from under me" is _________ . 
As we have read this story, we've gotten to know Julian pretty well. If asked, you would probably list character traits like friendly, caring, and kind. Are you surprised that Julian is going along with this plan to egg Stanley? 
From this interaction between Danley and Julian we can infer that 
Julian is trying to justify luring Danley to the egging. What do you think of his reasoning? Does it go along with the theme of being a good friend or doing what is right no matter what? 
From Julian's point of view, who was most at fault for not stopping the egging of Danley? 
So finally, the truth has come out, the event we have been waiting to find out about since the beginning of the story. Why do you think Julian chose to write the pretend ending of missing Danley with the egg before he wrote about the truth? 

Dragging the Couch

"It's water under the bridge" is an idiom that means it is something that has already happened and can't be changed. 
To Julian and Lonnie "dragging the couch" is a symbol of  
Let's Review the Final Seven Chapters