Among Friends

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Curriculet Details
47 Questions
48 Annotations
3 Quizzes

This free digital curriculum for sixth grade students contains interactive videos exploring literary techniques as well as an interview with author Caroline B. Cooney. The annotations also include links to music and a poem, as well as stimulating questions to enhance student exploration of friendship issues. Students will have many opportunities to consider family relationships, challenges within friendships, and problem-solving. 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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As you will quickly see by reading more, this story is told through multiple diary entries. You will become acquainted with each person both through his/her entry as well as when the characters comment on each other. It might be helpful to make a list of the characters, jotting down something you learn about each. Watch this video to learn more about studying characters.  (This annotation contains a video)
From Emily's perspective, why has The Awesome Threesome fallen apart? 
Like Emily, Hillary no longer feels close to Jennie. How does the tone of Hillary's journal entry compare to the tone in Emily's? Which girl sounds angrier? 
Which of the following is emerging as a main theme of this book? 
Watch this video about similes and metaphors and think about which one is used in the highlighted text.  (This annotation contains a video)
Did you know that you can look up any word in the text of the book or the text of the questions and answers? Just click (or press on mobile devices) the word you want to define and hold until the blue text selector pops up. When you release, a define option will appear. Since it's so easy to look up words, make sure you use this feature frequently... Is there a word on this page you need to look up? 
Which of the following does not describe Ansley? 
Using both a metaphor and a simile, the author lets us in on some of Jennie's strongest feelings. Notice how this builds suspense, since we want to know what is going to happen to Jennie. 
What do you think of everyone's guesses about Paul? Do any seem likely? 
What are some things Paul might be worried about? Make a list, and check back as you learn more about him. 
What is Paul telling us here? 
This image of the (Biblical) Three Kings gives you an idea of the elegant costumes created by Jennie.  (This annotation contains an image)
What does the highlighted text reveal about Ansley? Does it surprise you or not? Explain your thinking. 
Jennie is deeply hurt by the loss of the Awesome Threesome. Have you ever lost a friendship and if so, how did you feel? 
The author uses ______________ to help us understand Jennie's feelings about her music. 
Jennie desperately wants her friends to share in her glory. Is this reasonable? Do you think she has any idea of what they are feeling? 
Why are so many of the girls interested in Paul? 
In addition to using a metaphor to describe how jealous she is, Emily also speaks with hyperbole, which is common in this novel. To learn more about hyperbole, watch the following video.  (This annotation contains a video)
Why is Emily so unhappy with Jennie? Is there a way to resolve their conflict? 
In addition to being poor, Paul is challenged by his mother's anxiety and depression. Do you think he is coping well? 
Given what we have read so far, which of the following is not true about Paul's family? 
The Messiah, an oratorio composed by Handel in 1741, remains one of the most popular pieces played in the United States around Christmas. Below is a link to the Hallelujah Chorus, the best known excerpt from The Messiah.  (This annotation contains a video)
Which statement best characterizes the relationship between Jennie and her parents? 
Ansley shares an interesting insight here. What do you notice about how the different students use their journals? 
How are Jared's diary entries different from the other students' entries? What do we learn about him? 
Jennie seems to understand why her friends do not celebrate with her. Is she exaggerating, or do you believe that they "don't have any [joy] of their own"? 
Why might Paul be thinner now? Choose the best answer based on what you have read. 
What does Paul like about Ansley? 
American patriot Paul Revere is immortalized in a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. If you haven't read it yet, or would like to read it again, here is a link to the poem. Reading it aloud will allow you to appreciate the poem more.  (This annotation contains a link)
What does this argument about Jennie's name tell us about Jennie's mother? About their relationship? 
Why is Jennie unhappy about her family being like a trophy? How do you think this makes her feel? 
After reading the highlighted text, choose which of the following statements is probably true. 
Jennie's father continues with the idea of Jennie being a prize that they have won. This repeated use of a theme or metaphor is called a motif. As you continue reading, consider whether or not the author uses other motifs in this book. 
Which of the following words best describes Emily's state of mind at the end of this diary entry? 
Why does Paul have contradictory feelings about the upcoming vacation? What is he looking forward to? What is he dreading? 
In the highlighted sentence, the author uses __________________ to describe Ansley and Jared. 
Why might Paul attend all three performances of Jennie's pageant? Can you think of at least two reasons? 
Why is Paul's mother so upset? List two or three reasons. 
Mental illnesses, especially depression and anxiety, are widely misunderstood by most people. They are not contagious, and there is help available. If you or someone you know is suffering from depression, you can get help from a counselor at school or by calling the hotline below.  (This annotation contains a link)
Which is the most likely reason that Paul avoids Emily now? 
Can you summarize Emily's dilemma in your own words? What would you do in this situation? 
Quiz One - December 
Why do Jennie's friends and classmates want her to do less? 


As you begin to read a new section of this novel, it is a good time to take stock of what has happened so far. The video referenced below will help you make a written (or mental) summary of the section you just completed.  (This annotation contains a video)
The highlighted text suggests that 
Making resolutions on January 1st is a tradition that is popular in many parts of the world. It has its origins in ancient religions, although the practice has no religious significance today. Most people make resolutions for self-improvement. Have you ever made New Year's resolutions? Did you keep them? 
The author uses the metaphor of cake to describe 
Hillary seems to be reaching her limit with Jennie. Can you anticipate how this conversation will end?  
Why does Paul have so much trouble trusting others? Do you think this will change? 
Have you been noticing how many of the diary entries contain opinions and information about other characters, and not just about the person writing? We've already seen how sometimes the "information" is untrue. It is important to think about what biases people have when reporting about others. 
Who is the probable author of the letter to Mr. Lowe? 
How has Ansley's attitude towards this diary changed? How does this reflect her changing feelings about her peers? 
How do Jennie's feelings about her parents influence our perception of them? Give two examples. 
Do you believe that Paul really has no emotions left, or does he mean something else when he says this? 
Which of the following pieces of advice would probably help Jennie with her friends? 
Compare and contrast the relationship Hillary has with her mother with Jennie's relationship with hers.  
How does the author use flashbacks to tell us more about Paul's life in the past? Why do you think the author shares this information a little at a time? 
There are several reasons why Paul does not want to live with Mr. Lowe. Which of the following is not one of them? 
Amanda's tone can best be described as 
Are you noticing how the author is using lots of different words related to conflict to help us feel the tension among the students? In addition to "war," what other ones do you see in this diary entry by Ansley? 
Why is Jennie trying to hurt herself? Explain why this will or won't help her. 
Like many of the events in this book, especially related to Jennie, the highlighted text contains an example of irony. The following video will help you appreciate the three different kinds of irony.  (This annotation contains a video)
How does Paul define success for himself at this point? 
Paul is suggesting that Jennie has taken on all of her parents' expectations of her. What makes you agree or disagree with him? 
What do you think of Ansley criticizing others for conspicuous consumption? Does it seem hypocritical of her? 
What kind of irony is present in Paul's musing? 
What does Jennie do to hurt Hillary and Emily? 
Does Emily's nastiness towards Ansley surprise you or is it to be expected? 
The highlighted sentence uses __________ to covey Emily's feelings. 
Could this be a turning point for Hillary? What does it show about her? 
Given what we have learned so far about Jennie, and her relationship with her parents, how do you imagine she feels about the party her mother is planning? 
Is it right or wrong of Ansley to keep information about Paul to herself? How do you decide when to keep a secret and when to share it? 
How is Jared different now compared to the beginning of this book? 
Quiz Two - January 
What do you think of this as an ending to this chapter? What do you foresee for the next (and final) chapter? 


What can we infer about Paul's feelings right now? 
How has the diary become a friend for Jennie? 
What do you think is happening to Jennie? Why are some of the sentences in italics? 
Can you explain the irony in what Dr. Sykes is saying? 
Use the dictionary feature and then choose the best antonym for "synchronized." 
Why is Emily crying? What can she do to feel better? 
How does Hillary's response to Jennie's disappearance compare to Emily's? Is it consistent with Hillary's other diary entries about Jennie? 
Do you find Ansley's reasoning here convincing? What does it imply about wealthy families? 
Jennie is afraid of many things right now. Which of the following is she least likely to fear? 
Does it help Jennie to be hard on herself here? Is it right for her to blame Emily and Hillary? 
What does Paul learn about keeping secrets? 
As you read the following paragraphs, consider how the author uses the setting to evoke certain emotions in her readers. To learn more about how hard Caroline B. Cooney works at her writing, watch the following, short video.  (This annotation contains a video)
Why does Jennie run from this man? 
Why is Paul having a hard time forgiving Candy? 
Do you agree that Jennie's "whole life has been a free ride"? Can you give some examples? 
Do you agree with Jared's mother's opinion? How might this contribute to Jared's personal growth? 
It is most likely that Jennie's parents 
Listen to the following song by James Taylor and decide if it would make good background music for this scene.  (This annotation contains a video)
What do Jennie and Emily have in common right now? 
Hugging seems to mean a lot to Paul. Do you like giving and receiving hugs? 
How has the journal assignment contributed to the personal growth of each character? 
Quiz Three - February 
Are you satisfied with this ending to the book? Explain why or why not.