Hokey Pokey

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Curriculet Details
59 Questions
56 Annotations
3 Quizzes

This free digital curriculum for sixth grade students contains interactive videos exploring character development and point of view and, as well as annotations describing figurative language, tone, and mood. Students will explore the themes of growing up and facing change. 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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Chapter 3: Jack

This line is a continuation of the first chapter, "Night." A star falls "down ... down... down... to Hokey Pokey." 
Which sentence best describes the opening conflict of this book? 

Chapter 4: A Small Brown Bird

All of these capitalized names are locations in the world of Hokey Pokey. If you did not look at the map at the beginning of the book, go back and check it out now. The map provides helpful pictures of all the important places in Hokey Pokey. 

Chapter 5: Destroyer

This is the second time these monsters have been mentioned. They hover over the sleeping children. What do these monsters represent? 

Chapter 6: Amigos

"Amigos" is the Spanish word for "friends." 

Chapter 7: Gorilla Hill

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? 
Imagery is when a writer uses language to paint a picture in your mind. Imagery often includes details that appeal to one or more of the five senses (the picture below gives some examples of this). Can you find any imagery on this page?  (This annotation contains an image)
Which of the following lines contains sound imagery? 

Chapter 8: Jubilee

Jubilates is an uncommon verb related to the noun Jubilee. Look up the meaning of Jubilee's name using the dictionary feature and then select the most likely definition for the verb jubilate. 

Chapter 9: Destroyer

Destroyer seems to be riding a toy bulldozer similar to the one in the picture below. It may be slightly bigger since the scoop can pick up a small child, but Destroyer's churning suggests that he drives the truck by pedaling, so it cannot be too much bigger. Based on his love of this toy, what age would you guess Destroyer is? (This annotation contains an image)

Chapter 10: Jack

What is one adjective you would use to describe LaJo's personality? Give an example from the text to support your adjective. 
The bikes on Hokey Pokey are alive and act very much like horses. The scene Jack recalls on the Great Plains is much like the image below; just replace the horses with bikes!  (This annotation contains an image)
Based on the context of this highlighted sentence, which of the following words is a synonym for "menace"? 

Chapter 11: Amigos

The author, Jerry Spinelli, makes up creative words throughout this book to convey different ideas and feelings about children. Think carefully when you encounter these made-up words to try to figure out what they mean. A snotsipper, for example, is a kid with a runny nose - in other words, a pre-schooler. 
Based on this chapter, what seems to be the process for becoming a Hokey Pokey kid? 

Chapter 12: LaJo

Notice that the narrator seems to change focus with each chapter. This chapter, entitled "LaJo," focuses on LaJo's thoughts. The narrator's focus is called the point of view. Watch the video below to learn about point of view.  (This annotation contains a video)
What point of view is this chapter written in? 

Chapter 13: Jubilee

Don't forget about Jubilee! Although it is short, this chapter is an important reminder that everyone in Hokey Pokey is busy in his or her own way.  

Chapter 14: Destroyer

This story from the past is called a flashback. How does Destroyer's past help explain his actions in the present? 

Chapter 15: Jack

The opening conflict of the book is that Jack is missing his bike, but there is another conflict as well. What other problem is Jack dealing with? 
Notice how the younger kids seem to regard Jack. They admire and look up to him. What does this reveal about Jack's personality? 

Chapter 16: Jubilee

Symbols are objects that represent ideas. Jack's bike Scramjet is an important symbol in Hokey Pokey. Watch the video below to learn more about symbols, and think about what Scramjet represents. (This annotation contains a video)
Jubilee's decision to rename Scramjet is also symbolic. What does her action symbolize? 

Chapter 17: Destroyer

Destroyer's clicker works because the little kids believe that it really kills them. It works because the children have such strong imaginations. Have you ever played a game in which something you imagined felt completely real? 

Chapter 19: Jubilee

The setting of "Hokey Pokey" is very important to the characters and the plot. Watch the video below to learn a little more about the importance of setting.  (This annotation contains a video)
Which of the following is not true of the setting in Hokey Pokey? 

Chapter 20: Jack

Each time we see Jack interact with other kids, we get a better idea of his character. Watch the video below for an explanation of character traits. As you read this chapter, try to think of two or three character traits to describe Jack.  (This annotation contains a video)
Based on the highlighted scene, which set of adjectives below best describe Jack's character? 
Dusty and LaJo's refusal to answer Jack immediately helps to create a tense mood. They hesitate to tell Jack because they are afraid of his reaction. Their fear gives a tense and nervous feeling to the scene. 

Chapter 21: Jubilee

By adding this scene with Jubilee and Albert directly after a chapter about Jack, the author 

Chapter 22: Amigos

As a story progresses, its stages can be mapped out by a plot diagram. Watch the video below to review the five basic stages of a plot. (This annotation contains a video)
First Jack's bike was stolen; then his hat was taken; then his bike was painted; now his tattoo is disappearing. Each new event has added a complication that creates tension for the characters. Which stage on the plot diagram does this chapter correspond to? 
Conflict is not the only way to create tension and suspense in a story. Mystery can also do the trick. We know Jack's fading tattoo is a problem, but we don't know why. This mystery helps create suspense and make us want to keep reading. 

Chapter 23: Destroyer

What is your opinion of Destroyer? Do you think he is a realistic character? Support your answer with reasons from the text.  

Chapter 24: Jack

Sometimes writers use figurative language to describe a scene more vividly. Metaphors and similes are common types of figurative language that compare two unlike things. Similes use "like" or "as" in their comparisons; metaphors do not (see examples below). The highlighted line in the text is a simile. What do you think it means?  (This annotation contains an image)
Why does Jack say he is going to "catch the train"? 

Chapter 25: Amigos

Buddyclamps is another word made up by the author. Jerry Spinelli combines the word buddy and the word clamps. Write a definition for buddyclamps based on the context of the sentence. Then explain what this word tells us about Dusty's relationship with Jack. 
A spindle holds thread neatly together, like the blue-tipped spindle in the picture. When the thread unwinds, it loses its order and becomes messy and tangled. What does this metaphor reveal about the boys' feelings? (This annotation contains an image)

Chapter 26: Jubilee

What seems to be Jubilee and Ana Mae's main reason for disliking Jack? 
Here is another mystery to increase the tension. How did Jubilee manage to get Scramjet? Even Jubilee herself seems unsure of the answer. 
Quiz 1 

Chapter 27: Jack

If no one else can hear the train whistle or the voice saying "it's...time," where do you think they are coming from? 

Chapter 28: Jubilee

This attitude of boys siding with boys and girls siding with girls is very stereotypical. This means that the author takes an attitude shared by some children and assigns this attitude to all the children in his story. Can you think of any other stereotypes about children in this story? 

Chapter 30: Jubilee

This description of the shovel is an example of 

Chapter 31: Jack

This is the second chapter that consists solely of Jack wandering. Why do you think the author includes these chapters with only one word in them? 

Chapter 32: Destroyer

Many people associate childhood with innocence and goodness. Destroyer is proof that childhood is not all innocent, however. Have you noticed other examples of unpleasant behavior among the children of Hokey Pokey? 

Chapter 33: Jack

A synonym is a word that means the same thing as another word. Which word below is the best synonym for "nicker"? 

Chapter 35: Jack

How is Jack trying to return his day to normal? 

Chapter 36: Jubilee

According to the video, what are two other places or objects in Hokey Pokey that are reminders of the adult world? 
The Forbidden Hut suggests that there is some power beyond the children's control that influences life in Hokey Pokey. It is a hint at an adult world. Watch the video below in which author Jerry Spinelli discusses signs of the adult world present in his book. (This annotation contains a video)

Chapter 37: Jack

After a Newbie gets the tattoo, he or she announces, "I'm a kid!" If Jack's tattoo is fading, what does this suggest about him? 

Chapter 38: Amigos

When the sun is directly overhead, our shadows do not stretch far, like the small circular shadows at the feet of the people in the photo. If the boys' shadows are "down to inches," it means that it is almost noon. Who do you think is coming at noon?  (This annotation contains an image)
Do you think drawing a tattoo back on will prevent Jack from growing up? Explain your answer based on events that have happened in the story so far. 

Chapter 40: Jubilee

Why are Jubilee and Ana Mae digging? 

Chapter 43: Destroyer

Destroyer's broken Daffy may have looked similar to this.  (This annotation contains an image)

Chapter 44: Jubilee

Hard labor is not something generally associated with a happy and playful childhood. It's not surprising that Ana Mae wants a break from digging. Do you think Jubilee's willingness to work shows maturity? 

Chapter 45: Destroyer

The memory of Daffy influences Destroyer heavily. What do you think Daffy represents to Destroyer? 

Chapter 47: Destroyer

Which of the following helps to create an excited mood in the highlighted paragraph? 
This scene creates a mood of excitement. Watch the video below to learn about tone and mood in literature.  (This annotation contains a video)

Chapter 49: Destroyer

Which line below is an example of a simile? 

Chapter 50: Jack

The actions of Destroyer may have seemed unconnected to the story earlier on. But now we see that they served an important structural purpose for the plot. They helped reunite Jack with Scramjet.  
What might Jack's lack of control over Scramjet represent? 

Chapter 52: Hokey Pokey Man

The man below is scraping ice and adding syrup to his snow cones, just like the Hokey Pokey man.  (This annotation contains an image)
In an interview with The Buffalo News, Jerri Spinelli described his memories of the Hokey Pokey man: “As I was growing up, that’s how I knew Hokey Pokey, as the Hokey Pokey Man with a cart who sold what we might call snowballs in little white paper cones. He would shave the ice block that he covered with a towel and dump a square of slushy shaved ice into the cup, and like a barber sprinkling a kid’s hair, he would dump whatever flavor you wanted, from his battalion of bottles there, lining the sides of his cart and there you had it. It probably cost all of 5 cents.”  (This annotation contains an image)

Chapter 53: Jack

What is the tone of the highlighted passage? 
"Sayonara" means "goodbye" in Japanese. 

Chapter 54: Amigos

Have you ever had a friend leave or move away? Perhaps you felt like Dusty and LaJo. Explain how Dusty and LaJo feel about Jack leaving Hokey Pokey. Support your answer with evidence from the text. 

Chapter 55: The Story

There is a strange contradiction in the kids' actions. They love The Kid so much that they attack him cruelly and trap him in mud forever. Perhaps staying in Hokey Pokey too long is unnatural and cruel. Everyone has to grow up sometime. 

Chapter 56: Amigos

How does the land that Peter Pan sings about seem similar to Hokey Pokey? Explain 2-3 similarities. Consider what the land is like, how you get there, how children feel about it, etc. 
Another literary land without adults is Neverland, the well-known setting of the story, "Peter Pan." The video below is a scene from the musical "Peter Pan" in which Peter sings about Neverland, a land where children live without their parents and stay young forever.  (This annotation contains a video)

Chapter 57: Jack

What seems to have changed to make Jack interested in Jubilee's yellow ribbon? 

Chapter 58: Jubilee

Notice that Jubilee does not answer Ana Mae's question directly. Could the changes in Jack be causing changes in Jubilee? 

Chapter 59: Kiki

One of the main themes of this story is change. Jack's feelings about change are normal. It can be both exciting and frightening. Watch the video below for a review of theme.  (This annotation contains a video)
How does Jack's interaction with Kiki help reinforce the fact that he must leave Hokey Pokey? 

Chapter 60: Jack

What possible theme does this passage relate to? 
How does Jack seem to feel about Jubilee now? Explain how you can tell. 

Chapter 61: Ana Mae

Which line below reveals Ana Mae's point of view? 

Chapter 62: Jubilee

Taking an interest in the opposite gender is a common sign of growing up for many children. Jack's refusal to fight with Jubilee is one more sign that he no longer belongs in Hokey Pokey. 
Quiz 2 

Chapter 63: Lopez

Jack's awareness of tomorrow is important. Part of growing up is learning to plan for the future instead of simply living in the present. 

Chapter 64: Albert, Destroyer

The imaginary fears of the children have no effect on Jack now.  
Write down one example of figurative language on this page and explain what it means. 
Jack seems to feel a responsibility toward these younger kids.  
Name two actions Jack performs that indicate he is more mature than most of the Hokey Pokers. 

Chapter 65: Jack

An antonym is a word that means the opposite of another word. Which word below is an antonym for "gingerly"? 
Jubilee is a little jealous that her brother likes Jack so much. After all, Jack is her greatest enemy. 

Chapter 66: Amigos

Use the painting in the previous annotation to answer this question. How are the boys in the painting similar to Jack, Dusty, and LaJo as they ride together in this scene? How are they different? 
Analyze the following image carefully. You will use it in the next question.  (This annotation contains an image)
The Great Plains setting has a very Western feel to it, like an old cowboy movie. Do you think this is the kind of setting where kids would enjoy playing? 

Chapter 67: Jack

What is one sign that Dusty and LaJo do not want to hurt Jack? 
Think of the current as time. It is true that time cannot be stopped. No matter how hard we may want to stay young, we all grow older with each passing moment.  (This annotation contains an image)

Chapter 68: Amigos, Girl

Based on your knowledge of previous chapter titles, what does the title of this chapter indicate? 
This brown bird always seems to appear at upsetting moments. What might the bird represent? 

Chapter 70: Amigos

What difference between Dusty and Jack does the highlighted line reveal? 

Chapter 71: Jack

Expand the metaphor used in this line. If Jack's destiny is like a bike, then his life could best be described as 

Chapter 72: Pockets

Explain how Jack and Jubilee's relationship has changed.  
Jack gives away all his possessions almost like he is leaving them to his family in his will. Jack is not dying, of course, but could there be a part of him that will die as he moves on to adulthood? 

Chapter 73: Jack, Jubilee

The Hippodrome sounds like an amusement park ride.  (This annotation contains an image)
What is the mood of this scene? 
Have you ever heard of a bucket list? It usually refers to a list of things a person wants to accomplish before dying. Jack's bucket list consists of the things he wants to do before leaving Hokey Pokey, and his childhood, forever.  
In Hokey Pokey, a giant pelican acts as a warden, or jail keeper. He scoops up children who use bad language and puts them into a jail. 
The word "nostalgic" means "a sentimental or wistful longing for the happiness felt in a former place, time, or situation." How does this word apply to Jack and Jubilee at this point? 
Read the lyrics to the song "Puff the Magic Dragon" as you listen to the video below. As you listen, think about what the song says about growing up. (This annotation contains a video)
How is this message and tone of "Puff the Magic Dragon" similar to Hokey Pokey? 
Jubilee can't hear the train because she's not quite ready to grow up. The fact that she wants to hear the train, though, tells us that she is ready to begin maturing. 
By telling Jubilee that she can't leave "now," Jack is implying that she  

Chapter 74: Jack

Why do you think the door to the Forbidden Hut opens so easily for Jack? 
What do these names most likely represent? 
Taking the train will be the turning point in Jack's life as well as a turning point in the story. What part of the plot have we reached? 

Chapter 75: LaJo

Good question! Has LaJo changed? Is he taking Jack's place as a comforter of the little kids? Is he becoming more mature? 

Chapter 76: Train

What emotion does Jack show in the highlighted passage? 

Chapter 79: Jack

Remember the pelican warden in Hokey Pokey? Is there a connection? 
If Jack is now in the real world, where was Hokey Pokey? 
What does Jack's mother see as a sign that Jack is growing up? 
This is what the land of Hokey Pokey represents! 
What are three similarities between Jack's real life and his dream about Hokey Pokey? 

Chapter 83: Jubilee

Check the beginning of the book again. These last three chapters are very similar to the first three, only this time the star pip lands on Jubilee's nose instead of Jack's. Can you guess what this means? 
Quiz 3