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– If you were Bull, how would you have handled your abusive grandfather? Why would you do it like that?

– If you were Victor, how would you have handled your clueless parents? Why would you do it like that?

– Pretend you are Bull’s best friend and write him a letter of advice.

– Pretend you are Victor’s best friend and write him a letter of advice.

– Write a free verse poem about the book…one of or both of the characters…feelings you felt while reading the book…reactions you had basically, anything goes in free verse.

– If you could change anything from the book what would you change? Why would you change it? How would you change it?

– Write a news article that might have appeared in Bull and Victor’s hometown newspaper about the effects of bullying and cruelty. Be sure to include as much information from the book as you can.

– Do you think of yourself as weak? Why or why not?

– Draw and label a group portrait of your favorite characters from the book. Make sure the labels reflect facts or parts found in the book.

– Write about a time when you bullied someone. How did it make you feel? How do you think you made the other person feel? How do you know this?

– Write about a time when you stood up for something or someone you believed in. How did it make you feel? Would you do it again? Why or why not?

– Make a compare/contrast chart or Venn diagram comparing/contrasting the characters of Bull and Victor.

– Write about your favorite part of the book. Explain the part in detail and then explain why it’s your favorite part.

– Using sketches, drawings or words, create a collage of images and words to represent the main idea of your book OR one of the characters.

– Choose a scene from the book and rewrite it as a play. Use the book to get the dialogue right.

– Bull and Victor’s feelings changed throughout a book, especially when they faced challenges. Make a chart to show how either Bull OR Victor changed their feelings from the beginning, to the middle, and then finally in the end of the book. Be sure to explain why the change happened each time.

– Write a letter from either Bull or Victor to yourself as if you are friends. The letter can ask for advice or tell about a problem or experience.

– Authors often use vivid (colorful; brilliant; distinct; heard, seen or felt as real) words to turn an ordinary description into a more interesting one. For example, a writer might say a character was “choking back tears” instead of just saying they were “sad.” Return to a part in your book where the author uses a lot of details to describe a person, place, or event. Make a list of the words/phrases the author uses to make the story more interesting (vivid language).

– A story’s plot is the central problem or idea that the story is based on. The subplot is made up of smaller events within the story that help move the plot forward and may help solve the problem. Write several sentences describing the plot and subplot of your book.

Journal Prompts & Discussion Guide for Ultimatum

Journal Prompts & Discussion Guide for Empty

Journal Prompts for Cracked


Discussion Guide for Cracked


Teacher Tools Discussion Points for Cracked


Apology Quickwrite


Discussion Points

These would be great to get some small group or partner discussions going in your classroom. I used Turn and Talk almost every day where I'd put a jump off question on the board and then asked them to Turn and Talk with the person next to them for just a few minutes (3 minutes max). Then I'd wander the room and listen in or join in. And finally, I'd pull them all back whole group and ask for one or two volunteers to share something interesting they HEARD…not said.

– Who do you think had worse parents, Bull or Victor? Why?

– Who do you think made the most personal growth by the end of the book, Bull or Victor? Why do you think that?

– Do you think Bull or Victor would have survived if they hadn't ended up in the psych ward? Why or why not?

– Who do you think influenced Bull the most? Why do you think that?

– Who do you think influenced Victor the most? Why do you think that?

– If you met Victor right now, what would you say to him? Why would you say that?

– If you met Bull right now, what would you say to him? Why would you say that?

Another book available from author K.M. Walton on the teaching of Mathematics.

With Margie Pearse as lead author, K.M. co-authored, TEACHING NUMERACY: 9 Critical Habits to Ignite Mathematical Thinking available from leading educational publisher, Corwin Press. This book is ideal for any K–8 teacher.

Do some of your students arrive at wildly wrong answers to mathematical problems but have no idea why? Many students lack basic numeracy–the ability to think through the math logically, solve problems, and apply math outside the classroom. This book outlines nine critical thinking habits that foster numeracy and details practical ways to incorporate those habits into instruction. If you want your students to think like mathematicians, this book is all you'll ever need.

It is available here.