Wednesday, January 29, 2014

because of mr. terupt

I enjoy reading, but due to having to read books for my Diverse Children's Literature class, I have been reading like crazy lately.  I'm not sure how many times I've heard that to be a good reader and writer you have to read and write, but I'm seeing it first hand in myself.  I'm sure that there will be errors in my writing and maybe my interpretations are wrong, but I'm doing more of both and I'm loving it.  I say it to my students all the time and now they are watching me do it too.

I'm giving you that little bit of background because I just read because of mr. terupt by Rob Buyea.  I read the book quickly and it is another book I'll have my middle schooler read as well as a book that I'll read to my class.  I finished the book a few days ago, but I wanted to think about it before I wrote.  I went back to the book and I noticed that I did something I don't let my own students do.  I didn't pay attention to the cover.  I had no idea what the book was about,  all I knew was that I had heard other teachers discussing how much they loved it and I just jumped in.  I find it difficult to read a book or even watch a movie when I don't have a clue about the content.  Had I taken a few moments to look at the cover, I could have made some predictions to guide my reading.  Live and learn.

So, looking at the cover I see a figure standing with warm clothes on and a snowball in his/her hand.(Now that I've read the book, I suppose it is Peter.). There are some questions I should have asked myself ahead of time though.  I knew that Mr. Terupt was the teacher because someone had told me, but that's all I knew.  I should have wondered some things from the cover though:  Why is the title in lowercase?  What is the snowball about?  How does snow and snowball relate to school? Had I thought of this as I was reading, I probably would have noticed that we were getting to an important part of the book when the class went out to play in the snow.  So once again, live and learn.

The chapters of the book are written by the students in Mr. Terupt's class.  Each child writes about their perceptions of the day.  There are no entries by Mr Terupt, but the story is about the impact this teacher has on the children.  Mr. Terupt helps bring out the best in the children.  Perhaps it's because they get to write and think back on the events that happen in the class.  It is also because Mr. Terupt gives assignments with meaning.  Meaning because they are things that are important to the children and helps them realize the impact they have on each other's lives.

The chapters are titled with the name of the child who is making the entry.  Just like the title of the book, one of the characters, Anna, has her name in lower case in the title.  I think the lowercase represents how Anna feels about herself.  She writes, "He wasn't going to let me hide all year."  I'm not sure how the lowercase of Anna's name is related to the title of the book, but I think they are related.  Luke, on the other hand, has his name in uppercase for the title of the chapters.  Not sure about that.  At first I thought it was because he is high and mighty, but that really does not describe him, that describes Peter. Perhaps it is because Luke is the bigger person.  He is the one who let everyone know that Mr. Terupt had been injured in his youth from wrestling and the reason Mr. Terupt was hurt was not just because of Peter, but because they all made mistakes that led to the accident. He's the bigger person.

This book helps you see a situation from different viewpoints.  Instead of disliking a character because he or she is a bully, a snob, an introvert, a bookworm; you feel for the characters because you get to understand each character.  I'm inspired as a teacher and hope that I can be the type of teacher who motivates the kids to learn and to care about others. 

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