Cousins of Clouds

Cousins of Clouds
Tracie's NEW BOOK!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Sketches from a Spy Tree

Discussion Guide
Everyone thinks that Anne Marie and Mary Ann are identical but are they? How are they alike? How are they different?
Do you think twins like being treated as a matched set: "like a pair of shoes/or gloves,/worthless if one/ gets lost." What does Anne Marie mean by this? Did you learn anything from Anne Marie about twins? What?
Reread: "Not to Brag But" and then decide: do you wish you had a twin? What would be great about it? What would get old?
Describe Ann Marie's mom, dad, and Mike. How does she get along with them?  What would you find most difficult in Anne Marie's story? Do you think it is fair how she feels about Mike? By the end of the book, what is Anne Marie trying to do?
Reread: "Dad's Roses"  What did Anne Marie do to her dad's rose bushes? Why? What does she mean when she says, "Only the roses came back?"
Which of Anne Marie's neighbors did you find most interesting? Who would you like to live near? Is there anyone (or animal) that you're glad doesn't live by you? Why? In poems the author doesn't have much room for description, how can you still "see" the characters? What techniques can a writer use? Which poem is your favorite about the neighborhood? Why? How is Anne Marie's neighborhood like yours? How is it different?
Growing Up
Reread "The Book Lady"  What types of things does Anne Marie want to do when she is older? Why do you think she said "build my own fence/ change my own oil?" What on her list would you like to do too? What things would you include on your own list? Why do you think Ann Marie thinks it is important to "buy new books/ with all the rest/ for each kid who/never had one" ? Who would you like to help when you get older? What could you do? Is there anything you could do now?
Discuss Anne Marie and Mary Anne's friendship with May Ching. How do things change with a new friend? What other friendships do they have in the neighborhood? How are the similar to the friendships you have outside of school? Are friendships different at home and at school? How?
Why is Anne Marie's sketchbook so important to her? What does she learn by creating pictures and poems about the people she knows? How does it make her like her dad? What, like Anne Marie's sketchbook, is important to you? What does Anne Marie mean when she says she's "hidden by these green and paper leaves?" Which illustration is your favorite? What technique did Andrew Glass use to create it? What colors did he use? Why do you think so?

The Spy Tree Scavenger Hunt
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 Teacher's Guide

Pre-Reading Activity:
Do you know any twins? Do you think it would be fun to be a twin? What would be great about it? What might be hard?
Check out the cover:
What do you think this story might be about? What do you think she might see from her spy tree?

Comprehension Check:
1. Who is the narrator of this story? Describe her.
2. Why does Ann Marie say that she's the "one with hate/painting my heart black"?
3. Explain what's going on between Mike and Anne Marie.
4. Retell the main events in the story.
5. Predict what happens after the close of the collection.

Poetry  Lessons:
Poetic element scavenger hunt.
After reviewing the poetic elements (Figurative Lesson Low Down: A brief introduction to the poetic elements), then search through SPY TREE to find examples of each.
Have students make a graph of their own, or use this one!  Poetic Element Scavenger Hunt
Imagery work:
Using highlighters (or post-it notes) let students tag the imagery in the book. Use a different color for each one of the senses.
Line break bonanza:
Use this copy of the words from "Across the Back Fence" which is missing all the line breaks. Have students work in pairs to decide where they would have ended each line. Compare it to the original.

Spy Journal:  Keep a writer's notebook or sketchbook and go exploring in your own neighborhood for great characters, settings and scenes. Write at least five poems or descriptions about what you see, hear or smell! Choose one of these to revise and share.

Make a Venn diagram comparing Mary Anne and Anne Marie. What do they have in common? What are different? Think about not just what they look like, but what they do, think, say and how others view them.

Anne Marie explores a wide variety of art techniques throughout the collection. Create three different pictures inspired by your own neighborhood and use a variety of media as well. Be sure to try one as a collage because, well, it is so much fun!

Character chart: Make a chart (or print out this one) that explores the characters in Anne Marie's neighborhood. List the characters going down and the following categories across: what they look like, what they say, what they do, what others think of them. Then, fill in the boxes based on your reading of Spy Tree.

Anne Marie says in "The Book Lady" that shed like to buy new books for all the kids who never had one. So, have a book drive for a homeless shelter or other place for kids. Be sure the books are of high quality (like NO cartoon characters, for example) and in good shape. You might even want to purchase a new one (like your favorite of the year) to share with kids who may not ever get a brand new book.

Create a map of the neighborhood from Spy Tree. Make it out of 3D materials and use stuff from around the house- no buying! Try to add as many details as you can from the story.

Write a letter from Anne Marie to her real dad. What would she say to him? Write his response.