8th Grade Teaching Unit

The Boy Who Said No

By Patti Sheehy

Teaching Unit for chapters 1-5, 8th grade

  • Check your understanding questions for each chapter
  • Open ended-response
  • Self-selected individual/group research project (expository essay)
    • Project description
    • Research topics
    • Planning page
    • Revision checklist
    • Editing checklist
    • Grading rubric for individual portion of project

Common Core Standards

Assessing the book as narrative non-fiction

  • RI.8.1 Cite the textual evidence that most strongly supports an analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
  • RI.8.2 Determine the central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to supporting ideas
  • RI 8.3 Analyze how a text makes connections between individuals, ideas, or events
  • RI.8.4 Determine the meanings of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including analogies or allusions to other texts.
  • RI.8.6 Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how the author acknowledges and responds to confliction evidence or viewpoints.

Assessing the book as Historical Fiction

  • RL.8.1 Cite the textual evidence that most strongly supports an analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
  • RL.8.2 Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to the characters, setting and plot.
  • RL.8.3 Analyze how a particular line of dialogue or incidents in a story or drama propel the action, real aspects of character, or provoke a decision.
  • RL.8.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including analogies or allusions to other texts.
  • RL.8.6 Analyze how differences in the points of view of the characters and the audience or reader create such effects as suspense or humor.

Writing

  • W.8.2  Write informative/explanatory text to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.

a. Introduce a topic clearly, previewing what is to follow: organize ideas, concepts, and information into broader categories.

b. Develop a topic with relevant well-chosen facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information or examples.

c. Use appropriate and varied transitions to create cohesion and clarify the relationships among ideas and concepts.

d. Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to inform about or explain the topic.

e. Establish and maintain a formal style.

f. Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the information or explanation presented.

  • W.8.5 With some guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on how well purpose and audience have been addressed.
  • W.8.6 Use technology, including the internet, to produce and publish writing and present the relationships between information and ideas efficiently as well as to interact and collaborate with others.
  • W.8.7 Conduct short research projects to answer a question including a self-generated question) drawing on several sources and generating additional, related, focused questions that allow for multiple avenues of exploration.
  • W.8.8 Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, using search terms effectively: assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions while avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.

Speaking and Listening

  • SL.8.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one-, in groups, and teacher led) with diverse partners on grade 8 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
  • Language
  • L.8.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
  • L.8.2 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

Name: _________________________________________

The Boy Who Said No

 Check your understanding: Chapter 1

  1. How was Grandfather’s (Abuelo’s) house different from others in the neighborhood? What does this reveal about him?
  2. Who was allowed to go to the Havana Yacht club? Who was not allowed?
  3. At this time, who was president of Cuba?
  4. Why did Grandfather teach Frankie about …?

the clouds….

the current…

the stars…

  1. Why were Antonio Maceo, Jose Marti, and Calixto Garcia considered heroes?
  2. Why wouldn’t Cousin Luis leave fourth grade?
  3. What is a quirk? (Use a dictionary if you have to!)  What was Gilbert’s quirk?
  4. What tricks did Frankie and his friends play in school?
  5. Why did Frankie and his friends use the tunnels and caves around Guanabacoa? What might this foreshadow?
  6. When did Castro take over Cuba? (Be careful! You will have to figure out this date!)
  7. Where did Batista go?
  8. Was Grandfather happy or sad about Castro? Use a detail from the story to prove your answer.

Name: _________________________________________

The Boy Who Said No

Check your understanding: Chapters 2 and 3

  1. Why did Castro close the schools?
  2. How is this ironic?
  3. What was the Literacy Brigade?
  4. Frankie’s mother told him not to volunteer. Why do you think she said this?
  5. One day at Frankie’s school, “Two well-dressed university professors joined the soldiers to announce that all the boys were “volunteering” to join the brigade.” (page 14) What is the true meaning of this sentence.
  6. What was the slogan of the National Literacy Campaign?
  7. Where was Frankie taken?
  8. How far away from home was this?
  9. What made the train ride difficult? List at least three things.
  10. What happened to most of the lanterns donated by the Chinese? Why?

Name: _________________________________________

The Boy Who Said No

 Check your understanding: Chapters 4 and 5

  1. How was Frankie’s life in the hills different from his life in Guanabacoa?
  2. Where was Frankie’s host family originally from? How did they get to Cuba?
  3. Why did Frankie help work?
  4. What work did he do?
  5. What success did he have teaching?
  6. What was Frankie allowed to do once a month?
  7. How did this make him feel better?
  8. Why would Jose show “resentment and pride” (page 26) when his sons Juan and Ernesto spelled words?
  9. What gave Frankie the heebie-jeebies?
  10. The ceremonies and doll are part of a practice know as _____________.
  11. When Castro announced that the Literacy Campaign was successfully concluded, Frankie was allowed to go home. What historic town did he march through? What was it famous for?
  12. What event happened in April? How did it help Castro?

13. What did the announcement that 42 martyrs of the Revolution had died in the campaign most likely mean?

Name: ________________________________________

 The Boy Who Said No

 Chapters 1-5 Open-ended response

 Frankie comes home from the Literacy campaign with a new understanding:

“Then a thought struck me: when I left for the mountains, I was a thirteen-year-old boy: now I was a man. A young man, but still a man.”

  • Give at least two examples from the story that show how Frankie has changed. Explain why he feels this has made him a man.
  • What do you think Frankie has learned that is necessary for anybody to learn in order to mature?

Use information from the story to support your response.

The Boy Who Said No

By Patti Sheehy

GROUP RESEARCH PROJECT

In chapters 1-5 of The Boy Who Said No, several important topics about life in Cuba and Frankie’s experiences are mentioned. Working with two other students, you are to select one of the topics listed on the next page to research.

Step 1. Choose your topic. Have it approved by the teacher.

Step 2. With your research partners, generate a list of questions about your topic.

Step 3. The class will go to the library to begin basic research. At this time, each partner will select one specific question about your topic to research. Fill out the project form and turn in.

Step 4. Research. You will share sources with your team, but you will be solely responsible for writing the information for your question. You must use at least 1 non-internet source (encyclopedia, etc)

Step 5.  Writing.

a. With your partners, you will collectively write the introductory paragraph. Remember:

      • Hook- grab the reader’s attention
      • Identification- explain the situation and connect to the book
      • Thesis- Your main point should encompass all research questions of the body paragraphs

b. Each partner will be responsible for one body paragraph (your chosen question about the topic)

c. You must have a Works Cited page using MLA format. You must use at least three sources.

d. As a group, you and your partners will write the conclusion

(Don’t forget to S R E C!)

Step 6. You will work as a team to revise and edit your work. Use the revision and editing checklists.

Grading- 50 points your paragraph. 50 points whole project. See grading rubric.

The Boy Who Said No

An Escape to Freedom

By Patti Sheehy

Research topics:

The geography of Cuba

Fidel Castro

Economy/industry of Cuba (sugar, tobacco, coffee)

Illiteracy: Cuban National Literacy Campaign

Fulgencio Batista

Cuba’s fight for independence from Spain

Ernest Hemingway and Cuba

Cuban government today

Cuban National Anthem

The Bay of Pigs event

Battle of Bayamo

Cuban rebellion of July 26, 1953

John Fitzgerald Kennedy and Cuba

Cuban heroes:  Antonio Maceo, Jose Marti, Calixto Garcia

The constellation Orion

Voodoo in Cuba

Havana

Castro’s use of propaganda

THE BOY WHO SAID NO

GROUP RESEARCH/WRITING PROJECT

 RESEARCH TOPIC: __________________________________

 NAME; SELF –SELECTED QUESTION

 1._________________:__________________________________

 2._________________:__________________________________

 3._________________:__________________________________

Expository/research essay                                                     Author _________________

Revision checklist

Reviser_________________

There is a catchy title that tells something about the subject.                                  Yes      No

Introduction

1. The introduction starts with a good hook.                                                           Yes      No

2. The introduction identifies the situation.                                                 Yes      No

3. The introduction names the title, author, and main character.                 Yes      No

4. The introduction ends with an effective thesis statement.                                  Yes      No

Body paragraph 1

1. There is an effective topic sentence.                                                        Yes      No

2. One aspect of the thesis is developed.                                                     Yes      No

3. The paragraph has enough information.                                                   Yes      No

4. All sentences are on topic.                                                                        Yes      No

5. It is interesting to read and has sentence variety.                                    Yes      No

6. There is an attempt at transitions so ideas flow.                                      Yes      No

7. A compositional risk (VIVID) is taken.                                                   Yes      No

8. There is at least one citation following MLA format.                              Yes      No

9. The author avoids using the word I except in a direct quotation.                        Yes      No

Body paragraph 2

1. There is an effective topic sentence.                                                        Yes      No

2. One aspect of the thesis is developed.                                                     Yes      No

3. The paragraph has enough information.                                                   Yes      No

4. All sentences are on topic.                                                                        Yes      No

5. It is interesting to read and has sentence variety.                                    Yes      No

6. There is an attempt at transitions so ideas flow.                                      Yes      No

7. A compositional risk (VIVID) is taken.                                                   Yes      No

8. There is at least one citation following MLA format.                              Yes      No

9. The author avoids using the word I except in a direct quotation.                        Yes      No

Body paragraph 3

1. There is an effective topic sentence.                                                        Yes      No

2. One aspect of the thesis is developed.                                                     Yes      No

3. The paragraph has enough information.                                                   Yes      No

4. All sentences are on topic.                                                                        Yes      No

5. It is interesting to read and has sentence variety.                                    Yes      No

6. There is an attempt at transitions so ideas flow.                                      Yes      No

7. A compositional risk (VIVID) is taken.                                                   Yes      No

8. There is at least one citation following MLA format.                              Yes      No

9. The author avoids using the word I except in a direct quotation.                        Yes      No

Conclusion

  1. The conclusion restates the main idea.                                             Yes      No
  2. The conclusion summarizes the information presented.                   Yes      No
  3. The conclusion has an extension statement.                                     Yes      No
  4. The conclusion has an effective clincher.                                         Yes      No

Works Cited

1. There are at least three sources used.                                                       Yes      No

2. At least one source is not from the internet.                                            Yes      No

2. The MLA format is followed.                                                                  Yes      No

One thing I like about this piece of writing is _______________________________

One suggestion I have to make this piece of writing better is _______________________

Grade:

Body paragraph 1 _____

Body paragraph 2_____

Body paragraph 3_____

Overall grade ______

Expository research                                                               Name___________________

Individual grade

Body paragraph

1. There is an effective topic sentence.                                                        5  4  3  2  1

2. One aspect of the thesis is developed.                                                     5  4  3  2  1

3. The paragraph has enough information.                                                   5  4  3  2  1

4. All sentences are on topic.                                                                        5  4  3  2  1

5. It is interesting to read and has sentence variety.                                    5  4  3  2  1

6. There is an attempt at transitions so ideas flow.                                      5  4  3  2  1

7. A  compositional risk (VIVID) is taken.                                                  5  4  3  2  1

8. There is at least one citation following MLA format.                              5  4  3  2  1

9. The author avoids using the word I except in a direct quotation.                        5  4  3  2  1

10. There are no mistakes in spelling, grammar, punctuation and usage.     5  4  3  2  1

Grade ______/50

Reviews

The Boy Who Said No is a beautifully written story of love, friendship and adventure. I thoroughly enjoyed the descriptions of Cuban...
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“In The Boy Who Said No Frank Mederos exhibits uncommon courage in making his way to freedom. Against great odds he manages...
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Author Interview

Q. When did you start writing?

A. When I got out of college, I took a job as assistant to the president of a small Manhattan public relations firm.  Our clients included many of the nation’s top magazines. I nagged the president for the opportunity to write press releases, but he refused saying, “Everybody thinks they can write, but very few people can.”

Once, when he was out sick, I took it upon myself to write a press release on a breaking political story.  It was picked up by all major media outlets...

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About the Author

Ask Patti to:

  • Speak to your group
  • Attend your Book Club Meeting

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