Yes, This Will Be On the Test

Writing, Reading, Laughing

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

View From the 5th Grade Trenches - December 2010

One of the hardest lessons to teach a child is to celebrate and value their authentic self.  There are so many messages in the media, movies, and on television of what we “should be,” that sometimes who “we are” pales in comparison to all the larger than life examples.  This is especially true of children who are still puzzling out their unique place in the world. 

In his book, LOSER, Jerry Spinelli, gifts the reader with a joyful guide to celebrate one’s true self through his character, Donald Zinkoff.  This awkward, out of step hero teaches us that everyone has their own distinctive note to sing in our global symphony, and that note is a precious treasure.

Here are some insights from the 5th grade trenches on the extraordinary story of Donald Zinkoff. 

Zinkoff never gave up, he’s sweet, and doesn’t get discouraged by what people think or say about him.  JERRY, LEXI, SIERRA
Zinkoff is a true hero.  CADE
It is amazing to see such a positive person.  KAIT
The lesson, don’t judge a person without knowing them, is plain awesome. PRATIK
I love the old lady and the sandwich.  CALEB
If I got stuck in the snow, I wouldn’t put used gum in my mouth.  CARLOS
The best part is when Zinkoff went looking for Claudia.  I almost cried.
Zinkoff is always joyful.  KAYLA
Zinkoff is very responsible to his friends.  If he were real, I would be his friend.  SAL

To quote Jerry Spinelli, from LOSER:
“And the Z shall be first.”

Thank you Jerry Spinelli for bringing Zinkoff into our lives.


  1. Sounds like a good one! At least via your profession you are exposed to a lot of MG. ;)

  2. I love those comment from the kids. It must be so fun for an author to read those.

  3. I happily live in the paradise of middle grade literature. It is a blast to share my favorites with the kids.

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  5. Thanks for teaching our kids that it is OK to be different. They are learning that each child has his or her own talents and that they all have something to contribute. You are a great teacher!

  6. Thank YOU Beth for sharing your wonderful son with me.

  7. This is the kind of message our kids need to hear and believe in.

    Tossing It Out