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The Watson’s Go to Birmingham

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1 The Watson’s Go to Birmingham
Chapters 5-10

2 Journal Writing Topic: Pretend you are Kenny and summarize what happened in Chapter 5.
Chapter 5 – Writing Time

3 Journaling Topic – Choose 1
Sometimes people can laugh at things other people think are very serious. For instance Byron makes fun of Momma’s story of the fire she experienced when she was a young child. Write about why you think that is. Explain how people can tell the difference between something that is funny and something that is serious. In this chapter, Kenny knows that Byron is playing a dangerous game, but he chooses not to snitch on his big brother. Think of a time that you knew a friend or sibling was doing something dangerous. How did you react? How did the situation unfold? If you could go back, what would you do differently? Journaling Topic – Choose 1

4 What does Momma do that makes her look like Eliot Ness from the Untouchables?
Do you think Byron will ever play with fire again? Why do you think this? Kenny notes that “Momma’s horrible snake woman voice came out again…” Why does this alarm Kenny? And why would Momma have such a voice? Chapter 5 - Check

5 What is Kenny’s perspective on the punishment that Byron is to receive from Momma?
Why is Kenny terrified when Momma tells him to go get the matches? What was Momma’s reaction when she caught Byron playing with fire in the bathroom? Chapter 5 - Questions

6 4. Why did Joetta keep blowing out the matches when Momma was trying to burn Byron’s finger?
5. Momma knows first hand how dangerous fire can be. What happened when she was a little girl? 6. What kind of reaction did this story get out of the different Watson family members? (Momma, Byron, Kenny, Joetta) 7. What evidence do we have that Byron did not take Momma’s fire warnings very seriously? Chapter 5 - Questions

7 D Grade The Functional Failure- a way of stating that food is of poor quality but still edible. Food is not actually “graded” this way by the FDA. Welfare Financial or other aid provided, especially by the government, to people in need. Peon A farm worker or laborer; any person of low social status Chapter 6 Info~

8 Chapter 6 - Check Discuss: What caused the mourning dove to die?
What effect did the bird’s death have on Byron? What lesson, if any, do you believe Byron learned from the dove’s death? Chapter 6 - Check

9 Journal Prompt – Choose 1
Characters’ Perspective Kenny says, “I really wished I was as smart as people thought I was, ‘cause some of the time it was real hard to understand what was going on with Byron.” What made Kenny feel this way? Kenny tries to comfort Byron after he gets sick, and in response Byron throws green apples at Kenny, calls him a “punk,” and tells him to leave. Why would Byron behave like this? Do you know of someone who has made an unkind decision that you felt was wrong? Did the person apologize or try to make things right again? What is an example of a time that you have needed to forgive someone for something you thought was wrong? Journal Prompt – Choose 1

10 How do you think Byron’s parents will react when they find out that he signed for “free food” in the form of cookies at the grocery store? Byron and Kenny are both bothered by the idea of being on welfare. What parts of the book let us know this? Do you think Byron is a good person? Explain your reasoning. Chapter 6 - Questions

11 In just one sentence, pretend you are Kenny and summarize what happened in Chapter 7. Focus on the main parts of this chapter. Chapter 7 – Check

12 Chapter 7 – Informational
Conk -just-hair-the-conk/ Chapter 7 – Informational

13 Journaling- Respond to both questions
Consider the following passage from Chapter 7: “Byron had gotten a conk! A process! A do! A butter! A ton of trouble! His hair was reddish brown, straight, stiff and slick-looking.” Kenny uses several terms to describe the same thing. Given the context of the sentences, what is Kenny talking about? Why would Byron straighten his hair? What do you think motivated him to do this? Journaling- Respond to both questions

14 Momma and Joetta are both upset by Byron’s new hairstyle, but for different reasons. What are the different reasons? Dad ends up shaving Byron’s head. Considering the fact that the story takes place in 1963, how do you think Byron felt about being bald-headed? What do you think might have been discussed during the “adult-only” talk between Momma and Dad? Chapter 7 - Questions

15 What do you think that Dad might have to get back to Grandma Sands about?
Do you think it was fair of Dad to shave Byron’s head? Explain What does it mean to be fair and just? When troublesome situations happen, how can we be sure to treat all people fairly? Chapter 7 - Questions

16 What is Kenny’s favorite song to play on the Ultra Glide?
Momma and Dad had threatened to send Byron to Grandma Sands’ house many times, but the kids never believed it would really happen. Kenny lists three good reasons to believe that his parents were bluffing? What are the reasons? What are the reasons that Momma gives why Byron had to stay with Grandma Sands? Chapter 8 - Check

17 Chapter 8 - Informational
Favorite Song of Momma and Kenny v=iyzCccndc2w v=PtTC3pGBjs4 Objects from the 1960’s s+from+the+1960’s Chapter 8 - Informational

18 When Dad first surprised the family with the new Ultra-Glide, what was Momma’s reaction? And why did she react this way? Eventually, Momma changes her attitude and joins the family fun outside with the Ultra-Glide. What made her change her tune? Grandma Sands tells Momma that stuff on TV isn’t happening near her and that it’s safe and quiet in her neighborhood. Why would Grandma say this? Why would this matter so much to Momma? How do you think the Watson children will like Birmingham? Chapter 8 - Questions

19 Journal Prompt – Choose 1
Given what we know is happening in Alabama during the time that the Watson’s decide to visit Birmingham, do you recommend that the family go? What advice would you give them about the trip? Imagine you are Grandma Sands. Write a letter to Byron explaining how he will be expected to behave at her house in Birmingham. Describe how Birmingham will be different from Flint. When you are faced with problems in your life, how does it make you feel? What do you do when you feel that you can’t change your situation? Do you feel that there is anything that you are able to do to change your situation, even if it is something small? Do you believe that there is any way that you, one person, could work to change some of the problems in your life? How? Journal Prompt – Choose 1

20 Why did Momma and Dad make Byron sleep in their room the night before the big trip?
What would have given Momma and Dad the impression that Byron may try to run away? Chapter 9 - Check

21 How does Kenny really feel about sending Byron to Grandma Sands’ house for the summer?
Why doesn’t Joetta like the angel that Mrs. Davidson gives her? Why would the color of the angel’s face be a problem for Joetta? Why did Momma have the whole trip to Birmingham planned? Why would Momma and Dad decide that sending Byron to Birmingham for the summer is a good idea? Chapter 9 - Questions

22 Chapter 9 questions continued
If your parents were going to “send you off” for constantly misbehaving, where would they send you and why? How should unruly, misbehaving children be corrected so they can turn into responsible, decent adults? Chapter 9 questions continued

23 Journal Prompt – Choose 1
Pretend that you are Kenny and Byron and respond to what Dad said. What questions would you have about the south? How would you react to Dad’s joke? Joetta put the angel that Mrs. Davidson gave her as a gift in her sock drawer because she didn’t like it. Have you ever received a gift that you didn’t like? How did you react and what did you do? How would you feel if you were separated from your peers or denied certain rights because of the way you looked or because of a set of beliefs you had? What are ways that diversity actually makes our lives better? Can you think of examples of how differences among people have improved a situation? Journal Prompt – Choose 1

24 Kenny knows that once Momma falls asleep Dad plans to drive much further than her schedule would allow. How does Kenny figure this out? Why are the Watson children frightened when the family stops in Tennessee? Momma takes out her notebook and announces: This is the Appalachia Mountains. We’re over six thousand feet above sea level, this is higher than we’ve ever been before. What does “sea level” mean and how is it relevant to Momma’s point? Chapter 10 - Check

25 Map of the Appalachian Mountains:
media/3/ DBECEB58.gif Chapter 10 - Information

26 Why doesn’t Dad want to stick with Momma’s plan to take several days to drive to Birmingham?
Why is Momma angry that Dad has not followed the driving schedule? Why do you think that Byron was so nervous about being near the Appalachian Mountains, especially in the dark? Chapter 10 - Questions

27 Journal Prompt – Choose 1
At this point in the story, with which character do you most closely identify? Why? What makes you similar to that character? Write about a time that you were someplace that gave you a “creepy” feeling and you just couldn’t wait to get away. What are some unfair stereotypes that you can think of? Have you ever been stereotyped? How did that make you feel? How do stereotypes affect others? What are ways that we can avoid making stereotypes? Journal Prompt – Choose 1

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