Keeping a Dream Alive
Gwen is a fantastic violinist, so much so that she is living in New York City with her grandfather while attending a music conservatory for high school on full scholarship. When her grandfather disappears leaving her nothing but a message on the answering machine, Gwen has to figure out how to get along as she waits to hear from her grandfather again. With college auditions looming within the week and an apartment building to hold up, not to mention her uncle who she is terrified of dropping by, Gwen is starting to feel hopeless. Gwen then meets Robert who is in town for auditions and things seem to turn around. But before they know it, there is a strange man who breaks into her house and a crime scene right in her grandfather's apartment. Will Gwen find her grandfather? Will she make it to her audition? And is Robert's arrival really as much of a good thing as she thought? Read Andrew Clements' Things Hoped For to find out.
Reading Level: Fountas and Pinnell: V
Teachers: Here are some resources to help you use Things Hoped For in your class...
Web Resources: I hate to admit this, but after a good hour searching for web resources, to say they are lacking is an understatement. The only really promising web resources is on edhelper, which you have to pay for a membership to view =( ... Hopefully the lack of web resources is made up for in my ideas for activities.
- Author Info: Links to Andrew Clements' website and interviews with him.
Vocabulary: Here are some vocab words I picked out: narrative, mystified, resurrect, conservatory, flattery, phenomenon, collateral. There are also tons of music related words if you are going to make an across the curriculum connection.
Before Reading: Discussion or Journal: In this story, Gwen has some very specific goals for her future. What are some goals you have? What are the steps you would have to take to reach these goals?
During Reading: Discussion or Journal (continuation from before reading): Now that you know about Gwen's goals for the future, list some steps she has had to take and will have to take to reach these goals.
Create a character sketch for Robert. Include why you think Gwen is so easily trusting of him. Some other ideas: character traits, what do you know about him?, etc. Here are fun online resources you could use to create a character sketch or character "playing card."
After Reading: After reading, would you change anything in your character sketch/playing card? What would you change and why?
Discussion or Journal: The characters speculate why Gwen's grandfather did what he did. What do you think and why?
Across the Curriculum: If you are really into music or have students who are very musically talented:
- Use this book as a way to start a discussion about music/art conservatories, etc. Even some magnet schools give students with artistic talent to have a special place and outlet for their talents. Maybe some of your students are interested in such a school. Help these students find information about these schools and talk to their parents.
- On a simpler level, talk about the musical vocabulary Gwen uses. Have students go on a "scavenger hunt" through the book to find as much music vocabulary as they can.
Clements, A. (2006). Things Hoped For. New York: Philomel Books.
Happy Reading (& Running) =)