Weekly Questions and Progress
The Robber Hotzenplotz   (Otfried Preussler)
Week 26, 6/07: (no reading this week)
← The kids consumed one apple today at CRC.
It was a beautiful summer afternoon here so we dispensed with any notion that reading might happen and went outdoors. Unfortunately, this will be the last meeting of the Caterpillar Reading Club for the year. It was been a wonderful year and we had a lot of fun.
On the summer reading list is: The Girl Who Drank The Moon, Edgeland, and 5 Worlds Book 1: The Sand Warrior.
Have a great summer!
Week 25, 5/31: (no reading this week)
← The kids consumed one apple today at CRC.
We spent the afternoon outside at the Wallingford Farmer's Market. Summer is almost here and after a long year indoors reading, the reward for the kids is to be set free outdoors to run around and play.
Week 24, 5/24: Pages 98..121
← The kids consumed four apples today at CRC.
We finished The Robber Hotzenplotz! We spent the remainder of the time making plans to hold the remaining CRC meetings outdoors and drawing.
Week 23, 5/17: (no reading this week)
← The kids consumed three apples today at CRC.
We did a cool craft project in lieu of reading. The kids made elephants, complete with a partially working trunk (there's a straw you can blow through to make the trunk waggle).
Week 22, 5/10: Pages 92..98
← The kids consumed four apples today at CRC.
We managed to squeeze a bit of reading into this meeting of the CRC. Most of the time was spent playing Unnatural Selection and painting.
Week 21, 5/03: (no reading this week)
← The kids consumed two apples today at CRC.
Big changes this week for the CRC. After an irresolvable conflict with Historic Seattle, we're vacating Room 221 for a new meeting space (the Alki Room, safe within the warm embrace of The Meridian School).
The conflict began when we decided to display all of the posters we had made at the same time (which is a lot of posters). We had been displaying posters each week for many weeks without incident, sometimes as many as a dozen.
For some reason, not only was it was not okay to display our plethora of posters this week (as shown in the photo below), it wasn't okay to display even one. My claim to the fascist building manager was that this new "poster rule" was both arbitrary and capricious (and therefore i wouldn't take them down).
(... and let's not forget these are the posters of a group of 3rd graders)
Suffice it to say we could not come to an agreement (that's putting it rather mildly).
(It did not end well?).
(We agreed to disagree?).
I'm doing a fair amount of thinking about what i learned this past week. Here's what I have so far:
  • Some adults simply do not understand children, and that oftentimes they [the children] act like, well, like children. While there's no need to tolerate a bunch of schenanigans from the kids, there's also no need to treat them with contempt when they're behaving exactly as expected [read: like children].
  • You can't make other people behave the way you want them to, and in this case, i was thinking of parity in communication, which i can explain further.
I pointed out just how far away from parity the fascist building manager was in terms of his communication with us as tenants.
Absent was any of the following (and/or any form/variation of the following):
  • "How are you?"
  • "How is the room working out for you?"
  • "Can we do anything to make the room better?"
  • "Thanks for being part of the GSC/Historic Seattle community"
  • "Thanks for always leaving the room cleaner than you found it."
  • "Have a good day"
  • "We're glad to have you as tenants"
Instead, 100% of the communication we recevied was critical, negative, and hostile. It became clear over time that we were an irritation, an imposition, an inconvenience:
  • "The kids are talking too loud"
  • "The kids are walking too loud"
  • "The kids can't sit on the lower windowsills"
  • "The kids can't be out on the deck"
  • "You can't open the windows"
  • "The kids can't sit on the upper windowsill (on west wall) [see photo from Week 11]"
  • "Take these posters down immediately"
I'd like to conclude this update with a link to "Authority Song" by John Mellencamp, which seems particularly relevant here, plus some lyrics from the song.
They like to get you in a compromising position
They like to get you there and smile in your face
They think, they're so cute when they got you in that condition
Well I think, it's a total disgrace
I fight authority, authority always wins
I fight authority, authority always wins
I been doing it, since I was a young kid
I've come out grinnin'
I fight authority, authority always wins
Only one photo from this week: of two great kids and many rad posters, in full effect:
Week 20, 4/26: Pages 80.. 92
← The kids consumed three apples today at CRC.
Q1. Petrosilius Zackelman is in a very foul mood indeed. ("Thunder and lightning!" / "Sulphur and brimstone!" / ... and he ends up turning Hotzenplotz into a cukoo). Why?
Q2. What does Petrosilius Zackelman plan on doing with Kasperl once he finds him?
Week 19, 4/19: (no reading this week)
← The kids consumed three apples today at CRC.
We took a break from reading this week. Instead, we made some posters, played some games, ate some apples, drew some wacky characters on the whiteboard, and ran around.

Three photos from this week:

Week 18, 3/29: Pages 62.. 81
← The kids consumed four apples today at CRC.
This week, we continued our exploration as to what's allowed in the space where the CRC meets and what's not allowed. We explored three more topics, and captured brief video footage of each.
  1. Silent conga lines in the lobby (27MB, mp4 movie)
  2. Walking backwards while dancing (in the lobby) (33MB, mp4 movie)
  3. Playing a quiet game of duck-duck-goose (also in the lobby) (86MB, mp4 movie)

These all seemed to be okay (mostly in the way that we didn't get in trouble at any point, which the CRC decided to interpret as "those three activites are allowed").

Week 17, 3/22: Pages 45.. 62
← The kids consumed five apples today at CRC.
This week, we began to explore what's allowed in the space where the CRC meets and what's not allowed. Up to this point, we've found that there are an awful lot of things that are not allowed, among them are:
  • Running, jumping, playing, making loud noise(s) of any kind.
  • Climbing on the windowsills.
  • Standing on/near the roots of the large tree outside.
  • Standing on and/or near the light poles outside.
  • Roughhousing and/or the appearance of having too much fun.
  • So much as looking in the general direction of a garden area is strictly forbidden.
Today, we found out that there are [at least] two things that are decidedly allowed (or, looking at it another way, are certainly not prohibited):
  • Posing, motionless and silently, as statues in the lobby.
  • Displaying posters on the doors of the CRC classroom.

We explored the first option during our regular break. All of the kids (and myself) went into the lobby and struck the pose of their choice. Some of us were sitting, one was laying down, and some were standing up in various states of arrested motion.

We then waited (silently, and motionless), for a Historic Seattle (HS) staff member to tell us we were breaking some kind of rule. The main rulemaker did walk through the lobby and did not point out any errant behavior!

We explored the second option by making posters and taping them to the doors of the CRC classroom.

Here's a photo of our puff advocacy posters:

Incidentally, we also made a highly scientific chart that rates various apple varieties vs. the individual tastes of the CRC members. The three apple varieties are Pacific Rose, Pink Lady, and a mystery apple I referred to as Kamikazee. The chart turned out like so:

PS: If you see this guy, you know you're in trouble:

Week 16, 3/15: Pages 28.. 44
← The kids consumed three apples today at CRC.
(There's only one question this week because it's a tough one).
Q1: On page 31, Kasperl and Seppel flip a coin three times to see who would go left and who would go right. The question is: did flipping three coins change the odds [of who would go left and who would go right] vs. flipping a single coin once? [where the chances are 50:50 for left:right].
Week 15, 3/08: Pages 5.. 28
← The kids consumed five apples today at CRC.
Q1: Using only the context within the sentence, what does the word quelled mean? (p14)
Q2: What are "grampuses"? (p18) Please draw one in your notebook.
Q3: There are a lot of colloquial expressions in there, e.g.: "turn the tables" (p25), "stuck to their guns" (p16), "he could not make head or tail of it" (p17). What do these mean? If you have time, research their origins.
The Princes and the Goblin   (George MacDonald)
Week 14, 3/01: Pages 8 .. 12
Note: The CRC is if anything, a co-op and a democracy. Ater today's meeting we held a vote (Yes/No) on whether The Princes and the Goblin was too difficult a book for the club to read right now. The majority won with "Yes", and so we've tabled this book for another day and will choose a different book next week.
Week 13, 2/22: Pages 4 .. 8
Q1: The author alternates between telling the story and talking to the reader (examples on 7 and 8). Why do you think he does this? Does it make the book better, or does it distract from the story?
Q2: On page 7, the author repeats a sentence ("She ran for some distance, turned several times, and then begqn to be afraid. She ran for some distance, turned several times, and then begqn to be afraid.") Why do you think he did this?
Q3: Please draw a goblin based on the description on page 6 (e.g.: "They were now, not ordinarily ugly, but either absolutely hideous or ludicrously grotesque in both face and form." "they grew misshapen in body". "Although dwarfed and misshapen, they had strength equal to their cunning."
Q4: Define "globular" (pg 8).
My Side of the Mountain   (Jean Craighead George)
Week 12, 2/08: Pages 161 .. (end)
Q1: What do you think the lyrics to "The Cold Water Song" might be? Please provide a verse or two. (p162)
Q2: Do you think everyone could live like Sam? Why or why not? (p165)
Q3: Do you think that, ultimately, Sam was happy that his time alone in the woods was over or would he have kept going [if his family had not shown up]?
Week 11, 2/01: Pages 144 .. 161
Q1: Why do you think that Sam, after initially saying he had not seen "the wild boy", eventually tell Matt Spell that he had seen him? (p153: "Matt, I have seen that boy.")
Q2: How do you think Matt Spell knew that Sam was really describing himself the entire time that Sam was trying to mislead him (and say things like "I think the wild boy wears newspaper on his feet")?

Great photo from this week:

Week 10, 01/25: Pages 131 .. 144
Q1: What's the definition of the word copse (pg 133).
Q2: What's a barometer, and what does it measure? (pg 134)
Q3: How do birds keep their feet from freezing in the winter? (pg: 135-136)
Q4: How thick is "Indiana Pea Soup"? (pg: 139)
Week 9, 01/18: Pages 116 .. 131
Q1: What's the definition of the word "cache" as it applies to Sam's food stores ("I checked my cache of wild onions to see if I had enough to make onion soup") (pg 118).
Q2: What's the definition of the word "ingenuity" (pg 124, top)
Q3: Why do you think that some of the people who have seen Sam on the mountain describe him as "crazy"? ("This wild boy has been seen from time to time by Catskill residents, some of whom believe he is crazy") (pg 121).
Q4: When Bando was leaving the tree after Christmas, the author describes this as follows: "Bando started off reluctantly one morning, looking very unhappy about the way of life he had chosen." (pg 130). What specific regrets do you think he was having at this time?

Great photo from this week:

Week 8, 01/11: Pages 101 .. 115
Q1: What is the definition of the word "irony"?
Q2: On page 109, when Sam goes into the store in town and a kid his age remarks (about his deerskin jacket): "My kid brother has one that looks more real than that thing", do you think his remark was ironic?
Q3: On page 110, Sam shares the following thoughts regarding "Mr Jacket": "I never asked his name. I had liked him although we hadn't even had a fight. All the best friends I had, I always fought, then got to like them after the wounds had healed." Why do you think Sam felt it necessary to have a fight with someone in order to become friends with that person? Has this ever happened to you?
Week 7, 01/04: Pages 89 .. 101
Q1: Who is Henry David Thoreau?
Q2: What book was he most known for?
Q3: Cite another one of this works
Q4: What is civil disobedience?
Week 6, 12/14: Pages 74 .. 89
Q1: Why did Bando want to give Same the nickname "Thoreau"?
Q2: What was going on with the Baron Weasel that Same described him as looking "mouldy"?
Q3: Can you name any other animals that undergo the same changes as the Baron Weasel when winter arrives?
Q4: What kind of insights did Sam gleen about the upcoming winter from watching the animals around him preparing for the cold winter weather?
Week 5, 12/07: Pages 62 .. 74
(no questions this week)

Great photo from this week:

Week 4, 11/30: Pages 46 .. 62
Q1: What do you think the main character's top five concerns and/or worries should be? asked another way: what are the most important things he should be thinking about andor doing?
Q2: Sam used a deer hide for a door to his tree. why do you think he chose this, and if he wasn't able to trap a deer, how do you think he could have made a door?
Q3: Is it okay for the main character to trap, kill, and eat animals while he is living in the forest, yes or no and why?
Consider that, if you live in Seattle, you get to choose whether to eat meat from animals or whether you only eat plants and vegetable (vegan/vegetarian) or seafood (pescetarian).
Q4: What does it mean to "lope around"? What creatures/animals/etc do you most associate with "loping around"?
Q5: What does it mean to scuttle? What creatures, aniamls (etc) do you most associate the scuttling?
Week 3, 11/23: Pages 32-46
Q1: What does it indicate, about how some adults view 15 year-olds, that the old woman thought Sam was "playing mumbly peg with sticks" when he was really making a bed for himself?
Q2: What does it indicate about Sam, that when he 1st saw a falcon, he thought "I will get one. I will train it to hunt for me"?
Q3: What are the definition of the words "stroobly" and "nubby"?
Week 2, 11/16: Pages 17-32
Q1. How did the narrator know, when he left Bill's house, that he would not return? (why was he so sure of his decision?)
Q2. How old is the narrator, and how do you know?
Q3. How many mussels are there in a peck?
Q4. Do you think it is sufficient to watch what animals eat to know what is safe for people to eat, or do you need more information?
Week 1, 11/9: Pages 3-17.
Q1: Why do you think the main character left his house to live in the woods?
Q2: Do you think you could live in the woods? If so, for how long and what would you bring with you?

Nov 2016:

  • 11/09 - meeting #1
  • 11/16 - meeting #2
  • 11/23 - meeting #3 (at Tom's house)
  • 11/30 - meeting #4

Dec 2016:

  • 12/07 - meeting #5
  • 12/14 - meeting #6
  • 12/21 - no meeting / winter break
  • 12/28 - no meeting / winter break

Jan 2017:

  • 1/4 - meeting #7
  • 1/11 - meeting #8
  • 1/18 - meeting #9
  • 1/25 - meeting #10

Feb 2017:

  • 2/01 - meeting #11
  • 2/08 - meeting #12
  • 2/15 - no meeting / break between books
  • 2/22 - meeting #13

Mar 2017:

  • 3/01 - meeting #14
  • 3/08 - meeting #15
  • 3/15 - meeting #16
  • 3/22 - meeting #17
  • 3/29 - meeting #18

Apr 2017:

  • 4/05 - no meeting / spring break
  • 4/12 - no meeting / spring break
  • 4/19 - meeting #19
  • 4/26 - meeting #20

May 2017:

  • 5/03 - meeting #21
  • 5/10 - meeting #22
  • 5/17 - meeting #23
  • 5/24 - meeting #24
  • 5/31 - meeting #25

Jun 2017:

  • 6/07 - meeting #26
  • 6/14 - no meeting / summer break
About the Club
What is it?:
An after-school reading club.
Who is invited?
Anyone in 3rd grade who loves to read.
When do we meet?
Weekly, on Wednesdays, from 3:30 to approx. 4:15
Meridian HQ, room 221 or 223.
Why Wed?
Because that's the day homework is due, so the club won't interfere with school.
What's the weekly agenda/itinerary?
  1. . Welcome! (~2 minutes)
  2. . Review answers to last weeks question(s). (~10 minutes)
  3. . Read! We take turns reading. This will be voluntary. We can form a voluntary queue and everyone who wants to read can get into the queue and take turns. (~20 minutes)
  4. . Discuss what we've read. (~10 minutes)
  5. . Assign a question to ponder for next week, possibly writing down notes in response. (~5 minutes)
What will we read?
Delphine wants to start with My Side of the Mountain, but we've also discussed:
  • Finn Family Moomintroll
  • Where the Mountain Meets the Moon
  • The Thirteen Clocks
  • The Princess and the Goblin
  • (..and some others)
How much will we read?
If there are ~25 weeks in the year (Nov-May), we'd need to cover around 10 pages/week, give or take.
What if someone cannot join in Nov but would like to join later?
If someone can't join in Nov, but would like to join anytime later, i can send where we in the book each week, so they can join later without missing anything.