This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
by Judith Clarke
Al Capsella wants to be cool, to fit in with the other teenagers in his neighbourhood. And part of fitting in is to be like all the others - to be "normal". But despite his heroic efforts Al faces a crippling pair of obstacles, his PARENTS. Mr and Mrs Capsella are not just uncool; they are a complete embarrassment to their fourteen-year old son. First off, they christened him ALMERIC, not something fashionable, like Brett or Scott, and now they just won't conform to what Al and all his pals know are "normal" parents. Al wants parents who are: "Perfectly ordinary and unobtrusive, quiet and orderly, well-dressed and polite, hardworking and as wealthy as possible. They should be seen and not heard. And PREFERABLY NOT SEEN VERY MUCH AT ALL!" Along with schoolmates like Louis, Al has his own plans for surviving the abnormal antics of parents, grandparents and teachers. But in the end Al discovers that being really normal is the weirdest thing of all.
use of a range of strategies to influence audiences edit writing for clarity, coherence and consistency of style, and proofread and correct spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors critically evaluate spoken language of others
Tuning In Before reading 1. What does it mean to be ‘normal’? 2. Write a fictional or reflective journal entry that demonstrates how you may have been embarrassed by your family - at least half a page. Whilst reading 3. Start a list of characters from the novel. Include a picture of what you think the character would look like and a direct quote from the novel describing each character. 4. Summarise each chapter as you read – either in full sentences or in dot points. Include at least one direct quote from each chapter. 5. Start a glossary of terms that are new to you or that you are unsure of. Add to this throughout the novel study. Finding Out Chapter Questions 6. Who is Al’s best friend? What impression do we have of him from the first chapter? 7. What do we learn about Mrs Capsella from the incident at the school?
Through this novel study all students must develop and demonstrate: chapter summaries, character studies and glossary are complete and identify key ideas/issues/words identification of the ideas, themes and issues in the text personal reflections on challenging themes and issues development of extended personal responses provide supporting detail
8. What drives Al’s ambition to be ‘normal’? 9. How do characters such as The Shadow and Dr Spinner help to highlight Al’s story? What other characters play similar roles in the story? 10. In chapter 8, Al and Mrs Capsella are getting ready for Parent/Teacher interviews. Re-write this exchange from Mrs Capsella’s point of view. Going Further Creative response Choose one of the following tasks: a. Design some fashion ensembles for Mrs Capsella using items she may have purchased from an op shop. Make a poster displaying your favourite outfit. b. Write a journal entry that depicts Al’s time with his grandparents differently – imagine the ways he might destroy the normalcy of their daily lives. c. Al has grown up and has children of his own. Write a week’s diary entries of the difficulties his children face. d. Negotiate your own creative task with Ms Waayers. Speak Out Presentation Choose one of the following tasks: a. You are to write a book review – choose an audience of Year 8 teachers, or a
Year 8 class (think of how each audience would require different information). b. In a small group, script and perform a role play depicting someone in your family coming into your classroom to embarrass you. c. Choose a teen issue to research and present to the class. d. Negotiate your own Speak Out task with Ms Waayers.
Taking Action Extended Response Choose one of the following tasks to write a structured essay, using the TEEL plan. 1. “Since I’ve gone on to High School, being normal has become a matter of importance…” (pg.4) What are the challenges faced by Al and all other High School students? 2. “Is there something the matter with them?” I asked gently. (pg. 110) Can Al ever be normal when the people he is surrounded by all have ‘something the matter with them’?
3. “You don’t have to tell me everything sixty times,” I complained. “I’m not a baby.” (pg. 113) How does this book demonstrate a right of passage into adulthood?