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A Teachers Guide to

My Very UnFairy Tale Life



Written By Anna Staniszewski

Text copyright 2011 by Anna Staniszewski Published by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky Cover Design by Jennifer Jackman.com ISBN-10: 1402259468 ISBN-13: 978-1402259463

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A Teachers Guide to My Very UnFairy Tale Life by Anna Staniszewski

PRAISE FOR MY VERY UNFAIRY TALE LIFE


Staniszewskis debut is a speedy and amusing ride that displays a confident, onthe-mark brand of humor, mostly through Jennys wisecracking narrationthe inventive and lighthearted premise will keep readers entertained.Publishers Weekly A light comic rompStaniszewski pitches her writing to a middle-school audience in her debut, emphasizing comedy along with non-threatening suspense, and keeps the tone chatty and frothyAn eye for imaginative detail mixes with these likable characters and a theme of empathy for others to keep the story appropriate to a younger audience, who easily will identify with Jenny. Charming.Kirkus What a great read! Jenny is an adventurer Id definitely want in my corner if my life ever took a wrong turn from Happily Ever After.Hlne Boudreau, author of Real Mermaids Dont Wear Toe Rings Readers will love this bold and feisty heroine as they are swept into Jennys many (mis)adventures.Jennifer Nielsen, author of Elliot and the Goblin War

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A Teachers Guide to My Very UnFairy Tale Life by Anna Staniszewski

STORY SUMMARY
Is your magical kingdom falling apart? Twelve-year-old Jenny is on the case, whether she likes it or not. Saving the world might sound exciting, but for Jenny its starting to get old even staying in the real world long enough to take a math test would be a dream come true! And when you throw in bloodthirsty unicorns, psychotic clowns, and the most useless gnome sidekick ever, Jenny decides that enough is enough. Shes leaving the adventuring business and not looking back. Oris she?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Born in Poland and raised in the United States, Anna Staniszewski grew up loving stories in both Polish and English. She was named the 2006-2007 Writer-inResidence at the Boston Public Library and a winner of the 2009 PEN New England Susan P. Bloom Discovery Award. Currently, Anna lives outside of Boston with her husband and their adopted black Labrador, Emma. When shes not writing, Anna spends her time teaching, reading, and challenging unicorns to games of hopscotch.

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A Teachers Guide to My Very UnFairy Tale Life by Anna Staniszewski

TEACHERS GUIDE CONTENTS

1. Pre-Reading Activities
Activities and discussion starters to activate students prior knowledge.

2. Chapter Guides
Chapter guides may be used to encourage whole class discussions, lead teacherguided reading groups, or to provide structure for students working either in cooperative small groups or independently. The guide is not meant to be assigned to students in its entirety. Each chapter guide includes: Vocabulary that might be new for your students. Choose a few words from each list and guide students in using context clues to infer meanings. Discussion Starters inspired by Blooms Taxonomy that lead students from basic comprehension to higher level thinking skills. Predicting where students are invited to make predictions based on their analysis of the characters traits in the story. Chapter guides address the following curriculum standards: Students will: Use context as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase. Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions with diverse partners. Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text. Describe how a particular storys or dramas plot unfolds in a series of episodes as well as how the characters respond or change as the plot moves toward a resolution. Explain how an author develops the point of view of the narrator or speaker in a text.

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A Teachers Guide to My Very UnFairy Tale Life by Anna Staniszewski Determine a theme of a story from details in the text, including how characters in a story respond to challenges. Compare and contrast the overall structure (e.g., chronology, comparison, cause/effect, problem/solution) of events, ideas, concepts, or information in two or more texts. Analyze multiple accounts of the same event or topic, noting important similarities and differences in the point of view they represent. Imagine and clearly describe characters, their relationships, setting, conflict, and plot. Pretend to be someone else, creating a character based on stories or through improvisation.

3. Culminating Activities
Following the chapter guides, youll find suggested culminating projects that address the eight multiple intelligences identified by Dr. Howard Gardner: bodilykinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, logical-mathematical, musical, naturalistic, verbal-linguistic and visual-spatial. Consider having students choose a culminating activity that best matches their learning styles.

4. Author Interview with ANNA STANISZEWSKI

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A Teachers Guide to My Very UnFairy Tale Life by Anna Staniszewski

PRE- READING
1. Look at the title and cover. What do you notice about the setting? How does the girl on the cover feel? Why do you think she feels this way? 2. Read the books jacket blurb. What is this story about? Think of the fairy tales youve heard. What do they all have in common? Make a list of five fairy tales and their main characters. How do these stories end? Who is the hero or heronie who saves the day? Fairy Tale: Main Character: Ending: Hero/Heroine:

How many fairy tales have main characters who solve their own problems? How many do not? Which type of fairy tale do you prefer? Explain your thinking.

3. Write or tell about a time when something you were looking forward to didnt turn out as expected. Was it better or worse than youd thought it would be?

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A Teachers Guide to My Very UnFairy Tale Life by Anna Staniszewski

CHAPTER 1
Word Study
claim cheesy throbbing soothe riled up lunged materialized loaf around stampeding whinnied void reputation gnome bellow whiff child labor laws

Discussion Starters
1. Why is Jenny running from unicorns? (knowledge) 2. How does Anthony respond to Jennys call for help? (comprehension) 3. What is Jennys reputation in the world of fairy tales? What reputation do you have? How might people describe you at school? How would your family describe you? (application) 4. How is the head unicorn described in this chapter? What is ironic about this description? (analysis) 5. How might Anthony convince Jenny to take the next assignment? (synthesis) 6. Is Anthony a good protector? Explain your thinking. (evaluation)

Predict
What will Jennys next assignment be? Who are the members of the Committee?

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A Teachers Guide to My Very UnFairy Tale Life by Anna Staniszewski

CHAPTER 2
Word Study
wound trait vague mingled trudged inherited proportioned sifting draped family bonding hobbling heroic triumph veterinary psychotherapist stifled dentures exotic

Discussion Starters
1. Why does Jenny live with her Aunt Evie? (knowledge) 2. Why does Jenny share stories of her adventures with Dr. Bradley? (comprehension) 3. Jenny wears her mothers bracelet because she thinks it will bring her luck. What brings you luck? (application) 4. When Dr. Bradley asks Jenny, Do you really think you could leave adventuring for good? she notices that his eyes look worried. Why might he be worried? (analysis) 5. One example of Jennys fortune cookie wisdom is One mans junk is another mans treasure. As she struggles to decide whether or not to quit adventuring, what fortune cookie wisdom would you offer her? (synthesis) 6. Jenny says, Having fancy gifts wasnt fun unless you could share them with other people. Do you agree? Explain your reasoning. (evaluation)

Predict
How might Jennys adventuring interfere with her life at school?

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A Teachers Guide to My Very UnFairy Tale Life by Anna Staniszewski

CHAPTER 3
Word Study
lurched trance henna tattoo intention veer hoarse sorcerer Mistress glared side effect despite perch pouty in unison pleading budge

Discussion Starters
1. Who appears on the school bus with Jenny? (knowledge) 2. How does Anthony react when Jenny asks him to save the bus? (comprehension) 3. Jenny misses the daily routine of school life. If you had to stay home from school for a year, what would you miss most? (application) 4. Why does Jenny agree to help Crong and Ribba? What does this say about her character? (analysis) 5. Anthonys magic erases the bus riders memories of what happened on the bus. What might have happened if he had let them remember? How might the other students have reacted to Jenny? (synthesis) 6. Why do Trish and Melissa treat Jenny so poorly? Why does she continue to say hello to them? Should she keep trying to be their friend, or ignore them? Explain your thinking. (evaluation)

Predict
What happened to the animals mouths? What will Jennys next move be?

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CHAPTER 4
Word Study
ewe conjured modest inhabitants hulking marred intense crimped barging exterior occupation renowned implanted swift prehistorically gigantic immune restore corny horizon ominous

Discussion Starters
1. Why have the animals named their kingdom Speak? (knowledge) 2. Why does Jenny say, Theres no I in team? (comprehension) 3. Jenny wonders why Klarr and other evil leaders are so self-centered. She says, If I had a kingdom, I wouldnt go and name it Jennyland. If you had a kingdom, what would you name it? Why? (application) 4. What is a screw-in-the lightbulb wave? What kinds of people usually wave this way? Why does Jenny wave this way to the animals? (analysis) 5. Jenny insists that the animals could use their magical powers against their evil leader. Why havent they done so? How might Jenny help them? (synthesis) 6. How does the animals view of Jenny differ with her view of herself? Whose view is truer to who Jenny really is? Explain your thinking. (evaluation)

Predict
Will the monster harm Jenny, Ribba and Crong? Will they be captured? What lies behind the castle walls?

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CHAPTER 5
Word Study
bewitching scamper massive washed-up conducted churning cowered pathetic wrung unaffected backtracked glum

Discussion Starters
1. Who is the monster that flies down from the tower? (knowledge) 2. What is the relationship between Crong and Halga? (comprehension) 3. Based on description from the text, draw what Halga and Klarr look like. Which do you think looks the scariest? Take a poll and see if your classmates agree. (application) 4. Do you think Halga is trustworthy? Why or why not? (analysis) 5. Why do Ribba and Crong leave Jenny alone with Klarr? How might they explain their actions to Jenny when they see her again? (synthesis) 6. How would you rate Anthony as a guide? Would you like to have him as your guide? Explain your thinking. (evaluation)

Predict
What will Jenny do now? Can Anthony help her this time? How will she communicate?

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CHAPTER 6
Word Study
lack thereof charades scrawling pudgy

Discussion Starters
1. Why are Jenny and Anthony angry with each other? (knowledge) 2. How does Aunt Evie react when she sees Jenny? (comprehension) 3. Jenny feels frustrated and begins to cry, even though she isnt a crier. Write or tell about a time when you felt frustrated. How did you react? What would you do differently if you had the chance? (application) 4. What would you guess Aunt Evie is thinking? Is she a good caretaker for Jenny? Why or why not? (analysis) 5. If Jenny could talk, what would she tell the Committee? What would she tell Prince Lamb? (synthesis) 6. Anthony thinks the Committee will be disappointed that Jenny didnt accomplish her mission. Do you agree? How might they evaluate Anthonys performance so far? Explain your thinking. (evaluation)

Predict
Will Dr. Bradley be able to help Jenny? If so, how? If not, what will she do?

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A Teachers Guide to My Very UnFairy Tale Life by Anna Staniszewski

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CHAPTER 7
Word Study
revealing obsession hologram restore paralyzed disoriented features ornate clunky abandon vertical understatement clichs gestures escorted logical explanation in awe cringe promising portal

Discussion Starters
1. How is Dr. Bradleys library different from the other rooms in his house? (knowledge) 2. What does Jenny learn about Dr. Bradley? (comprehension) 3. Now that Jenny has been granted her wish to speak to the Committee, how does she feel? Tell about a time when you had a wish come true, yet your emotions were mixed. (application) 4. How does Jenny react when Dr. Bradley says, Look at what that sorcerer has done to you and to thousands of other innocent souls! Will you really let that continue? This type of conflict is called character vs. self. Do you think Anthony experiences this type of conflict? What about Dr. Bradley? Explain your thinking. (analysis) 5. If Anthony could talk to the Committee, how might that conversation go? How would the conversation differ with or without Jenny there? (synthesis) 6. According to Dr. Bradley, how does the Committee feel about Jenny? Knowing this, do you think theyre more concerned about Jenny or about Prince Lamb? How would they react if she resigned from her adventurer duties? (evaluation)

Predict
How will Jenny communicate with the Committee? What will she tell them? How will they react?

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CHAPTER 8
Word Study
optical illusion in unison beige simultaneously proceed rage reverse scalding glares state the obvious unacceptable

Discussion Starters
1. Why wont the Committee help Jenny? (knowledge) 2. Who does Jenny see in the waiting room? (comprehension) 3. While Jenny waits to see the Committee, she thinks, I tried not to think about my mouth being gone, which meant that was all I could think about. Write or tell about a time when you couldnt stop thinking about something even when you wanted to. (application) 4. What impression has Dr. Bradley given Jenny about the Committee? Does Jennys encounter with them match her expectations? Explain your thinking. (analysis) 5. Do you think the Committee knows about Klarr? If so, why would they allow him to enter? If not, how did he sneak into their offices? (synthesis) 6. Where is Anthony? Do you think hes ignoring Jenny or simply unable to reach her? Explain your thinking. (evaluation)

Predict
Will Jenny be rescued? If so, by whom? How? If not, what will happen to her?

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CHAPTER 9
Word Study
dim devastated flaw scampered reluctantly chamber coherent miffed whimpered mime scanned stable ground rebellion armor frantic charades woozier regal acrobatic skills writhing contagious pleading scrawling bargain

Discussion Starters
1. Who does Jenny find in the dungeon? (knowledge) 2. How do the people of Speak communicate? (comprehension) 3. Jenny says Even though it hurt to give the bracelet away, I still wished I could smile. Write or tell about a time when you did something difficult that made someone else happy. How did it make you feel? (application) 4. Why do you think Klarr has built his castle to look like a circus? Why is the circus so important to him? (analysis) 5. Jenny feels sure her mother would approve of Jenny giving away the bracelet to Halga. Write or act out a conversation that Jenny and her mother might have about this chapters events. (synthesis) 6. What character traits would you use to describe Prince Lamb? Do you think he would make a good leader for his people? Why or why not? (evaluation)

Predict
What will Jenny find when she goes through the window? How will Queen Ewe react when she sees Prince Lamb as a boy?

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CHAPTER 10
Word Study
corridors lavish tarnished stampeding reinstated tapestries furrowed his brow intruders regrettably formality intricate reclined handsomely in unison fine print hand gestures slab flinch authorized obligation

Discussion Starters
1. How is Jennys mouth restored? (knowledge) 2. How does Prince Lamb convince the ferret guards that he really is their prince? Why does this work? (comprehension) 3. Although Jenny feels sorry for the people of Speak, she decides not to help them because she is afraid of Klarr. This type of conflict is called character vs. self. Tell or write about a time when you were afraid to do the right thing. What did you decide to do? How did you feel about your decision? If you could do it over again, what would you change? (application) 4. Do you think Jenny is brave? Explain your thinking. (analysis) 5. Jenny cant see the fine print in the contract. Write out the contract as it might read if it had been written with regular ink. (synthesis) 6. Do you think the contract Jenny signed was fair? Why or why not? Is she bound to help defeat Klarr? (evaluation)

Predict
What will the Committee tell Jenny about her parents?

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CHAPTER 11
Word Study
regrettable implore miscalculated classified information gaped paranoid top-priority personnel utmost secrecy reluctant collective intention on the verge

Discussion Starters
1. What does Jenny do when the Committee reminds her that she must continue being an adventurer? (knowledge) 2. What does Jenny learn about her friends? Why have they been ignoring her? (comprehension) 3. Jenny says, I thought being an adventurer would be fun and exciting. Instead, it had taken everything I cared about away from me. Tell or write about a time when you were disappointed about something youd been looking forward to. (application) 4. Dr. Bradley says that although he had been tempted to tell Jenny the truth about her parents, he worried that she was too young to handle the truth. Do you think he made the right decision to keep this information from her? Why or why not? (analysis) 5. After Jenny sends Dr. Bradley and Anthony away, what might they have said to each other? Write or act out a possible conversation between the two. (synthesis) 6. Why does the Committee want Jenny to continue as an adventurer? Do you think they are doing a good job of running magical worlds? Why or why not? If you were on the committee, what would you change? (evaluation)

Predict
What do you think happened to Jennys parents? Will she ever see them again? What would she say to them if she did find them?

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CHAPTER 12
Word Study
swashbuckled scroll side effect doom distraction altering flagging dosage intently script lapse smirked

Discussion Starters
1. How does Jenny feel about going to school in the morning? (knowledge) 2. What happens when Jenny gets to class? (comprehension) 3. Jenny finally has a chance to make a fresh start at school. If no one at your school remembered you, what would you do differently as a new student? (application) 4. Jenny is angry when she thinks of what Dr. Bradley and Anthony have done behind her back over the past few years. What might have happened if they hadnt used the Distraction Powder? Who were they most concerned about? Explain your answer. (analysis) 5. If Jenny were to write a note back to her grandfather, what might it say? (synthesis) 6. The school secretary thinks that Dr. Bradley is a sweet old man. Do you agree? Why or why not? (evaluation)

Predict
Will Jennys friends and classmates remember anything about her? How might she reinvent herself?

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CHAPTER 13
Word Study
bulging abducted pleading heaved deserted slip-up fictional monitoring lopsided subtly bowled over abandoning

Discussion Starters
1. Why does Prince Lamb come to Jennys house? (knowledge) 2. How does Jenny feel when Trish invites her over to watch TV? (comprehension) 3. What games did Jenny, Trish and Melissa invent when they were younger? Describe a game that you used to play with your friends. (application) 4. Why is Jenny annoyed by Prince Lambs perfectly cuffed shirt sleeves? (analysis) 5. How are Jennys memories of Dr. Bradley changing? What might she say if she were to see him again? (synthesis) 6. Why hasnt Jenny invited Trish and Melissa to her house? Do you think she should? Why or why not? (evaluation)

Predict
When Jenny agrees to help Prince Lamb, she wonders if shes making a mistake. Why does she think this? What might happen?

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CHAPTER 14
Word Study
fawn chimed in object oblivious exchange student identity hovered monarch brainwashed savoring sculpted suffocating tension

Discussion Starters
1. Who shows up at Jennys house? (knowledge) 2. How does Jenny explain Prince Lambs presence to Aunt Evie? (comprehension) 3. Tell or write about a time when you were not completely honest with a friend. What happened? What would you do differently if you could go back in time? (application) 4. How does Jenny feel about the way Aunt Evie treats Prince Lamb? (analysis) 5. Read the part where Prince Lamb meets Melissa and Trish. What might be going through his mind? Does he realize the effect that he has on them? Explain your thinking. (synthesis) 6. Do Melissa and Trish have a right to be angry with Jenny? Why or why not? (evaluation)

Predict
What will happen when Jenny goes back to school? How will Melissa and Trish act? What will happen when Prince Lamb goes to Jennys school?

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CHAPTER 15
Word Study
muskrat charm feisty duo suave sibling rivalry churning swoon emerged

Discussion Starters
1. How do Melissa and Trish react to Jenny at school? (knowledge) 2. Why isnt Prince Lamb concerned about getting beat up? (comprehension) 3. If you could magically win everyone over, would you? What might be the down side of having this power? (application) 4. When Jenny sits alone at lunch, she thinks, Back in my adventurer days, Id mostly sat by myself and hadnt minded being alone. So why did it feel so awful now? How would you answer her question? (analysis) 5. Why do you think Jenny is the only one not charmed by Prince Lamb? What might he do that would charm her? (synthesis) 6. What happens when Prince Lamb goes to school with Jenny? How would you feel about Prince Lamb if he came to your class? Explain your thinking. (evaluation)

Predict
Jenny is convinced that Prince Lamb doesnt need her help. Is she right? Why or why not?

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CHAPTER 16
Word Study
tagalong hesitant startled familiarize venom advice column deny burden

Discussion Starters
1. What surprises Jenny when she looks out the school bus window? (knowledge) 2. What is happening with Dr. Bradleys house next door? Why is Jenny so upset about this? (comprehension) 3. Be careful what you wish for is one theme in this chapter. Tell or write about a time when getting what you wanted didnt turn out as youd planned. (application) 4. Jenny thinks that Prince Lamb is inviting her out with his friends out of pity. Do you agree? Explain your thinking. (analysis) 5. Describe Jennys argument with her aunt from Aunt Evies point of view. How does Aunt Evies view differ from what Jenny is thinking? (synthesis) 6. What does Prince Lamb suggest Aunt Evie might be feeling about Jenny? Does Jenny have a right to be angry at Aunt Evie? Why or why not? (evaluation)

Predict
If Jenny decides she wants to go back to adventuring, how will she do it? Will she be successful? Why or why not?

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CHAPTER 17
Word Study
urge

in a huff

scuttled

spectators

Discussion Starters
1. Who does Jenny see in the cafeteria? What do they want? (knowledge) 2. What does Halga give to Jenny? Why does she do this? (comprehension) 3. How does Jenny explain the scene on the football field to everyone? Why does she do this? On a slip of paper, jot down another way Jenny might have explained the situation. Have your classmates do the same and compare ideas. (application) 4. What condition do Trish and Melissa give for forgiving Jenny? Would you want friends like the two of them? Why or why not? (analysis) 5. If Dr. Bradley and Anthony had been watching Jennys performance on the field, what would they have thought? Act out a dialogue that the two might have had as the events unfold in this chapter. (synthesis) 6. How does Jenny help Crong and Halga? Halga calls Jenny a hero. Do you agree? Why or why not? (evaluation)

Predict
Where has Klarr taken Prince Lamb? Will Jenny save him in time? What could happen to Jenny?

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CHAPTER 18
Word Study
trample jabs perished

Discussion Starters
1. What is the first nice thing Anthony has ever done for Jenny? (knowledge) 2. How do Melissa and Trish act towards Jenny in this chapter? (comprehension) 3. Jenny says, When Halga and the frogs had appeared in my school and everything had gone into crisis mode, Id been totally in my element. Maybe life as an adventurer wasnt perfect, but Id missed it. Being a normal girl wasnt enough for me, not when adventuring was in my blood. Write or tell about a situation in which you feel that youre in your element. (application) 4. When Jenny sees Dr. Bradley, she thinks, All that silly stuff Id said to Halga about love earlier seemed to really be true. What does she mean by this? (analysis) 5. Now that the truth is out about the unicorns, how might one of them describe their last encounter with Jenny? (synthesis) 6. Jenny is going to Klarrs castle without a plan. Do you think this is brave or foolish? Explain your thinking. (evaluation)

Predict
What will happen when Jenny and the others meet at Klarrs castle? How might Jennys talents help to defeat Klarr?

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CHAPTER 19
Word Study
materialized skeptical brewing incinerated winced singeing ironic heaved

Discussion Starters
1. What does Jenny think is Klarrs weakness? (knowledge) 2. What is Jennys plan? (comprehension) 3. Before charging the castle, Jenny tells the League to think of something thats guaranteed to make them laugh. What is the one thing thats guaranteed to make you laugh? Would it still make you laugh if you were in a dangerous situation? (application) 4. Jenny thinks its ironic that a clown hates laughter. What does she mean by this? (analysis) 5. As he watches the scene from the ceiling, what do you think is going through Prince Lambs mind? Do you think hes more worried for himself or for Jenny? Explain your thinking. (synthesis) 6. What happened to Anthony? Did Jenny do the right thing when she left him behind? Why or why not? (evaluation)

Predict
What will happen to Prince Lamb? Will Jenny defeat Klarr? If so, how? If not, what will happen to Jenny?

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CHAPTER 20
Word Study
staggered scorched unconscious flattered swat gaping spasming amused pluck misplaced conjure on cue hurled infuse shriveled gratitude

Discussion Starters
1. What does Jenny think about that makes her laugh in front of Klarr? (knowledge) 2. What is the one thing that makes Jenny stand her ground as Klarr advances toward her? (comprehension) 3. How does Jenny respond when shes given one wish? How would you respond in the same situation? (application) 4. How is defeating Klarr like a game of mini-golf? (analysis) 5. How does Ribba feel about her magical powers? Compare Ribba and Jenny. What do they have in common? (synthesis) 6. How will Jenny approach her next adventurer assignment? How has her selfconfidence changed her? (evaluation)

Predict
Will Jenny ever find her parents? Will she form friendships with the other adventurers? Write your own last chapter!

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CULMINATING ACTIVITIES
The following projects incorporate Dr. Howard Gardners theory of multiple intelligences. Consider having students choose culminating projects that best match their learning styles.

THE GAME OF (M Y V ERY U NFAIRY T ALE ) LIFE


(Linguistic, Visual-Spatial) Design a game board that brings players through Jennys magical worlds. Include spaces on the board for the following: Setbacks: Players who land on these spaces must move their game pieces backwards. For each of these spaces, briefly describe one of the conflicts in the story. Include several types of conflict (character vs. self and character vs. character). Examples:

Jenny is running from a herd of unicorns. Go back 2 spaces.

When the citizens of Speak ask for Jennys help, she decides to go home.

Klarr is on Jennys heels!


Return to start.

Go back 4 spaces.

Bonus Spaces: Players who land on these get to move their game pieces forward extra spaces. Include Jennys successes from the story, as well as the climax and resolution. Examples:

Anthony saves Jenny from Klarrs clutches. Move ahead 2 spaces.

Illustrate the board with scenes that show the storys various settings. Make game pieces that represent each of the main characters.
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Jenny aims the golf ball towards Klarrs mouth. Hole in one!

Move ahead 4 spaces.

Jenny forgives Dr. Bradley and Anthony for not telling her the truth about her parents.

Move ahead 3 spaces.

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MATH TEST
(Mathematical) According to Jenny, A math test sounds more exciting than going to save another magical world. Design a math test for Jenny involving characters and situations from the story. Dont forget the answer key!


WISHING WELL
(Interpersonal, Intrapersonal) What are some of the things Jenny wishes for over the course of the story? How do her wishes change from the beginning of the story to the end? What do you wish for? Using a wishing well template like the one below, write one attainable wish on the front and a plan for making your wish come true on the back. Display everyones wishing wells together on a bulletin board. Can you guess whose wishes are whose?

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ENCHANTED ANIMALS
(Naturalistic) Some of the animals in the story are imaginary (such as unicorns and dragons), while others are real-life animals with magical abilities (like frogs Crong and Ribba). Create your own magical creature based on an actual animal or insect. Research your creature and organize the facts you find in a graphic organizer on the following page. Next, add a magical element for each category. For example, if your creature lives in a desert area, add a mythical country where the desert is located. Or if your creature eats honey, perhaps it eats only honey made by fairies. Make an illustration or model of your magical creature for a class Enchanted Zoo. Next to your creature, display a plaque that visitors can read to learn more about your creature.

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A Teachers Guide to My Very UnFairy Tale Life by Anna Staniszewski

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Name of Creature: ______________________________________________________ Real Facts: Magical Elements:

Habitat

Diet

Protection

Enemies

Talents


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A Teachers Guide to My Very UnFairy Tale Life by Anna Staniszewski

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FAIR PLAY
(Bodily-Kinesthetic, Musical) In My Very Unfairy Tale Life, many fairy tale stereotypes are reversed. Using a graphic organizer like the one below, brainstorm a list of these fairy tale opposites.

In most fairy tales,


Unicorns are gentle and loving.

but in My Very Unfairy Tale Life


Unicorns (no matter how wellmeaning) can be dangerous!

The main character usually has a fairy godmother or other helpful sidekick.

Anthony, the candy-eating gnome, isnt always helpful.

Give your own favorite fairy tale character a twist. Who is your favorite fairy tale character? _________________________________ Which traits best describe this character? _____________________________________ _____________________________________ ______________________________ ______________________________

Make a list of three things that this character would never do. 1. 2. 3. Give your character a new name and write a scene in which this character acts in an unexpected way. Share your scene with the class. Can they guess the character in the scene you wrote?
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A Teachers Guide to My Very UnFairy Tale Life by Anna Staniszewski

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AN INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR ANNA STANISZEWSKI


How did you get the idea for MY VERY UNFAIRY TALE LIFE? A few years ago, I was working on a dark, depressing book that was sucking the life out of me. I needed something light and funny to cheer me up. So I sat down and started writing a scene about a girl named Jenny who comes home from school and finds a talking frog on her bed. Instead of being surprised or excited by the appearance of the frog, Jenny was annoyed. In fact, she took the magical frog and threw it right out the window! I was intrigued by her reaction and knew I had to find out more about her. Once the idea came to you, what happened next? Did you jot it down right away? Let it simmer? I wrote the story in spurts since I was still focusing mainly on the dark, depressing book. I would write a chapter and have my husband read it. If he laughed, that was a good sign! It took me months to finish the first draft since this was the fun project I would come back to when I was stuck on other things. What was the most challenging part of writing this book? The most rewarding? The most challenging part of the book was making it focused. Since I wrote it in spurts, once I had the whole story finished, the plot wandered all over the place. I worked a lot (on my own and with my agent) to streamline the story, which meant taking out a couple major characters and simplifying the plot. It was a difficult process, but seeing the story become stronger and more focused wound up being the most rewarding part of writing the book.

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A Teachers Guide to My Very UnFairy Tale Life by Anna Staniszewski How did your own life experiences influence the characters and plot in your novel?

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In many ways, Jenny and I are nothing alike. She's brave and outspoken, while I tend to be cautious and shy. And, of course, I don't know much about being a magical adventurer. But what Jenny and I have in common is that we've both struggled with feeling lonely and isolated, and we've both had to try to figure out who we are. In terms of the plot, there were a few funny tidbits that were inspired by events and conversations from my own life. For example, my sister-in-law and I once had a pretty absurd conversation about how you might drink tea if your head fell off. I knew I had to work that into the story! When did you know you wanted to become a writer? I've wanted to become a writer ever since I can remember. My father loves telling stories about how, when I was in elementary school, I would climb a tree with a notebook in hand and write little poems. By the time I was in middle school, I was always trying to write a book, though I never had any luck finishing one. It was only when I went to graduate school to study writing that I got really serious about finally finishing a story! Do you have a writing routine? My routine varies depending on the time of year. When I'm not teaching, I try to get into a routine of writing for a certain amount of time every day. But during the academic year, I tend to write when I have time. That usually means I'm not writing as much as I'd like to, but I always try to make it a priority. Whats the best piece of writing advice youve ever received? A good friend and critique partner gave me great advice years ago when I was working on that dark and depressing book I mentioned earlier. I'd been sending the book out, trying to get a book contract, and having no luck. She told me: "Maybe this isn't the book that's going to get you published." And she was absolutely right. I kept working on new projects, kept improving my craft, and finally I wrote a book that was The One.

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A Teachers Guide to My Very UnFairy Tale Life by Anna Staniszewski What advice do you have for young writers?

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Get ready to do a lot of revising! I know you don't want to hear it. I know you want your story to be done now. But if there's one thing I've learned, it's that most of the writing process is actually rewriting, making the story stronger and better. Sometimes that means having to make huge changes and letting go of what you already have on the page. So don't be scared of revising. This is your chance to take the story you already love and make it into something even better, something that others will love too. When you arent writing, what are some of your favorite things to do? I'm sure it's not surprising that I'm a big reader! I also teach writing at Simmons College which I love doing; there is nothing more exciting than seeing my students' writing getting stronger. I also love playing with my dog, hanging out with my family, and watching terrible reality TV shows. What is your all-time favorite fairy tale? I would have to say "East of the Sun, West of the Moon" which is a fairy tale I only discovered when I was an adult. It's a beautiful story, but more than that, it features a heroine who goes on a quest to rescue her prince. How's that for a strong female character? I think I must have had the tale in the back of my mind as I was working on My Very UnFairy Tale Life.

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