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A Family Apart. By: Joan Lowery Nixon. Ponder on this…. What is your definition of an orphan? How do children become orphans? Today, what do we do if we have children that fit the definition of an orphan? What do you think would be the worst part of being an orphan?

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a family apart

A Family Apart

By: Joan Lowery Nixon

ponder on this
Ponder on this…
  • What is your definition of an orphan?
  • How do children become orphans?
  • Today, what do we do if we have children that fit the definition of an orphan?
  • What do you think would be the worst part of being an orphan?
  • Are there any good things about being an orphan?
  • If you had to describe three characteristics that would help an orphan make the best of their situation, what would you suggest and why?
vocabulary chapter one
Vocabulary Chapter One
  • Overseas – Pg 1
  • Interfere – Pg 2
  • Bandits – Pg 4
  • 2 – Reader’s Choice
chapter one
Chapter One
  • Jennifer and Jeff are spending their summer with Grandma. To pass the time, she offers to tell them the story of their great, great, great grandmother’s journal. Would you consider these summer plans good ones? Why/why not?
  • Describe your family in detail. Explain those that live with you, in your home, and those that reside elsewhere. Share the type of relationship you have with your family members. Which would you be willing to spend your summer vacation with and why?
vocabulary chapter two
Vocabulary Chapter Two
  • Cobbled street – Pg 6
  • Hansom Cab – Pg 6
  • Docked – Pg 6
  • Shabby – Pg 10
  • Tenements – Pg 19
chapter two
Chapter Two
  • Frances Mary Kelly hits the story running…literally. How would you describe her status or social level? Do you believe her to be wealthy, average/middle class, poor? Find and share four examples that support your description.
  • How would you describe Frances’ personality? What two character traits are you able to identify in her, already? Find and share evidence from the story for each of the two character traits you have identified in Frances.
vocabulary chapter three
Vocabulary Chapter Three
  • Porridge – Pg 22
  • Tailor – Pg 23
  • Lye soap - Pg 23
  • Knickers – Pg 25
  • Reader’s Choice
chapter three
Chapter Three
  • How does Frances feel when she realizes Mara will be staying at the Children’s Aid Society? Why does she feel this way?
  • Mike justifies stealing to Frances. How does he explain his actions? Do you agree with his feelings? Why/why not? Is it ever “ok” to steal? What would you do if you were in Mike’s position?
vocabulary chapter four
Vocabulary Chapter Four
  • Flung – Pg 37
  • Tongue Lashing – Pg 38
  • Indignation – Pg 39
  • Portly – Pg 40
  • Temptations – Pg 43
  • Falter – Pg 46
chapter four
Chapter Four
  • As you read the courtroom scene, were you surprised that Ma was allowing all of her children to be taken west? What are her reasons for sending them with Mr. Brace? Do you agree with her decision? Why/why not?
  • ~Love is not a feeling of happiness,

Love is a willingness to sacrifice. -Michael Novak

Describe how this quote is appropriate for this chapter.

vocabulary chapter five
Vocabulary Chapter Five
  • Clung – Pg 51
  • Scout – Pg 51
  • Destination – Pg 52
  • Reader’s Choice
  • Reader’s Choice
chapter five this entry will be different it s based on your gender
Chapter Five This entry will be different…it’s based on your gender.
  • If you are a boy, put yourself in Mike’s shoes. Write a letter to Ma as you are beginning your journey West. Be sure to include your feelings about what happened and how you feel about her decision as well as your feelings on the future.
  • If you you are a girl, pretend you are Frances. Write a letter to Ma, now that a few days have passed and you are preparing yourself and your siblings for the trip. Be sure to include how you now feel about her decision. Have your feelings changed? Also, include your own thoughts on the trip and how it will impact your family. How will you cope?
vocabulary chapter 6
Vocabulary Chapter 6
  • Snickering – Pg 65
  • Disguise – Pg 65
  • Captor – Pg 70
  • Runaway slaves – pg 70
  • Bounty hunters – pg 71
chapter 6
Chapter 6

“She was the eldest. She was in charge. She had to be the responsible, strong one.” Frances reminded herself as the train pulled away from the station.

  • Members of a family often fit into roles, parts each person plays or is responsible for within the group. Frances sees herself as the eldest…the leader of the siblings. Mike is the oldest boy, man of the family now that Da is gone.

What role do you play? What character are you in your family’s day to day life? Think of your life as a TV show. Which character are you and why? Do you support that role with your behavior choices or is it forced on you by the other members of your family? Do you enjoy your role? Why/why not?

vocabulary chapter 7
Vocabulary Chapter 7
  • Bolster – Pg 73
  • Appraising – Pg 73
  • Parroted – Pg 74
  • Trestles – Pg 77
  • Subdued – Pg 86
chapter 7
Chapter 7
  • Describe how Mike Kelly comes to the rescue not once, not twice, but three times on the train ride west.
  • Explain what Mike’s actions tell us about his character. What type of person he is…inside. Would you have done the same? Why/why not?
  • Think about a time in your life when you helped out in a tough situation. Share the situation or circumstances and what you did to help. How did helping make you feel?
vocabulary chapter 8
Vocabulary Chapter 8
  • Wistfully – Pg 87
  • Taunts – Pg 91
  • Pulpit – Pg 92
  • Intently – Pg 93
  • Reader’s Choice
chapter 8
Chapter 8
  • What does it mean when someone says, “You have their best interests at heart?” Can you think of a time in your life when it seemed that someone felt this way but they were actually benefiting in a selfish way? Explain.
  • Do you think that Katherine and Andrew had the best interest’s of the children at heart? Why/why not? Prove your opinion from the evidence in the story.
  • What could have been an ulterior(selfish) motive for Katherine and Andrew? How else could they have been benefiting from the job that they did?
vocabulary chapter 9
Vocabulary Chapter 9
  • Spectators – Pg 94
  • Clutch – Pg 95
  • Rebellious – Pg 97
  • Regained – Pg 108
  • Reader’s Choice
chapter 9
Chapter 9
  • Think back…in the last novels you’ve read, what struggles did your characters face? Were they being bullied? Problems within their families? Maybe they had a health/physical concern? These are conflicts.
  • Literature is often, if not always written around a conflict. Consider chapter 9. What conflict(problem) did the characters face?
  • Identify and explain a major conflict from Chapter 9. Is it an external conflict or an internal conflict? Why? Think about the words…external…internal…
vocabulary chapter 10
Vocabulary Chapter 10
  • Peak – Pg 109
  • Homesteader – Pg 110
  • Homely – Pg 114
  • Mocking – Pg 114
  • Dubious – Pg 115
chapter 10
Chapter 10
  • Imagine you are in Frances’ position…entering and getting settled in a new home.
  • Write a letter home to Ma explaining all of the things that have happened and share your new surroundings. Remember, Ma is unable to experience modern day conveniences like a camera phone pic of your new living arrangements. Be descriptive. Make a mental picture in her mind.
vocabulary chapter 11
Vocabulary Chapter 11
  • Rousted – Pg 127
  • Passel – Pg 128
  • Marshal – Pg 129
  • Wary – Pg 131
  • Reader’s Choice
chapter 11
Chapter 11
  • “When we forgive, we in no way change the past…but we sure do change the future. ~B. Meltzer
  • Explain the meaning behind this quote. Who in our story would benefit most from this advice? Why?
  • Do you think Frances will ever forgive Ma? Why/why not?
  • What might need to occur for Frances to forgive her?
vocabulary chapter 12
Vocabulary Chapter 12
  • Blurted – Pg 139
  • Hitched – Pg 140
  • Abruptly – Pg 143
  • Reader’s Choice
  • Reader’s Choice
chapter 12
Chapter 12
  • Often times people will share stories that are difficult for us to relate to. What does that mean? When you can relate to a story, what does that mean you the listener are able to do?
  • What do you need to be able to relate to a story or situation?
  • What in Frances’ background makes her able to relate to exactly how the slaves feel? How does this help her understand their experiences?
vocabulary chapter 13
Vocabulary Chapter 13
  • Cringing – Pg 149
  • Ailing – Pg 149
  • Confided – Pg 151
  • Muddle – Pg 152
  • Reader’s Choice
chapter 13
Chapter 13
  • What does the word sacrifice mean to you? What have you sacrificed in your life and why?
  • In your opinion, what is the biggest sacrifice you have ever heard of?
  • Does Frances truly understand the meaning of the word sacrifice? What has her mother sacrificed?
  • What have the Cummingses and the Muellers sacrificed?
end of story thoughts
End of Story Thoughts
  • A theme in literature refers to the central idea or message that the author tries to share with you, the readers.
  • In your opinion, what is the theme of A Family Apart?
  • Describe or explain at least three examples from the story that prove your theme choice.
  • In A Family Apart, who is most impacted by the theme you chose? Why?