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The Watson’s Go to Birmingham. Chapters 1-4. Essential Question: What are the drawbacks of prejudice and the positive aspects of diversity? Journal Writing Topic - What does being prejudiced mean to you? . Chapter 1 Writing Time .

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chapter 1 writing time

Essential Question: What are the drawbacks of prejudice and the positive aspects of diversity?

  • Journal Writing Topic - What does being prejudiced mean to you?
Chapter 1 Writing Time
journaling topics choose 1

If you were Kenny Watson, how would you feel about your brother Byron’s behavior? If you were Joetta, what would it mean to have your big brother be called a juvenile delinquent?

  • Have you ever been in an uncomfortable situation where you felt pressured to act a certain way? Tell about a time that you went along with the crowd, despite feelings that you shouldn’t.
  • In just a few sentences, pretend you are Kenny and summarize what happened in Chapter 1. Focus on the main parts of this chapter.
Journaling Topics- Choose 1
chapter 1 check


  • How does Byron earn the nickname “The Lipless Wonder?”

Characters’ Perspectives-

  • How does Momma feel about living in Flint, Michigan?
  • When Momma tells Dad that the people in Birmingham are friendlier than they are in Flint, Dad laughs and says, “Oh yeah, they’re a laugh a minute down there. Let’s see, where was that ‘Coloreds Only’ bathroom downtown?” What does Dad mean by this? What is the point he is trying to make?
Chapter 1 Check
chapter 1 check1

Make Inferences-

  • Hambone scared Momma into thinking there were no black people in Michigan. Why would this bother Momma?
  • In Chapter 1, Kenny plays along with Byron and Buphead’s Surviving the Blizzard test. On page 11 he says, “I made up my mind that no matter how hard they threw me in that snow I was going to get up laughing.” Why would Kenny do this? Do you agree with his choice?
Chapter 1 Check
chapter 1 questions

1. List the names of the members of the Watson family.

  • 2. 4 or 5 people in the family were born in Flint, Michigan. Which one was not and where was he/she born and raised?
  • 3. Who is the narrator of the story?
  • 4. Why did mom cover her mouth when she laughed?
  • 5. Where were the Watson family going since it was so cold at their house?
  • 6. Why were Byron and Kenny scraping ice from the Brown Bomber?
  • 7. What happened to By and why?
  • 8. What did Byron and Buphead do to Kenny when they were outside?
Chapter 1 Questions

Short Version of Martin Luther King’s

“I Have a Dream” speech

  • Write one thing you learned from today’s vocabulary, video clip, or reading.
chapter 2 writing time

Essential Questions: What are the drawbacks of prejudice and the positive aspects of diversity?

  • Journal Writing Topic - Are you prejudiced and whom are you prejudiced against?
Chapter 2 Writing Time
chapter 2 check

Cause and Effect

  • What caused teachers to treat Kenny differently than other kids in the school?
  • What effect did this special treatment have on Kenny?

Make Inferences

  • Why would Kenny’s smartness make him enemies of other students?
  • Why did Byron show Kenny how to squint and look at people sideways, but then sometimes called him Cockeye Kenny himself?
Chapter 2 Check
chapter 2 check1

Characters’ Perspectives

  • How does Kenny feel when people call him Poindexter, egghead, or Cockeye Kenny? Explain.


  • What does the bus driver think of the way Larry Dunn treats the new boy on the bus?
Chapter 2 Check
chapter 2 questions

1. Who was the school bully in the story?

  • 2. What happened to the bully?
  • 3. What did Kenny do that made him proud of himself, ashamed of himself, and afraid of By all at the same time?
  • 4. What was Kenny’s nickname?
  • 5. What was Kenny’s savior that came on the bus in raggedy clothes?
Chapter 2 Questions
journaling choose 1

On page 28, Kenny says a “miracle” happened: He was sent a savior. Why does Kenny view the new Southern boy as his savior? Do you agree with Kenny’s judgment?

  • Unlike Kenny, many people would not choose to ignore the teasing, but would instead stop the reading, studying, etc. so that the teasing might stop. Have you ever ignored being teased by your peers in order to do the right thing? Explain your situation and how it made you feel about yourself.
Journaling- Choose 1
chapter 3 4 writing time

Essential Question: What are the drawbacks of prejudice and the positive aspects of diversity?

  • Journal Writing Topics -
  • Who would you consider to be your personal savior?
  • How does he/she save you in your time of need?
Chapter 3-4 Writing Time
chapter 3 check

On the playground Kenny and Rufus have an interesting conversation about a squirrel. What does Rufus say to Kenny that is so surprising?

  • In this chapter, Kenny figures out that there are two things wrong with Rufus. What are those two things?
  • Why did Rufus save half of the sandwich Kenny gave him for later? Why would he?
Chapter 3 Check
chapter 3 questions

1. Most people want their savior very close to them. Why did Kenny want his personal savior as far away from him as he could be?

  • 2. Why did Rufus take part of Kenny’s lunch?
  • 3. What games did Kenny and Rufus play at lunch?
  • 4. Why did Kenny not play with LJ anymore?
  • 5. People made fun of Kenny because of his cross-eyes. Why did they make fun of Rufus? (list at least 2)
  • 6. What caused Rufus to get mad at Kenny?
  • 7. Kenny thought he and Rufus were secret friends. How did Kenny feel when Rufus got mad at him?
  • 8. How did Rufus and Kenny get back together as friends?
Chapter 3 Questions
journaling choose 11

When Rufus tells Kenny that he thought Kenny was different, what did he mean by this? In what ways was Kenny “different” from others? Why was this important to Rufus?

  • When Kenny laughed at Rufus on the bus, he did not have the courage to stand up to Larry Dunn. Can you think of a time when you needed courage in order to make a good decision? Explain what happened and talk about how courage helped you.
  • Can you think of ways in which your family practices and beliefs are different from those in other neighborhoods, towns, or even countries?
Journaling- Choose 1
chapter 4 questions

1. Why did Momma dress her children in so many layers of clothing?

  • 2. How did Byron get Joey to quit whining and crying about having to wear so many winter clothes?
  • 3. Kenny gave Rufus his first pair of gloves. Then, Kenny’s second pair was stolen. Who stole them? What happened to the stolen gloves while the thief had them?
  • 4. What happened to the thief?
Chapter 4 Questions
weather update

In Chapter 4, we learn that Momma is overly concerned about how cold it can be in Flint.

  • Average Weather for Birmingham:
  • Average Weather for Flint, Michigan:
Weather Update!
chapter 4 check


  • Rufus figures out that Larry Dunn stole Kenny’s gloves. What evidence does he have to prove it?
  • How does Kenny react when he realizes he only has one glove?
  • In this Chapter we learn that Larry Dunn is poor. What evidence supports this inference?
Chapter 4 Check