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Recently, my students and I have been chuckling over Chapters Three through Five of THE BRILLIANT FALL OF GIANNA Z by Kate Messner.

Before we started, though, I showed them a PowerPoint slide show of the setting featured in Chapter Two. When Gianna and her family travel north to Montreal, they visit the
Jean-Talon market, (link to Montreal tourism website) which is one of my favorite places in my favorite city! Messner does a superb job of describing this area of Montreal and the imagery of the market brings it to life for the reader.

As the student watch Gianna struggle to get her leaf project underway (the very same project they are turning in this week in Science), they feel her anxiety mount and can relate to her feelings of being overwhelmed. Her encounters with the neighbors, her family's efforts to keep her on track, and her friend's assistance in leaf collecting all lend humor and heart to the saga. There were laugh-out-loud moments...and sometimes we had to stop reading just so we could giggle a bit longer.

The highlight of today's class had to be the
"What Kind of Tree Are You?" quiz I downloaded from Kate Messner's website. (You have to scroll...it is toward the bottom.) I ran off a class set of the quiz, so each child had one. We then read it aloud, being sure to mark the answers on a separate sheet of paper. When we finished choosing the answer that best fit us to each question, we turned to the end and found out what tree matched our personalities. It was a riot! The students would raise their hands when I'd call out their tree name and then we'd read the description together. (Some students had a mixture of answers and had to decide whether to be a hybrid or reevaluate their choices and pick just one.) Most students, however, were solidly in one category or another.

An interesting development was that only one child from all of my classes was a Weeping Willow! When I read the description (kind, thoughtful, etc.) it fit that lovely young woman perfectly and the students nodded in assent. A couple were the showy European Mountain Ash, while a solid number were Sugar Maples. The few that ended up being Black Walnuts had a good laugh at themselves, while the students behind them nodded silently in agreement. The rest were either an Oak or an American Beech. I am an American Beech. (If you know me, I think you will agree!)

If you take the time to do quiz yourself, let us know how it turns out - the class is monitoring the blog and we'd love to see if the "What Kind of Tree Are You" quiz works for you as well as it did for us!

Stayed tuned to further adventures with TEACHING GIANNA from Mrs. Light's English class!

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook @marjorielight


( 25 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 21st, 2009 01:10 pm (UTC)
Hmm, I'm an oak, but I think those who know me would be surprised to hear me described as steady. I think I'd better be the kind with the irregular leaves.

However, I'd really rather be an aspen.
Oct. 22nd, 2009 12:34 am (UTC)
Some of my students had the same result & chose to be a burr oak - One girl said, "The loopy leaves fit my personality best!"

So, we need to know: Why an aspen? What qualities about it fit your personality?
Oct. 22nd, 2009 11:32 am (UTC)
Mostly so you could plant me in New Mexico, at high altitude.

But also they are ablaze with golden light in autumn, and the leaves shake musically in the wind, and they come back incredibly fast after a devastating fire. I don't know if this is me or not, but I'd like it to be.
Oct. 22nd, 2009 12:27 pm (UTC)
Also, it is exactly like me to pick a tree that's NOT ON THE LIST.
Oct. 22nd, 2009 03:14 am (UTC)
My husband had A-3 and D-4 so he was a sugar maple. This made my children laugh because he is not always sweet. He is an English teacher turned high school librarian and is not scared of given a kid detention or (with his kids) take away all video games for a week.
My oldest daughter who will be 13 later this month and is a 7th grader, she had C-1, D-2, E-1, and F-3. So she was really everywhere. But mainly an American Beech. She is a great student and always does what she should do, both at home and at school.
My youngest daughter who just turned 10 and is a 4th grader, she had B-1, C-3, D-1, and E-2. She looks to be every where, but she is more of a C and E kid if you ask me. And seeing she had more Cs was not surprising which makes her a black walnut. She gets in trouble sometimes because she likes to be the one who determines how things should be handled. Luckily she follows all the other rules of the book. And because she likes to look good she tries to not make herself look too silly in front of her class.
Then me, I had C-1 and F-6. I almost picked one A. I am an American Beech, but when I was younger and in school I would have been a red oak, 100%. Age has made me a little more outspoken and not afraid to ask questions, or speak up when I feel something is wrong. Maybe I changed a little too much, but we are who we are.
Oct. 27th, 2009 05:10 pm (UTC)
Thanks for taking the quiz and posting your results. On our team we had more American Beeches than Black Walnuts, but every class had Black Walnuts in it. To your oldest daughter...the American Beech kids say the description of the beech really suits her - it fits us, too. To your youngest daughter who is a Black Walnut from the three Black Walnuts in the class: Remember to be nice, not mean, it will pay off in the end!

We hope you had fun! Thanks again -
Oct. 22nd, 2009 05:11 pm (UTC)
What Kind of Tree is Mr. Larkin?
Hi - I took the quiz, too. I had a few answers that were the Red Oak, but I was almost totally the American Beech. I absolutely agree with the assessment...I am disciplined and determined. And I will ALWAYS be the last one standing! I am the strongest beech on the Trailblazer team! (Take THAT, Mrs. Light, Mrs. Bernard, and Ms. Quarles!) :) -Mr. Larkin
Oct. 26th, 2009 01:56 pm (UTC)
Third Period English
We took a poll in English class and we decided you ARE disciplined and determined. HOWEVER, we also voted that Mrs. Bernard is the STRONGEST person on the Trailblazer team! (So take THAT, Mr. Larkin!)
Oct. 26th, 2009 04:57 pm (UTC)
NOT the strongest!
After a brief discussion...we decided YOU are the weakest tree on the team. In order of strongest to weakest: Mrs. Bernard, Ms. Quarles, Mrs. Light, and then...of course...you. (Remember Mrs. Bernard is ARMED!) (BTW, a kid...(his initials are Dan H. - haha) wanted to say he is "not in 7th pd English"...)
Oct. 27th, 2009 02:10 pm (UTC)
4th period English
Mr. Larkin: You will be sad to know that we voted you as NOT the strongest...in most areas. (Mrs. Bernard won THAT!) BUT...we all agree that you are strong in one area: You have the strongest vocal chords. : ) Your Grade: F in Strength
(NOTE: Mr. Larkin, if you would like the class list for 4th pd, just stop by...Mrs. Light)
Oct. 27th, 2009 05:03 pm (UTC)
8th pd response
Mr. Larkin - We talked about your response and we think Ms. Quarles and Mrs. Bernard are both strong (-er than you)! Ms. Quarles always follows through with her goals for the class and she will slow down in class if needed to make sure we understand. Mrs. Bernard is calm and makes sure we follow her one rule: Don't talk while she is talking. She is more flexible about homework.
Oct. 22nd, 2009 05:21 pm (UTC)
Mrs. Bernard Take the Tree Quiz!
It appears that I'm a hybrid - no surprise! haha I'm a cross between a Red Oak and an American Beech. Both of these trees are strong and steady. Like the Oak, I'm easy-going and laid-back...BUT, like the American Beech, I can be a tough cookie! (So watch out....heeheehee!)
Oct. 26th, 2009 05:00 pm (UTC)
Re: Mrs. Bernard Take the Tree Quiz!
Seventh pd voted and YOU are the strongest tree on the team! And not just because you are armed! :)
Oct. 27th, 2009 02:15 pm (UTC)
Mrs. Bernard Wins!
4th pd says: We think your description is PERFECT! You are so calm and laid back...we really love math this year. (Mrs. Light has tissues in her room if this makes you cry!) Although...you are one tough cookie!
Oct. 27th, 2009 05:15 pm (UTC)
8th pd
We concur! You ARE strong and steady, but also laid-back.
Oct. 22nd, 2009 07:28 pm (UTC)
Ms. Quarles is a Fagus grandifolia (italics)!
I have you ALL beat.. all my answers pointed to American Beech! Now that I think about it, I am starting to feel excited for the Trailblazer students having 4 tough and determined teachers! Students, that means that we are DETERMINED to see you be successful this year and when you start to bring excuses to the table... we will be TOUGH on you to do the best that you can.
Oct. 26th, 2009 02:01 pm (UTC)
Re: Ms. Quarles is a Fagus grandifolia (italics)!
Hi Ms. Quarles: Third pd English says, "GREAT"...we are so "excited" that you are going to be so tough on us! : )
Oct. 26th, 2009 05:04 pm (UTC)
Re: Ms. Quarles is a Fagus grandifolia (italics)!
A certain student (with the initials of Gerrit R. haha) said in a VERY sarcastic tone..."Oh THAT makes me want to work that much harder!" To make you feel better...7th pd English voted and we think you are stronger than Mr. Larkin!
Oct. 27th, 2009 02:23 pm (UTC)
4th pd English here
Correction: There are THREE strong teachers on the team (Mrs. Bernard, Ms. Quarles, and Mrs. Light...in order of strength). Mr. Larkin did not make the cut.
Oct. 27th, 2009 05:18 pm (UTC)
8th Pd Response
We think you are one of the strongest teachers on the team! Thanks for wanting us to be successful and giving us the support to help us do well! It figures you would use the scientific name : )
Oct. 28th, 2009 04:09 pm (UTC)
From Mrs. Bernard
Thank you Trailblazers. It is I, the great one here, appreciating all your comments. You guys are THE BEST!!!!!!You are making me tear up "Sniff sniff" with all your wonderful comments. Too bad about Mr. Larkin being the weak one huh?
We'll get him some vitamins...hee hee hee!
Oct. 31st, 2009 03:04 am (UTC)
hey ms.light baylee dumont again
i had my mom and sister take the test and it finds out my mom was a beech and my sister was a red oak like me. they absolutly love it and they want to do it again and show my family to how cool is that! see you in class happy halloween! :)
Nov. 6th, 2009 12:32 am (UTC)
Re: hey ms.light baylee again
I'm glad you took the tree personality quiz with your mom and sister. Isn't that interesting you are the same as your sister? I'm not surprised your mom is an American Beech after all of the great things you told me about her!
Nov. 5th, 2009 01:06 am (UTC)
:) what a shocker!
my mom brother and dad took the quiz every one of them were a American beech just like me.... Except my brother he was a bur oak cause of the loopy leaves but other than that I think I take after my family pretty well
Nov. 6th, 2009 12:30 am (UTC)
Re: :) what a shocker!
I love the loopy leaf option - it's a perfect touch! I'm so glad you all took the quiz - it's a cool activity...thanks for sharing.
( 25 comments — Leave a comment )

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