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Joey Pigza Loses Control

By Jack Gantos

About the Book: Joey Pigza is a bit different from most kids: he has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) with a tendency to be a little "wired." When Joey goes to stay with his dad, Carter Pigza, for six weeks, he wants nothing more than to show him that he's changed with the aid of daily medication and tries desperately to show his love for his dad. His father is not the easiest guy to love. He is just a bigger version of Joey, but is also a neat freak who drinks too much. Joey tries to live by his dad's rules, even joining the baseball team he coaches. The trouble is Joey's dad thinks taking control means giving up the things that keep Joey safe. Will Joey be able to play by his dad's rules, even when the rules don't make sense? Set the Stage: Use the following to get the students ready to read: · Have you ever felt different from other children your age? What is it about you that made you feel this way? Would you want to change this uniqueness? Explain your answer. · Everyone tries to please those they love the most. Think of a special person in your life. What have you done to try and show that person how much you truly love them? · Trying something new, whether it is a sport, food, activity, or language. Many times people get nervous about trying new things for fear of failure. Think of something that you were once scared to try but ended up liking or being successful at. What did you try? · What is ADHD? Do you know of anyone who has been medically diagnosed with this condition? Do you treat this person differently because they have this condition? Explain your answer. Review: After reading the book, discuss the following: · During the car ride to drop Joey off at his dad's, his mom tells him that she is nervous. Why does she feel this way? · What is the one thing Joey wants from his dad more than anything else? · What is in the envelope that Joey's mom gives him before getting out of the car? Why do you think she gives him this? · Describe Joey's grandma. What are your feelings about her? What do you like best about her? What is your least favorite thing about her? · Joey's dad takes him to Storybook Land. What is the special significance of this park for Carter Pigza? · What health issue does Grandma have? · What catastrophe happens when Joey and his dad are at Storybook Land? · What does Joey's dad discover about him when he attends baseball practice? · How does Grandma treat and feel about Pablo? · Joey and his dad both wear patches. How is each patch used? · Describe Leezy Fiddle. · What is Carter's behavior like during a baseball game? Give details to support your answer. · When Grandma runs out of cigarettes, she resorts to blackmail in order to get some more. How does Grandma blackmail Joey? · When Joey makes a phonecall to his mom, she soon realizes he hasn't changed his patch. What clues lead her to figure this out? pg. 1 of 3

· Joey's dad calls himself a hypocrite. What is a hypocrite? How does Carter Pigza fit the definition? · What does it mean to be liberated? In what way does Joey's dad try to liberate him? Even though Joey knows what his father is doing can only lead to problems, why doesn't he speak up? · How does Joey's dad describe the differences between men and women? How does he feel men should behave? · During Joey's first day without his patch, he does things that clue the reader in as to what it's like having ADHD and not being on medication. What things did Joey do that he probably wouldn't have done if he were on his medication? · What does Joey's dad mean when he calls him "a happy accident"? If you were Joey, how would this make you feel? Explain your answer. · Joey and his dad argue during the semifinal baseball game. Why does Joey get so upset and how does he take his frustration out on his dad? What did you think about Carter Pigza's character at this point in the story? · In what ways does Joey's dad scare him? What did Joey do for himself in order to make things better? · What drastic action does Joey take when he thinks his mom has left him behind? What tragic things could have happened as a result of Joey's actions? · At the end of the story, it is obvious that Grandma truly loves Joey. What does Grandma do to show her love? · Why does Joey's dad say, "Don't be a Humpty Dumpty on me and crack up"? · What does Joey do after he receives this criticism from his dad and feels that the pressure is too much to handle? · In what way does Leezy prove to be a "saint" for Joey and his mom? · How does Joey realize that he and his dad are different? Explain your answer with details. Student Activity (found on the last page of this PDF): Students will make a list of what Joey does when he doesn't take his medicine. Related Activities: To extend students' enjoyment of the book, try these: · Father and Son: As wonderful as the relationship between a father and his son can be, many times it can also be challenging. Have students create a journal entry detailing what they feel the challenges might be in this type of relationship. Why do they feel a parent or child might not follow their normal path of behavior regarding one or the other? Have they ever tried to please a parent/guardian so much that deep inside they felt like they were doing the wrong thing for THEM? Have them write about their feelings regarding this subject. · VENN All About ADHD: Joey Pigza has a medical condition called ADHD. What does this abbreviation stand for? Have students research ADHD through a local library or by interviewing a doctor and ask students to describe their feelings through a brief journal entry about its effects on people. Next they should complete a Venn diagram showing the differences and similarities of a student who has ADHD and one who does not. Finally, ask students to write in their journal about their feelings as to whether these students should be treated differently in their class(es). · She's a Character!: Joey's grandma brings out mixed emotions in all of us. One minute we love her, yet the next we hate her. Have students showcase Joey's grandma by drawing five pictures as they would appear in a comic strip of how they believe she looks. Then they should add a brief paragraph in a separate journal about the importance of her relationship with Joey. Did they find her helpful, harmful, or both? Have they ever had a relationship similar to the one between Joey and Grandma? Finally, ask students to add words and more colorful pictures to their five-picture comic strip in order to capture what they would say to Grandma if she treated them the same way as she did Joey. (They are to treat themselves as if they were Joey.) What would they say or do? pg. 2 of 3

· Pigza vs. Pizza: Throughout the story Joey Pigza Loses Control, Joey makes decisions based on the bribery and actions of the adults surrounding him. He accepts his dad's girlfriend because she provides him with pizza. He doesn't tell his mom about being without his patch because his dad offers him acceptance and understanding. He gives in to Grandma's demand for cigarettes because she threatens harm upon his most-beloved dog, Pablo. Ask students if they have ever had to make decisions that were uncomfortable or undesirable due to an adult's bribery or false promises. What were these decisions and how did they make them feel? If they could turn back the clock, would they do the same things? After writing their feelings in their journal, ask students to decide whether or not they want to share them with the other person involved. If they decide not to share, explain why. If they do share, ask them to tell the outcome of their experience. · Could Joey Do This Mental Math?: Joey often has trouble keeping things straight in his brain. Ideas seem to overlap each other and thoughts get jumbled together. See if students can solve the following mental math problems without using any paper or pencils: 4 Joey went to stay with his dad for six weeks. How many days was this? Ask students to show how they solved the problem. 4 Joey and his mom drove many miles to get to his father's home in Pittsburgh. Imagine the distance driven was 100 miles. If the average number of miles driven per hour was 50 miles, how long did the trip take? Ask students to show how they solved the problem.

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© 2010 Scholastic Inc. 8476


Seeing the Signs

Based on Joey Pigza Loses Control by Jack Gantos

Directions: Joey Pigza's behavior changes drastically when he doesn't take his medication. He makes poor decisions and his actions lack caution. When Joey stays with his dad, he is told he doesn't need to wear his patch and he can control himself without medicine. Soon Joey is acting like his prior wired self. What things does Joey do that he normally wouldn't have done if he had been taking his medication? Make a list below. Important Story Events: 1._________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________________ 2._____________________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________________ 3._____________________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________________ 4._____________________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________________ 5._____________________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________________ 6._____________________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________________ 7._____________________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________________ 8._____________________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________________ 9._____________________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________________ 10.____________________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Permission to reproduce this curriculum connection is fully granted by Scholastic Book Fairs.

© 2010 Scholastic Inc. 8476


4 pages

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