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April 23, 2012 The Hoopster Novel Study By Jeremy Rinkel
Grades 6–8, 9–12

    This is the third year I have read The Hoopster with my freshman English class. As I planned The Hoopster unit, I created pre-reading, during-reading, and post-reading activities. Continue reading to see the activities I created for this unit, as well as other online resources for The Hoopster.


    Pre-Reading Activity

    Lesson Plan on Conflict Resolution

    Peaceful conflict resolution is a skill that must be taught to students, who often would resolve conflict violently. Throughout the novel, Andre and his friends are confronted and have the choice to resolve conflicts peacefully. Sometimes a conflict is resolved peacefully, and other times it is not. A lesson on conflict resolution is very beneficial to students. Providing this lesson in advance gives students an understanding of particular characters’ reactions to the tense situations they find themselves in. Another reason I begin with this lesson is to provide background, so students can be critical of the ways characters react in the novel.

    Download my conflict resolution lesson plan.

    Download my conflict resolution PowerPoint presentation.


    During-Reading Activities

    Daily Journal Assignments

    In addition to daily reading assignments, I also have students keep a journal. The journal entries are reflective in nature. Instead of just reading the material, I want students to reflect and apply the lessons from the novel to their lives. Journaling increases students’ ability to express themselves in writing. It also provides students a way to write creatively.

    Download my daily journal guide for The Hoopster.


    Character Poster

    As students read the novel, I have them create character posters. Using Microsoft Publisher, students create a poster focusing on four characteristics the character possesses. The poster should include a picture as well as a quote from the character.


    Download my character poster handout.


    Post-Reading Activities

    Traditional Essay

    After reading The Hoopster, I usually have them write an essay discussing what they learned from the book and how they can apply the lessons Andre learned to their lives. This year I decided to give them a choice between three prompts for their essay. The prompts were:

    • “I became a victim when I let my chance to go to college get away. I had it and let it go. I can blame this or I can blame that, but I had my dream right there in front of me and I let it get away” —Pops (p. 116, The Hoopster). Explain this quote. What is Pops trying to teach Andre? What is Pops trying to teach the reader?
    • Pages 210–213 discuss Andre’s philosophy of life. Andre's philosophy is discussed specifically on page 212. Write your philosophy on life. What do you believe is important? What are two goals you have for your life? How do you plan on reaching your goals?
    • Rocker Jon Bon Jovi once said, “Map out your future, but do it in pencil.” What does this quote mean? How does it relate to what Pops says on page 116?

    Download my traditional essay handout.


    Video or Podcast

    This year I gave students the option of writing the traditional essay or completing a video or audio podcast. Students had to respond to one of the prompts through a video or podcast. Students had to use their voice and include images to support their viewpoint or ideas they wanted to express. If students chose to complete an audio podcast, they had to do more than just read the essay. I was a little disappointed in the number of students that selected this option. Most students told me that it was too much work and that they were more comfortable writing than completing a video or podcast.

    Have you studied The Hoopster with your students? Do you do other novel studies? What activities have worked with your classes? Comment below.


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