1. After rereading Skeet's description of the dead manatee, (p. 4) find a photo of a manatee on the Internet or in an encyclopedia. (You might visit http://www.savethemanatee.org/). Using your source, write a one-page description of the manatee's appearance, habitat, and behavior, and be ready to share what you learned with your class.
By completing a brief study of the manatee, students will be better able to visualize the manatee and understand Skeet's alarm at finding the dead animal.
2. You've been assigned to write your own essay on the topic of "Methods of Growing Yourself Up." With Skeet's essay as a model, write your own creative piece. Try to come up with a central metaphor for your essay, just like Skeet does. Skeet's metaphor, for example, is the menu at the Golden Moon Chinese restaurant.
This assignment reinforces the concept of metaphor and gives students practice in inventing a metaphor to describe themselves. Students could be asked to follow Skeet's model in identifying influential people who have shaped their lives over time.
3. Skeet's spring break included many personal highs and lows. Create a line graph depicting Skeet's spring break week, from the day he found the dead manatee to the day he learned the truth behind the manatee's death. Be sure to label all of the high and low points on the graph. When you are finished, compare your graph with a classmate's and discuss.
With this assignment, students will review the events of the novel and create a graph to help depict these events. Students could compare their graphs in groups, discussing the choices they made in creating their graphs.