Teaching Activities for
Carl Joseph: Some Called Me “SuperStar”
Grade Level: 6
Format: The following activities can be adapted to a whole class, small literature group, or small guided reading group. Choose one or more activities from each section to support comprehension before, during, and after reading the book. In addition, the author has also included numerous writing activities in Chapter 9 - "You Be the Sportscaster," and Chapter 20 - "You Be the Writer." In addition, there are sports vocabulary exercises at the end of Chapter Twelve - "Football, Part 3," Chapter Fourteen - "Basketball, Part 2." and Chapter Sixteen - "Track, Part 2."
Specific Sunshine State Standards are noted among the activities. Florida’s Sunshine State Standards are comparable to most other state standards.
Summary: This inspiring autobiography describes the life of Carl Joseph, an accomplished athlete who overcame hardship and disability to excel in sports and in life. Carl was the fourth child of a large family led by a single mother. He was born with only one leg. Despite his disability and the challenges of growing up without a lot of material wealth, Carl’s spirit and determination allowed him to become an award-winning high school and college athlete as well as a successful, generous, and inspiring adult.
Teaching Activities Before Reading
L.A.188.8.131.52 The student will use interest and recommendation of others to select a variety of age and ability appropriate nonfiction materials (e.g., biographies and topical areas, such as science, music, art, history, sports, current events) to expand the core knowledge necessary to connect topics and function as a fully literate member of a shared culture.
LA.184.108.40.206 -The student will make a plan for writing that prioritizes ideas, addresses purpose, audience, main idea, and logical sequence
LA.220.127.116.11: The student will prewrite by using organizational strategies and tools (e.g., technology, outline, chart, table, graph, web, story map).
LA.18.104.22.168 -The student will draft writing by developing main ideas from the prewriting plan using primary and secondary sources appropriate to purpose and audience;
LA.22.214.171.124 - The student will draft writing by organizing information into a logical sequence and combining or deleting sentences to enhance clarity;
• Carl Joseph describes the county in which he grew up and the significance of its name. Ask students what county they live in. Do they know where the name comes from? Ask them to research the origin of their county’s name and then plan and write an expository essay about why their county was given its particular name and what that name might have meant to the people who lived there at the time it was given. Ask students to use the last paragraph to reflect on how this information impacts their lives today.
• Carl Joseph’s ancestors include Native Americans and African slaves. Ask the students to imagine what skills people may have learned from having been a slave or knowing someone who had been a slave. Ask them to write about how these skills have impacted their lives and the lives of their descendants.
• This book has quite a bit of technical information about football. Have students create a KWL (what I know, what I want to know, what I have learned) chart about football. Have them indicate what they already KNOW about football, information they WANT to know and after reading the book have them enter information they have LEARNED about football. After each student has made a list of what they want to know, create a class chart of questions that can be displayed in the classroom. As each question is answered, have a student enter the answer into the class chart.
Interact with the Text During Reading
LA.126.96.36.199 - The student will categorize key vocabulary and identify salient features;
LA.188.8.131.52 - The student will locate and analyze the elements of plot structure, including exposition, setting, character development, rising/falling action, conflict/resolution, and theme in a variety of fiction;
LA.184.108.40.206 – The student will develop an interpretation of a selection and support through sustained use of examples and contextual evidence;
LA.220.127.116.11- The student will use strategies to repair comprehension of grade-appropriate text when self-monitoring indicates confusion, including but not limited to rereading, checking context clues, predicting, note-making, summarizing, using graphic and semantic organizers, questioning, and clarifying by checking other sources.
LA.18.104.22.168 - The student will listen and gain information for a variety of purposes, (e.g., clarifying, elaborating, summarizing main ideas and supporting details)
LA.22.214.171.124- The student will select a topic for inquiry, formulate a search plan, and apply evaluative criteria (e.g., relevance, accuracy, organization, validity, correctness) to select and use appropriate resources
LA.126.96.36.199- The student will collect, evaluate and summarize information using a variety of techniques from multiple sources (e.g., encyclopedias, websites, experts) that includes paraphrasing to convey ideas and details from the source, main idea(s) and relevant details;
LA.188.8.131.52 - The student will demonstrate the ability to select and ethically use media appropriate for the purpose, occasion, and audience.
L.A. 184.108.40.206 The student will write in a variety of informational/expository forms (e.g. summaries, procedures, instructions, experiments rubrics, how-to manuals, assembly instructions.
• Carl Joseph was born with a serious disability; he was missing a leg. Ask students if they know anyone who has a medical ailment or disability that has impacted their lives. Ask students who feel comfortable doing so to interview a friend or family member who has a disability and the particular challenges and unique strengths that have resulted from this. Allow students to form small groups of an interviewer, a researcher, writer, and an editor. Have students work together to create questions for the interviewer, research about the particular ailment and a finished product of their work in a format of their choosing (media presentation, oral presentation, written report, poster). Provide students with rubrics that describe how you will evaluate their work.
• Carl describes playing marbles with his school friends during recess. What were your parents,’ and peers’ favorite outside games when they were elementary school students? Which of these games were also played by your parents or other older family members? Interview a parent and/or peer to find out as much information as you can on their favorite game including how to play it. Write a "how-to manual" that a young child could use to learn a game that was passed down to a child.
• What are some of the negative reactions to Carl Joseph’s disability? Create a chart with three columns that describes those reactions, Carl Joseph’s reaction, and what might be another reaction that others could have displayed toward Carl (antonym or opposite).
• There are many recurring themes in this text (courage, friendship, persistence, humor, overcoming odds). Choose one of the themes present and compare how the theme is presented in this book to another work discussed in class.
• Create a two column journal and record your reflections during reading. Use the “It Says, I Think” format. Divide your page into two columns. On one side enter a quote from the text and on the other side enter your own reflection on the quote. What did it mean to you and how does it relate to your life?
Enrich and Extend Comprehension after Reading:
L.A. 220.127.116.11- The student will write informational/expository essays (e.g., process, description, explanation, comparison/contrast, problem/solution) that include a thesis statement, supporting details, and introductory, body, and concluding paragraphs.
L.A.18.104.22.168-The student will write a variety of informal communications (e.g., friendly letters, thank you notes, messages) and formal communications (e.g., conventional business letters, invitations) that follow a format and that have a clearly stated purpose and that include the date, proper salutation, body, closing and signature.
L.A. 22.214.171.124- The student will write persuasive text (e.g., advertisement, speech, essay, public service announcement) that establishes and develops a controlling idea, using appropriate supporting arguments and detailed evidence.
L.A. 126.96.36.199- The student will include persuasive techniques (e.g. word choice, repetition, emotional appeal, hyperbole, appeal to authority, celebrity endorsement).
LA.188.8.131.52 – The student will listen and gain information for a variety of purposes, (e.g., clarifying, elaborating, summarizing main ideas and supporting details);
LA.184.108.40.206- The student will deliver narrative and informative presentations, including oral responses to literature, and adjust oral language, body language, eye contact, gestures, technology and supporting graphics appropriate to the situation.
• Carl Joseph talks about the difficulty of making it up steps with crutches. What types of features have you seen at your school that help people with disabilities get from one place to another independently, without having to ask for help? (sidewalk cuts, ramps, elevators, wheelchair space, larger bathroom stalls, lower water fountains and sinks…) Write a newspaper article describing your school's efforts at becoming accessible.
• Ask students to write a letter to Carl Joseph describing their experience of reading his book.
• Write a persuasive essay or speech that helps young students understand, empathize with, and befriend an incoming student with disabilities.
• Use a panel discussion to help students fully bring the characters in the book to life. Have students select four characters that they would like to have a discussion with in the book and then have them create a set of questions to ask those characters. Select four students to act as those characters and field questions from the audience. This can be done several times during the book after a chapter or section of text.