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Troubled Tangerine

Subject Area: Language Arts

Grade Level(s): 6

Duration of Activity: Ten to fifteen, 55-minute class sessions

Description of Activity:

In a study of Edward Bloor’s young adult novel Tangerine, one novel on the National Board of Professional Teachers’ list of recommended books, students will explore aspects of bravery, family relationships, and teamwork as well as the darker human aspects of deviance and confession as they read the journal of the main character Paul Fisher and dramatize newsworthy events from the novel in videotape format.


  • Students will read and discuss the novel Tangerine by Edward Bloor which is presented in journal format.
  • Student groups will become TV reporting teams, videotaping and taking digital pictures of the rescue from the sinkhole or other newsworthy events from the novel as if the event were happening live.

    Note: Schools without video equipment could modify the activity. Students could design newsletters featuring events that happened in the communities of Lake Windsor Downs and Tangerine. The students may use word-processing or desktop-publishing software.


  • Classroom or individual copies of the young adult novel Tangerine by Edward Bloor (ISBN 0-439-28603-4)
  • Video camera, one or more
  • Digital camera, one or more for integrating still photos into the student projects
  • Video-capture and video-editing software such as Dazzle Digital Video Creator or Ulead VideoStudio
  • Handout 1: I Predict. . .
  • Handout 2: Videotape Rubric
  • Handout 3: News Event Ideas
  • Handout 4: Video Do’s and Don’t’s (teacher copy and classroom copies for students’ use)
  • Handout 5: Success Is in the Planning—Storyboarding and Video Projects (teacher copy and copies for student’s use)
  • Handout 6: Ulead VideoStudio 4.0 SE: Video Editing 101 (teacher copy and classroom students’ use)
  • Handout 7: Student Critique of Videotape Project

Prerequisites (skills or background needed):

  • Students should have a working knowledge of how to use digital and video camera equipment.
  • The teacher should provide instruction about how to use video-capture and video-editing software available at the school.
  • The teacher should make arrangements for use of the video-capture and video-editing software during the time his/her students will be using it.


Teacher Component: The teacher will:

  1. vary the manner in which the novel is read by the students to meet different students’ learning styles. The teacher might use any of the following types of reading activities:

    • Sustained Silent Reading (SSR) — Students read silently.
    • Popcorn Reading—Students take turns reading. One reads as much as he/she wants and then chooses another student to read and so on.
    • Literature Circles—Groups read and discuss the novel together.

  2. ask the students to make predictions throughout the reading of the novel. The students should stop reading at the end of highly exciting journal entries and take time to predict what will happen. As they read, students should modify their predictions or confirm them based on what they read in the novel.
  3. remind students to pay close attention to scenes that could be dramatized in their videotaped projects. The students should look for scenes in the novel that contain aspects of bravery, family relationships, and teamwork, or scenes that portray the darker human nature such as deviance and confession.
  4. divide students into groups of 4 or 5. As much as possible, allow the student freedom in choosing their groups. Early adolescents thrive on choice, but the teacher may need to adjust some groups according to ability levels.

    Note: Before organizing the groups, the teacher may want to question students in order to determine who among them may have experience in videotaping. Students with videotaping experience could be dispersed among the groups. If there are not enough students with videotaping experience to place one per group, these students may be asked to help in the news reports of other groups. They should be given extra credit if they agree to do so.

  5. discuss with the students the importance of the storyboarding, planning, and practicing components of any videotaping project.
  6. ask the student groups to review their predictions, confirmations, and modifications of the various newsworthy events recorded on Handout 1: I Predict . . ., and choose one to use for the news video.
  7. set aside two or three class periods for the students to plan and storyboard.
  8. provide additional class time for the student groups to practice acting out the news programs.
  9. provide Handout 2: Videotape Rubric to guide students as they videotape the news stories.

    Note: Copies of Handout 4: Video Do's and Don’t's; Handout 5: Success Is in the Planning—Storyboarding and Video Projects; and Handout 6: Ulead VideoStudio 4.0 SE: Video Editing 101 should be available for students’ use as they work to create their videotape projects.

  10. assign a rotating schedule, based on the availability of equipment, for groups to

    • shoot their video footage.
    • capture the footage in digital format.
    • edit the captured footage.
    • add effects to the captured videotape footage including, transitions, titles or other text.
    • take any still images with the digital camera.
    • integrate any still digital images taken into the video.

  11. have the students sign up for times to use the equipment as they are nearing the end of the planning stages of storyboarding and practicing. Students needing fellow classmates to be characters in their news stories will go first.
  12. enlist the aid of the technology coordinator or building-level technology expert to assist with videotaping and editing the projects if the teacher feels that having someone in the classroom with more knowledge of videotaping procedures would be helpful.
  13. monitor and guide the student groups as they work on the various aspects of their videotape projects.
  14. set aside class time for the projects to be presented.
  15. distribute copies of Handout 7: Student Critique of Videotape Project. Each student should be supplied one for each project being presented. Ask the students to complete one after each presentation and hand them to the teacher. These will be used along with Handout 2: Videotape Rubric to assess the group projects.
  16. ask the students to compare and contrast the way the scenes are presented in the novel with the way they are presented on videotape as part of a class discussion. Include the advantages and disadvantages of each medium.
  17. assess the projects using Handout 2: Videotape Rubric in conjunction with Handout 7: Student Critique of Videotape Project.

Student Activities: The students will:

  1. read the novel Tangerine by Edward Bloor.
  2. make predictions as new mysteries occur in the novel using Handout 1: I Predict... Students will confirm or modify their predictions as the novel progresses. Possible events for which the students might predict outcomes include the following:

    • What is causing Paul’s vision to be impaired?
    • Why does Shandra avoid getting her picture taken?
    • Will Victor and the boys discover that Paul "ratted" on them about the carnival vandalism?
    • Will Paul stay at Tangerine Middle School?
    • Who is burglarizing the neighborhood?

  3. notice any newsworthy events that may be used in the upcoming videotaping project in the event they write about.
  4. be aware of positive human characteristics represented in the novel including bravery, family relationships, and teamwork, as well as the darker human characteristics of deviance and confession.
  5. divide into groups to form television reporting teams who will act out, videotape, and take digital still images of one of the dramatic events in the novel listed on Handout 3: News Event Ideas. Group members will assume the parts of characters in the scenes as well as being the reporter and cameramen. Students may take additional ideas from their prediction notes on Handout 7: I Predict . . . with the permission of the teacher.
  6. review Handout 2: Videotape Rubric with the teacher and ask any questions about how the projects are to be completed according to the rubric.
  7. sign up for a time to use the video equipment.
  8. use Handouts 3, 4, and 5 to assist in planning, storyboarding, and video-editing their projects.
  9. practice acting out their videotaped projects prior to actual filming the scenes.
  10. videotape, edit, and add sound effects to the video.
  11. present the videotaped projects to the class.
  12. critique the groups as they are presented using Handout 7: Student Critique of Videotape Project on which they will write one positive and one negative thing about each group’s presentation.
  13. submit the completed Handout 7 sheets to the teacher after each project is critiqued.
  14. compare and contrast the way the scenes are presented in the novel with the way they are presented on videotape as part of a class discussion. Include the advantages and disadvantages of each medium.


  • If video-editing software is not available, one videotape could be made of the entire class presenting various scenes for a combined news program.
  • If video equipment is unavailable, students could design newsletters using word-processing or desktop-publishing software. The newsletters could contain stories about events that happened in the two communities in the novel. Some students could base their newsletter on events happening in and around the high-society community of Lake Windsor Downs. Others could base theirs on the poorer blue-collar community of Tangerine. The newsletters should contain who, what, when, where, and how news stories. Digital pictures could be taken of the live presentations and placed on the newsletter also.
  • The teacher could read and record the novel for students reading below grade level or those students could be paired with a reading buddy.
  • Students can be paired with peers willing and capable of helping them complete the technology component of the lesson plan.
  • Students can be allowed to work on their assignments additionally during study hall or free time.

Extension Activities: Extensions related to various events in the novel are listed below.

Lightning/Weather Activities

  • Visit a planetarium to see a lightning storm show.
  • Create a personalized weather Web page at Weather.com / http://www.weather.com.
  • Have a meteorologist visit the class.
  • Plot high lightning-strike areas on a map.
  • Use the World Wide Web to research lightning safety and read personal lightning-strike survivor stories. Web sites that might be used include Lightning Storms / https://thunderstorm.vaisala.com/ and Kids Lightning Information and Safety / http://www.kidslightning.info/zaphome.htm.

Plant activities

  • Visit a local plant nursery or tree grove.
  • Research, create, and present a cross-curricular project between science and language arts classes as the students did in the novel in the journal entry on Monday, October 2. Students could create a plant hot list of the World Wide Web sites they used in the project.
  • Grow a plant from seeds that are prevalent in the class’s area of the country.

Physical Education

  • Write interview questions for a coach at the school. Conduct the interview. Example questions might be: (a) How do you know that one of your athletes would be a possible college prospect? (b) How do you get your star athletes recruited by college athletic teams? (c) Would you advise your star athletes to skip college and go straight to the pros? (d) Do you think attending one school over another will give athletes more publicity as happens in this novel?
  • Use the World Wide Web to compare and contrast the rules of football and soccer.

Content activities

  • Discuss the deeper social aspects of the novel in an open forum. Topics that might be chosen for discussion include gangs, stereotypes, socioeconomic groups, multiculturalism (Latinos in particular).
  • Create a bar graph to display results of class predictions, confirmations, and modifications related to the story’s action. Which mystery did most students predict correctly? Which one did most need to modify?
  • Write a reflective essay discussing how Louis gave Paul strength before and after Louis’s death.
  • Create a chart listing the pros and cons of Paul’s family and another for Louis’ family using a Microsoft Word table. Write responses explaining to which family a student would like to belong and giving his/her reasons why based on the list of pros and cons.
  • Create a journal describing a student’s feelings and reactions to Paul’s experiences as if they were happening to the student himself/herself.


  • Language Arts
  • Technology
  • Science


  1. Review Handout 1: I Predict... for completion.
  2. Assess the videotaped project using Handout 2: Videotape Rubric. Include the combined feedback provided by the students on Handout 7: Student Critique of Videotape Project in calculating 10% of the grade.


Curriculum Frameworks


Sixth Grade

  1. Communicate for a variety of purposes through forms of writing using processes of reading, writing, listening, and viewing for an expanding audience.
  2. Speak coherently in order to express ideas and opinions for a variety of purposes and audiences.
  3. Complete projects and tasks in an organized and coherent manner.
  4. Participate cooperatively while engaging in small group activities to analyze and interpret information, to make decisions, to solve problems, and to produce a given product.
  5. Read independently with fluency and meaning using a variety of strategies.
  6. Read, analyze, and respond in written and oral language or other art forms to increasingly challenging literature and other resources.
  7. Demonstrate continuous progress toward control of grammar, mechanics, and usage of Standard English in oral and written communications.
  8. Acquire and use vocabulary, spelling concepts, and sentence structure for specific situations, purposes, and audiences.
  9. Use language to record observations, to clarify thoughts, to synthesize information, to analyze and evaluate language, etc., in order to facilitate continuous learning.
  10. Construct meaning by applying personal experiences, and by reading, writing, speaking, listening, and viewing.

National Educational Technology Standards (NETS):

  1. Apply productivity/multimedia tools and peripherals to support personal productivity, group collaboration, and learning throughout the curriculum.
  2. Design, develop, publish and present products (e.g., Web pages, videotapes) using technology resources that demonstrate and communicate curriculum concepts to audiences inside and outside the classroom.
  3. Select and use appropriate tools and technology resources to accomplish a variety of tasks and solve problems.


Reading/Language Arts

01 Oral Comprehension (Level 10, 11)
Demonstrate both literal and interpretive understanding of passages that are read aloud.

Use writing or other means to respond to literal and interpretive questions about passages that are read aloud.

02 Basic Understanding (Level 10-21/22)
Demonstrate understanding of the literal meaning of a passage through identifying stated information, indicating sequence of events, and defining grade-level vocabulary.

Write responses to questions requiring literal information from passages and documents.

03 Analyze Text (Level 11-21/22)
Demonstrate comprehension by drawing conclusions; inferring relationships such as cause and effect; and identifying theme and story elements such as plot, climax, character, and setting.

Write responses that show an understanding of the text that goes beyond surface meaning.

04 Evaluate and Extend Meaning (Level 11-21/22)
Demonstrate critical understanding by making predictions; distinguishing between fact and opinion, and reality and fantasy; transferring ideas to other situations; and judging author purpose, point of view, and effectiveness.

Write responses that make connections between texts based on common themes and concepts; evaluate author’s purpose and effectiveness; and extend meaning to other contexts.

05 Identify Reading Strategies (Level 11-21/22)
Demonstrate awareness of techniques that enhance comprehension, such as using existing knowledge, summarizing content, comparing information across texts, using graphics and text structure, and formulating questions that deepen understanding.

Write responses that interpret and extend the use of information from documents and forms, and that demonstrate knowledge and use of strategies.

08 Writing Strategies (Level 11-21/22)
Demonstrate knowledge of information sources, outlines, and other pre-writing techniques.

Demonstrate an understanding of the use of topic sentences, concluding sentences, connective and transitional words and phrases, supporting statements, sequencing ideas, and relevant information in writing expository prose.

Link and Feedback to Author(s):

Michelle Byrd, New Hope Middle School, Columbus, MS

Handout 1: I Predict. . . Word Acrobat
Handout 2: Videotape Rubric Word Acrobat
Handout 3: News Event Ideas Word Acrobat
Handout 4:
Video Do’s and Don’t’s
Handout 5:
Success Is in the Planning—Storyboarding and Video Projects
Handout 6:
Ulead VideoStudio 4.0 SE: Video Editing 101
Handout 7: Student Critique of Videotape Project Word Acrobat
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