Author Feature-Maya Van Wagenen

 


Spirit of Texas Reading Program

Middle School

Featured Author

Maya Van Wagenen

Maya Van Wagenen

Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek


Maya Van Wagenen was eleven when her family moved to Brownsville, Texas. She was fifteen when Popular was published. Maya enjoys reading, British television and chocolate. She currently lives in Georgia with her parents and brother.

 

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Author Website

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Articles


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Book Trailer


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Book Quiz

Printable Copy

  1. Where did Maya live when she wrote Popular, a Memoir: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek?
    1. El Paso, Texas
    2. Brownsville, Texas 
    3. Austin, Texas
    4. Beaumont, Texas
  2. What book from the 1950s inspired Maya's experiment?
    1. Betty Cornell's Tee-Age Popularity Guide
    2. Emily Post's Etiquette
    3. Lauren Conrad: Style
    4. 1 Year, 100 Pounds: My Journey to a Better, Happier Life
  3. When did Maya meet Mr. Lawrence?
    1. First Grade
    2. Seventh Grade
    3. Sixth Grade
    4. Fourth Grade
  4. Pulga is the Spanish word for one of Maya's favorite family outings? What is it in English?
    1. Flea Market
    2. Grocery Store
    3. Beach
    4. Shopping Mall
  5. When Maya decides to take Betty's fashion advice, what does she wear to school?
    1. An evening gown, a girdle, and high heels
    2. A knee-length khaki skirt, a yellow polo shirt, a brown sweater, black leather shoes and her mom's pearls 
    3. Jeans, a button down shirt, and tennis shoes
    4. A skirt, a white button down shirt, high heels and her mom's pearls
  6. What does Maya do to earn money?
    1. Cleaning houses
    2. Tutoring
    3. Selling clothes at the flea market
    4. Babysitting 
  7. What does Maya do that disrupts the social ladder at her school?
    1. Asks a boy to the dance
    2. Makes friends with the cheerleaders
    3. Starts sitting with different groups of people at lunch 
    4. Stops talking to everyone, even her friends
  8. May 4 is one of the most important dates in Maya's life, yet it is an extremely painful day. What is the significance of May 4?
    1. It is her deceased sister Ariana's birthday 
    2. It is the day she finds out about Mr. Lawrence's illness
    3. It is the day her family moves to Georgia
    4. It is her birthday
  9. Which of Betty's suggestions would you consider trying?
    1. Sitting with different groups of people at lunch
    2. Daily exercise
    3. Healthy eating
    4. Wearing a girdle
  10. What is now Maya's signature accessory?
    1. Earrings
    2. A white collared shirt
    3. Pearls 
    4. Painted Nails

 

 

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Academic Program 

Printable Copy

Been There, Done That: Writing a Life

Introduction/Purpose of Program

Students will model Maya's tone and style as they write about a situation in his/her own life.

TEKS

  • Figure 19 Reading/Comprehension Skills. Students use a flexible range of metacognitive reading skills in both assigned and independent reading to understand an author's message. Students will continue to apply earlier standards with greater depth in increasingly more complex texts as they become self-directed, critical readers. The student is expected to:
    • (A) establish purposes for reading selected texts based upon own or others' desired outcome to enhance comprehension
    • (C) reflect on understanding to monitor comprehension (e.g., summarizing and synthesizing; making textual, personal, and world connections; creating sensory images)
    • (E) summarize, paraphrase, and synthesize texts in ways that maintain meaning and logical order within a text and across texts
  • (7) Reading/Comprehension of Literary Text/Literary Nonfiction. Students understand, make inferences and draw conclusions about the varied structural patterns and features of literary nonfiction and provide evidence from text to support their understanding. Students are expected to describe the structural and substantive differences between an autobiography or a diary and a fictional adaptation of it.
  • (8) Reading/Comprehension of Literary Text/Sensory Language. Students understand, make inferences and draw conclusions about how an author's sensory language creates imagery in literary text and provide evidence from text to support their understanding. Students are expected to:
    • (A) determine the figurative meaning of phrases and analyze how an author's use of language creates imagery, appeals to the senses, and suggests mood.
  • (14) Writing/Writing Process. Students use elements of the writing process (planning, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing) to compose text. Students are expected to:
    • (A) plan a first draft by selecting a genre appropriate for conveying the intended meaning to an audience, determining appropriate topics through a range of strategies (e.g., discussion, background reading, personal interests, interviews), and developing a thesis or controlling idea
    • (B) develop drafts by choosing an appropriate organizational strategy (e.g., sequence of events, cause-effect, compare-contrast) and building on ideas to create a focused, organized, and coherent piece of writing
    • (C) revise drafts to ensure precise word choice and vivid images; consistent point of view; use of simple, compound, and complex sentences; internal and external coherence; and the use of effective transitions after rethinking how well questions of purpose, audience, and genre have been addressed
    • (D) edit drafts for grammar, mechanics, and spelling
    • (E) revise final draft in response to feedback from peers and teacher and publish written work for appropriate audiences
  • (16) Writing. Students write about their own experiences. Students are expected to write a personal narrative that has a clearly defined focus and communicates the importance of or reasons for actions and/or consequences

 

Detailed Description of the Program

Maya writes about the significance of seemingly everyday situations with candor, thus making the mundane, quite interesting. Students will read a selection of journal entries from Popular, a memoir: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek and analyze the passages for author's style and use of literary devices. Students will then write a series of journal entries about the day to day events in their lives. After writing a set of journal entries (3-4 days) students will revise an entry to mimic Maya's style.

List of Supplies

  • Copies of selected excerpts from Popular.
  • Highlighters or colored pencils
  • Pencil/paper and/or word processing devices (laptop, computer, tablet, etc.)

Resources (print and electronic)

  • Samples of annotated excerpts 

Excerpts:
Saturday, September 17 (p. 35-37)
Tuesday, November 8 (p.74-77)
Wednesday, March 7 (p.159-162)

  • Cornell, Betty. Betty Cornell's Teen-age Popularity Guide. New York, NY: Dutton Children's, 2014. Print.
  • Gruwell, Erin. The Freedom Writers Diary: How a Teacher and 150 Teens Used Writing to Change Themselves and the World around Them. New York: Doubleday, 1999. Print.

 

Professional Resources (for librarian and teacher use)

  • Anderson, Jeff. 10 Things Every Writer Needs to Know. Portland, Me.: Stenhouse, 2011. Print.
  • Atwell, Nancie. Lessons That Change Writers. Portsmouth, NH: Firsthand/Heinemann, 2002. Print.
  • Gallagher, Kelly. Write like This: Teaching Real-world Writing through Modeling & Mentor Texts. Portland, Me.: Stenhouse, 2011. Print.
  • Portalupi, JoAnn, and Ralph J. Fletcher. Nonfiction Craft Lessons: Teaching Information Writing K-8. Portland, Me.: Stenhouse, 2001. Print.

Program Flyers, Posters, Advertisements, Bulletin Board Ideas, Templates, Rubrics, etc.

 

 

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Active Programs

Printable Copy

Etiquette Dinner Party

Purpose of Program

The Etiquette Dinner is a program to pair with the book Popular: a Memoir by Maya Van Wagenen. In her memoir, Maya chronicles her social experiment following a popularity guide written in the 1950's by Betty Cornell. This program will introduce teens to group etiquette at a time that many will begin going out socially with friends and some may begin dating. Learning and practicing good manners and developing communication skills are an important element of being a well-liked member of any social group.

Detailed Description of the Program

At the beginning of the program, spend some time teaching and discussing acceptable and unacceptable behavior in group social situations as well how to set and use a semi-formal place setting (video How To below) and how to behave during a semi-formal dining situation.

Deciding on what food and drink to serve largely depends on your financial resources but strive to serve at least 3 or 4 courses – appetizer and/or salad/soup, main course, and a dessert. Sam's or Costco are good sources for quick and easy appetizer and main course options for large groups (think fried cheese and frozen lasagna, not pizza) and sheet cakes or mini desserts.

An optional activity is to drawn names out of a hat to pair participants with a randomly chosen dinner companion. This will allow teens to practice making small talk and conversation skills with someone they do not know well.

Another optional activity is to write several etiquette scenarios on strips of paper (ex: how to ask someone to pass you an item, what to do with your napkin at the end of the meal, technology at the table, etc) and have them act out their scenarios for the group during the course of the program.

Program Related Books or Book Talk

List of Supplies

  • One complete place-setting for a semi-formal dinner to use for instruction, including tablecloth, fabric napkin, centerpiece, and candles.
  • Tables and chairs for participants.
  • Tablecloths, napkins, dinnerware, glasses and utensils for teens. Depending on your resources, these can be disposable or not.
  • Food and drink. Again, this can be determined based on your resources but strive to serve at least 3 or 4 courses –appetizer and/or, main course, and a dessert.

Professional Resources

Program Flyers, Posters, Advertisements, Bulletin Board Ideas, Templates, Rubrics, etc.

 

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Passive Programs 

Printable Copy

Maya's Challenge

Introduction/Purpose of Program

Teens will get a chance to try out some of the "advice" Maya follows in their own "social experiments." After completing the challenge, teens will reflect on how the challenge went and what they learned from it.

Detailed Description of the Program

Make a bulletin board display outlining Maya's social experiment as she follows Betty Cornell's advice for the school year. Invite teens to read the introduction to Popular in order to better understand Maya's goals. Put a variety of "challenges" in a large jar near the bulletin board and have teens draw a challenge to complete during the following week. You could change the type of challenges monthly to correspond to each month of Maya's journey for a longer activity, or just put a wide variety of challenges in the jar and run the activity for one or two months.

Program Related Books to Display or Book Talk

  • Cookbooks and Magazines from the library collection that relate to the "challenges"

List of Supplies

  • Various printouts for bulletin board or table display (some resources attached)
  • Large jar to hold the "challenges"
  • "Challenges" – cut and folded in the jar
  • Blank reflection pages to complete after the challenge
  • Pens/pencils

Incentives

  • Small prizes for each participant who completes a challenge and a reflection

Resources (print and electronic)

  • B Brashich, Audrey D., and Shawn Banner. All Made Up: A Girl's Guide to Seeing through Celebrity Hype and Celebrating Real Beauty. New York: Walker, 2006. Print.
  • Conrad, Lauren, and Elise Loehnen. Lauren Conrad Beauty. New York: HarperCollins, 2012. Print.
  • Conrad, Lauren, and Elise Loehnen. Lauren Conrad Style. New York: Harper, 2010. Print.
  • Cornell, Betty. Betty Cornell's Teen-age Popularity Guide. New York: Dutton, 2014. Print.
  • Donovan, Sandra. Thrift Shopping: Discovering Bargains and Hidden Treasures. New York: Twenty First Century, 2015. Print.
  • Natterson, Cara Familian, and Josée Masse. The Care & Keeping of You 2: The Body Book for Older Girls. Middleton, WI: American Girl, 2013. Print.
  • An assortment of cook books and beauty/cooking magazines from your library collection.

Professional Resources (for librarian and teacher use)

Program Flyers, Posters, Advertisements, Bulletin Board Ideas, Templates, Rubrics, etc.

  • Bulletin Board Ideas: Take a hint from the hardcover edition of Popular and create a bulletin board display with a variety of paper doll style clothes and accessories alongside the chapter titles and quotes.
  • Free Printable Paper Dolls – teens will laugh at the 1950s Mr. and Mrs. Paper Dolls. You may want to have a few paper doll templates available for students to color/design as a makerspace to compliment the challenge (and display). 

 

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Created on Apr 13, 2015 | Last updated July 15, 2015