Author Feature-Michael Fry

 


Spirit of Texas Reading Program

Middle School

Featured Author

Michael Fry

Michael Fry

The Odd Squad

Michael Fry is a cartoonist. He's known for his comic strips Committed and Over the Hedge. (Over the Hedge inspired the DreamWorks Animation film of the same name.) He began his cartooning career at The Houston Post. The Odd Squad series is his first book. Fry lives in Austin, Texas.


 

Find him on the web:

Website

Facebook

Author Page

Book Page

Instagram

Twitter

 

 


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Book Trailer


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Book Quiz

Printable Copy

  1. What ailment does Nick get when he is in the locker too long?
    1. Wobbly knees
    2. Zombie butt
    3. Tremble foot
    4. Needle fingers
  2. What is MeMaw's favorite food? 
    1. Macaroni and cheese
    2. Pizza
    3. Tacos
    4. Spaghetti 
  3. What is the first piece of advice that Mr. DuPree gives about taking care of bullies? 
    1. Punch them in the face
    2. Run from them
    3. Talk them to death 
    4. Bring the Crazy
  4. What did Dr. Daniels suggest the three students do to defeat bullies? 
    1. Form the school safety patrol
    2. Blackmail them
    3. Jump up and down three times
    4. Ignore them
  5. What is the name of the bully they want to defeat? 
    1. Roy
    2. Karl
    3. Roger
    4. Terry 
  6. What is Nick most self-conscious about? 
    1. He is tall.
    2. He has a long nose. 
    3. He lives with wolves. 
    4. He is short.
  7. What is Molly self-conscious about? 
    1. She is short.
    2. She is too tall.
    3. She has a round face.
    4. She has three brothers.
  8. When Nick and Molly dressed up as Icelandic Exchange students, what costume did Karl wear? 
    1. Sid from Ice Age
    2. Ice cube 
    3. Tater tot 
    4. Elsa from Frozen
  9. What was Roy's big secret? 
    1. He sucks his thumb. 
    2. He has a stuffed pig. 
    3. He wears a hairpiece.
    4. He has a little sister.
  10. Who did Mr. DuPree quote throughout the book?  
    1. Seinfeld
    2. MASH
    3. Thoreau
    4. Shakespeare

 


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Academic Program 

Printable Copy

Pictures with Words

Introduction:

Graphic novels use images and short amount of text to create a bountiful story. This is similar to poetry. After reading Odd Squad: Bully Bait, students will use it as the inspiration for a poem. They may use a specific event, a character, or the theme of the novel. The purpose is to use imagery through words to create something profound. Much is imagined with a graphic novel, and everything must be with a poem. Students must create pictures with words.

TEKS:

§110.18. English Language Arts and Reading, Grade 6

15) Writing/Literary Texts. Students write literary texts to express their ideas and feelings about real or imagined people, events, and ideas. Students are expected to:

(B) write poems using:

(i) poetic techniques (e.g., alliteration, onomatopoeia);
(ii) figurative language (e.g., similes, metaphors); and
(iii) graphic elements (e.g., capital letters, line length).

§110.19. English Language Arts and Reading, Grade 7

(15) Writing/Literary Texts. Students write literary texts to express their ideas and feelings about real or imagined people, events, and ideas. Students are expected to:

(B) write a poem using:

(i) poetic techniques (e.g., rhyme scheme, meter);
(ii) figurative language (e.g., personification, idioms, hyperbole); and
(iii) graphic elements (e.g., word position).

§110.20. English Language Arts and Reading, Grade 8

(15) Writing/Literary Texts. Students write literary texts to express their ideas and feelings about real or imagined people, events, and ideas. Students are expected to:

(B) write a poem using:

(i) poetic techniques (e.g., rhyme scheme, meter);
(ii) figurative language (e.g., personification, idioms, hyperbole); and
(iii) graphic elements (e.g., word position).

Instructions:

Read The Odd Squad: Bully Bait by Michael Fry as a class or in literature circles. Discuss how the graphics add to the storyline. Ask, "What impact do the graphics have on the novel?" Discuss how characters are more developed due to graphics. Ask, "What do we learn about the main characters through the graphics that we do not from the text?"

Discuss Michael Fry's purpose in writing this novel. Ask, "What do you think Michael Fry wanted us to experience as we read this novel?" Ask students to choose something about the novel that was meaningful to them: character, scene, tone, and theme. Then, ask students to create a poem based on what was meaningful to them keeping in mind that they must create the images using just words. Imagery is the goal. Pictures through words!

Lastly, the students create an illustration to accompany their poem to enhance it. 

Resources:

Professional Resources:

Groovy Graphics in the Classroom (Math, History, and Science)

Math: Prove It

Introduction:

Do you have any access to iPads or other tablets? If so, these assignments are perfect for your classroom. Using the app Comic Life, students will creatively explain the answers to equations, make predictions about specific events in history, or inventively show the process of photosynthesis. Comic Life allows students to create posters or comic books with rich media. Students are allowed to use higher level thinking skills and have fun at the same time.

TEKS:

§111.26. Grade 6

§111.27. Grade 7

§111.28. Grade 8

(1) Mathematical process standards. The student uses mathematical processes to acquire and demonstrate mathematical understanding. The student is expected to:

(A) apply mathematics to problems arising in everyday life, society, and the workplace;
(B) use a problem-solving model that incorporates analyzing given information, formulating a plan or strategy, determining a solution, justifying the solution, and evaluating the problem-solving process and the reasonableness of the solution;
(C) select tools, including real objects, manipulatives, paper and pencil, and technology as appropriate, and techniques, including mental math, estimation, and number sense as appropriate, to solve problems;
(D) communicate mathematical ideas, reasoning, and their implications using multiple representations, including symbols, diagrams, graphs, and language as appropriate;
(E) create and use representations to organize, record, and communicate mathematical ideas;
(F) analyze mathematical relationships to connect and communicate mathematical ideas; and
(G) display, explain, and justify mathematical ideas and arguments using precise mathematical language in written or oral communication.

Instructions:

Watch the instructional video on how to use Comic Life. Make sure that Comic Life is downloaded on all the iPads for classroom use. Assign students a student answer for an equation. Ask each student to evaluate if the student followed the correct math steps to complete the equation correctly. The student will have to defend and support the steps made. They will create their evaluation using Comic Life by inserting bubbles along the equation.

List of Supplies:

  • iPads
  • App Comic Life
  • Student Equation Answers

Resources:

History: Supposed History

Introduction:

You will need iPads and the app Comic Life for students to create this assignment. They will take an important event in history and use research and prediction skills to create the exact conversations that changed history.

TEKS:

§113.18. Social Studies, Grade 6

§113.19. Social Studies, Grade 7

§113.20. Social Studies, Grade 8

Social studies skills. The student uses problem-solving and decision-making skills, working independently and with others, in a variety of settings. The student is expected to:

(A) use a problem-solving process to identify a problem, gather information, list and consider options, consider advantages and disadvantages, choose and implement a solution, and evaluate the effectiveness of the solution; and
(B) use a decision-making process to identify a situation that requires a decision, gather information, identify options, predict consequences, and take action to implement a decision.

Instructions:

Watch this instructional video on how to use Comic Life. Make sure that the app Comic Life is downloaded on all iPads for student use. Ask students to research a very specific moment in Texas, American, or other relevant time in history. They are looking for personal elements of the people involved in changing history. Using what they learned, they are to create a conversation between the historical figure and another individual that shows what could have occurred and spurred on the events in history. Students will design their conversation on paper. Then, they will use Comic Life to create a comic strip of "Supposed History". Students can work individually or in groups of 2-3.

List of Supplies:

  • iPads for student use.
  • App Comic Life
  • Databases for student research

Resources:

Science: Light it Up

Introduction:

Students will design a lab using the scientific method. The lab will be documented using Comic Life's tools (speech bubbles and image adding). This can be done individually or in groups 2-3.

TEKS:

§112.18. Science, Grade 6

§112.19. Science, Grade 7

§112.20. Science, Grade 8

(A) Scientific investigations and reasoning.

(i) To develop a rich knowledge of science and the natural world, students must become familiar with different modes of scientific inquiry, rules of evidence, ways of formulating questions, ways of proposing explanations, and the diverse ways scientists study the natural world and propose explanations based on evidence derived from their work.
(ii) Scientific investigations are conducted for different reasons. All investigations require a research question, careful observations, data gathering, and analysis of the data to identify the patterns that will explain the findings. Descriptive investigations are used to explore new phenomena such as conducting surveys of organisms or measuring the abiotic components in a given habitat. Descriptive statistics include frequency, range, mean, median, and mode. A hypothesis is not required in a descriptive investigation. On the other hand, when conditions can be controlled in order to focus on a single variable, experimental research design is used to determine causation. Students should experience both types of investigations and understand that different scientific research questions require different research designs.
(iii) Scientific investigations are used to learn about the natural world. Students should understand that certain types of questions can be answered by investigations, and the methods, models, and conclusions built from these investigations change as new observations are made. Models of objects and events are tools for understanding the natural world and can show how systems work. Models have limitations and based on new discoveries are constantly being modified to more closely reflect the natural world.

Matter and energy. The student knows that interactions occur between matter and energy. The student is expected to:

(A) recognize that radiant energy from the Sun is transformed into chemical energy through the process of photosynthesis;
(B) demonstrate and explain the cycling of matter within living systems such as in the decay of biomass in a compost bin; and
(C) diagram the flow of energy through living systems, including food chains, food webs, and energy pyramids.

Instructions:

Make sure the app Comic Life is downloaded on all iPads. Watch the instructional video for Comic Life. Students will design a lab from a list of topics covered in the current school year. As the students complete the lab, they will take pictures and create documentation. At the completion of the scientific process, the students will collect all data and assimilate the information. Then, students will use Comic Life to show the Scientific Process they followed and the results of their experiment.

List of Supplies:

  • iPads for student use.
  • App Comic Life downloaded onto iPads.
  • List of Scientific topics for experimentation
  • Supplies for each lab will be dependent on what is selected, but students will be responsible for collecting all supplies for their chosen experiment.

Resources:

 

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Active Programs

Printable Copy

Rube Goldberg Machine Workshop: AKA How to make a simple task complicated

Introduction/Purpose of the Program

In Bully Bait, the three main characters decide that they need to get the biggest bully in school to leave them alone. They design elaborate schemes to get his school records, so they will have some leverage. Going through this type of scheming is very similar to the design of a Rube Goldberg machine. Rube Goldberg was a cartoonist who drew complicated machines to accomplish a simple task.

TEKS

(8) Force, motion, and energy. The student knows force and motion are related to potential and kinetic energy. The student is expected to:

(A) compare and contrast potential and kinetic energy;
(B) identify and describe the changes in position, direction, and speed of an object when acted upon by unbalanced forces;
(C) calculate average speed using distance and time measurements;
(D) measure and graph changes in motion; and
(E) investigate how inclined planes and pulleys can be used to change the amount of force to move an object.

Detailed Description of the Program

Participants will build Rube Goldberg machines while working in groups of 3 to emulate the task that the three main characters did in Bully Bait to get Roy's records and his pig. After building their machines, they will perfect them to accomplish a task. Participants will watch different examples to give them ideas about what task they want their machine to perform and how they can accomplish that goal. If desired, the librarian can design the program to give prizes for the largest machine or the machine that successfully completed the most steps.

The group task is as follows:

  • Working in teams of 3 - find a marked off area to work in.
  • Use the materials in your area to make a Rube Goldberg machine that has at LEAST 3 different components to it. Be able to identify the simple machines that you used.
  • Show off your work to the adults in the area.
  • Document your machine in action with a camera.
  • Add more components/steps to your machine - the more steps, the more impressive it is!
  • When time is called - clean up your area and return materials to their original spots.

Possible Books to display and/or booktalk

  • Goldberg, Rube, and Charles Keller. The Best of Rube Goldberg. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1979.
  • Humphrey, Anna, and Vanessa Brantley-Newton. Ruby Goldberg's Bright Idea. New York: Simon and Shuster, 2014.
  • Kassinger, Ruth. Build a Better Mousetrap: Make Classic Inventions, Discover Your Problem-solving Genius, and Take the Inventor's Challenge. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, 2002.
  • Monroe, Tilda. What Do You Know about Simple Machines? New York: PowerKids, 2011.

List of Supplies

  • paper towel rolls
  • toilet paper rolls
  • drumsticks
  • marbles
  • Hot wheels cars
  • ball bearings
  • ping pong balls
  • tape--varied kinds
  • legos
  • blocks
  • paper
  • books
  • string
  • Brio style train track
  • Brio train cars
  • Hot Wheels tracks
  • cups
  • yarn
  • rubber bands
  • dominos
  • books
  • Anything else you can think of

Incentives

Books, perpetual motion machine, bookmarks, pencils

Resources

 

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Passive Programs 

Printable Copy

Bully Bait

X-Out Bullying Campaign

Introduction:

This is to promote an Anti-Bullying Campaign that coincides with literature. Patrons create their own X-Out Bullying t-shirts. The t-shirts are a uniting sign that patrons are joining together to rid bullying at their school.

Instructions:

Patrons bring their own t-shirt to decorate. (Blue t-shirts if joining Stomp Out Bullying in October) The library provides strips of black cloth to hand sew onto t-shirt to create an X.  Patrons can decide how big they want the black X. After deciding the size of the X, patrons sew the X onto their t-shirt. 

Sewing Instructional Video

Other options: Patrons can iron on an X with iron on fabric. Patrons can make the X out of pins without using the sewn X. Fabric markers can be used to draw an X. Patrons decorate the X by pinning safety pins to the black X. The safety pins represent the hurt that bullying can cause.

List of Supplies:

  • Sewing needles
  • Black Thread
  • Black Strips of Fabric
  • Safety Pins
  • Optional: fabric markers or iron on fabric

Resources:

Professional Resources:

Self Esteem Portraits

Introduction:

This program is to use art to build patrons' self-esteems by making patrons think about what they like about themselves and for patrons to think about what they like about others.

Instructions:

Give patrons a template of a head and shoulders. Ask each student to write 20 things he/she likes about himself/herself. Then, they write the 20 things inside the head in different fonts and sizes. Around the outside of the head, other classmates write one thing they like about the person and initial it. Patrons use watercolors to decorate their head. The heads are displayed around the library.

List of Supplies:

  • Head Template 
  • Paper
  • Fine Point Sharpies
  • Water Colors
  • Water Color Paper/Thick Paper

Resources:

 

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Resources

Academic Program

Rubric

Active Program

Annotated Bibliography

Book Quiz

Passive Program

Head Template

Read-A-Likes


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Created on Apr 12, 2015 | Last updated July 15, 2015