Jack Gantos Lesson Plan Summary


Jack Gantos Resources

Prepared by Carmen Applegate, Elementary Librarian, Monte Cassino

Author website  www.jackgantos.com



Bibliographical Information


Biography http://www.jackgantos.com/bio-photos/

  • This biography page includes links to interviews (written and video) with Jack Gantos.
  • Also includes articles written about Gantos



Dead End in Norvelt


(Recommended grades 4-8)

Book trailer created by Macmillan:  http://us.macmillan.com/BookCustomPage.aspx?isbn=9780374379933&m_type=2&m_contentid=2860340#video


Teacher guide published by Macmillan: 


  • Questions for group discussions
  • Vocabulary
  • Language Arts activities (newspaper articles, interviews) that link to Common Core
  • Social Studies activities (New Deal communities) that link to Common Core
  • Safety, Drama and Art activities that links to Common Core


Lesson Plans from the Schmoop website:


  • Includes summary, themes, quotes, characters, analysis, questions, quizzes, flashcards, & essay questions.
  • Provides links to websites featuring cross-curricular topics, such as the cold war, heritage, homesteads, and the doomsday clock.


Lesson Plans from The Classroom Bookshelf website:


  • Provides lesson ideas linking historical events to the time period of the book.  Includes lessons on exploring history, researching Eleanor Roosevelt, building communities, Homesteads, bartering, and the Cuban Missile Crisis
  • Links to online resources supporting these historical topics. 
  • Lessons focusing on Point of View
  • Writing prompts


From Norvelt to Nowhere


(Recommended grades 4-8)

Link to the teacher’s guide by Macmillan:  http://media.us.macmillan.com/teachersguides/9780374379940TG.pdf

  • This guide includes summary, pre-reading activities, discussion questions, themes and author biography.
  • Vocabulary
  • Language Arts activities (metaphors, letters/communication) that link to Common Core
  • Social Studies activities (Cuban Missile Crisis, Community service) that link to Common Core
  • Art and Drama activities that links to Common Core
  • Internet websites that link to the subjects explored in the teacher’s guide and activities



Joey Pigza


(Recommended grades 5-9)

  • Includes summary and discussion questions
  • Includes book summary & discussion questions
  • Language Arts activities (poetry, conflict, compare/contrast)


Jack Henry Adventure Books


(Recommended grades 4-7)

Macmillan Children’s Publishing Company created this teacher’s guide for the Jack Henry books.  The guide includes lessons for individual titles (see below), lessons on making thematic connections among the titles, as well as a culminating activity for the unit end. 


Lessons for the titles below are included in the guide.


  • Jack Adrift
    • Includes pre-reading activity, discussion questions, Language Arts (biography, journal writing), Social Studies (U.S. Navy), Science (Wright Brothers, Amelia Earhart)
  • Jack on the Tracks
    • Includes, summary, discussion questions, Language Arts (similes, rewriting scenes), Social Studies (French culture), Science (alcohol poisoning), Art
  • Heads or Tails
    • Includes summary, discussion questions, Language Arts (writing, novel recommendations), Social Studies (maps, atlas), Science (rabies, weather), Mathematics (graphs)
  • Jack’s New Power
    • Includes summary, discussion questions, Language Arts (fairy tales/writing, newspaper writing), Social Studies (gun safety, Barbados culture), Science (animal rights/abuse, oceans), Art (create coat of arms)
  • Jack’s Black Book
  • Includes summary, discussion questions, Language Arts (greeting cards, creative stories), Social Studies (citizen’s arrest), Science (inventions), Art (newspaper ad.)



Hole in My Life


(Recommended grades 9 and up)

  • Includes an intro to the book, discussion questions, author biography
  • Classroom connections for Social Studies (focusing on citizenship and individual identity)
  • Classroom connections for Language Arts (focusing on critically evaluating and buiding on the text)


  • Discussion Guide (Massachusetts Center for the Book)


  • Summary, discussion questions, background information