Loser Extension Activity
- Grades: 3–5
About this book
1. Imagine who you would cast in the movie version of Loser. Create a poster for your movie that illustrates a scene that would show what the movie is about.
Teachers could place students in small groups to work on this project to promote discussion of the story and what message the group is trying to send through their poster. Emphasize that the students need to consider their audience when designing their poster, an audience that knows nothing about the story. Students might connect with the final scene as an illustration of what the book is about. In that scene you have the two opposing views of Zinkoff. Bounce, Andrew Orwell, and Gary Hobin who see Zinkoff as a "loser" and a bad athlete, whereas Zinkoff doesn't see himself in that light. So that represents the struggle to define yourself or to let yourself be defined by others.
2. Make a list of things you remember about different teachers you've had and what was different about each grade. Does any year or teacher stand out? Why? How do you think Zinkoff would have felt if he was in your class?
All students have strong memories of their elementary school teachers. After students have created their initial lists, they can use that to help them create a longer piece of writing.
3. Make a timeline of events in Zinkoff's life in the book. Extend the timeline out to the future and guess what you think will happen to him in high school and beyond.
First Grade: Miss Meeks, loves school, loves life, wins soccer tournament.
Second Grade: Mrs. Biswell, still loves school, friends with Andrew Orwell, delivers mail, discovers the Waiting Man, has an operation.
Fourth Grade: Mr. Yalowitz, has a terrible Field Day, is starting to be called a loser.
Fifth Grade: Mrs. Shankfelder, has Hector Binns as a best friend, skips Field Day, graduates.
Sixth Grade: Middle School, tries to find Claudia in the snowstorm, refuses to be a loser.
Seventh Grade: Begins to find a group of friends who appreciate him, still loves band, and starts getting more interested in music and art.
In addition, teachers could have students make timelines of their own lives to compare and contrast with Zinkoff's.