Author Feature-Jennifer Ziegler


Spirit of Texas Reading Program-High School

Featured Author

Jennifer Ziegler 

Jennifer Ziegler

How Not to be Popular

Jennifer Ziegler is a writer, speaker, blogger, mother, spicy food lover, caffeine addict, and movie buff. Her early years were mainly spent trying, unsuccessfully, to copy hairstyles of famous female pop figures. But she also wrote—a lot. Underneath her bed you would find, among the detritus of discarded clothes and cookie wrappers, several spiral notebooks full of short stories, unfinished novels, elaborate doodles for future tattoos, and a comprehensive thesis on who was the cutest member of Duran Duran.

She didn’t realize she was preparing for a career, but all that practice made writing feel comfortable, almost like a reflex (which, coincidentally, is a song by Duran Duran). Later, she received degrees in English and Journalism from the University of Texas at Austin and taught middle school language arts, all of which helped to inspire her. Now she writes YA fiction full time. Her book, How Not to Be Popular (Delacorte, 2008), has been named to the Lone Star Book List and was an International Reading Association’s Young Adults’ Choice. Her newest book, Sass and Serendipity (Delacorte, 2011), gives Jane Austen a South-Texas spin.

 


 

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Academic Programs

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Additional Documents

Introduction

Maggie lived many places, and got to see and experience many things during her many moves before she settled in Austin. While most students aren't as transitory as she is, we do have a great many migratory students in Texas schools. ‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍The activities in the academic program are geared toward making migratory students more aware of the opportunities in the area to which they are coming and making the resident students more aware of the needs and presence of the migratory students.‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍

Ac‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍tivity 1: Writing for STAAR English 1, 2, or 3‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍

Brief Description

Students will view the prompt (picture or quotation) and respond with approximately 1 page.

TEKS- (Some TEKS depend on prompt chosen.)

  • English 1 -- 13 (all), 14A, 15A, C, 17(all), 18 (all), 19
  • English 2 -- 13 (all), 14A, 15 A, C, 16 (all), 17 (all), 18 (all), 19
  • English 3 -- 13 (all) 15A, C, 16 (all), 17 (all), 18, 19,

Narrative Description

Students will use the grade appropriate writing prompt to write a 1 page essay. English 1 (9th grade) -- Literary or Expository prompt, English 2 (10th grade) -- Expository or Persuasive Prompt, English 3 (11th grade) -- Persuasive or Analytical Prompt.

‍‍Activity 2: Create a City Guide‍‍

Brief Description

Students will research and create a city guide for their own or another town of their choice with a focus on local teen life.‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍

TEKS

  • English 1 -- 9D, 13D,E, 15D, 17C, 18 (all), 19, 20 (all), 21 (all), 23C
  • English 2 -- 9D, 11(all), 13D, 15B,D, 17C, 18 (all), 19, 20 (all), 21B, C, 23C
  • English 3 -- 11 (all), 12B, 13D, E, 15B,D, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21
  • U. S. History -- 30A, C, 31A
  • Sociology -- 6B, 20C,D
  • Digital Design and Media Production -- 1 (all), 3 (all), 4B,C, 6C (all), E (all) H (all)
  • Web Communications -- 1B, 3D,E, 6A

List of Supplies

  • City Maps
  • Public Transportation route maps (if available)
  • Computer Access
  • Camera
  • City Guidebooks (if available)
  • Color Printer
  • City Calendar of Events

Detailed Description

**CAUTION** The main purpose for this guide is to provide information for teens who are new in town. The material should be accurate, and should not be copied directly from a city guidebook!

  • Step 1 -- Students will brainstorm for places teens frequent in their towns (local Dairy Queen, movie theater, mall, library, pool, beach, parks, etc.). After brainstorming, students can consult city guidebooks for additional ideas if needed.
  • Step 2 -- Students will compile a calendar of activities for teens from the City Calendar of Events, City Guidebooks, and internet resources.
  • Step 3 -- Students will locate the places on their list of "teen hangouts" on a city map and public transportation routes to be included in the final project.
  • Step 4 -- Students will visit the "teen hangouts" and take pictures to include in their guide.
  • Step 5 -- Students will use computers to put together their final presentation (booklet or website). If they choose to do a website, they should also make a flyer to let new students know about their website.

Final product

Students can choose to present their findings as either a website, or a booklet.

Elements that should be included for each location listed in the guide are:

  • physical address/location
  • cost (if any)
  • transportation route direction (if any)
  • specific times or times of year that this location is popular
  • pictures

Website flyers and/or booklets should be placed on display in the library and/or school counselors' office for new students.

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Active Programs

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Additional Documents

‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍Activity One

Unfashionable Fashion Show‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍

In How Not to be Popular, Maggie, who was afraid of being hurt again when she leaves Austin for the next place her parents want to go, tried to avoid making friends at her new school in Austin by dressing in weird clothes that she found in the thrift store that her parents were running. Students will put together sample outfits that Maggie might have chosen, describe those outfits, and walk the catwalk to show them off.

Outfits can be obtained in one of two ways:

  • Youth can cruise thrift stores, Goodwill or relatives' closets to put together an outfit.
  • The library can hold a clothing drive to obtain clothes for the event, and youth can select clothing from these donations. After the event, clothing could be donated to a local Goodwill, homeless shelter, or other charity.

List of Supplies

  • 3x5 index cards (or larger if desired)
  • Awards (trophies, medals, or certificates)
  • Camera
  • Bulletin board

Program Description

Encourage ‍‍‍young adults ‍‍‍to visit their local thrift store/Salvation Army/Goodwill/the back of a parent's or grandparent's closet, etc. and purchase/find a cheap outfit like the ones that Maggie wore in her attempt to NOT be popular.

Students will create a description of their outfit and where they would wear it on a 3x5 index card to be read during the fashion show. They should include the cost of the total outfit.

During the fashion show, selected "celebrity" judges (teachers, librarians, local officials, etc.) will vote on several awards to be given away at the end of the evening.

Incentives

  • Trophies  ($11.00/dozen from Oriental Trading Catalog) There are other assorted trophies for $11.00/dozen, too
  • Medals  ($3.99/dozen from Oriental Trading Catalog) There are other assorted medals also available at various prices
  • Perhaps a donated gift certificate to a local thrift store

Awards

  • Most Maggie-like fashion
  • Most Unfashionable fashion
  • Least Unfashionable fashion
  • Least expensive fashion
  • Outfit closest to one described in the book

Activity Two

Make Dead-Heads Snacks‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍

In How Not to be Popular, Norm brings organic fruits that he "found" (mostly in trash cans behind the local Whole Foods) to make Dead Heads for an astrology class at Maggie's parents' house.

List of Supplies

  • Raspberries
  • Blueberries
  • Toothpicks
  • Other assorted fruits

Program Description

Invite youth to put together Norm's Dead Head snacks from the story. They will put a blueberry on the toothpick and top it with a raspberry. Maggie describes these as "faceless blue heads with fuchsia Afros." With the other fruits, participants can create their own version of "Dead Heads."

Additional Options for the Dead-Heads Snacks Program

These two activities can be done along with the Dead Head snack activity, if desired.

Ethical Eating

Maggie is a vegetarian, and although she does not go into the ethical side of that diet, ethical eating is an idea that has been gaining attention in the media over the last few years.

Program Description

There have been discussions on the environmental impact of food, the relative healthiness of different dietary approaches and how people can best address their concerns about eating. Using information from the sources in the bibliography, lead an open ended discussion on ethical eating and how to adopt better dietary choices.

What's Your Sign?

The Dead Heads are produced in the book as the featured snack during an astrology class. While snacking down on your own fruit creations, hold your own astrology class. Teens can research their signs, produce their own charts and check their astrological forecasts. The information can be complied into notebooks (bought or made) that the teens can decorate to create their own personal astrology books.‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍

List of Supplies

  • Notebooks (or paper in a folder with brads or paper clipped with rings)
  • MarkersPens, Pencils
  • Clip Art of astrological symbols
  • Photocopier
  • Access to an Internet connected computer with a printer

Program Description

Use the resources in the bibliography to help the teens create their own astrology books. They can decorate their notebooks with clip art or drawings. Each student can include the basic information about their sign, a copy of their astrology chart (a couple of websites that generate these for free are included) and the forecasts for the rest of the year according to different astrologers.

Activity Three

Can you out-Maggie Maggie?‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍

List of Supplies

Program Description

Groups of students will select a scenario that happened in the book and interpret it in their own way. After selecting a scene, they should be given 15 minutes to prepare their scene and up to 15 minutes to perform.

Contact a local community theatre or acting group or the high school's drama students to attend and help youth get started. Perhaps put one actor in each group to facilitate. Monitor to be sure that the participants are getting to contribute, not just being told what to do by the actor.

 

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Passive Programs

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Additional Documents

Introduction

These are ideas for interactive displays. The materials can be left out so that teens are able to contribute to them at any time.

Activity One

What is Popularity?

Display -- What does it take to be "popular" (or "unpopular")? Students/patrons could contribute on cards or sticky notes.

List of Supplies

  • Writing materials
  • Cards, sticky notes or scrap paper
  • Push pins(or tape)
  • Display board or wall

Program Description

On a bulletin board, white board or wall, make a space for a display. Label the display with one of the following titles: "What does it take to be popular?" "What can cause someone to be unpopular?" Invite teens to write or draw their responses and post them.

Activity Two

Create the "perfect" outfit for Maggie.

Display --‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍ Young adults will use paper dolls and old magazines to create a possible outfit for Maggie to wear in her quest for unpopularity.‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍

List of Supplies

  • Old/donated magazines
  • Glue sticks
  • Scissors
  • Paper doll templates
  • Push pins (or tape)
  • Display wall or board

Program Description

Leave out old/donated magazines and scissors, glue sticks and simple paper doll templates. Let teens cut out items from magazines and paste on the dolls to make (insane) outfits. If you have any nonfiction books for teens that are due to be weeded for being outdated, you can leave those out for bad trend inspiration. The paper dolls can be displayed on a bulletin board or table display.

 

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Created on Nov 20, 2012 | Last updated July 15, 2015