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by Jerry Spinelli 

About the book: "Crash" John Coogan is the typical jock. At least what most of us have in mind as a jock. He's cool; he's popular; he's well-dressed. Crash has a wonderful life, until life deals him a hand that he could not have expected. When Crash's grandfather unexpectedly has a stroke, Crash unconsciously steps back and re-evaluates his life -- without even realizing he's doing it. Suddenly, his cool friends don't seem so cool anymore. Things that were once the most important in his life, become trivial. As a result of his grandfather's illness, Crash becomes more aware of the world around him and realizes there more important things in life than breaking records in football. 

Crash is an easy-to-read young adult novel. Jerry Spinelli allows the reader to see the finer points in life, without dragging his reader in a "touch-feely" kind of story. Boys will be drawn to this book because of the sports aspect, and the book is told from a guy's point of view (Crash, of course). And what's really great is that girls will also be able to relate to this book because Spinelli does a wonderful job of weaving female characters into the story. Spinelli does this in such a way that neither the boy reader or the girl reader will be turned off by the story line. Crash is a wonderful book that touches on many issues which both boys and girls will be able to relate to. 





John Coogan aka Crash: football player, full of himself, and jock.

Mike Deluca: Crash's best friend, football player, and teases Penn.

Penn Webb: Nice, unpopular, cheerleader, in tune to the environment, teased by Crash and Mike, and a vegetarian.

Jane Forbes: Pretty, Crash likes her, Penn's friend, cheerleader and in tune to the environment.

Scooter: Crash's grandpa,adventurous, good story teller 

Abby Coogan: Crash's sister, hangs with Penn, and in tune to the environment.

Setting: The setting of this book takes place in Pennsylvannia on a cul-de-sac with fourteen houses.

A winning story about seventh-grade Crash Coogan's transformation from smug jock to empathetic, mature young man. In a clever, breezy first-person style, Spinelli tackles gender roles, family relationships, and friendship with humor and feeling. As the novel opens, Crash feels passionately about many things: the violence of football; being in charge; the way he looks in shoulder pads; never being second in anything; and the most expensive sneakers at the mall. Although a stereotypical bully, the boy becomes more than one-dimensional in the context of his overworked, unavailable parents and the love he has for his grandfather, who comes to live with the Coogans and then suffers a stroke. It is because of his affection for Scooter that Crash comes to appreciate Penn Webb, a neighbor and classmate whom for years Crash has tormented and teased about his pacifism, vegetarianism, second-hand clothes, and social activism. Penn relentlessly offers friendship, which Crash finally accepts when he sees Penn's love for his own great-grandfather as a common bond. The story concludes as Penn, named by his great-grandfather for Philadelphia's famous Penn Relays, wins the school race while the elderly man looks on.

Crash Coogan and Mike Deluca are always picking on Penn Webb. Crash is very annoyed with Penn but Crash begins to realize he doesn't want to pick on Penn any more. Will he decide to stay friends with Mike or become friends with Penn??

Later in the book there is a side plot. Crashes grandfather has come to live with him he tells many stories about his adventure is war. One day he falls from a tree and has a stroke. He doesn't remember anything. Will his grandfather be okay and be able to tell stories again?



http://pbskids.org/itsmylife/friends/bullies/ - PBS KIDS - Bullying 


http://www.brainpop.com/health/personalhealth/bullying/preview.weml - Bullying


http://www.brainpop.com/technology/computersandinternet/cyberbullying/  - Cyberbullying


http://facs.pppst.com/bullying.html - Bullying Powerpoints


http://www.pbs.org/teachers/thismonth/conflict/index1.html - Bullying







Anti- Bullying Pledge



Anti-bullying Pledge

This is for me…

…my friends today…

And my friends tomorrow.

I think being mean stinks…

I won’t watch someone get picked on

Because I am a do something person…

…not a do nothing person.

I care

I can help change things

I can be a leader

In my world there are no bullies allowed.

Bullying is bad…

Bullying bites…

Bullying bothers me.

I know sticking up for someone is the right thing to do…

My name is (your name)

And I won’t stand by…


I will stand up.






The Society of Friends (Quakers)





You cannot recognize a Quaker in the street as you often can a minister, priest or bishop of another Christian denomination.  Even their buildings do not often look like churches and are simply called “meeting houses”. 


The Religious Society of Friends or the Quakers (as they are often called) began about 300 years ago in England but its roots go back further.  Every so often in history people have reacted against there being tight control and leadership in religion.  This came about because people believed that real religion is not a matter of ceremonies, officials or organizations laying down the rules for the rest; it is what a person feels and knows of god in their own hearts and minds that counts


One of these people was George Fox.  He was born in 1624 in Leicestershire into the simple family of a weaver.  He set out as a young man convinced that God wanted him to tell as many people as possible that the only way to find God was by letting him speak to them in their own hearts.  This soon brought him up against powerful people in church and state.  He often suffered for his views.  He refused to obey the King instead of the Bible.  He said that no-one was so mighty that he should quake before them – only the word of God deserves that. That was how the name began.  In time Fox met many people who agreed with him and they called themselves “The Society of Friends”.




Many outsiders wonder whether there is any organization at all because the Quaker way seems so different.  The most noticeable feature at first is the things that are missing.  There is no minister to lead the service or to preach a sermon.  In fact there seems to be service or sermon at all.  What you find at a ‘meeting for worship’ is people coming together, content to sit silently in each other’s company unless or until any one of them feels they have something to say.  In that case the person stands up, says it, and sits down.  It may be a single sentence or go on for several minutes.  Apart from that the meeting goes on in silence, normally for an hour.  Then two people shake hands as a signal that the meeting for worship has ended.  People often stay behind to talk to one another, perhaps over a cup of coffee, before going home.  Children are always a vital and welcome part of any Quaker community and share in its worship. There is a Sunday School for them.








Quakers believe:


  • ·         The light of God is everyone
  • ·         Life has meaning and purpose
  • ·         Love of god and of our neighbour gives meaning and purpose to life
  • ·        


Quakers believe that everyone must live his or her life as they believe it is right.  Quakers say  “What you are, what you think and what you feel are you; you are important on your own terms and that is how God is with you.  No-one knows better than you what you should believe because they are not you, so no-one can impose on you a creed or way of worshipping.  You are right to join in with whatever group or activity you feel is right for you”.


Quakers believe that everyone is equal – men, women and children are encouraged to go to Quaker meetings.


At the local, national and international levels, Quakers are particularly concerned to eradicate the evil of war and work to encourage the right use of natural resources.  They work for racial harmony and oppose any use of torture and violence. 


Quakers do not smoke or drink alcohol because of the damage they believe it can do.


Around the World


Quakerism has spread around the world.  The largest concentration of friends is to be found in the United States where Quakerism has taken a variety of forms. An international meeting is the “Friends World Committee for Consultation” to which representatives of Yearly meetings in different part of the world come together.












You may choose any of the following assignments for a maximum of 60 points. All assignments must be defended orally and independently.

1. Illustrate a scene from the book, using paint, markers, colored pencils, pen and ink, photographs, collage, etc. (15 pts)

2. Find song lyrics from any artist that you feel reflects how Crash or Penn's life is going for them. Copy the lyrics and describe why you think these lyrics represent that character. (15 pts.)

3. Describe a character from the book. Include how the person looks, acts, feels, and

what they say. Create a web and write a paragraph or two about the character. (15 pts.)

4. Interview your grandparent(s). Write about a memorable experience (e.g.: Scooter's Navy days, Penn's grandfather's races, etc.) that they share with you. (15 pts.)

5. Complete a worksheet from those in my Crash folder. Maximum 2 worksheets. (10 pts. each)

6. Act out a scene from the book. You may work with one or more partners. (15 pts.)

7. Create a diorama of a wildlife habitat. (15 pts.)

8. Draw a plan for a wildlife habitat with specific details. (15 pts.)

9. Choose a social problem and design a poster to create awareness. For example: hunger,

homelessness, environmental concerns, etc. (15 pts.)

10. Make a time line of Crash's life -include important points and times that were important to him, both good and bad. (10 pts.)

11. Create anew cover for the book. Look at a book cover to see what is included. (front , back, inside flaps)(15 pts.)

12. Illustrate a scene or character, using details from the book. (15 pts.)

13. Write a recipe or poem about what you think is in Scooter's "eight-arm soup." Draw a picture of the soup and the ingredients.(10 pts.)

14. Create a newspaper headline and article that could discuss the Penn Relays and how Penn Webb brought the school from last to second place.(15 pts.)

B Level -Choose one for 25 points. USE YOUR OWN WORDS OR I CANNOT GIVE YOU CREDIT.

1. Research Penn Webb's religious background. He is a Quaker. Write 2 or 3 paragraphs informing us about Quakers. What are some of their beliefs? Where did it originate? List your sources carefully. See my website for a link to get help with citing references.

2. Write a 1 to 2-page summary of North Dakota, known as the Flickertail State. Use

encyclopedias, the internet, and/or magazines. List your resources carefully (see #1 above).

3. Research the Penn Relays, including how/when they originated. Write a summary for us to learn more about them.

4. Research the Flickertail. Write a description about the bird and include a picture, drawn by you. Include where it may be found, eating habits, etc.

A Level -Choose one for 25 points. Discuss the topic you are interested in with a parent, teacher, or other adult OR find two sources outside the classroom to inform yourself. You want to be able to hear/understand different opinions in order to form a good, solid opinion for yourself. Once you have decided on your opinion, write a 1 to 2-page defense of your position. Include your hardcopy sources, if you used any.

1. Do you think it is accepted more in our society to "Put Down" others (looks, race, ethnic background, weight, etc.) than for sticking up for what you believe is right? Explain with examples, details, etc. Remember that Put Downs include comments, jokes, looks, prejudices, bullying, etc.

2. What would be the advantages/disadvantages of having parents who are older? Why? Use the book and include examples.

3. Do you think that students, who are known to pull pranks on others and/or to Put Down individuals routinely, should be allowed to remain in extracurricular activities, like football? Support your opinion.

110 100% 81 -90 85% 51-59 70%

100-109 95% 70-80 80% 45-50 65%

91-99 90% 60-69 75% <45 50%


http://www.edhelperclipart.com/clipart/books/CRASH.pdf - Crash Book Report Form





Literacy Partners Activity


Crash by Jerry Spinelli


Before you start:

Discuss the title of the book with your student.

“Crash” is both the title of the book and the name of the main character.  What kind of person would have the name “Crash”?  What kind of person would fit the name “Crash”?


Session #1

Chapters: 1-4              Pages:  1-16


Page 4 –

            What is Crash’s family like?

            What is Penn’s family like?


Page 9 –

            How does Crash treat Penn?

            Why do you think that he does that?


Page 13 –

            Talk about being a Quaker

  • ·         member of Friends Church
  • ·         long history of pacifism


Page 14 –

The last sentence say, “I wanted to hate him, I wanted to stay mad, but I was having problems.”

            What was Crash having problems with and why?


Page 16 –

            What was important about their hands being on the mailbox at the same time?







Make a Friendship Bracelet! 





CRASH Chapter 1.mp3 


CRASH Chapter 2.mp3  


CRASH Chapter 3.mp3





When you open the mp3 files the first time, the download may take several minutes.  Once it opens, click save, and the audio will start using Windows Media Player.




CRASH Chapter 1.mp3       CRASH Chapter 2.mp3            Chapter 3 CRASH.mp3        CRASH chapter 4.mp3


   CRASH+chapter+5.mp3      CRASH chapter 6.mp3        CRASH chapter 7.mp3       CRASH chapter 8.mp3


CRASH chapter 9.mp3         CRASH chapter 10.mp3          Crash chapter 13.mp3       


 Crash chapter 14.mp3         Crash chapter 15.mp3              Crash chapter 16.mp3           


 crash chapter 17.mp3          crash chapter 18.mp3                      crash chapter 19.mp3


  crash chapter 20.mp3               crash chapter 21.mp3          crash chapter 22.mp3


crash chapter 23.mp3          crash chapter 24.mp3           crash 25.mp3     



  Crash chapter 26.mp3      crash chapter 27.mp3     crash chapter 28.mp3        ***this is ch. 29


rash chapter 30.mp3    crash chapters 30 and 31.mp3


crash chapter 32.mp3        crash chapter 33.mp3         crash chapter 34.mp3         crash chapter 35.mp3



crash chapter 38.mp3         crash chapter 39.mp3         crash chapter 40.mp3        crash chapter 41.mp3       crash chapter 42.mp3


crash chapters 43 and 44.mp3       crash chapter 45.mp3




http://interactives.mped.org/view_interactive.aspx?id=110  - Brochure Interactive


Pennsylvania Tourism












North Dakota Tourism











Crash Activity #2--Break Out group discussions--In groups of 4 you will be completing the following task.

     1.  choose a movie, book, or TV show that provides an example of bullying.  Answer the these questions.  (only 1 person needs to record the answers)

          a.  Who is doing the bullying?

          b.  Who is being bullied?

          c.  What happens as a result of this bullying?

          d.  What advice would you give the bully?

          e.  What advice would you give the person who is being bullied?


     2.  make a poster of your group's response to present to the class.


     3.  In your group, discuss the following scenerios.

          a.  A bully steals a student's lunch money.

          b.  A bully laughs at a student's clothes.

          c.  A bully hides a student's laptop/books.

          d.  A bully calls a student bad names.


Make sure your group is ready to share!!!



Crash Assessment Project: 



Crash Final Assessment Project--Chose one of the following activites.  


     1.  Write an extra chapter for CRASH.  It can fit in anywhere in the book, it does not have to be at the end.  Make sure the chapter follows sequential order.  It must relate to the chapter before it and lead into the chapter that follows it.  Your "extra" chapter should be 2-3 pages in length.


     2.  Design a book jacket for CRASH.  The cover must include a creative, original picture and the author.  The inside flaps should be an overview of story.  Remember: don't give away the ending.  You want to make others be very tempted to read the novel.  On the back cover, supply a few "reviews" of the book.  You can be creative and make up the reviews. 

Example:  "Riveting, wonderful, a story all young people should read"  Michael Entertainment Journal


     3.  Create a board game for the story.  Create question cards for the game that can be answered from reading the book.  You might model it after board games you play at home.  You can also do some research and find templates online to make a game.  Example:  Interactive Jeopardy game or matching game.  If you make an online game, don't forget to save it to your laptop so you can share it.


     4.  Make 2 poster collages; one for Crash and one for Penn.  Use a 12" by 18" piece of construction paper.  Use pictures, words, and phrases cut out from magazines, clipart, or computer print outs.  Use your imagination to fill in every inch of the paper.






Lesson #1  What is a bully?  What is a hero?  We are going to do a Frayer Model activity to discover the answers to both of these questions.


Lesson #2  In small groups, we are going to begin reading Crash by Jerry Spinelli.  Today, we will read chapters 1, 2, and 3.  When you are finished reading, open the file below and answer the questions. 


Crash--chapters 1-3 reading response questions.doc



 Read chapters 7-10 of Crash independently.  If you would like to listen and follow along with you book.  **It's a good idea to keep a pair of ear buds in your laptop case**  When you are finish, you will be creating a timeline of events from chapters 1 to 10.  You may create your timeline on your laptop or you may use a strip of paper.  Make sure you include pictures and graphics that represent the events.  You must include captions to tell about each event.  REMEMBER:  Giggles Grammar and 6th grade effort!

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