About the Book
Mrs. Eva Marie Olinski is charged with appointing four students
to represent her sixth-grade class in the Epiphany Middle School
Academic Bowl competition. Though she doesn''t have a clue as to
why she chooses Noah, Ethan, Nadia, and Julian, she has a
premonition that her decision is a good one. These four students,
calling themselves "The Souls," surprise everyone by defeating the
seventh and eighth graders and winning the school-wide competition.
When they go on to win the state Academic Bowl Championship, Mrs.
Olinski begins to realize what she didn''t know in the beginning.
Each of "The Souls" had been on a journey -- a journey that
interlocked their lives like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. What Noah,
Ethan, Nadia, and Julian had learned along the way is the true
meaning of friendship. What they discover when they find one
another is that kindness and friendship make them a team.
The View from Saturday is about teamwork.
Divide the class into three teams. Assign each team five questions
taken from the fifteen questions at the end of the novel. Allot the
teams one class period to find the answers to the questions. Tell
them that they may use reference sources in the media center or
search for answers on the Internet. Allow each team time to share
their answers with the class. Then engage the class in a discussion
about teamwork. How does a group become a team? What is the
responsibility of each team member? Ask each group to explain how
they organized their team.
- The four sixth graders on Mrs. Olinski''s academic team call
themselves "The Souls." Mrs. Olinski tells them that "they were a
team as soon as they became ''The Souls.''" Why is "The Souls" a
good name for these four students? At what point does Mrs. Olinski
realize that "The Souls" would make a good academic team? How does
Mrs. Olinski become a "Soul" herself? Why does Mrs. Olinski not
know why she chose "The Souls" as her team until the end of the
- Mrs. Olinski and Dr. Rohmer have a discussion about diversity
and multiculturalism. Explain what Dr. Rohmer means when he says,
"Jews, half-Jews, and WASPs have nothing to do with diversity...The
Indian does." What is the difference between diversity and
multiculturalism? How is diversity important to a successful team?
How might Mrs. Olinski''s definition of diversity differ from Dr.
Rohmer''s definition? Discuss what is unique and diverse about each
of "The Souls."
- Nadia and her father help Grandpa Izzy and Margaret save the
turtles. How do the turtles help Nadia? What does Nadia''s father
mean when he says, "And there will be times when you or I will need
a lift between switches"? How do Mrs. Olinski and the other "Souls"
feel "stranded" like the turtles? How do you know that each of "The
Souls" needs a lift? How do their individual needs contribute to
their success as a team?
- "The Souls" seem to know a lot about teamwork long before
becoming a team. Discuss how saving the turtles helps Nadia and
Ethan learn about teamwork. What does Noah''s role in the wedding
of Izzy Diamondstein and Margaret Draper teach him about teamwork?
How does Julian learn about being a team player on the cruise
- Margaret Draper retired from education because she couldn''t
deal with the drastic changes in the students. She says that
students had stopped asking "Now what?" and began asking "So what?"
Discuss the difference between these questions. Mrs. Olinski
chooses Ethan, Margaret Draper''s grandson, for the academic team
when she realizes that he still asks the question "Now what?" How
is asking "Now what?" an important quality for a member of an
academic team? How might asking "So what?" be the demise of a team
of any type?
- There are times in life when one has to take risks in order to
be successful. How do "The Souls" and Mrs. Olinski demonstrate
their willingness to take risks? How does this contribute to their
success as a team?
- Each member of "The Souls" is resourceful and each, at some
point, demonstrates courage. How does Noah''s resourcefulness save
the day at Izzy and Margaret''s wedding? How does Julian''s manner
in handling the bully, Ham Knapp, reveal that he is both
resourceful and courageous? How does being resourceful and
courageous contribute to "The Souls" becoming a team?
- Mrs. Olinski is a teacher who can tolerate mischief, but she
cannot accept malice. Discuss the difference between mischief and
malice. How is Ham Knapp guilty of malice? How can mischief and
malice interfere with learning? Ham Knapp is very intelligent, but
his behavior keeps him off the academic team. How does his behavior
indicate that he isn''t a team player?
Reaching Across the Curriculum: Activities and
Pretend that you are on the staff of The Epiphany Middle School
newspaper. Write a feature article about "The Souls." Include an
interview with each of "The Souls" and Mrs. Olinski.
Read From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E.
Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg. How might Claudia and Jamie
Kincaid be considered "Souls?" Write a letter that Claudia and
Jamie might write to "The Souls" congratulating them on their
Izzy Diamondstein and Margaret Draper are married in a Jewish
ceremony. Research the meaning of the chupah, the bridal
canopy, and other significant parts of the ceremony. Contrast their
wedding ceremony with wedding ceremonies in other religions.
Margaret Draper and Izzy Diamondstein do volunteer work in their
community. Margaret volunteers at the garden club, and Izzy at the
public library. Find places in your city or community that use
senior citizens as volunteers. Are there places or agencies that
use the volunteer services of young teenagers? How does
volunteering relate to teamwork? Why is teamwork essential for a
strong and healthy community?
The sea turtles that Nadia and Ethan help save are a threatened
species. Find out the difference between threatened and endangered.
What animals that live in your area of the country have been placed
on the threatened or endangered species list by the Environmental
Protection Agency? What state and federal laws protect them? How
are the laws enforced in your state?
Nadia gets an A on a report that she writes about the five kinds
of sea turtles. Brainstorm the kind of information that Nadia might
have included in her paper. Prepare a report on one of the
following types of sea turtles: loggerheads, greens, leatherbacks,
hawkbills, or Kemp''s ridley.
Develop a list of behavioral characteristics that you would
label mischief and those that you would label malice.
Observe student behavior in your school for one week and chart
behaviors in the two categories. Construct a graph that illustrates
the occurrences of such behavior in your school. What can you
deduct from your observation about student behavior in your
Have a victory tea party for "The Souls" at Sillington House.
Prepare typical foods for high English tea. Write invitations to
the party in calligraphy. Play background music that would be
especially appealing to "The Souls." Select from among your
belongings at home an appropriate item as a gift for each of "The
Souls" and Mrs. Olinski. Be prepared to share why you chose each
This guide was prepared by Pat Scales. She is the library media
specialist at Greenville Middle School, Greenville, South Carolina,
and she teaches children''s literature at Furman University.