When Would You Like to Meet?


Activity Overview

Having students choose a favorite quote or scene from the book allows them to express which parts of the story resonated with them on a personal level. In this way, students are making a text-to-self connection that demonstrates their understanding of the characters and their development or the themes of the novel. Students can share their storyboards afterwards and have a short discussion about what the quotes mean to them.

Some students may end up choosing the same quote, but have different perspectives. This is always interesting for students to see and can open up a discussion as to how not everyone can read the same lines in the same way based on their own perspectives and personal experiences.

Examples of Quotes from Wringer

“He did not want to be a wringer. This was one of the first things he had learned about himself. He could not have said exactly when he learned it, but it was very early. And more than early, it was deep inside. In the stomach, like hunger.”

“For the moment he wondered if he would be getting The Treatment, but he pushed that thought side. He was getting greedy. He had already been blessed enough for one day.”

"It was pointless to say more, pointless to say, I like their presents just as much as yours, because they did it themselves. That means something. It means we came into your house. We gave you a cigar butt. You are one of us."

“...suddenly the sunlight was briefly snipped, as if a page had been turned in front of a lightbulb.”

“During the week his father said many things, mostly with his hands. He rubbed Palmer’s hair and squeezed his shoulder and tugged on his shirt and tickled his ribs and pulled him backward with a finger hooked in the back pocket of his jeans and lightly brushed the side of his neck with his fingertips as he stopped and chatted with friends. Each of these things had a different meaning to Palmer and yet the same—a language unlearned, of words unheard, that came to roost at some warm and waiting perch far below his ears.”

“Killing the pigeons and putting them out of their misery stubbornly refused to mean the same thing. Palmer thought about misery, and it seemed to him that a shotgun was not the only way to end it. When Palmer was miserable, for example, his mother or father would hold him close and wipe his tears. When Palmer's mother or father put him out of his misery, they did not shoot him, they offered him a cookie. Why then on Pigeon Day did the people bring guns instead of cookies?”

“And to those nearby, and finally to Beans himself, it became clear that even now, even this close, still—still—she would not look at him. And then she did it. She spoke. But the person she spoke to was not Beans. It was Palmer LaRue. She took one step back from Beans and walked straight over to Palmer and stood squarely in front of him and said, “Why are you doing this to me?” And just like that, the girl in the red coat and floppy hat was no longer a target. She was Dorothy, there were tears in her eyes, and she was saying to him, not to anyone else, but to him, to Palmer, “Why are you doing this to me?” And he knew that through these last weeks she had been hurting after all, and that it had been himself, not Beans, who had hurt her the most.”

“In a way more felt than thought, he sensed a connection between Nipper’s absence and Dorothy’s words, which had been haunting him without letup.”

“They shoot them.” For a long time Dorothy Gruzik did not move. It looked as if she were waiting for rain to fall into her mouth. When she finally turned her eyes back to Palmer, he wished he wasn’t there. “What?” she said. “They shoot them,” he repeated, and the words were dusty and bitter on his tongue. There seemed only one way to get rid of the bad taste, and that was to flush out his mouth with more and more words.”

“Then he began smelling the gray and sour odor even when his father wasn’t there, even when Pigeon Day was over. It might happen in the morning as he sat in school, or at night as he lay in bed. It could even happen in his father’s lap in the middle of winter, when the shotgun had been locked away for months. The smell was sure to come on his birthday. It did not spoil his birthday, as it did not spoil his father’s lap, but it changed those things so they did not feel quite as good as before.”

“Next thing he knew he was yanked out of bed and onto his feet. “Come on,” whispered Beans, “we got somewhere to go.” It did not occur to Palmer not to go along. Once the shock wore off, he realized what an honor had been granted him. Imagine: A month ago these guys ignored him except to tease him; now they snuck into his house and climbed into bed with him. Palmer LaRue. Amazing!”

“He loved to see them playing with his birthday present. Each thud of a foot said: We’re kicking your soccer ball. We like you. You’re one of us.”

Whose streak, unlike Beans’s, was meek, not mean. Who ran with Beans and Mutto. Who did what they did. But was different.”

“In the utter darkness he felt himself to be nothing but ears and fingertips. He could feel Nipper’s heartbeat, putt-putting away behind the toothpick ribs like a tiny motor scooter. He could feel the cold, golden gaze of the trophy pigeon two rooms away. The silence of the house at night was not total. Somewhere a clock was ticking. Cricks and creaks came from nearby and distant quarters, as if the house were twitching in a sleep of its own.”

“The setting sun seemed to have ladled its syrupy light over the crusted snow, so that ordinary house parts and backyards in this fading moment seemed a spectacular raspberry dessert.”

“Henry was staring at the sky. Palmer saw Henry for what he was: a captive, strong enough to warn him about last night, but too weak to do anything except follow Beans. He saw in Henry something of himself, and worse, what he could become.”

“Same old across-the-street Dorothy he had known all his life. And yet, somehow, not the same old Dorothy. Though she looked the same as always, Palmer had been seeing something else in her lately. Whatever it was, it registered not in his eyes but in his feelings, and was most clearly known to him by its absence in the company of anyone but her. It made him feel floating.”

“...he told her again and again that he did not, he really did not want to be a wringer. Dorothy hopped down from the desk. She walked across the room and stood before Palmer and looked straight into his eyes. “Then don’t,” she said. She made it sound so simple.”

“The price of peace had been high: expelling himself from the gang, proclaiming himself a traitor, banishing his beloved pet. For such a price, a peace should be excellent. Yet when Palmer reached for it, tried to taste it, it was not there.”

"When it came to pigeons, he did not trust anyone in town, except maybe Dorothy Gruzik."

"An unexpected episode occurred during this year’s event. At one point in the late afternoon an unidentified boy dashed onto the shooting field and retrieved a wounded pigeon. Shooting was immediately halted, and the reckless lad, perhaps seeking an unusual pet for himself, was allowed to leave the premises with the bird.

Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Activity", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)

Due Date:

Objective: Create a storyboard that identifies your favorite quote or scene in the story. Illustrate your quote or scene and in the description box, write about its significance to the story and what it means to you.

Student Instructions:

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Choose a favorite quote or scene from the story.
  3. Create an image that represents this quote or scene using appropriate scenes, characters and items.
  4. In the description box, write about the significance this quote or scene has in the story and write About what it means to you.
  5. Requirements: Quote or Scene, Illustration, minimum 2-3 sentences about its significance and what it means to you.

Lesson Plan Reference

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/RH/9-10/3] Analyze in detail a series of events described in a text; determine whether earlier events caused later ones or simply preceded them.
  • [ELA-Literacy/W/6/6] Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others; demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills to type a minimum of three pages in a single sitting.
  • [ELA-LITERACY/CCRA/R/1] Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
  • [ELA-LITERACY/CCRA/R/7] Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.
  • [ELA-LITERACY/CCRA/R/9] Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.


(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)

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