When we read a book, what happens in our minds? This essential question guided us to the very scientific hypothesis: If we change the way we read, then we can change the way our minds works. Furthermore, if we change how we read, we also change why we read.
During the first week in August, the Badgerdog Book Crush experimented with this hypothesis by reading Ali Benjamin’s The Thing About Jellyfish nearly 100 different ways. We read backwards! We read by counting! We read by crossing out! We read by illustrating Suzy’s mind! We read by creating lies! Creating new words! We read the text over and over again, hopping through time and space, investigating the jellyfish in our minds as closely as Suzy investigates the mystery of what happened to Franny.
What is the thing about jellyfish? What is the thing about reading? Examine the evidence below to draw your own conclusions.
Badgerdog Teaching Artist
Akhil, Nitin & Shaayan show off their work.
Akhil shows off his creative interpretation.
Akhil’s BOXIMUS DOUBIEES IPONE 6SE, a unique breed of anti-jelly jellyfish that bears a strong resemblance to an iPhone 6 SE.
Akhil’s second piece, “How to Read the Proper Way,” is a guide for anyone who’s been reading improperly. As Akhil advises, “Go slowly to get a good grade.”
Shaayan holds up his piece, “How Do I Read.”
Shaayan’s “Jellyfish Story” is about a 12-foot-long, 7-foot-wide jellyfish — the largest jellyfish species in the world!
Nitin showing off his “invented dictionary.”
Nitin’s dictionary takes words from The Thing About Jellyfish and reimagines what those words might mean if we lived in an underwater world.
Nitya, Raina & Sravya show off their work.
Raina shows off the book she created, which answers the question, “What is the thing about jellyfish?”
Here’s a closer look at Raina’s work, “About Jellyfish.”
Raina’s diagram of jellyfish parts.
Nitya displays her dream setting: Switzerland.
Nitya worked tirelessly to create this timeline that tracks the book’s events in chronological order. The novel was not written chronologically, so this map required great study. Nitya went the extra mile and color-coded the timeline based on the main character’s (Suzy’s) feelings at different points in the story.
Sravya’s jellyfish lives in a tank on top of a dresser. In the left drawer, you’ll find octopus food that her jellyfish eats. In the right drawer, some sea salt for the jelly’s water.
Sravya does her teacher work! She made a quiz for everyone based on the book, and here she is with her grading pen.
Rohit, Miette, and Piyali show off their work.
Miette with her jellyfish inventions. One of these jellies is the upside-down “Couch” Jellyfish, who lets other jellies sit on him. Also note Miette’s very cool jellyfish/mermaid hair.
Miette’s “Jellies of the Sea!” Can you find the Couch Jellyfish?
Rohit shows off his “Lies About the Book.” To avoid a spoiler, we’ll only reveal the first line: “Hi, it’s me, Franny.”
Rohit’s jellyfish comes alive with its saran-wrap glow. This drawing doubles as a comic, with the jellyfish lamenting, “… I am super lonely.”
Rohit’s “Lies About the Book.”
Piyali and her mind-map of Suzy’s brain.
A closer look at Piyali’s mind-map of Suzy’s thoughts.
Zach & Ava show off their work.
Zach with his Jelly-Donut-Fish portrait and his bar graph charting word usage on page 70 of The Thing About Jellyfish.
Zach’s Jelly-Donut-Fish. How many donuts do you see?
Zach’s bar graph tracks the frequency of word-use on page 70 of “The Thing About Jellyfish.” This spawned many other conversations about language usage. Why do you think “the” was used most frequently? What does that tell us about Ali Benjamin’s writing style?
Ava and her jellies: Sky, Sunburn, Bubblegum, and Starburst.
Ava’s story about her jellies, complete with a jelly donut punchline.
Ava’s hard at work color-coding her entire jellyfish story.
The bright and brilliant Book Crushers with their fearless leader, Miss Katelin!