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Chasing Vermeer Your Way
Teacher: Kelly Marshall


What is the symboliizm of the Blue M&M's?
In this lesson, you will broaden your understanding of the book, Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliet and get to explore your creativity.  You will be expected to participate in group activites, writing projects, and assessment activities duringth course of this assignment.
Language Arts
Chasing Vermeer
Grade 6
Chasing Vermeer Your Way
Standards Addressed

CA Content Standards: Grade 6

  • Narrative Analysis of Grade-Level-Appropriate Text
  • 3.6 Identify and analyze features of themes conveyed through characters, actions, and images
  • 2.1 Write narratives
  • Establish and develop a plot and setting and present a point of view that is appropriate to the stories. 
  • Include sensory details and concrete language to develop plot and character. 
  • Use a range of narrative devices (e.g., dialogue, suspense).
  • Sentence Structure
  • 1.1 Use simple, compound, and compound-complex sentences; use effective coordination and subordination of ideas to express complete thoughts. 
  • Grammar
  • 1.2 Identify and properly use indefinite pronouns and present perfect, past perfect, and future perfect verb tenses; ensure that verbs agree with compound subjects. 
  • Punctuation
  • 1.3 Use colons after the salutation in business letters, semicolons to connect independent clauses, and commas when linking two clauses with a conjunction in compound sentences. 
  • Capitalization
  • 1.4 Use correct capitalization. 
  • Spelling
  • 1.5 Spell frequently misspelled words correctly (e.g., their, they're, there).


Instructional Objectives

Students will use the narrative writing structure to show evidence of reading comprehension and written language proficiency by creating a multi-paragraph alternate ending to the story Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliet.  They wil use grade level appropriate grammar and punctuation.

Student Activities
Introductory Activity
tIn your literature groups, create a plot map of the story Chasing Vermeer on the chart paper provided.
  • Include a description of the characters, setting, problem, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution.
  • Download and print an image for the following elements: setting, rising action, climax, and falling action. Examples: letters, pentominoes, picture of University of Chicago, Vermeer paintings, etc. 
  • Glue each image next to the plot emelent on the chart.  To locate images, perform an image search at 
  • Be prepared to share your plot map with the class. 


 Enabling Activity(ies)
Using your plot map as a guide, type an alternate ending to the text in the Criterion lab.  Be sure to include detais about the setting, climax and falling action.  Your ending should pick up at chapter 22, when Calder and Petra decide to follow the two men to the museum and sneak in.   The story should have dialogue and a resolution that makes sense. 

Examples: Calder gets caught and held for ransom; Petra discovers that Mrs. Sharpe has been behind the entire crime after all...


 Culminating Activity
Meet with your literature groups and share your alternate endings. 

  • Work with your group members to revise each ending.  Check for meaning by reading aloud to one another and asking "does that make sense?" (organization).  Make suggestions to your group members about how to include dialogue if needed, sensory details (word choice), building suspense, etc. 
  • Use the editing checklist to peer edit, then self-edit your work.
  • Prepare to publish your ending.



Using the 6 Traits Rubric:

  • 4 - Home Run, exceeds expectations 
  • 3 - Triple, meets expectations, but could go a little further
  • 2 - Double, approaches expectations, missing 1-2 required elements,
  • 1 - Single, does not meet expectations, missing several required elements

See supplementary materials for full rubric.

Web Resources & Supplementary Materials

Introductory Activity

Enabling Activity
For reviews of what other kids think of the story and to get ideas about alternate endings:

Culminating Activity
Rubric for Alternate Ending

Black Mountain Middle School
Kelly Marshall,
Last Revised: 06/06/2007