"Because of Mr. Terupt" by Rob Buyea, September–October

A new teacher inspires a class of fifth graders — but when Mr. Terupt suffers a devastating injury, his students struggle to come to terms with their responsibility for the accident.

Here are links to our lists for the novel: September–October, November–January, February–March, April–June
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Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. theory
    a belief that can guide behavior
    New teachers don’t know the rules, so you can get away with things the old-timers would squash you for. That was my theory.
  2. syndrome
    a pattern of symptoms indicative of some disease
    The first day of school. I was nervous. Somewhat. The sweaty-palms-and-dry-mouth syndrome struck.
  3. exceptional
    surpassing what is common or usual or expected
    A red-haired woman who proved to be exceptional at multitasking greeted us with a smile and a slight nod.
  4. disinfect
    destroy microorganisms or pathogens by cleansing
    The halls smelled stuffy but clean, like they’d just been disinfected.
  5. corresponding
    accompanying
    I immediately made a data table of all the letters and their corresponding values. A quick reference for me.
  6. worthwhile
    sufficiently valuable to justify the investment of time
    I figured this could still be a worthwhile strategy for other words.
  7. strategy
    an elaborate and systematic plan of action
    I figured this could still be a worthwhile strategy for other words.
  8. flashy
    tastelessly showy
    She loves to wear flashy clothes—dresses, skirts, fancy shoes—and she always has the accessories to go with them.
  9. accessory
    an article worn to complement one's main clothing
    She loves to wear flashy clothes—dresses, skirts, fancy shoes—and she always has the accessories to go with them.
  10. strut
    walk with a lofty proud gait
    He strutted to the board like he was the coolest thing since sliced bread and wrote it for the class.
  11. slink
    move or walk stealthily
    Peter slunk back to his seat. No surprise to me, Mr. Terupt knew what Peter was up to the whole time.
  12. snicker
    laugh quietly
    Mr. Terupt snickered. “That’s enough, Luke. I must say, this isn’t a word I was expecting, but nonetheless, it’s our first dollar word. Congratulations.”
  13. nonetheless
    despite anything to the contrary
    Mr. Terupt snickered. “That’s enough, Luke. I must say, this isn’t a word I was expecting, but nonetheless, it’s our first dollar word. Congratulations.”
  14. gazebo
    a small roofed building affording shade and rest
    There’s playground equipment in another spot, and a large field for running around and playing sports, like kickball or football. That’s where the gazebo is, too—by the edge of the field.
  15. reassure
    cause to feel confident
    Only Mom understands, and I feel a little better when she reassures me that I’ll thin out as I grow.
  16. fume
    be mad, angry, or furious
    It’s a good thing Danielle was her partner. She’s the patient kind. Anyone else would have been fuming.
  17. concoction
    any foodstuff made by combining different ingredients
    Mr. T let us feed our plant any concoction we wanted to over the course of a week.
  18. manure
    any animal or plant material used to fertilize land
    “Lexie. Maple syrup comes from trees. I drink soda a lot, and I’m growing—and farmers put animal manure on their fields all the time. So zip it. It’s going to work.”
  19. manipulate
    control or influence skillfully, usually to one's advantage
    Mr. Terupt told us to manipulate the plant’s nourishment. “Feed it whatever you want,” he said. “Make your own concoctions.”
  20. uneasy
    causing or fraught with or showing anxiety
    Mr. Terupt, on the other hand, appeared a little uneasy about the whole thing, but he never stopped me.
  21. billow
    rise up as if in waves
    Smoke started billowing from my concoction.
  22. confrontation
    discord resulting from a clash of ideas or opinions
    Jeffrey thought this confrontation was a big deal.
  23. flashback
    an unexpected but vivid recurrence of a past experience
    “I saw,” I said. And I saw flashbacks of smoke pouring out of the bowl. I knew I wasn’t ever going to be a botanist (dollar word).
  24. botanist
    a biologist specializing in the study of plants
    “I saw,” I said. And I saw flashbacks of smoke pouring out of the bowl. I knew I wasn’t ever going to be a botanist (dollar word).
  25. blurt
    utter impulsively
    “I don’t want to kill my plant,” I blurted out.
  26. ostracize
    expel from a community or group
    My mom has warned me not to get involved in that popularity stuff. She was ostracized once.
  27. shun
    avoid and stay away from deliberately
    I can tell that she still hurts inside from all of it. Even her own parents shunned her.
  28. jab
    poke or thrust abruptly
    “What do you want?” she shot back, jabbing her stick too hard into the ground, causing it to snap in half.
  29. scowl
    a facial expression of dislike or displeasure
    I walked alongside Jessica until I saw Lexie marching toward us. She had a mean scowl on her face.
  30. determined
    characterized by great firmness of purpose
    She looked mad. Real mad—like a mama cow determined to keep you away from her new calf.

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