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Creating a Test and Activities for "Wringer" by Jerry Spinelli

written by: Margo Dill • edited by: Trent Lorcher • updated: 1/20/2012

Wringer by Jerry Spinelli is a powerful coming-of-age age book that students will remember long after they read the last page. Here are some ideas for a Wringer test and activities.

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    Wringer Test

    Here are some short answer questions that could go on a test for the book Wringer:

    • Why does Palmer dread his tenth birthday?
    • What event did Palmer witness when he was four years old that leads him to dread his tenth birthday?
    • Why does the town host the Pigeon Shoot? Do you think this is a good idea for a fundraiser? Why or why not?
    • What are some ways that Palmer tries to keep Nipper a secret?
    • How does having Nipper as a pet effect Palmer's relationships?
    • How does Palmer save Nipper?
    • How does Dorothy add to Palmer's stress and dread on Pigeon Shoot day?
    • How would you describe Beans? Give two examples from the story to support your description.
    • What do you think of the ending of Wringer? Would you have acted like Palmer or Beans? Why?

    After students answer some short answer questions on a test for the book Wringer, they can do matching and true and false questions. The matching section should list a character on one side and a description of the character on the other side. You could do: Nipper, a pet pigeon Beans, a bully Palmer, a boy who doesn't want to be a wringer Dorothy, the only one who understands Palmer and so on.

    Here are some sample true and false questions that could be on a test for the book Wringer:

    • Palmer keeps Nipper as a pet to save him from the Pigeon Shoot.
    • When Palmer starts hanging out with Beans, he does not treat Dorothy like a friend.
    • All 10-year-old boys can't wait to be wringers.
    • Wringers wring the neck of pigeons that are wounded, but not killed, by gunshots.
    • The Pigeon Shoot helps raise money for the city park.
    • The only person Palmer tells about Nipper is his mother.

    Finally, on a test for the book Wringer, you can include an essay question:

    If you were going to turn ten years old and lived in Waymer, how would you feel about becoming a Wringer? Compare yourself to Palmer and explain how you are similar or different from him.

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    Wringer Activities

    wringer Before you give students a test on the book Wringer, they can do some reading activities to go with the book:

    • Before reading the book Wringer, students predict what they think it will be about by looking at the front cover. This is often hard since many students will not know what a wringer is. Once they start to write their predictions, then give them clues such as: "This book has to do with pigeons." or "This book centers on a boy who is dreading his tenth birthday."
    • Students pretend they are Palmer and write a letter to the mayor of Waymer, asking him to stop holding the Pigeon Shoot. In the letter, students should give reasons to support the cancellation of the day as well as provide other ideas for fundraising. The letters should be a practice in persuasive writing.
    • Students can do research on pigeons and find out whether or not they would actually make good pets. Then they can create a pro/con list for having a pigeon as a pet.
    • You can start a class discussion with students about peer pressure. In this book, Palmer feels pressure to be accepted by Beans and the other boys. He acts differently and keeps secrets, so they will like him. What do students think about Palmer's behavior? Would they act like him to be accepted? Discuss with students how difficult it is to stand up to a bully like Beans. Students may want to talk about some of their own experiences.

    With activities and a test on the book Wringer, students will improve their comprehension skills and be ready for more Jerry Spinelli books.