RAM Readers Spring 2020 discussion

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Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper

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message 1: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (drld) | 24 comments Mod
A must read for all educators!


message 2: by Yao (new)

Yao Chen | 49 comments • I did really feel sympathy for Melody and the hard life she suffered. It is always really difficult to have equal signs in the real society whatever the race or the disability. It also made me think of something I learned when I was young, which is good people deserve better life and bad folks should all have their ways to go. BOOKS MAKE ME FEEL! That is also one of the reasons why I like reading. You can experience different people’s lives and take something from the book out with you.

• This book tells a story about an eleven-year-old girl, Melody, who is super smart but unable to talk and walk. She has a photographic memory, but nobody understands what she is thinking about because she cannot voice herself. People assume that it is a good thing to be able to remember all the life details, but it can be really frustrating as well. I feel shameful for some teachers in this book. They are cold-hearted, nasty, unfair, and fail to do some basic things for the students. For example, Mr. Dimming tolerates campus bullies and seems to be a part of them. The music and English teachers fail to discipline the mean girl properly. They do not let the girl understands that her behaviors are not okay to be accepted and allowed. Luckily, Melody has a good home environment where mom believes she has real intelligence and dad reads to her, sings to her, takes videos of her, brings her outside to enjoy the real life and so on. She also has a lovely younger sister and Mrs. V, Catherine…

• Melody’s characteristic trails are very unique and eye-opening. She and her classmates like Freddy and Jill really enjoy the inclusion program in the first place because they get chance to study in a regular classroom. Melody thinks it is the best experience she has got and communicates with others through communication board. Thus, as educators, we have to give kids like Melody more chances and patience to get them included. But they also want to be treated like any other students. Teachers have to be fair and just when they try to meet every one of their student’s needs. For instance, Miss Gordon is a very creative language arts teacher who makes the lesson fun. (“She lets the class act out parts of stories, and sometimes she even turns books into games.” P. 106). I also learned to be grateful for what I have. I do not always need to say, “I wish I could do something.”, I can just go and give it a try!


message 3: by Lourdes (new)

Lourdes A. | 49 comments What a great novel! In the beginning, I thought it was a sad story. Eventually, I realized that it is a reminder for all of us about how prejudice makes people assume that person with limitation physical conditions does not have mental capacity. By the end of the book, readers may understand what the word “disabled” really means. I appreciate the part that Melody´s mother refused to accept the doctor´s recommendation to put her in a Care facility. I am glad that their parents did not give up on her.
Melody Brooks is an 11-year-old smart girl who is diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Melody cannot walk or talk, but her mind is filled with words, sounds, colors, phrases, music, and creativity. She understands and notices everything around her and tries to communicate all the time, but not everyone is ready to hear and understand her. “It’s like I live in a cage with no door and no key.”
Even though most people underestimate Melody´s abilities, her parents and Mrs. Valencia (neighbor and after-school caregiver) see how intelligence she is. Besides, Mrs. Valencia motivates her to achieve more than society expects.
Out of My Mind is a book for every age, and it probably promotes great discussions in classrooms.


message 4: by Natalie (new)

Natalie Thomas | 46 comments I feel like Out of My Mind should be a required reading for 5th/6th graders. These are the ages when students are learning to develop morals and ethics, but also the need to just want to fit in and be normal. Often, these two worlds come at odds. Many of the students in this novel KNEW the right way to treat Melody, but the social/peer pressure to "be normal" took over.

Throughout the novel, I was so frustrated for Melody. I cannot imagine how overwhelmingly frustrating it must be to look disabled on the outside, but be perfectly normal on the inside. More than normal--a borderline genius! But, no one outside of Melody's family and Catherine even tried to take the time to realize this. Melody was dismissed her entire life. Her classmates were cruel, as expected. Kids this age typically don't have any idea how to handle or befriend a person who looks so greatly disabled. Now, the teachers should have absolutely known better. If I didn't know this novel had been written in 2010, I would think that Melody's teachers came straight out of the '50s, when mainstreaming and inclusion were not even a thing in the school systems. Good Grief!
Overall, I really think this book would help young adolescents understand the struggles of the disabled, and that they are more like us than we realize. Yes, it might be a little convicting for some of them, but better to learn that lesson of compassion at a young age than to become a judgmental adult.


message 5: by Yao (new)

Yao Chen | 49 comments Lourdes wrote: "What a great novel! In the beginning, I thought it was a sad story. Eventually, I realized that it is a reminder for all of us about how prejudice makes people assume that person with limitation ph..."

Hey Lou,

I also feel happy for Melody to have a lovely family and other great people like Mrs. V supporting her. It is not easy for everyone to see others through their spirits instead of appearances, so that's also the power of reading. We are becoming more aware of the world.

Yao Chen


message 6: by Yao (new)

Yao Chen | 49 comments Natalie wrote: "I feel like Out of My Mind should be a required reading for 5th/6th graders. These are the ages when students are learning to develop morals and ethics, but also the need to just want to fit in and..."

Hey Natalie,

You've got some great points as always. I agree that teachers have to take more responsibilities in this case. As you mentioned, when students are learning to develop morals and ethics at 5th/6th grade. I assume if teachers can be their role models to show them how to be a better individual, the chances of developing non-cognitive skills will be better.

Yao Chen


message 7: by ThaoTam (last edited May 06, 2020 01:25PM) (new)

ThaoTam  Nguyen  | 46 comments Out of my Mind by Sharon M. Draper
This story has the same situation with wonder. The main character has a really bad situation, but with wonder, August can talk, listen, and express his feeling. With “out of my mind”, main character Melody Brooks is a ten-year-old girl who was born with cerebral palsy, she can’t speak, move, express what she wants or do anything as a normal people can do. She stuck in her life. My heart beat faster when Melody was young, her mum holds her, kiss her, talk and sing to her. She really wants to express her love to her mum with her voice and her action but she can’t. And when her mum is pregnant, Melody afraid that her parents will send her to a nursing home.


I admire Melody because of her effort and she is an intelligent girl. She wants everybody to treat her like a normal person and she always tries. I admire her parents, they try all their best to give Melody can live a normal life. And in Melody's journey, there are many nice people and of course have many bad people. But all of that we can see the effort of Melody, even in a bad situation!

This is a good story for teenagers from 10 to 12, this is also a lesson for them: even in a bad situation, we must try all our best. Life is unfair but when we can pass an obstacle, we will be stronger and mature!


message 8: by Natalie (new)

Natalie Thomas | 46 comments Yao wrote: "• I did really feel sympathy for Melody and the hard life she suffered. It is always really difficult to have equal signs in the real society whatever the race or the disability. It also made me th..."

Yao: I was so disappointed with most of the teachers in this novel. I know it's not a memoir, but situations like Melody's occur all around the world, every day. I think teachers feel intimidated when a disabled student is "immersed" in their classroom, so reading a novel like this would help dispel any myths they might have about disabled students. This would be a great novel to read for a professional development.


message 9: by Natalie (new)

Natalie Thomas | 46 comments ThaoTam wrote: "Out of my Mind by Sharon M. Draper
This story has the same situation with wonder. The main character has a really bad situation, but with wonder, August can talk, listen, and express his feeling. W..."


Thao: I was grateful that Melody had some great people in her life who believed in her and fought for her. I knew there were going to be mean classmates, but the attitudes of the teachers were frustrating. My favorite character was Ms. V because she really helped Melody to see her own worth, and the amount of time she took to develop Melody's strengths was outstanding.


message 10: by Lourdes (new)

Lourdes A. | 49 comments Natalie wrote: "I feel like Out of My Mind should be a required reading for 5th/6th graders. These are the ages when students are learning to develop morals and ethics, but also the need to just want to fit in and..."

Hi Natalie,
I agree with you that this novel can make teenagers aware of the struggles of the special kids, and help them understand that these kids have gifts in different ways that people usually see it. Human being tends to criticize and avoid " differences." Besides, people who have prejudice can be more "disabled" that people who are considered disabled by society.


message 11: by Jackie (new)

Jackie Olalde | 44 comments Out of my Mind

My sister wanted to read this book together. I thought it would be a nice activity to do together, especially now during this quarantine. She had started this book a few years ago but hadn't gotten the chance to finish it, so this was the perfect opportunity.

Melody is the main character and the novel that tells her story as someone who lives with cerebral palsy and describes her experience as a girl in the fifth grade. Melody's cerebral palsy marks her as "disabled," which people mainly based on her appearance even though Melody is incredibly gifted. I couldn't imagine what it was like to live like Melody.

A part of the story that stuck out to me was the trip to Washington, D.C. Melody was a part of a Whiz Quiz team, and the day of their flight, the team left on an earlier flight without Melody. I thought it was incredibly mean that they would leave her behind during such a critical time. I couldn't believe that the teacher would do that.

This story teaches a valuable lesson for everyone who reads it. When I asked my sister about her thoughts, she said that it was more understanding about other people. Melody started school in a special learning community, but as they get to know Melody more, she moves to classes with her other classmates.


message 12: by Diana (new)

Diana | 31 comments Great book! I enjoy this book because it really puts things into perspective on how difficult challenging and frustrating it is for a young person with that condition. Teachable moments for both adults and children. This book is well written and an easy read. I like that Melody had a disability but was still able to show people that she can do whatever she puts her mind to.


message 13: by Jackie (new)

Jackie Olalde | 44 comments ThaoTam wrote: "Out of my Mind by Sharon M. Draper
This story has the same situation with wonder. The main character has a really bad situation, but with wonder, August can talk, listen, and express his feeling. W..."


Hi Thao,

Yes, I agree with you. Melody is so admire. She is in a situation that would make many incredibly frustrated yet she handles it well. I think her parents are amazing for trying to give their daughter a normal life.


message 14: by Jackie (new)

Jackie Olalde | 44 comments Natalie wrote: "I feel like Out of My Mind should be a required reading for 5th/6th graders. These are the ages when students are learning to develop morals and ethics, but also the need to just want to fit in and..."

Hi Natalie!

I agree that this book should be a must-read for early adolescents, especially since that is a time where they might give in to peer pressure and forgot that they should be friendly to everyone. I also couldn't believe the teachers left. I could get that the students would leave, but full adults! It is just terrible.


message 15: by Lourdes (new)

Lourdes A. | 49 comments Diana wrote: "Great book! I enjoy this book because it really puts things into perspective on how difficult challenging and frustrating it is for a young person with that condition. Teachable moments for both ad..."

Hi Diana,
Yes, this is a well-written book! I also appreciate that, because some books are hard to understand. What I like the most in this novel is the message that people can have disabled outside appearance, but their essential skills are not, unlike people who look perfect, but they don't have love and compassion in their hearts. It seems to be the true meaning of being disabled.


message 16: by Bruna (new)

Bruna Alcaraz | 41 comments In her early school years, Melody was part of the group of special students. None of them had the same disability as hers, but all somehow deserved differential treatment. Melody didn't complain, but she didn't learn even 1% of what she learned at home, watching documentaries on television. It cost a teacher to understand what pleased each student the most, what their restrictions and intellectual levels are, and when this happens, they start to have some classes together with the other students, considered "normal".

One day, a girl shows up with a laptop, and Melody has a genius idea, remembering Stephen Hawking. She needs a computer where she can type and the sound of the words come out through it. Her parents soon approve of the idea and provide the device that changes Melody's life altogether. It is during group classes that Melody participates in a general knowledge test and is chosen to be part of the school team, and so together with four more students will represent the school in an Olympics. The pride of her parents and her caregiver, Catherine, is immense, and Melody joins forces to face the audience, judgments, and her own nervousness, and show what she is capable of.

As we can see, Melody's life is not easy. Her parents are great heroes for all the effort and ongoing dedication. Melody portrays in the first person how much she would like to communicate and perform trivial tasks, and this touches the reader a lot. It reminds us that we should thank you daily for having health, family, and a home.

And despite all its difficulties, we see clearly that the biggest problem, in the end, is not cerebral palsy itself, but the pre-concept of people, the famous judge without first trying to know and approach. The author brings light and even lively narrative, but it is very sad to see how far people move away from Melody just because she is different. What's more, they don't believe in their potential, much less their intelligence.

Melody and the other children are only eleven years old, so it is natural to have doubts and even curiosity about their condition, but adults acting like is the worst part and that there are definitely no justifications. And the saddest thing is to think that many disabled people suffer this kind of judgment often.

At the school where I studied, I had a wheelchair friend who also had difficulties with speaking and getting around. To this day I don't know exactly what he has, but luckily everyone in high school was very good to him and treated him like the same. We always invited him out, walked him in the hallways and laughed with him. Melody's suffering at not having friends and being always excluded is great and we feel in her place. Outside of me is a book that promotes a lot of reflection and lessons. A book to learn to love the and respect it. Melody is an extremely strong and admirable protagonist who made me want to know everything she could still achieve. A book that moves and that I point out to everyone!


message 17: by Bruna (new)

Bruna Alcaraz | 41 comments Jackie wrote: "Out of my Mind

My sister wanted to read this book together. I thought it would be a nice activity to do together, especially now during this quarantine. She had started this book a few years ago ..."


Hi Jackie
It is really good that you had a chance to read the book with your sister, it is a good book that shares the idea about respect. Also, the language is easy to understand and it is an interesting story.


message 18: by Bruna (new)

Bruna Alcaraz | 41 comments Natalie wrote: "Yao wrote: "• I did really feel sympathy for Melody and the hard life she suffered. It is always really difficult to have equal signs in the real society whatever the race or the disability. It als..."

Yao, you touch in a very important point, maybe teachers are not emotionally prepared to received a student that requires special needs. Probably the teacher certification should create a different form of to apply that needs to future teachers.


message 19: by ThaoTam (new)

ThaoTam  Nguyen  | 46 comments Bruna wrote: "In her early school years, Melody was part of the group of special students. None of them had the same disability as hers, but all somehow deserved differential treatment. Melody didn't complain, b..."

Hi Bruna!
Your story reminds me, my friend, too. My friend have the same situation with yours, at the time all of us try our best to help him to feel comfortable in the class. and this novel is also a great story for adolescents


message 20: by ThaoTam (new)

ThaoTam  Nguyen  | 46 comments Natalie wrote: "I feel like Out of My Mind should be a required reading for 5th/6th graders. These are the ages when students are learning to develop morals and ethics, but also the need to just want to fit in and..."

Hi Natalie!
I like your idea and agree with them but i think this book also suitable for students from grade 5th to 7th, because at this age they are not empathy with the others. by reading this, helps them to understand about people situation and put them in Melody so that know how does she fell and they will be empathy with people have the same problem wit that


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