The Stars Beneath Our Feet David Barclay Moore full novel study lessons click HERE on Teachers Pay Teachers (TpT).
The Stars Beneath Our Feet David Barclay Moore is a powerful novel about an African American boy living in Harlem who uses his love of LEGO to cope with the loss of his brother and navigate his tumultuous home life. It can be a great resource for teachers looking to engage students in meaningful conversations about grief, resilience, and identity. Let’s look at some ways teachers can use this book in the classroom.
Integrate Technology Into Learning
Moore’s novel provides plenty of chances for digital integration into learning activities. For example, after exploring themes such as friendship or courage with their students, teachers could have them create digital presentations or art pieces that illustrate their interpretations of those themes. This activity gives them a chance to express themselves creatively while still engaging with the material from the book.
Incorporate Creative Writing into Learning
Creative writing exercises can help students further explore different characters from Moore’s novel or develop their own stories related to common themes found throughout it. Teachers could have their students compose journal entries as if they were one of the characters in the book or write short stories inspired by moments from it. These activities give them a chance to practice creative writing while deepening their understanding of important topics like grief, identity, and hope.
Click HERE for the Digital Course Above.
Exploring Identity Through Characters
The main character, twelve-year-old Lolly Rachpaul, is faced with many challenges throughout the novel. His brother has recently died from a gun-related incident, his mother has become increasingly overwhelmed with her grief and depression, and he has been forced to move into a new neighborhood far away from his old one. All of these events provide an opportunity for students to explore how events can shape our identities and how we handle them as people. In addition, Lolly is dealing with being biracial in a predominantly black community; this gives teachers an opportunity to discuss race and racial identity.
Building Empathy Through Narrative Perspective
The Stars Beneath Our Feet is written from Lolly’s perspective; it allows readers to see the world through his eyes and gain insight into his thoughts and feelings. This narrative style gives teachers an opportunity to help students build empathy by understanding what it feels like to be in someone else’s shoes—literally! By asking questions such as “What do you think Lolly was feeling in this moment?” or “How would you have reacted if you were in Lolly’s position?”, teachers can help students better understand what it means to be empathetic towards others.
Themes & Discussion Questions
The most important step to teaching any book is getting familiar with its themes. In The Stars Beneath Our Feet, some of the major themes include resilience, identity formation, and community building. Consider framing your discussion prompts around these themes; they can help students explore how the characters respond to their challenges and how they can apply those lessons to their own lives. The Stars Beneath Our Feet offers teachers plenty of opportunities to explore themes related to gender, race, family dynamics, and resilience with their students. After reading sections aloud or assigning independent reading sections, teachers can ask questions that encourage students to share their own experiences and thoughts on the text. They could also have students break into small groups for more focused discussions on certain aspects of each chapter.Here are some example questions you can ask your students:
• How does Lolly use his creativity to cope with his struggles?
• What does Lolly learn about himself throughout the book?
• What role do relationships play in supporting Lolly’s growth?
• How does Lolly’s neighborhood shape his identity?
Activities & Assignments
In addition to discussing the book with your class, consider assigning activities or projects related to it. This will give your students an opportunity to engage more deeply with the text and characters. Some ideas might include writing journal entries from one of the character’s perspectives or creating a diorama depicting a key scene from the novel. You could also assign research projects related to relevant topics such as urban poverty or gang violence in New York City neighborhoods during the 1990s. Whatever activity you choose should relate back to one of the book’s themes or discussion questions for maximum effect!
Classroom Materials & Resources
Finally, consider supplementing your students’ reading experience by providing them with additional materials and resources related to The Stars Beneath Our Feet. For example, you could offer supplemental readings on topics such as race relations in America during the early 1990s or provide audio recordings of interviews with author David Barclay Moore discussing his inspiration for writing this novel and other works. You could even invite guest speakers who can offer personal accounts of growing up in urban environments like New York City during that time period!
David Barclay Moore’s The Stars Beneath Our Feet provides educators with countless opportunities to engage their students in meaningful conversations about race, gender identity, family dynamics, and resilience through discussion, technology integration, and creative writing activities. By exploring these topics through this powerful storyteller’s lens—and armed with creative tools—teachers will be able to connect with their students on multiple levels while helping them gain new insights into life’s biggest challenges.
David Barclay Moore’s The Stars Beneath Our Feet full novel study lessons click HERE on Teachers Pay Teachers (TpT).
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