The Teacher’s Guide to Divine Intervention includes lesson plans, discussion questions, curriculum connections, and follow-up activities.
By Elyse Kishimoto
What I love about reading are the endless adventures and mysteries that came alive. Books can take you to a secret world that exists in the imagination and a really good book makes you believe that it is real. I wanted to write the kind of story that makes you believe.
Children have amazingly rich imaginations and storytelling gives them access to new secret and fantastic lives. In Matilda, Roald Dahl, wrote: “The books transported her into new worlds and introduced her to amazing people who lived exciting lives. She went on olden-day sailing ships with Joseph Conrad. She went to Africa with Ernest Hemingway and to India with Rudyard Kipling. She travelled all over the world while sitting in her little room in an English village.”
The Dining and Social Club for Time travellers is a series written for kids, about going on an adventure. It’s about stepping out of your comfort zone and embracing the strange and wonderful world of stories. It’s about believing in the fantastic, the magic, and the possibilities of exciting new worlds.
Divine Intervention is an illustration of how lives can be transformed in an instant. It asks questions such as: How is it that we are so often blind-sided by tragedy when it has, in actuality, been on the horizon all along. What happens when the life you know is abruptly and irrevocably changed? Can good things come from bad? What changes when you begin to realize your destiny?
Louisa Sparks is thrown into a world of chaos and adventure when she discovers an unusual timepiece in the pocket of her grandfather’s old coat. With the press of a button, Louisa discovers that she can travel through time. Soon after, she receives an invitation to join the strange fraternity of The Dining and Social Club for Time Travellers. But her adventures have only just begun! Time travellers are going missing and Louisa may be the only one who can save them. Louisa faces danger at every turn but she finds help in the most unexpected places, learning that sometimes it’s the smallest things that make the greatest changes.
Main Premise/ Plot:
A strange societies of time travellers meets regularly to dine. Through chance and circumstance, Louisa Sparks becomes linked with the members of The Dining & Social Club for Time Travellers. Belthazzar, a fellow time traveller from the distant past, is hunting the time travellers so that that he alone can posses the power to travel through time.
Character Education Connections:
Power and agency
- read and demonstrate an understanding of a variety of literary, graphic, and informational texts, using a range of strategies to construct meaning;
- recognize a variety of text forms, text features, and stylistic elements and demonstrate understanding of how they help communicate meaning;
- use knowledge of words and cueing systems to read fluently;
- reflect on and identify their strengths as readers, areas for improvement, and the strategies they found most helpful before, during, and after reading.
This strand helps students learn to read with understanding, to read critically, to become familiar with various text forms and their characteristic elements, and to recognize the function and effects of various text features and stylistic devices. It helps students understand that reading is a process of constructing meaning and equips them with the strategies that good readers use to understand and appreciate what they read.
Pre-read Discussion Questions:
- Why are so many stories written about children with no parents?
- What does it feel like to belong to a group or club?
- Do you think it’s fair that one person should make all of the decisions in the group? Why or why not?
- Do you think that time travel is possible?
- Where and when would you visit if you could time travel? What would you do when you got there?
Time Travel Adventure
This activity provides an opportunity for students to be storytellers. This warm-up will encourage creative thinking, improvisation, and experimentation with creative writing ideas.
Writing provides students with powerful opportunities to learn about themselves and their connections to the world. Through writing, students organize their thoughts, remember important information, solve problems, reflect on a widening range of perspectives, and learn how to communicate effectively for specific purposes and audiences. They find their voice and have opportunities to explore other voices. By putting their thoughts into words and supporting the words with visual images in a range of media, students acquire knowledge and deepen their understanding of the content in all school subjects. Writing also helps students to better understand their own thoughts and feelings and the events in their lives.
Overall expectations: Students will: 1. generate, gather, and organize ideas and information to write for an intended purpose and audience;
- Read the prologue of Divine Intervention.
- Discuss the possibility of time travel and explore some potential problems with people moving back and forth through time.
- Break the students up in groups of 3 or 4. In their journals, record and brainstorm places and times that they would visit. What would it look like? Who would be there? What would they do? How would they try to fit in? Why did they choose that particular time and place?
- Share and discuss.
Extension: Write a synopsis for their time travel adventure.
Design Your Own Time Travel Adventure
To focus on the construction of meaning through the combination of several media “languages” – images, sounds, graphics, and words.
Curriculum Connection: Media Literacy is the result of study of the art and messaging of various forms of media texts. Media texts can be understood to include any work, object, or event that communicates meaning to an audience. Most media texts use words, graphics, sounds, and/or images, in print, oral, visual, or electronic form, to communicate information and ideas to their audience.
Students will: 1. generate, gather, and organize ideas and information to write for an intended purpose and audience; 2. draft and revise their writing, using a variety of informational, literary, and graphic forms and stylistic elements appropriate for the purpose and audience;
Students will: 1. demonstrate an understanding of a variety of media texts; 2. identify some media forms and explain how the conventions and techniques associated with them are used to create meaning; 3. create a variety of media texts for different purposes and audiences, using appropriate forms, conventions, and techniques; 4. reflect on and identify their strengths, areas for improvement, and the strategies they found most helpful in understanding and creating media texts.
- Look at the graphics on the cover of Divine Intervention. Discuss how the pictures on the cover help to give clues about the story. Talk about the elements that stand out and what they want to know more about.
- Have the students design a book cover for their time travel adventure. Fold a legal sized piece of paper to make a front cover, spine and back cover. The inside book flaps can be used to include an author biography and reviews of their work.
- The title and graphics should support their synopsis.
- Include the synopsis on the back cover of the book.
- Set the expectations for the book cover by using a rubric. For example, this rubric found on Read, Write, Think sets out specific guidelines.
Post-Read Discussion Questions:
- Where does the story take place?
- What is the one thing the writer makes you curious about? Why?
- What are Louisa’s most important traits? Why are these traits important?
- What motivates Louisa’s actions?
- How is Louisa changing? What is she learning about life and the role she plays in it?
- Why does Louisa want to be a part of the Dining and Social Club for Time Travellers?
- Who controls Gendun’s actions? How does this make him feel or react?
- What is the most interesting scene in the novel so far? What did the writer do to catch your interest?
- Describe the nature of the relationship between two characters. Include their history together and details of their relationship. Explain the significance of their relationship to the book.
- What would be “out of character” for the main character? (In other words, what would Louisa most likely never do?)
- What is Belthazzar’s plan and what motivates him?
- What do Louisa’s dreams have to do with the story?
- What does Rhadamanthus mean when he says: “’Tis oft that the smallest alterations giveth rise to strikingly great consequences.”?
- Give examples and explain the purpose of any special language used (dialects, foreign words, slang, etc.) What is its effect?
- Does the author use humour, irony, symbolism, or metaphors? Give examples and explain the effect.
- What is the peak event, the climax, of the novel? What major conflicts lead up to it and what is the resolution afterward?
- What is the theme or themes in the novel? How does the author show this idea? Give evidence. Comment on how this theme fits in the novel and how it applies to life outside the book. What does this theme mean to you?
- What did you learn from this novel? In answering this, you may comment on any aspect of the novel including how it is written.