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2004-2005 School Year Calendar

Blue Balliett
Moderated Author Chat
November 8, 2005, 1-2pm ET
Flashlight Readers Featured Author
Back to Blue BalliettPage

One of the strongest themes in Chasing Vermeer involves kids arriving at their own conclusions when confronted with puzzling situations, regardless of the apparent logic of their thought process. Ms. Balliett embodied this encouraging philosophy in her years of teaching third graders; in that spirit, teachers might want to try creative and unconventional ways of having their students respond to Chasing Vermeer.

How to Join the Chat
Some school district filters prevent classrooms from entering chat rooms, so you may need to ask the district or your school's technical support staff to change the filter setting before this moderated chat. The web address for the chat will be:

On November 8, the day of the chat, return to the Blue Balliett’s Gateway Page. The current "Submit Questions Now," will change to a link to "Join the Chat." Follow that link to enter the Scholastic Auditorium.

On the Scholastic Auditorium page, you will be asked to choose between two different chat versions: Java Lite and HTML. If you are using Netscape 3.0 or newer, or Internet Explorer 3.0 or newer, choose Java Lite. If you are using an older browser or are not sure, choose HTML. Regardless of which Web browser you use, if you're using a pop-up blocker, choose HTML.

Blue Balliett’s name will be an option under "Today's Interview." Select her name, then select the "Enter Now" link.
During the chat, type questions for Blue Balliett into the text box at the bottom of the chat screen. To submit your questions, click the "Send to Moderator" button. Due to high volume, not all questions will be answered.

Lesson Ideas
Before the chat with Blue, try these activities with your class:

  • Lesson Plan for Chasing Vermeer
  • Discuss different literary elements of Chasing Vermeer, like characters, plot, theme, conflict, resolution, and sequence of events. During the online chat, try and have your students ask Blue leading questions about these different elements to better understand the various aspects of the story. After the author discussion, have your students make thought-provoking and insightful study guides that would help a student focus on one theme/element in Chasing Vermeer: characters, coincidences, etc.
  • Have students write about their favorite part of the book. What did they like about it? What did they learn from it? What would they tell or ask the author about it?
  • More advanced students can write one or two strong and focused critiques on different aspects of Chasing Vermeer. Have them form a thesis and make sure they follow the five-paragraph essay format in support of their argument. In class, have them boil down their thesis and present their critique to the rest of the class, and then have a few students present their critiques to Blue during her chat.

In the Teacher Store
Blue Balliett’s breakthrough novel is available in Scholastic’s Teacher Store.

Chasing Vermeer
When a book of unexplainable occurrences brings Petra Andalee and Calder Pillay together, strange things start to happen. Before they know it, the two find themselves at the center of an international art scandal. As Petra and Calder are drawn clue by clue into a mysterious labyrinth, they must draw on their powers of intuition, their skills at problem solving, and their knowledge of Vermeer. Can they decipher a crime that has left even the FBI baffled?
Grades 4–9


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