Original Publication Date: 1998
Ghostwriter? Yes, Suzanne Weyn.
In an effort to encourage students to pursue teaching careers, SMS is putting on a three-day event in which students will take the places of their teachers for a class period, learning what it's like to organize lesson plans and be in charge of students and so on. Several BSC members do it: Kristy is assigned to seventh grade girls' gym, Stacey gets seventh grade math, Mary Anne gets seventh grade social studies, and in a confusing move, Mallory is assigned to eighth grade English. Since she's in charge of gym class, Kristy assumes she doesn't really need a lesson plan or much of a plan at all; she just knows that she'll do well. To make things even more interesting, Kristy will be working with Cary Retlin, who's assigned to seventh grade boys' gym. They let their animosity toward each other disrupt the (THREE DAYS) of gym, undermining each other and letting chaos reign. Someone gets a black eye, another person gets an adult tooth knocked out, and one student ends up with a broken arm (sort of reminds you of the Winter War in Baby-Sitters' Winter Vacation, when Kristy is in charge of a team of competitors and a student she talks into joining the competition breaks his ankle). There's no good resolution; Kristy and Cary sort of learn to work together but not fantastically.
Mallory has a tough time of it, too. She's nervous about teaching students two years older than her, and a few mistakes, like dropping the stack of handouts, snowball when the class teases her. The regular teacher does what she can to keep the class in line, but the teasing spreads through the school. Even though she's able to get through to some students at the end of her final day, the teasing persists and is reaching levels that could be categorized as bullying.
Established or continued in this book:
The Girls (and Logan):
Claudia candy: popcorn
Nothing really stood out.
There's a sub-subplot dealing with Vanessa bossing her younger siblings into playing school, with her as a poetry teacher.
The Club (and clients): nothing new.
This is the eleventh time the same school year has started.
For some reason, there's no minimum grade requirement to do the teaching program, even though students will miss their own class periods while they're teaching.
New-to-us students: Anson (no last name given, 7th grade), Lane Reynolds (8th; a previous book introduced Jodi Reynolds who's also in 8th grade, but it's not mentioned whether they're related; he's referred as "Shane" by mistake once). There's a Parker mentioned, but it seems we're supposed to already know who he is, and given there's a male student with that last name, I'm going to assume it's him, especially since this is on the page following the Lane-Shane typo.
Will someone please tell me why SMS hasn't thought to divide gym classes into competitive and non-competitive teams for games? My tiny school (69 in my graduating class) always did this. If you knew how to play soccer or volleyball or basketball or whatever well, you went to one half of the gym or field, and if you didn't you went to the other half. The competitive students who knew the rules well could go all out, and the non-competitive students who were just learning could still get some exercise without being destroyed by better players.
Get a good editor before you publish a book. The typos with the students' name are confusing.
During the Chapter Two introductions, Kristy muses that Mary Anne could teach "secretarial sciences." Sounds like someone saw this short film: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UoqtTrb3I0w
Curds and whey means cottage cheese.
Starting 8th grade: 11
Halloweens in 8th grade: 6 (plus one in seventh)
Thanksgivings in 8th grade: 3
Winter holidays in 8th grade (that BSC members celebrate in the plot of a book, not just reference): Christmas-5, Hanukkah-2, Kwanzaa-3
Valentine's Days in 8th grade: 4
St. Patrick's Days in 8th grade: 1
Summers after 8th grade: 11
BSC Fights: 12
SMS Staff and Faculty: 67
Students (other than the BSC): 216: 122 8th graders (not including Amelia Freeman, who is deceased), 30 7th graders, 48 6th graders, 15 unspecified. Baby-sitters' Winter Vacation tells us that SMS has about 380 students.
Clients: 37 families
Types of candy in Claudia’s room: 143