From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
by E. L. Konigsberg, Atheneum. Newbery Winner, 1968
Activities 2000 Nancy Polette

Return to list of literature guides
Activities:
Claudia and Jamie are brother and sister. They are part of a busy family and 
Claudia feels as if she is never noticed or cared about. She feels as if life is nothing but tyranny with constant orders from her mother and father. Claudia decides to run away to The Metropolitan Museum of Art. When this idea finally penetrates into Jamie's head, he thinks that she is crazy. Claudia finally talks her brother into going with her, using an unused ticket to New York City that was 
thrown away by mistake.

Once Claudia and her brother are on their way, they decide that they complement each other. They are two different people but together, they can do almost anything. One problem is that Jamie thinks Claudia is narrow-minded because she always thinks her way is the best. She wants to take a taxi to get around while Jamie would rather save money and walk. When they do walk around, though, Claudia gets fatigued and starts to perspire. When they are at the 
museum, they must be inconspicuous so that no one will notice them.

It is in their nightly explorations that they find a mystery to be solved involving a statue. Can they solve it? Will they ever go home again? To find out, read From The Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.
Activity One: Thinking about the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Write your thinking responses. Then go to the "Mets" web site to see what else you could add.

METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART 
http://www.metmuseum.org

Book: 
Inside the Museum: A Children's Guide to the Metropolitan Museum of Art by Joy Richardson. Abrams, 1993

Fluency: The ability to make many responses. 
Name all the different kinds of things you might find in a large art 
museum like the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 
_________________________ _________________________ 
_________________________ _________________________ 
_________________________ _________________________ 
_________________________ _________________________ 
_________________________ _________________________ 
_________________________ _________________________ 
_________________________ _________________________ 

Flexibility: Finding new categories. Stretching the mind beyond the expected response. 
Name the most unusual item you might find in a large art museum. Write one sentence telling why you believe it would be there.
Most unusual item to be found in a large art museum:
______________________________________________________________
Why I think it would be there:
______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________

Originality: Responding in new or original ways. 

Create a slogan to go on a poster, tee shirt or bumper sticker that would encourage people to visit their local art museum.
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________

Elaboration: Adding details to make a product more complete.
 
Choose a famous painting pictured on the museum web site. Print it out and add words beneath the painting to give it a different meaning than the artist intended.
 Example: Under the Mona Lisa a student wrote: "Her secret is that she uses "Secret" deodorant."

Activity Two: Michelangelo

Claudia and Jamie were able to discover that the unidentified statue in the museum was done by Michelangelo. Guess yes or no to these statements about him. 
1._____ Michelangelo lived during the 1500s. 
2._____ His first love was oil painting. 
3._____ His most famous painting was the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. 
4._____ His paintings were realistic and he frequently used dark colors. 
5._____ He lived to be 89 years old. 

Support or deny your guesses by visiting this web site about this famous artist.
MICHAELANGELO 
http://www.k12.hi.us/~kapunaha/famous_artists.htm

Book: 
Michaelangelo and the Sistine Chapel Ceiling by Loren Partridge. Braziller, 1996