The View from Saturday

by E. L. Konigsburg

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How did Mrs. Olinski pick her team in The View From Saturday?

Quick answer:

Mrs. Olinski's decision is based on the behavior of her prospective team members and their ability to work together.

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E.L. Konigsburg's The View from Saturday tells the story of a group of students participating in an academic competition. Typically members of academic quiz teams are chosen by proving their intelligence and the speed with which they can answer questions. Mrs. Olinski is more concerned with the makeup of her team as a unit than she is with the their quiz experience or skills. Each member of her team has demonstrated their kind hearts, which leads Mrs. Olinski to believe they will work well as team members. She also tries not to reward students who may be smarter or quicker but are cruel to their classmates. Mrs. Olinski briefly considers Hamilton Knapp, but once she discovers he had lead some cruel chants during Annie, she decides to invite Julian to join the team instead.

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Mrs. Olinski doesn't choose the students like most other teachers do. She doesn't hold a competition and pick her team based on the winners of the competition. She decides she will appoint them. When Mr. Singh asks her how she chose her team, she tells him she chose the members because she had watched them extend some act of kindness to another person. She had come back to teaching after a serious car accident had left her crippled. She's upset by the cruel actions of some of the students in her class, so it's more important for her to have kids on her team who are good and kind than to have the smartest kids who answer lots of questions quickly. 

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