Study Guide

Sideways Stories From Wayside School Chapter 5

By Louis Sachar

Chapter 5


  • All of the kids are chattering away while Todd sits quietly, thinking.
  • Practically as soon as he opens his mouth to share the idea he's just had though, Mrs. Jewls reprimands him for speaking, writes his name under the word discipline on the board, and tells him to try harder to be quiet like the other students.
  • Wait a second—haven't all the other students been talking this whole time too?
  • Todd is amazed that he's the one in trouble. But it's true that "All of the other children, who were fighting and screaming only a few seconds earlier, were quietly working in their workbooks" (5.4) all of a sudden. Todd is as confused as we are about this shift.
  • Mrs. Jewls uses the "three strikes" rule for discipline: name on the board, then a check by the name, then a circle. Circle means you're out—sent home for the day.
  • Joy leans over to ask Todd what page he's working on, and Todd whispers back. Joy keeps bothering him. Todd doesn't want to compete: "It isn't a race" (5.14), he says.
  • Joy finally shouts loudly, in front of the class, "I'M ON PAGE TWO HUNDRED!" (5.17). Todd tries to make her quiet down and says, "Will you please let me do my work and stop bothering me!" (5.18).
  • Again Mrs. Jewls reprimands Todd for talking in class. What the heck?
  • Todd tries his best to behave. Apparently he's been sent home early every single day from school. At an ordinary school this would be hard to believe—but this is Wayside.
  • Suddenly, there's a knock at the classroom door and two masked robbers burst inside asking for money. The students tell them they don't have any. "It's not a bank, it's a school," Todd explains. "Can't you read?" (5.30).
  • Nope, the robbers can't read. They demand something valuable from the class.
  • Todd tells them they do have something valuable: knowledge. He gives Joy's workbook to the robbers and says, "Knowledge is much more valuable than money" (5.34).
  • The robbers leave without doing any damage. One of them thinks maybe he should become a scientist instead. Todd has saved the day, but—of course—his heroism goes totally unnoticed.
  • The kids go back to work. Joy gets a new workbook, and a triumphant Todd asks her what page she's on. Whoops—that's three strikes, Todd. Todd goes home on the kindergarten bus.
  • This time, however, at least the kids notice his heroics: "All the children stood up, clapped their hands, and whistled" (5.44). Todd just scratches his head in confusion.