During group, we have been using a lot of text dependent questions, trying hard to state why you as the author wrote something in the book to honor your craft and give evidence to prove it. For instance, I may ask them why you wrote the chapters from varying points of view or why on page 46 did you list out Mr. Fabiano's story list instead of just writing it into a paragraph. These questions help them become better writers, while also respecting your hard work. Too many times, speculation tears away at the heart of a story, leaving the initial meaning or purpose scattered about. I want my kids to see not only what they can infer, but also what you did and why.
So, all of this is leading up to a big, overarching question I have for you—what would you consider to be the main theme of this book? Or are there several themes that carry equal weight in your eyes? To be honest I am kind of stumped and I don't want to lead them astray. It seems responsibility is a theme as they are taking responsibility for the classroom, but at the same point in time being irresponsible by not reporting it. Also another theme is change, as many characters seem to be dealing with major life changes. Or is it something along the lines of Independence? If you could please throw me some kind of a bone here that would be greatly appreciated. :)
To me Flying Solo contains many themes including independence, as you say, and also tolerating difference. And responsibility: how are you going to act in this world? What choices will you make, and what will be the implications of those choices? Most of the time teachers are the ones who make all the important decisions in the classroom. I thought it would be intriguing to see what a bunch of regular kids would do if they suddenly found themselves with no adult in charge of making those choices.
I hope that helps.