Category: Book Units

My Side of the Mountain Activities

Teaching Ideas to use with My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George

Students have loved My Side of the Mountains for several generations. The story is timeless. Many tweens have wondered what it would be like to run away from home and live off the land. Sam does just that in this fantastic novel.

My Side of the Mountain Book Summary

My Side of the Mountain is written as a flashback. Sam often makes comments about how he felt or what he didn’t know back then that lets the reader know that Sam is telling about something that happened in his past. He also references notes that he wrote in a journal. Continue Reading

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Save Me a Seat

Save me a Seat

Save Me a Seat centers around two characters that are in the same 5th-grade class at Albert Einstein Elementary School in Hamilton, New Jersey. Ravi is “just off the boat” from Bangalore, India. His dad has been transferred. Joe is all American. He has APD (Auditory Processing Disorder) which causes him to not be able to filter out noises to concentrate on his school work. APD is also the reason Joe doesn’t have friends. The story is told in alternating chapters between these two characters.

The problems for both boys begin to escalate. Since Joe’s mother gets a job as a lunchroom monitor. She completely embarrasses Joe on the first day of school by blowing him a kiss across the lunchroom. Ravi tells his family that his teacher thinks he needs extra help because no one can understand his English. Continue Reading

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The Lemonade War

The Lemonade War

The Lemonade War features two protagonists in alternating chapters. The Treski siblings have been super close until this summer when a major event changes their lives. A letter arrives at soon-to-be 9-year-old Jessie and 10-year-old Evan’s house telling the brother and sister they are going to be in the same class in school next year. Jessie is skipping the third grade because of her advanced skills. While this is terrific news for Jessie, it is not so good news for her brother Evan. Evan struggles in school. He is super embarrassed that his little sister is going to ‘shine’ and cause everyone to think he is stupid. These balled-up emotions lead to war in the form of who can make the most money selling lemonade during the last few days of summer…

Jessie finds Evan with Scott getting ready to sell lemonade. She is upset that they don’t want her to help especially since Evan doesn’t even like Scott. [Plus setting up a lemonade stand is one of her favorite activities.] The boys tell Jessie she’s not allowed to help with the lemonade stand. Continue Reading

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Dear Mr Henshaw

Teaching Ideas to use with Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary

Dear Mr Henshaw uses a unique storytelling method. The entire book is a series of letters and diary entries. This means the main character tells his deepest emotions to the reader through a ‘personal means’ creating a close connection to the reader.

The book begins when Leigh is in 2nd grade. He writes a letter to his favorite author Mr. Henshaw for a class assignment. A new letter to Mr Henshaw follows each year until Leigh becomes a 6th grader. Leigh’s 6th-grade year is the focus of the majority of the novel. Continue Reading

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Brian’s Winter Figurative Language

Free Figurative Language Activity to use with Brian's Winter by Gary Paulsen

Brian’s Winter tells the story of what would have happened to Brian Robeson if the rescue plane had not come at the end of the book Hatchet. Author Gary Paulsen received hundreds of letters from readers who thought Brian had been rescued too soon. He should experience living in the Canadian wilderness during the winter months. Brian’s Winter is Paulsen’s alternate ending to Hatchet.

8 Teaching Activities for Brian’s Winter

Activity #1 – Using Gary Paulsen’s Writing as a Figurative Language Mentor Text

Gary Paulsen’s writing is a gold mine when it comes to teaching students how to enhance their narrative writings. Paulsen uses a lot of detail to take the reader into the character’s world. Rich descriptions, backstories, and character motives weave together pulling the reader into the story. Continue Reading

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There’s a Boy in the Girls’ Bathroom

There's a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom

I love books about kids who turn their lives around. That is the main theme of There’s a Boy in the Girls’ Bathroom. The story begins withBradley Chalkers,  the oldest student in 5th grade because he repeated 4th. He is known by all students and teachers as the biggest bully in the school. Bradley sits in the last row, last seat of Mrs. Ebbel’s class, so he won’t disturb the other students. He spends his time cutting paper and scribbling on his assignments.

Book Summary

Jeff Fishkin

A new student, Jeff Fishkin, moves to Red Hill School from Washington, DC. He is assigned the seat next to Bradley because all the others are full. Bradley begins a relationship with Jeff by first taking a dollar from him and later saying he will give him a dollar if he will be his friend. Continue Reading

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Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes

Sadako and the Thousand Paper Crandes Teaching Activities

Your students are going to love these Sadako and a Thousand Paper Cranes activities!

Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes Summary

The atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan on August 6, 1945. At this time, Sadako was two years old. The story begins eleven years later. Sadako wakes up energetic and excited because she enjoys the celebrations of Peace Day. Continue Reading

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