Brian’s Wintertells 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
Who doesn’t love Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone? With likable characters, magical events, scary moments, and humor, the novel is a hit. In fact, it has sold over 120 million copies making it one of the best sellers of all time!
Shortly before Harry’s eleventh birthday, letters begin flooding into the Dursley’s home addressed to Harry. Mr. Dursley does everything he can to keep Harry from getting one of the letters. He even takes his family and flees to a secluded island on the eve of Harry’s eleventh birthday. At midnight, someone bangs on the door. Hagrid enters and personally gives Harry a letter. The letter is an invitation for Harry to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.Continue Reading
Did you love Alan Gratz’s novel Refugee? He writes another winner with his newest book Allies. In this book, Gratz tells six separate stories following six different D-Day operations through six different perspectives. If you are looking for a novel your students will love, look no further.
Operation Neptune – Dee
Sid and Dee arrive at Omaha Beach. As soon as the door to the Higgins boat opens, German machine guns blast the soldiers. When Dee gets out of the boat, he realizes they are in deep water. Sergeant Taylor yells for help because he can’t swim. Dee goes to help him. By the time the two reach shore, Taylor has died from a gunshot wound in Dee’s arms…Continue Reading
Stargirl starts on the first day of eleventh grade for our narrator, Leo Borlock. The buzz around the school is, “Did you see the new girl?” Stargirl goes to school for the first time as a tenth grader. Up till then, she had been homeschooled. Due to Stargirl’s unusual behavior including carrying her pet rat to school, singing while playing the ukulele at lunch, wearing strange clothing, and so on, most students peg her as an outcast even though she is extremely friendly to everyone. Leo develops a crush on Stargirl. He even follows her one day after school just to see where she is headed. He discovers that she is delivering a congratulations card to a stranger.
After attending a football game in which Stargirl runs across the football field playfully cheering and stirring up the crowd, she is asked to join the cheerleading squad. Students began to like her. At this point, students love Stargirl’s upbeat, quirky actions. People begin attending the football games, not to watch the game, but to see Stargirl’s playful antics including cheering for the opposing team. By Thanksgiving, Stargirl is the most popular person at the school.Continue Reading
Ghost Boys begins with the death of twelve-year-old Jerome Rogers and slowly unfolds through a series of flashbacks. Jerome lives in an improvised neighborhood in Chicago. His walk to school is dangerous including going past drug dealers. Jerome is bullied for being a good student.
One day a new kid comes to school, Carlos Rodríguez. Jerome knows right away that he is going to be a target for bullies. Jerome decides to help Carlos by showing him how to grab his lunch then eat it in the upstairs restroom. Unfortunately, the bullies find the two and begin beating on Carlos. Jerome draws the attention of the bullies away from Carlos. When he does, Carlos pulls out a gun. The bullies back down and leave. Carlos tells Jerome the gun is just a toy made from plastic. He carried it to school because he was afraid.Continue Reading
Are you looking for a great unit to read with your middle schoolers? Try Schooled by Gordon Korman.
Thirteen-year-old Capricorn “Cap” Anderson lives at Garland, a farm that had once been a commune in the 1960s, with his grandmother Rain. Rain falls and breaks her hip. With no phone to call 9-1-1, Cap drives Rain into the city an hour away. Police arrest Cap for driving without a license and quickly ‘unarrest’ him when they realize how naive Cap is. He doesn’t know he is supposed to have a license in order to drive.Continue Reading
Aisha Saeed in her book Amal Unbound tells the fascinating story of a twelve-year-old girl who becomes a servant for the evil Jawad Sahid, the son of the Khan family.
After Amal’s mother had a fifth girl, she became depressed and wouldn’t get out of bed. Amal had to leave school to take care of the house and her younger sisters. One day when she needed a few minutes to herself, Amal went to the market. She was feeling glum about leaving school, so she bought a pomegranate as a special treat just for herself. When leaving the market, a car hit Amal. A man got out of the car and started yelling at her. He then wanted to take her pomegranate as a treat for his mother. Amal refused to give it to him and ran home.Continue Reading