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Novel Unit - Sign of the Beaver

Compiled By: Mrs. G

These are activities you can use when teaching the novel The Sign of The Beaver.

Sign of the Beaver
Posted by: Carolyn

I haven't read this book with my fifth graders yet this year, but we read it last year. One thing that was fun was getting paper bag material (we actually had a roll of it, like bulletin board rolls) and ripping it into a bearskin pattern. The kids can write an Indian story on it. I found a book of pictographs. What they do is write a story with the pictographs: Attean went down to the (Indian symbol for river) to hunt a huge (Indian symbol for bear). The end result was wonderful. We posted these in the hallway and received highly favorable comments.

You could also make a "Wanted" poster for the one white man in the story with the red hair. (I don't remember his name.) The kids loved that activity.

We also had a dress-up one day. The kids designed outfits to make themselves look like Indians.

Have fun.

Art for Sign of the Beaver
Posted by: Angie

When I taught this book, we studied Native Americans at the same time and we made "Skin Stories". We studied the symbols that NA used for telling stories and them made dictionaries of the terms. Then we took brown paper and wrote a story in black on the paper using the symbols. We then burned the paper to give it an authentic look (you could also just tear). We also talked about the decorations that Matt could use for the cabin and picked wild flowers, dried them and made arrangements out of them. As part of the culminating performance, we found paint recipes made from berries and grass (natural stuff), and painted a NA mural to represent what happened in the story. Hope I helped!!!

Sign of the Beaver
Posted by: Carolyn

This was the first novel I read this year with my fifth graders. One thing we did that I think they enjoyed was creating Indian stories with Indian pictographs. The children wrote the story, and where they could, they inserted a pictograph. For example: Matt and Attean walked down to the river. The symbol for river is a double curvy line (resembling a river), and the kids wrote the words Matt and Attean walked down to the (pictorgraph). Afterwards, they read the stories, then we displayed them.

cause and effect
Posted by: Kim

I taught a lesson today on cause and effect. I began with an experiment showing the theory that every action has an opposite and equal reaction-this put the concept of C&E in a concrete form for the student to "see". Then I showed how this relates to reading and how each action (cause) a character makes has consequent reactions (events) leading to an outcome (effect. Using an example in the story, I modeled how to use the graphic organizer. I had my students go back through the novel we are reading, The Sign of the Beaver, and find examples of this. I had them then pretend they were the character and change the action to alter the events and outcome. I used a graphic organizer to show the information. "How it Happened in the Story..." on one side and "How we Changed the Story..." on the other. The kids really enjoyed "changing" the story while getting a good understanding of cause and effect relationships. I hope this helps.

No title
Posted by: deb603

There's also a movie made of this book. We're watching it right now and comparing and contrasting. It's pretty good. It was a made for tv movie.

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read this book!
Posted by: ma-bethany

i read this book when i was in 6th grade. i remember our teacher made us keep a journal the entire time we read. we either had to be the white boy or the indian boy. i forget what was in the journal, but i remember enjoying it. for this story, we may also have come up with a symbol/language code that we had to write and then have a friend decipher it. but i can't remember if htat was with this story or not...

i did this as a read aloud with my 4th grades one year. they really liked listening to it. it's one of my favoriet books.

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Sign of the Beaver
Posted by: Teach4

Online, I bought a unit from Professional Development Insititute. I don't remember the exact cost but it was around $5 or less. Then, I used some of those activities and some of my own. I put together a little booklet for each child. For a few days, we filled out a chart on the overhead together looking for setting, characters, vocabulary, theme, main idea, events, and predictions. After that, they fill out a worksheet in their booklet looking for the same things. I've attached a copy of the one for chatpers 5 and 6. Notice, at the top there are spaces for them to write a sentence with their vocabulary word. In their booklet, I included pages from the unit I bought with definitions, pos, synonyms, and antonynms for each word. Then, they write down the characters involved in the chapter. Then, they write the them or themes represented and why that chapter or chapters illustrates the theme. We're just starting our work with theme so I wrote out three theme statements (complete sentences) such as, "Survival depends on our ability to adapt to new situations and challenges." They pick one of the 3 and defend it. Next, they write the main idea of the chapter or chapters. And also a few major events. Then, finally, they write predicitons for the upcoming chapters.

Things I included in the student booklet:
1. Theme statements
2. Autobiography of Elizabeth George Speare
3. The Survival Story that the novel was based on
4. Anticipation Guide
5. Vocabulary dictionary (came from online unit)
6. Chapter worksheets (self created)
7. Writing/Other activities (from online unit)

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Posted by: Mrs. G

We have the students make a little booklet with a construction paper cover and plain white paper inside (enough for each chapter in the book). The students work on their summarizing skills. They have to write a summary of the chapter and draw an illustration to go along with it. They do this for each chapter in the book. We let them decorate the cover first to get them excited about the story.