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Novel Unit - Hatchet

Compiled By: Mrs. G

Hatchet is a book about the survival challenges a boy faces after the bush plane he's traveling in crashes. Brian, the main character, has to learn how to survive, how to find food, etc, but also has to deal with his emotions and attitude toward his situation and learns how his attitude affects the chances of his survival.

Posted by: Jen

Hatchet is a such a wonderful book, my 5th graders LOVE it!! I have a writing assignmnet that my kids are doing today as a matter of fact! They have to think about luck and the role it plays in the story.

Brian had good luck and bad luck throughout the book. FOr ex: Bad Luck is crashing and good luck is surviving. Eventually I want the kids to realize that its not really luck that matters, but the way you react to it that counts! For example, Brian doesn't give up even though sometimes luck isn't on his side.
Steps for assignment:

1. Make a T-Chart of as many Good Luck and Bad LUck examples as you can find.(in sequence please)
2. Class Discussion on these examples. Talk about how Brian REACTED to his luck.(good and bad)
3. Kids will write a rough draft titled Brian's Luck. Use a paragraph template to assist with organization.
assignmnet guidelines:
1. Use a topic sentence
2. Give at least two examples of good and bad luck Brian had in the wilderness.
3. Use a concluding sentence
4. Two paragraphs

4. After kids have cokmpleted a roough draft. we peer edit.
5 Recopy.
I had the kids type it on the computer and shrink the font down small enough so they could cut it out and glue to the inside of a paper plate. All around the paper plate they used construction paper cut-outs to represent items having to do with the story. It ends up looking kind of like a wreath all decorated to look like Hatchet.

Hatchet idea
Posted by: Jennifer

Hi... I teach 5th and every year my kids LOVE Hatchet, especially the boys. Here's a few ideas.

Before reading: Ask the kids what items if they could only bring 5, would they bring on a planned camping trip in the woods. After kids have jotted this down in the journal, have them read their responses. I write them on the board. Then give them the following scenario: If you were stranded in the woods all alone with only a lake and the animals to keep you company, what are some ways that you wold eat? sleep? protect yourself? This leads to a great discussion.

During reading: I have them write in their response journals and answer comprehension questions. I also have them keep track of all the things that happen to Brain that can be considered good luck and bad luck. They also keep track of the skills that Brain acquires throughout the story.

Make a character web of Brian and state areas of teh text that support the traits.

After reading: I have them take out the list of good and bad luck for the journals. They use this to complete a writing assignment. They must write about Brian's good luck and give evidence, bad luck and give evidence and his skills. This leads to a discussion, "IS LUCK MORE IMPORTANT THAN SKILL?"

Posted by: April Leachman

I have taught Hatchet to my six graders for years. We have an outdooor classroom at our school. I divide the class into teams ( I usually put the girls on one team and the boys on another).I tell each team they are lost in the wilderness and the sun is just about to go down so they they have have use what they have around them to build a shelter in 20 minutes. I give each team a shoestring just like Brian had,and I have them build a shelter. The kids love it!

End of book Presentation
Posted by: MK

At the end of the book I have the students create a survival book and present it to the class. The need to find all of the tips in the book Hatchet. I can't find the project description, but found the rubric.
I'll keep looking for the description...

Names_________________ Hatchet
Date ________________ Survival Book

Presentation and Survival Book Rubric

Survival Book
On Time (If so, you lose nothing. If not- 5 points per day.)
A. General:
1.Correct spelling………..………………………………5 4 3 2 1
2.Correct grammar………………………………………………5 4 3 2 1
3.Neat handwriting…………………………………………… 3 2 1
4.Written in cursive and in ink………… 3 2 1

B. Specific
a.Includes title ………………………………………………5 4 3 2 1
b.Includes students names…………………………5 4 3 2 1
c.Colorful…………………………………………………………………5 4 3 2 1
d.Includes well thought out …………………5 4 3 2 1
scenes based on the book

2.Table of contents
a.Includes section titles 2 0
b.Includes page numbers 2 0

(Each section should include a brief description of the topic, examples, where you can find the listed items and how else you can use them. You should go beyond just listing items, give the names given in the story. Items should be found in the setting of Hatchet. (No houses!)
a.List of 5 items and through
explanation of why 10 8 6 4 2
b.Food…………………………………………………10 8 6 4 2
c.Water……………......…………………10 8 6 4 2
d.Fire…………………………………………………10 8 6 4 2
e.Shelter…………………………………………10 8 6 4 2
f.Mental aids………………………………10 8 6 4 2
G.Other (bonus)…………………………

Hatchet Ideas
Posted by: bamagirl

You could have the students make their own survival kits. Also, we always complete a graphic organizer showing the items Brian has on him and how he could use them to survive. For example, he could use his paper money to help start a fire. It is always fun to see how the students use their imaginations for the items he has.


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An adventure story
Posted by: trexteach

After we read Hatchet by Gary Paulsen, I have my students write their own adventure story. I give them a graphic organizer/rubric that includes sections where they write their notes on the following:
-their original destination
-why they were going there
-one object that they had with them while traveling (ex. pellet gun, knife, book, box of crackers) and why they had it. Within the story, they must tell how they used this object to help them survive.
-mode of travel (ex. plane, hot air balloon, train)
-a description of what type of disaster happened on the way (ex. accident, bad weather--no one is allowed to survive with them)
-a description of where they ended up (ex. island, desert, mountains)
-what three objects they found once "stranded" (see descriptions below), where and how they found them, and how they used those objects to help them survive
-how they went about finding food, water, shelter
-how long they were "stranded"
-how they were eventually rescued (or if they weren't)

Three objects: In order for the kids to describe what three things they happened to find while "stranded", they had to pull three slips of paper out of a container. Each slip of paper had a random object written on it. (ex. shoe, sweeper bag, toothbrush, dictionary, mirror, flashlight, bucket, wire, broom). I explained to them that they would have to include how they used each object to actually help them survive. After they pulled the slips, they read aloud their objects to the class. The kids absolutely love this part. They think the strange collections are funny. Then I give them time to brainstorm with a partner or two possible ways they might use each object.

Once students have written their thoughts/notes on the graphic organizer/rubric, they begin to write their stories. They always turn out great. I also have them publish them by creating a 3-D cover for the story.

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Hatchet Projects
Posted by: Emily4th

I have always done this book with my gifted 4th graders.
During the story, I do a lot with vocabulary and figurative language. I also have the kids complete these three projects:

~Picture Book - Draw a picture and write a sentence for each chapter, bind into a book with cover, title page, etc.
~Create a survival guide - Page for each type of animal/difficult situation Brian encounters, and how to deal with each.
~Create a replica of Brian's shelter using natural materials. Some kids have come up with real creative ideas for this!

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Posted by: Mrs. G

Materials needed:
A shoe box for every child
Clay or play dough
crayons, markers, or paint
colored paper
various other craft supplies

This is a project the students can either work on in class if you have the time or do it at home.

Have the students choose one of their favorite scene from the story Hatchet. Tell them to recreate that scene inside the shoe box. Tell them to make sure and make a background on the back of the box. They can use clay and any other craft supplies they have available to them.

Character activity
Posted by: Mrs. G

Here is a activity that ties in with the stories main character. After the plane crash no one knows what happens to Brian.

Have your students create a missing persons poster. They should include a picture of Brian and also describe his physical appearance. Your students should also include when Brian was last seen.

Make sure you have your students color the posters so that you can have a colorful bulletin board display.

Summary booklet
Posted by: Mrs. G

When reading Hatchet you can have your students make summary booklets.

Cut a piece of 9x12 construction paper in half (hamburger cut) and use the half sheet as a cover for the booklet.

Then take white copy paper 8.5 x 11 and cut it in half (hamburger cut). You will need enough of the half white sheets so that they have one for every chapter. You can get 4 chapters out of one half sheet because they will be folded in half and stapled inside the construction paper cover to make a book.

Each day after reading a chapter have the students write a short two or three sentence summary at the top of one of the pages. Then have them draw and color a picture to go along with the summary. Make sure you have them label the chapter at the top or bottom of the page.

When this is finished they will have a summary of the entire book.

Posted by: Mrs. G

Brian was flying in a bush plane when he crashed. Have your students make paper airplanes.

This can be a perfect opportunity to have your students write a "steps in a process" paper. Have them write each step to show how they make they make their planes. They can also include diagrams to help.

Then have them trade papers and see if the other person can fold the airplane using the steps given.

You could also follow this up by having your students research the type of plane Brian was flying in before it crashed.

Hatchet Movie
Posted by: Elaine

The movie you are looking for is A CRY IN THE WILD (NOT to be confused with Cry of the Wild). I just copied this information off moments ago.

Our Price: $14.99
Rated: PG
Starring: Jared Rushton, Ned Beatty, et al.
Director: Mark Griffiths
Edition Details:
• NTSC format (US and Canada only)
• Color, Closed-captioned, HiFi Sound, NTSC
• ASIN: 6304365985

It is PG rated. There are some "words" (Kids love them.), one scene where Brian takes off his clothes to jump into the river (From a distance -- from the back -- kids love it!), a scene or two when the mom is hugging/kissing in flashbacks of "THE SECRET!" (Kids pretend to hate it!). I just sent a note home to parents explaining that movie is rated PG and gave them the opportunity to give or deny permission to watch. I teach 5th graders, and all 25 were readily granted permission. (Also I told parents that we were going to compare and contrast the book with the video. Of course we arrived at the conclusion that, as always, the book was much better than the movie!)

Have fun watching!