Monday, May 8, 2017

Brian's Rescue

The exciting conclusion of our book had us talking about tornados, diving to the bottom of a lake to retrieve the precious hatchet, the changes in Brian's character and building shelters.
We watched two videos:  How to make a survival bow and arrow
                                         How to build a survival shelter

Then, we divided into two teams.  Since Brian had to survive using just the items in his backpack, we, too had to look around us and get creative with everyday items.  Points were awarded (in the form of raspberries) to those who could look at a paperclip and see a fish hook, or a phone charger cord as a shelter lashing. Teams had to successfully "survive" by obtaining the four basics:  Food, Shelter, Water, Fire

Our last week of class, we will celebrate with a BOOK BEE.  This is similar to a spelling bee, only answering questions about the five books we've read this semester.  Points will be awarded to individuals, and the Lit Wit with the most points will get first selection from the prize box.  Prizes may include gift cards, books, tentacle moustache, or notebooks.
May the odds be ever in your favor

Friday, April 28, 2017

Brian's interaction with WILD LIFE

This week's discussion had us examining our own survival skills.
We pointed out that in our previous books of survival, the characters had some knowledge and past experience helped them in their journey.
THIS time, Brian is a city boy.  He has no past experience.  No dad to show him how it's done.  He is surviving using his own ideas and learning from his mistakes.
Which kind are we?  Are we like Karana and Julie?  Or are we more like Brian?

We watched two videos:  The first one was how to survive a bear attack.  
                                          The second video was how to safely extract porcupine quills.

Outside we went with our flint and steel to test our skills at making a fire.  We suddenly had a lot of empathy for Brian.  Getting a spark to land right into the tinder "nest" is a challenge, and takes a lot of perseverance and patience!  However, we were successful a handful of times!  YAY!

Then, we practiced our bear attack survival pose.  Hands laced behind the neck, and protect the internal organs by laying flat on our bellies, legs spread.  "Mama Bear" Nalani tried her hardest to flip her prey over, but it proved impossible, and all of our victims survived!!

Next week, come prepared to discuss the exciting ending of our book!

Sunday, April 23, 2017


Our new book, Hatchet,  is full of intensity.
We learned a bit about the author and his past, and recognized that sometimes our real-life experiences make for a fantastic plot for writing stories.
Since the character in the book finds himself having to pilot an airplane, we logged onto a flight simulator (with Google Earth) and took turns flying over the cities.  It is A LOT more difficult than we expected.  None our of classroom pilots were able to land safely and made for some comical moments.

Continue reading the book, up to at least chapter 14, and come to class ready to discuss porcupine pricks, bear attacks, skunk sprays and starting a fire with flint and steel.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Number the Stars

This past week, we began our discussion of our new book, Number the Stars by Lois Lowry.
To set the scene of our story, we looked at a map of Denmark and noted how it shared a border with Germany and how close it is to Sweden.  We also learned a bit more about King Christian X of Denmark and the tough choices he had to make during the German occupation.
We saw illustrations of a Nazi soldier's uniform and agreed that it would be intimidating to see in our own neighborhood.  We also reminded ourselves about Adolf Hitler and his crazy ideas about the Master Race and why Jewish families were being relocated.  We all agreed that we would NOT want to have be separated from our families and go live with our friends' family, but that we understood that it was for our own protection from the German soldiers.

(Concentration Camps and Jewish extermination horrors were not discussed- I will leave that discussion up to the families)

Friday, March 10, 2017

Charles Wallace and Mrs Whatsit

What an intriguing beginning to our new adventure, A Wrinkle In Time.
This week we discussed the characters in our story.  A lot of us could relate to Meg Murry the way she thinks she is not smart, even though she is a genius.   She believes that she is plain-looking when it is so obvious to others just how attractive she is.

We defined what INTUITION is, and challenged ourselves to trust our gut more often.

We sipped on Charles Wallace's hot chocolate while we discussed the character, Mrs. Whatsit.
(ask your student what the difference is between hot cocoa and hot chocolate)

Jael was our first volunteer to be transformed into the character, Mrs. Whatsit.  We dressed her in a shawl, and eight scarves. Then topped the tramp with a man's wool fedora!  What fun it was to re-create the scene when Mrs. Whatsit showed up to Meg's house that dark and stormy night.  Other characters joined into the scene, and the scarves and hat were recycled onto a new Mrs. Whatsit, and the scene was acted out over and again because it is such fun to pretend.

 This week, please read chapters five through eight.
We will continue our discussion of Meg and Mrs. Whatsit and TESSERACT travel.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Julie's big decision

This week, we finished up our discussion of our book, Julie of the Wolves.
Those students who read the ending to this book agreed that the ending was both climactic and disappointing.

Miyax chooses to migrate closer to the river, and builds herself an igloo made from hard, dry snow.
We watched a video of some Inuits showing us how to expertly build an igloo in 40 below weather.  Amazing!
Then, we built our own "igloos" using mini marshmallows.

What if you were Miyax's position?  Would you choose to continue your journey to San Francisco like you planned?   Would you choose to go live with your father?   Or would you choose to live with your adopted family of wolves out on the tundra?

Our next book is "A Wrinkle in Time" by Madeline L'Engle.  Get started reading right away.  Students will need to have read up to chapter four by next week's discussion.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Part 2

Last week, we had a discussion about Part 2 of the book, Julie of the Wolves.
Part 2 describes Miyax's life before she ran away, before she learns to survive among the wolves.
We talked about her becoming a child bride, and suggested that maybe this was their native custom of "adopting" a new member into the family.  We agreed that if any of us were to be treated as disrespectfully as Daniel treated Miyax, then we have every right to leave the relationship immediately.

Our discussion then led to all of the things that Miyax learned from her father.  He taught her to hunt, to preserve food, to sew, to read and understand the nature around her.   What have WE learned from our fathers that serve us well today?

Since Miyax was very skilled at sewing caribou fur in to muklaks and mittens, we thought it might be a good survival skill for us to learn, also.  Each student was given a section of caribou fur to make an article of clothing with.  Most chose to make mittens, but I also saw furry ear muffs, and a furry bag, too.  Sewing fur is tricky!

Continue reading Part 3 of the book, and be ready to discuss on March 2nd.  
Ask yourself "What is the THEME of this book"?