In 5th grade, we finished the whole class novel, Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Craighead George. I know some people might think this is traditional, and that I should look a little more outside the box. However, this book was our introduction to one of my favorite units of study that really gets kids learning some great content knowledge with fun "outside of the box" stuff thrown in all over the place!!
We are continuing to study Alaska from now until winter break. I introduced the unit by showing students an amazing video called Alaska: The Spirit of the Wild - free to stream if you have Amazon Prime. This video shows some really wonderful footage of animals in the wild, gives a great understanding of the land, and touches a bit on the people of Alaska as well.
About 3 weeks ago, we started to read Julie of the Wolves in order to begin our exploration/research theme. A very different book compared to Wonder, by RJ Palacio (which we celebrated with this project).
The Julie of the Wolves Unit Plan follows this routine that I put into place:
The students read a section at home
The next day we discuss what was read
After the discussion, students complete an activity with partners or independently to show understanding of a specific concept (Example: List a natural resource Julie used and how or what she used it for)
At home that night, students answer comprehension questions based on the whole class discussion. Since I already had the questions written up, I would guide the conversation in that way if, close to the end, I saw no one was hitting on something I needed the class to discuss.
At the end of the book, I sent home a project for Fall break with four different activities to choose from, all of which have a writing piece included. Below is what some of my fabulous students created to show their understanding of Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Craighead George. I am so proud of all their hard work and effort. It was so interesting to see which parts they connected to the most, and how they interpreted it.
From here, we will start our state research unit that I am going to model with using books about Alaska. Each student got to choose which state he or she wanted to research. This entire unit involves: a fictional novel (Julie of the Wolves Book Study), Nonfiction Reading Unit Study, Writing a Research Paper, and a Science Experiment AND it all comes together right before winter break!! We are going to present to parents and staff. I have wonderful classroom parents that are willing to decorate and put together refreshments that involve a Science/"State" Fair theme! I am so excited to start this second part of the unit with them, and see the final result in December! For now, enjoy their artwork below! HAPPY TEACHING!
This student showed San Francisco on top and the Arctic below. The display was to represent Julie's choices of either going to live with her friend Amy in California, or staying in Alaska with her father. When presenting, the student discussed why she thought Julie made the right decision. And how cute is the glowing candle?! I loved this one!
This shows the climax of the story, when Amaroq is killed by a gussak hunter. This was the great wolf that accepted and took care of Julie while she was alone on the Tundra. A very sad part of the story.
This is a Miyax doll (left) with labels to explain what each part of her outfit and supplies are made from. The diorama is a representation of when Nails shows that he understands Amaroq is the leader of the wolf pack.
This is another Miyax (Julie) doll. The paper under it explains each part of her clothing, and what it is made out from in the Tundra.
This depicts the scene of when Julie learns that her father is still alive, and she is on her way to see him!
These kids did such a wonderful job! I was so impressed and happy to see that there was a lot of meaning behind each project. I am so proud! Tomorrow, more of them share with the rest of the class!