Using The Indian in the Cupboard in the Classroom

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Using Hatchet in the Classroom

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Using Holes, by Louis Sachar, in the Classroom

Holes, written by Louis Sachar, is a wonderful book to use for a novel study or for literature circles in the classroom. Holes, was first published in 1998, and won the U.S.National Book Award for Young People's Literature in 1998, and the 1999 Newbery Medal to name just a few.  In 2012 Holes was ranked number 6 among all-time children's novels in a survey published by the School Library Journal.

Summary of Holes:

(from the book jacket)

Stanley Yelnats is under a curse. A curse that began with his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather and has since followed generations of Yelnatses. Now Stanley has been unjustly sent to a boys’ detention center, Camp Green Lake, where the boys build character by spending all day, every day digging holes exactly five feet wide and five feet deep. There is no lake at Camp Green Lake. But there are an awful lot of holes. 

 It doesn’t take long for Stanley to realize there’s more than character improvement going on at Camp Green Lake. The boys are digging holes because the warden is looking for something. But what could be buried under a dried-up lake? Stanley tries to dig up the truth in this inventive and darkly humorous tale of crime and punishment—and redemption. 

This is a great novel to use in the classroom to help show students the power of questioning and tolerance, and perseverance. A humorous story that students can relate to that sends a positive message

This is a great novel to accompany a study of:

  • Research inventions and inventors.
  • Research Fossils.
  • Research famous outlaws
  • Create a family tree
  • Research Texas
  • Research illiteracy
  • Research homelessness

I offer a complete novel study to accompany Holes for use in the classroom or homeschool. The unit includes both a printable format and a Google Drive™ format for use in a paperless classroom or with Google Classroom.

Here's a preview sample of my Holes Novel Study:

Please go to my TpT store to see this free preview as well as the complete CCSS alignment checklist for grades 4-6 in its entirety. Please email with any questions you may have!

Fifth Grade Social Studies Challenge

My youngest son is in 5th grade this year. He is a highly visual and hands-on learner. He excels when he's actually doing something, not just being lectured to. Social Studies has always been his favorite subject and unfortunately this year the tactic that his school is taking for instruction does not set him up for success and I fear it is possibly damaging his interest in the subject. To combat this I have been working diligently since September to create materials that will compliment his school study, while helping him retain his interest and learn the material in a way that better meets his needs. I am finding that the Interactive Notebook format is perfect for my son's learning style and works very well with the American History curriculum.

I know my son is not unique in his learning style and I know the need for better quality materials is there, especially after looking over the curriculum materials that are being provided to him via a top name educational publishing company. With this in mind I decided to dedicate this year to creating materials for my son while also offering them in my TpT store. I have been very pleased with the results of the work with my son and I am happy to see the demand is there for the products from fellow teachers.

I do use the textbook, Social Studies: The United States Making a Nation, © 2010, ISBN: 978-0-15-385887-1, as a guide while creating my resources since this is the textbook that my son uses in his school. You are not bound by using that textbook, you can use any book or online resource that follows the basic 5th grade U.S. History track alongside my resources.

The first unit of study that I created is Early People of North America:

I just recently finished up the Settling the Southern Colonies:

All of the units follow a similar format:
  • Contain a cover sheet in both color and black & white.
  • An explanatory page explaining the benefits of the interactive notebook format and tips on how to make it work well.
  • Contain a tutorial guide showing how to make all the foldable activities.
  • Contain 2 different vocabulary activity versions (foldable or flash card). The file also contains blank editable pages so that you can add or change the vocabulary to best fit your needs. **This is the only editable portion of the products.
  • Different interactive notebook activities to cover each topic within the section to help students pinpoint and highlight the main ideas and concepts.
  •  An End of Unit Assessment.
  • Answer keys for all included activities.
Here's a preview sample from the Settling the Southern Colonies Interactive Notebook product here:

I am also bundling the smaller units into larger ones and offering them at a 20% discount:

Age of Exploration Bundle
Building the First Colonies Bundle

The New England Colonies Bundle
The Middle Colonies Bundle

The following bundles will be coming within this school year.
Each will contain approximately 4-5 units:
  • Native Americans
  • The Southern Colonies
  • The Colonies Unit
  • The Revolutionary War
  • The Constitution
  • The Young Republic
  • The Civil War
  • A Changing Nation

Follow my TpT store  by clicking the green star under my store name. You will receive an email every time I add a new product to the line. I have been trying to add at the rate of approximately one unit per week.

I am really enjoying creating these units and am so pleased with the progress and enjoyment I am seeing in my son. I hope that you can find as much success within your classroom or home school as I've had!