Kristen has been an educator for 25+ years - as a classroom teacher, a school administrator, and a university instructor. She holds a doctorate in Education Leadership.
Woods Runner is the story of a young teenage boy, Samuel, in 1770s Pennsylvania. While out in the forest one day, he realizes that his home is burning and returns to find his parents taken. In his quest to find and save his parents, Samuel encounters many characters and participates in many adventures. Use the activities below, developed for use with older elementary readers, to help students draw meaning and make connections with Samuel and his story.
Create a Glossary
Materials: writing paper or access to a computer for writing, dictionary or access to a computer for dictionary use, drawing paper and colored pencils or markers
- Begin by writing the following vocabulary words on the board and briefly review meaning for each word (as it fits into the story).
- Next, put students into groups of 2-4.
- Give each group writing paper or access to a computer.
- Instruct each group to select 10 of the vocabulary words on the board to work with.
- Explain that each group will be creating a glossary for the book by defining each of their chosen words. Be sure that students alphabetize their chosen words before beginning their work. For each word, students will need to include:
- part of speech
- example of the word used in a sentence as related to the story (if quoted directly, be sure students use quotation marks)
- When finished, each group will design a cover to go with their glossary and put everything together as a book.
Materials: writing paper, props as determined by individual students
- Assign each of the 19 chapters (plus the Epilogue) to students. With a larger class, some chapters may have to be assigned to small groups and for a smaller class, some students may have to take more than one chapter.
- Explain that students are going to become experts on their assigned chapters.
- Allow time for students to develop a presentation that summarizes and explains the importance of their assigned chapter(s). Explain that they can develop props or visual aides that might help in their oral presentation.
- When ready, have each chapter presented to the class (in order) so as to develop a full and complete summary and analysis of the book.
Write the Children's Version
Materials: drawing paper, colored pencils or markers
- Put students into groups of 2-4.
- Give each group several pieces of drawing paper and some colored pencils or markers.
- Instruct each group to compose a children's version of Woods Runner. The children's version will:
- Use simple language that younger children will understand.
- Include only 2-4 sentences on each page along with clear illustrations.
- Tell the main story without giving too much attention to minor details.
- Contain at least 8-10 pages.
- Allow time for the groups to work on their books.
- Have each group present their book to the class as if reading to a group of younger students.
Materials: writing paper or access to a computer for writing, stapler
- Begin by holding a class discussion about Samuel. Talk about some of the things he went through in the story and how those things affected him. Talk about his feelings and how his personality influenced his actions and reactions in the story.
- Next, give each student writing paper or access to a computer for writing.
- Instruct students to think about the story and select one of the major events that took place (such as the burning of Samuel's home).
- Explain that each student is to create a set of at least five journal entries from Samuel's point of view as if Samuel, himself, were writing the journal.
- Each journal entry should include:
- A date and time (these can be made up but must be appropriate to the time period in the story).
- An explanation of the events of the day.
- Description of Samuel's feelings and reactions to the events of the day.
- Once complete, have students put their journal entries together and bind them with a stapler.
- Allow time for students to share some of their journal entries with the class. Also allow for class discussion as needed.
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