The Sign of the Beaver

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1 Assignment #1 Chapters Why does Matt s father leave him alone in the wilderness? 2. What two gifts does Matt s father give him before he leaves? Why were they important? 3. Why does Matt s father tell him to cut notches on sticks? 4. Why was it so important for Matt to keep the fire from burning out? 5. What advice does Matt s father give him about relating with Indians? 6. What did Matt miss that he didn t think he would miss? 7. Although the cabin was finished, his father had left him with one endless task necessary to finish the cabin completely. What was that task? 8. What warnings does the author give that Ben is going to make trouble? 9. What could Matt have done to prevent the unfortunate ending to the encounter with Ben? 10. What or who broke into Matt s house? What was damaged? 11. Why do you think Ben could not go back to town? 1. Draw a portrait of one of the characters and describe this character in 1-2 paragraphs. 2. Interview one or more of the characters. Write your questions and his or her answers. 3. Build a model of what Matt s family cabin may have looked like. Write 1-2 paragraphs depicting the design. (Material examples: cardboard, sticks and twigs, popsicle sticks, straws, construction pare, etc.) Get creative! 4. Research what a Johnnycake is. Explain how and why these were made in 1-2 paragraphs. If you feel particulary inspired you could prepare your own Johnnycakes.

2 Assignment #2 Chapters What advice does Matt s father give him about bees? 2. What food items does Matt s mother persuade Matt and his father to take with them on their trip to Maine Territory? 3. What happens to Matt when he tries to get honey from the beehive? 4. What quick action by Saknis plays an instrumental part in Matt s recovery? 5. Why does Saknis want Attean to learn to read? 6. How does Attean feel about his reading lessons with Matt? 7. What was the problem Matt discovered when he began teaching Attean? 8. What did Attean mean when he said, White man not smart like Indian. Indian not need thing from ship.? 9. Why did Attean continue to bring Matt food even after he could catch his own? 10. Characterize Saknis in one well-written sentence. 11. Characterize Attean in one well-written sentence. 1. Predict the relationship that will develop between Matt and Attean. Write 1-2 paragraphs. 2. Describe the types of fish people catch when they go fishing (minimum of 4). Draw a picture of each fish and include facts about each fish such as its habitat, habits, and catching methods. 3. Explain a skill you have that you could teach to others. Write 1-2 paragraphs about how you learned this skill and why you find it useful. (Examples: fishing, knot tying, dribbling a soccer ball, origami, backflips, cooking, etc.)

3 Assignment #3 Chapters What major events occurred in these chapters? 2. What causes Attean s dog to have such a strange nose? 3. Why does Matt not trust Attean s dog? 4. What is the sign of the beaver? Why is it an important symbol? 5. What is the difference between the signs Matt s father makes and the signs Attean makes to show their way through the woods? 6. What was wrong with the bow Matt made? 7. Describe how Attean made the bow and arrow. 8. How are hunting methods and reasons for hunting different between white man and the Indians? 9. What is Matt s role in the killing of the bear? 10. Characterize Attean s dog in one well written sentence. 11. Why wouldn t Attean free the trapped animal? 12. Why did Attean ask for the bear s forgiveness? 1. Draw a diagram of a bow and arrow and label its parts. 2. Research the history of archery. Write 1-2 paragraphs on your findings. 3. Build a bow and arrow and explain how it was constructed. 4. Create a list of outdoor survival skills. Write one sentence on each describing its use and purpose. 5. Complete a Venn diagram that compares and contrasts the differences between Indian people and white people.

4 Assignment #4 Chapters What made Matt think of Saknis as a king? 2. Why do you think Attean would not eat any of the bear? 3. What jobs did Attean think were squaw work? 4. Explain the differences in the attitudes of Attean s grandfather and grandmother toward white men. 5. What happened to Attean s father and mother? 6. Why did Attean s grandmother not want Matt at the feast? 7. Why could Matt not go back to the Indian village without being asked first? 8. Why was Matt worried about his family? 9. Characterize Attean s grandmother in one well-written sentence. 10. Was Attean really mad at his dog? How do you know? 11. Why did Attean s grandmother change her mind about Matt? 12. Explain why Matt no longer feels alone in the forest. 1. Explain celebrations and traditions you are involved in. Write 1-2 paragraphs and tell how your celebrations are similar or different from those of Indian celebrations like Attean celebrates. 2. Research Indian instruments, music and dances. Write 1-2 paragraphs on your findings. 3. Learn and share an authentic Indian chant or song. 4. Storytelling is important to Attean and Matt. Retell the day of the greatest adventure in your own words.

5 Assignment #5 Chapters Why would Attean not be coming to Matt s cabin for lessons for a period of time? 2. Describe what Attean must do to become a man? 3. How did Attean prepare himself for his manitou? 4. What is manitou? 5. How can Matt tell that Attean has found his manitou? 6. Describe Attean s appearance after he became a man. 7. Knowing that Matt s father has not yet returned to the cabin, what opportunity does Saknis offer Matt? 8. How does Matt earn Attean s respect? 9. What gifts are exchanged between Matt, Saknis, Attean, and Attean s grandmother? 10. Matt stayed busy preparing for winter. What did he do to prepare? 11. Why was Matt s family late in getting to him? 12. In what ways was Matt s life while his parents were gone like Attean s finding his manitou? 13. How was the ending to this story bittersweet for Matt? 14. If you could, would you keep the ending to this story the same or change it? If you would change it, what would you change? 1. Matt discovered a skill that he was ill-equipped to perform. Sew an article of clothing and test your own skills. 2. Create a model of what Matt s notched stick may have looked like. 3. Describe a few ways you would transform into an adult. Write 1-2 paragraphs depicting ways boys and girls transform into adulthood. 4. Write a letter to the author. Tell her what you liked about the book and ask her any questions you may have. Share any ideas too, perhaps for a sequel.

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