The children read Chapter 1 in The Education of Little Tree for class this week. In our study guides there are questions to help focus them on the chapter at hand and also to be sure they understand what’s going on in the novel. This week’s chapter was a bit sad as we addressed a child who was orphaned and went home with his grandparents, and their poor treatment by others because of racial prejudice against Indians but there is also a strong overtone of hope and love to carry the reader through to the next chapter.
In-class we also covered the week’s vocabulary and will continue to do so. Some of the words have different definitions or contextual meanings and I want to be certain that the students understand the vocabulary as it is used in the novel.
Little Tree’s grandparents lived in a ‘dog trot’ cabin. Once class work was over, the kids wanted to know how they were going to build a cabin. There were some really strong looks of dread! How on EARTH were we to build a LOG CABIN in that tiny little classroom? Eventually Lauren suggested that Lincoln Logs might be a good idea and so I pulled out the can and broke the students into groups of 3. The all-girl group worked really well and constructed a fine dog-trot cabin complete with people inside in their allotted time. The other group had to tear down and rebuild several times (and part of this was the scarcity of materials) but in the end they, too, had built a very nice dog trot log cabin.
I am really looking forward to teaching this class every week. The subject matter is fascinating and the novel, while topically difficult, is also beautifully written and a cultural must-read. The kids? Awesome.
You can find the study guide for this class here, on Lulu. There are other fine study guides available and mine is really a compilation of pictures and text from online sources (all credited), vocabulary from the novel The Education of Little Tree, memorization work from classic texts mentioned in the novel and questions and craft/activity ideas for each week from my own idea of what is important and age-appropriate.