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SCHOLASTIC 
LITERATURE GUIDE 

GRADES 4-8 


My Side of the Mountain 


by 


Jean Craighead George 


Author 
Biography 

Chapter 
Summaries 

Discussion 
Questions 

Vocabulary 
Builders 

Assessment 
Strategies 

Reproducibles 

Cross-Curricular Activities for 
Students of All Learning Styles 











IM SCHOLASTIC 

































EAN 


ISBN D-5'lD-Dt.S71-fi 




























SCHOLASTIC 

LITERATURE GUIDE 


GRAE 



My Side of the 
Mountain 

. ■> by 

Jean Craighead George 


Scholastic, Inc., grants teachers permission to photocopy the activity pages from this book for classroom use. No other part of this 
publication may be reproduced in whole or in pan, or stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, 
electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission of the publisher. For information regard¬ 
ing permission, write to Scholastic, Inc., 555 Broadway, New York, NY 10012. 

Written by Tara McCarthy 

Cover and interior design by Drew Hires 

Interior illustrations by Drew Hires 

Photo credits: Cover: My Side of The Mountain by Jean Craighead George. Cover illustration by Michael Garland ©1987. 

Interior: Author photo/Elian Young Photography 

ISBN 0-590-06571-8 

Copyright ©1996 by Scholastic, Inc. 

All rights reserved. 

Printed in the U.S.A. 







Table of Contents 

BEFORE READING THE BOOK 

Summary.3 

Characters.3 

About the Author .4 

Vocabulary.4 

Facts About Realistic Fiction .5 

Notes About a Story Theme .5 

Getting Started.5 

EXPLORING THE BOOK 
Part 1 

Summary and Discussion Questions .6 

Cross-Curricular Activities: Geography, 

Speaking and Listening, Writing.7 

Part 2 

Summary and Discussion Questions .7 

Cross-Curricular Activities: Health and Medicine, 

Art, History, Writing, ...9 

Part 3 

Summary and Discussion Questions .9 

Cross-Curricular Activities: Language Arts, 

Writing/Drama, Geography .11 

SUMMARIZING THE BOOK 

Putting It All Together.12 

Class, Partner, and Individual Projects.12 

Evaluation Ideas.13 

STUDENT REPRODUCIBLES 

Classifying Resources.14 

Planning Ahead.15 

Realistic Fiction Chart .16 


Answers for Worksheets 


13 






















Before Reading the Book 


SUMMARY 

Sam Gribley, a teenager tired of the 
tumult of life in New York City with 
his large family, runs away to live 
alone on an abandoned, gone-to- 
wild Catskill mountainside that 
belongs to his family and that was 
once his great-grandfather’s farm. 
Because he’s done a monumental 
amount of research beforehand, 
Sam is savvy about basic ways to 
make-do in a wilderness. And this 
he does well and happily for a year, 
combining pioneering know-how 
with his ingenuity, his love of 
adventure and of being alone, and 
his rich capacities for learning from 
and delighting in the natural world. 
Occasional encounters with other 
people keep Sam aware of his ties 
to the outside world. At the end of 
his glorious year alone, he accepts 
the fact that he must incorporate 
his family and his friends into 
the environment he has created 
for himself. 



MAIN STORY CHARACTERS 

People: 

Sam Gribley 

Miss Tlimer a librarian 

Bando a professor 

Matt Spell a newspaper employee 


Main Animal Characters: 
The Baron a weasel 

Frightful a hawk 

Jessie James a raccoon 

Barometer a nuthatch 


VARIOUS OTHER MINOR CHARACTERS 

Sam’s parents A multitude of other 

and eight siblings wild animals whom 

Aaron: a songwriter Sam observes and names 

Bill: teaches Sam to make fire 
Residents of Delhi, NY: 

97-yr. old Mrs. Fielder 
"Mr Jacket” (Tom Sidler) 


3 








ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Today as in her childhood, Jean Craighead George likes to go off alone to explore 
places uninhabited by humans. “That,” she says, "is just the perfect thing for the 
mind.” In this way, the author is much like the main characters in several of her fic¬ 
tion books; for example, in Julie of the Wolves, The Talking Earth, and My Side of 

the Mountain, young people learn about the natur¬ 
al world and their place in it by leaving home for 
a while to live a solitary life in the wilderness. For 
George, extensive first-hand and follow-up 
research into an ecosystem doesn’t always mean 
that the fiction book comes easily. If she’s dissatis¬ 
fied with the first draft, she’ll redo a book from the 
beginning. “I put My Side of the Mountain on the 
shelf and started it over again,” she recalls. 

Students may enjoy reading some of George’s 
nonfiction, then discuss how she uses facts 
about nature in her fiction stories, too. For 
example, students can choose a section of My Side of the Mountain and deter¬ 
mine how scientific phenomena are used to move the plot along and to help 
readers visualize the setting. 

LITERATURE CONNECTIONS 

Other Books by Jean Craighead George 

• Realistic Fiction-. On the Far Side of the Mountain 

• “Ecological Mysteries”: Who Really Killed Cock Robin?; The Missing ‘Gator of 
Gumbo Limbo 

• Non-fiction series: One Day in the Woods, et al.; The Moon of the Alligators, et al. 
in the Thirteen Moons series 

VOCABULARY 

In your preview of the book, point out that George uses ordinary words in unusual 
ways to help readers see what is happening. Present these examples for class 
discussion of word pictures: 

a..." curtain of blizzard” 

“rocks upholstered with moss” 
wind “drained down from the mountaintop” 
a librarian is “scattering herself around the aisles” 
light from a campfire made trees “warm and friendly" 
birds were “pouring over the limbs” 

Ask each student to find and note several other unusual descriptive words or phras¬ 
es while reading the book. As a summarizing activity, students can form small 
groups to tell what the phrases help them see in their mind’s eye; or, paint pictures 
of their mental images, and label the pictures with quotations from the story. 











FACTS ABOUT REALISTIC FICTION 

My Side of the Mountain is an example of realistic fiction because it meets these 
criteria: Fiction— The plot is made up, and so are the characters. Realistic —The 
place and time of the action are real (the Catskill Mountains about 40 years ago); 
the details about the environment are factual, not imaginary; the characters in the 
story behave in logical, recognizable ways. 

NOTES ABOUT A STORY THEME 

A major premise in My Side of the Mountain is that an intelligent, well-informed, 
and determined teenager can happily survive all alone for a whole year in the 
wilderness. Before sharing the book, discuss this premise with the class; enter stu¬ 
dents’ brainstormed responses to the question in the first column of a poster-paper 
chart. Suggest that students copy the chart and answer the second and third ques¬ 
tions as they read and discuss the book. 


LIVING ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS 


1. First Thoughts: 

2. Midway in the Story: 

3. At the End: 

Could I live alone 

Could I do what Sam 

Have I changed my 

in the wild for a 

has done so far? 

mind about my 

year? 


answer to 1? 

My explanation: 

My explanation: 

My explanation: 


GETTING STARTED 

As you preview the book with students, you might discuss the following: 

• Title - What does the word My in the title tell you about the narrator? {The story 
has afirst-person narrator.) Scan the book to check your response. 

• Front and back covers - After studying the illustration and the blurb, what 
questions do you hope the story will answer? 

• Story organization - Scan the 


book to find the titles of some of the 
sections. What is unusual about 
these titles? (They are sentences or 
phrases, for example: This is About 
the Old, Old Tree. They summarize 
what will happen in that section.) 

• Illustrations - Some of the illus¬ 
trations show scenes or events. 
What other kinds of illustrations 
can you find? ( how-to diagrams 
and pictures; labeled pictures of 
plants, structures, etc) How do 
you think these will be useful to 
you as a reader? 


TEACHER TIP 

The narrator, Sam, intersperses his story with 
journal entries he made during his year alone. 
Early on, make sure students can identify the 
journal entries: one or more narrative para¬ 
graphs set off from the rest of the story by 
quotation marks. Discuss how journal entries 
can be memory-joggers that help the writer 
recall an incident more fully. Suggest that 
students find such entries in their own journals 
and expand upon them, as Sam does. 


5 








Exploring the Book 

i From beginning through “Frightful Learns Her ABC’s” 


WHAT HAPPENS 

The book begins with Sam’s journal description of a fearsome December storm. Then 
the story flashes back to the previous spring and early summer: Sam leaves the city, 
hitchhikes to the Catskill Mountains, and locates his great-grandfather’s property. He 
builds a shelter in the trunk of a tremendous tree, gathers and stores wild foods, and 
makes clothing from deer hide. He takes a falcon chick from its nest, names her 
Frightful, and begins to tame and train the bird so that she can hunt for him. 

QUESTIONS TO TALK ABOUT 

Comprehension and Recall 

1. Why has Sam run away to the mountains? (His city home is crowded; he wants 
to find the Gribleyfarm; he wants to be independent and live alone.) 

2. What tasks does he set for himself once he finds the property? 

(get food, build a shelter, make warm clothes, learn to make < fire) 

Higher Level Thinking Skills 

3. Sam uses various survival skills to make a home in the wilderness. What are 
some of these skills? 



4. Why doesn’t Sam’s father prevent him from leaving home? (Possible: believes 
Sam will return very soon; understands Sam’s need to explore; trusts Sam to do 
the right thing) 

Literary Elements 

5. The book begins with a journal entry about a December storm. Then the story 
flashes back to the previous May. Why do you think the book begins with the win¬ 
ter event? (Possible: The storm is an exciting interest-grabber. The beginning 
makes you curious: you want to read on tofind out how the boy got into this situ¬ 
ation. ) 

Personal Response 

6. In what ways does Sam seem unusual compared to other people of his age? 

In what ways does he seem much like other young people? 


6 






CROSS-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES 

GEOGRAPHY: Where’s Sam? 

Suggest that students use a state-by-state United States road atlas, such as Rand 
McNally’s, to pinpoint Sam’s mountain. In the process, to illustrate how a road atlas 
is a resource for armchair explorers as well as for motorists, have students (1) figure 
out the order in which state maps are presented (alphabetically) and find the map of 
New York State; (2) refer to My Side of the Mountain to identify Sam’s starting 
point (New York City) and the mountain town to which he travels (Delhi, NY); (3) 
use the index to cities and towns at the back of the atlas to find the letter-number 
key for these places, then locate the places on the map; (4) use the compass rose 
and the mileage-scale to determine how far and in what general direction Sam trav¬ 
eled from New York City to Delhi (northwest, about 180 miles). 


SPEAKING AND LISTENING: Here’s How 

This section of the book, like all the others, is full of Sam’s how-to descriptions. 

Invite students to find a how-to that particularly interests them, such as how to 
make a fishhook, or how to boil water in a leaf. Students can then slowly read the 
how-to to a group of classmates. The audience should listen and (1) write the steps; 
(2) discuss whether the instructions are clear and complete, and, if not, discuss what 
else they would need to do or know before carrying out the process themselves. 

WRITING: Postcards,from Sam 

Sam writes a note to Bill, who showed him how to make a campfire, but then dis¬ 
cards the note. Ask students to imagine they are Sam, and write postcard messages 
to Bill or to other people who are important to Sam: his family; Miss 'Rimer, the 
librarian; the trucker who gave him a lift. Suggest to students that they make the 
message something that the recipient would be particularly interested in. For exam¬ 
ple, Miss Tlimer might be delighted to know that Sam has found his grandfather’s 
farm; Sam’s parents would be happy to know that he is well and safe. Distribute 
blank index cards to students. The message and address (which students can make 
up) go one side, and the student’s rendition of a story-scene goes on the other side. 


PART 2 


From “I Find a Real Live Man” through “I Pile Up Wood...” 


WHAT HAPPENS 

As summer fades, autumn sets in and winter approaches. Sam’s survival skills grow 
and his physical well-being seems assured. He’s aware, however, that he still needs 
occasional human interaction. Sam is happy to meet and shelter Bando, a professor 
of English who has wandered into the woods; to benefit from the haphazard ways of 
deer hunters who can’t find their kill; and to take a walk into town and talk with a 
thoroughly-urbanized boy (“Mr. Jacket”) his own age. 

QUESTIONS TO TALK ABOUT 

Comprehension and Recall 

1. Who is Bando? {a college professor who’s gotten lost in the woods ) Why does 
Sam feel sad when Bando leaves? {Bando wasfun to be with; he can make useful 


7 



thingsfrom natural resources: e.g., a raft, clay containers, berry jam, willow 
whistles, fire bellows ) 

2. Sam sees signs of the coming winter in the way animals behave. What are 
some of these signs? ( the weasel’s coat changes; raccoons,fatten up; squirrels 
store ’ food) 

Higher Level Thinking Skills 

3. As winter approaches, Sam gives a lot of attention to how to keep warm. One 
way to keep warm is through making warm clothes. What is the other way? ( build a 

fireplace inside his tree house ) What two major problems does Sam encounter? (A. 
how to keep an all-clay,fireplace,from collapsing; B. how to make sure the,fire 
doesn’t pull all the oxygen,from the house ) How does he solve the two problems? 
(A. mix grass with the clay; B. use Frightful as a test-animal to see whether 
enough oxygen is present; bore knotholes to let in more air.) 

Literary Elements 

4. Jean Craighead George doesn’t talk down to her young readers! She often makes 
literary allusions, which — if they’re clarified through discussion—add to students’ 
understanding of the story. To clarify three important allusions Bando uses as he 
talks to Sam, you may wish to construct a chalkboard chart and discuss how the 
first two allusions apply to Sam, and the third to Bando’s pottery project. Entries in 
the third column are examples of discussion results. 


Word 

What it refers to 

How it applies to the story 

Desdemondia 

This is a version of 
Desdemona, the naive 
heroine in Shakes¬ 
peare’s “Othello.” 
Desdemona takes things 
at their face value, and 
trusts people. 

Bando thinks Sam is a 
pure and simple person 
who reacts honestly 
to the world around him. 

Thoreau 

Henry David Thoreau, a 

19th century American 
writer, left the city and 
lived alone for 2 years 
at Walden Pond. 

Bando sees Sam as a modern 
Thoreau who leaves civili¬ 
zation behind and experi¬ 
ments with living 
in the wilderness. 

Wedgewood 

Wedgewood is a 
beautiful and delicate 
kind of china. 

Bando’s clay pots are 
not fine and beautiful, 
but they are serviceable. 


Personal Response 

5. Why does Sam want to celebrate Halloween? As he does this, what does he learn 
about himself and about the animals around him? 


8 












CROSS-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES 

HEALTH AND MEDICINE: Checking-Out Herbal Foods 

Sam uses a wide variety of plants as basic foods and as seasonings for other recipes. 
You may wish to stress with your students that (1) pioneers used wild plants for 
health-taste-and-cure purposes only after they’d investigated the properties of the 
plants; (2) some wild foods mentioned in the story, such as winterberry, pennyroyal, 
and sassafras, are benign in certain circumstances and dosages, but harmful and 
even deadly in others. Suggest to students that they tour the aisles of a health food 
store, list some of the plant ingredients in various packaged products, use encyclope¬ 
dias to find descriptions of the plants, and talk about what they would like to know 
about these botanical products before they use them. Then, in a follow-up class dis¬ 
cussion, ask students to suggest why Sam knows what to eat and what not to eat as 
he maintains his health and builds his strength in his mountain environment. 

ART: Here’s My View 

Ask students to work independently to find a passage in Parts 1 or 2 that especially 
builds word-pictures in their mind. Invite students to paint or draw their own illus¬ 
tration for the passage they’ve chosen. After showing their pictures to the class and 
getting feed-back on what classmates think the picture shows, students can write 
captions for their pictures, using book-quotes or their own rewordings. As a display 
strategy, students can exhibit their captioned pictures to show where the pictures 
occur in the story sequence. 

HISTORY: A Pioneer of Olden Days 

“Well, if it isn’t Daniel Boone!” says “Mr. Jacket” when he meets Sam in town. Invite 
students to research the life of Daniel Boone, then discuss how Sam is both like and 
different from this legendary’ figure. As a kick-off, you might present this paraphrase 
of a remark Boone is supposed to have made: “I know it’s time to move on when I 
can see the smoke from another man’s cabin.” 

WRITING: Is There a Moral? 

After trying to set up a Halloween celebration in the wild, Sam concludes “Don’t feed 
wild animals!” With the class, discuss how Sam’s experience leads him to this con¬ 
clusion, or moral. Then ask students to work with a partner to find another of Sam’s 
learning experiences, write a summary of it in their own words, and make up a 
moral, or lesson, that Sam learns from the experience. You might extend the activity 
by asking partners to share their work with the class and garner opinions as to 
whether the moral fits. 


PART 3 


From “I Learn About Birds and People” to the end of the book 


WHAT HAPPENS 

At Christmas time, Bando returns for a visit, and Sam’s father appears unexpectedly 
to see how his son is faring in the wilderness. Sam learns that “wild-boy-of-the- 
mountain" rumors abound, and that he has aroused public curiosity. Sensing that 
his adventure is almost over, the boy finds special pleasure in the last, solitary 


9 




months of winter. Additional human visitors arrive in the spring, and Sam realizes 
that he has missed human companionship in some ways. Plenty of it arrives in June: 
Sam’s entire family comes to the mountain t< 

QUESTIONS TO TALK ABOUT 

Comprehension and Recall 

1. What newspaper story does Bando bring 
to Sam? (an article about a “wild boy” living 
in the mountains ) How has the news gotten 
out about Sam? (sources: thejire warden, 
elderly Mrs. Fielder, several deer hunters) 

2. Who is Matt Spell? (ayoung newspaper 
reporter) What bargain does Sam strike 
with him? (Sam will let Matt visit him in 
the spring, if Matt will agree not to reveal 
Sam’s exact location and identity to the 
public .) 

3. Why does Sam’s family move to the 
mountain? (Sam’s mother wants him to 
have a real home; she knows Sam dislikes 
the city; she, like Sam, loves the land .) 

Higher Level Thinking Skills 

4. Toward the end of his year alone, what 
challenges from nature does Sam face? (ice 
storm; deep snow; a serious vitamin defi¬ 
ciency) How is he able to cope with these 
problems? (has stored up, food and fuel; 
makes snow shoes; eats rabbit liver to get 
Vitamin C) 

5. During winter and spring, Sam has sev¬ 
eral human visitors. What feelings does 
Sam have about this situation? (Hisfeel¬ 
ings are mixed. He is glad to have human 
company, and suspects he may want to be ‘found. ” But he is also irritated at 
being “discovered, ” and sad that his isolation is disturbed.) 

6. Bando says to Sam,’’Let’s face it, Thoreau; you can’t live in America today and be 
quietly different.” What does Bando mean by this? ( "Different”people stand out; 
the public is attracted to people who are different, seeks them out, and so destroys 
their quiet life.) 

Literary Elements 

7. Writers often foreshadow, or give clues about, what will happen next. Here are 
three events from Sam’s story: Sam seeks out a friendship with Aaron; Sam enjoys 
Tom’s stories about kids in town; Sam gets tired of writing in his journal, and goes to 
the library to get books to read. What major change do these events foreshadow? 
(Answers will vary slightly. In general, Sam will decide that he can’t spend the rest 
of his life alone; he needs human companionship and the sharing of ideas .) 



10 






Personal Response 


8. Do you like the way the book ends? Explain why or why not. 

9. Sam says of Frightful, “ She was a captive, not a wild bird, and that is almost 
another kind of bird.” What do you think Sam means by this? In what way might 
Sam’s statement apply to himself? 

CROSS-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES 

LANGUAGE ARTS: Personification 

Explain to students that much of the powerful description in the story comes from 
personification: comparing non-human things to human actions and feelings. Give 
examples from the book: the air “says” snow; the wind “screams;” trees are “lifting 
themselves from their feet.” Ask the class to review the book to find and list other 
examples of personification. Then ask partners to use personification to reword 
another sentence or brief passage in the story. One partner can read the new rendi¬ 
tion to classmates and challenge them to find the original text. 

WRITING/DRAMA Imaginary Conversations 

Direct class attention to the last five paragraphs in “The Spring in Winter...,” begin¬ 
ning with: “I cooked supper, and then sat down by my little fire and called a forum.” 
Help students note that Sam is taking the roles of significant beings in his life, and 
in his imagination thinks about what they would say. On the chalkboard, record in 
play-script dialogue form the class’s rewordings of the given text. Example: 

Sam: What should 1 do about Matt Spell? 

Dad: Go to the city and make sure Matt writes nothing about you. 

Bando: No, it’s all right. Spell doesn’t know where you live. 

Matt: I won’t tell where you live if you promise me I can visit you. 

Frightful: Don’t let that Matt come up here! 

After discussing with the class how imaginary conversations can help us examine 
different viewpoints, ask partners to choose another problem from Part 111 and 
explore it through dialogue. Examples: (1) Matt, Aaron, and Bando discuss why 
Sam should or shouldn’t keep his mountain-top experience secret; (2) Sam and his 
parents discuss the pros and cons of Sam’s living alone on the mountain. Invite part¬ 
ners to read their dialogue aloud to classmates. 

GEOGRAPHY: A Different Setting 

Ask students to summarize how planning ahead enabled Sam to live well on his 
mountain for a whole year. (You may wish to refer to the idea web on page 6.) 

Then invite students to discuss two or three different wilderness environments 
where a similar challenge-and-survival story might be set, for example: a mountain 
in another part of the world; a small, uninhabited island in the South Pacific. 
Distribute copies of the reproducible on page 15. Have students follow the plan- 
ahead directions. 



Summarizing the Book 

PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER 

You can use any of the following activities as a way to help students summarize and 
reflect on what they have read and learned in My Side of the Mountain. 

CLASS PROJECT: “Best Parts" Anthology 

Ask each student to review My Side of the 
Mountain to identify a section title (e.g., “I Find Out 
What To Do with Hunters") that introduces an event 
that the student finds especially important or inter¬ 
esting. The student should then use the title as a 
caption for an illustration of a key event in that sec¬ 
tion. Arrange students’ captioned pictures in story 
sequence in a folder. Then, with student volunteers, 
show and read individual entries to the class. 

Discuss: (1) What event does each picture show? 

(2) How are the pictures of the same event different 
and alike? (3) Are there sections that nobody chose? 
or that a great many people chose? (4) How do 
your classmates’ choices help you focus on the main events and ideas in the story? (5) 
How does class discussion help you understand and appreciate the story better? 

PARTNER PROJECT: What's Next? 

Invite partners to continue Sam’s story by (1 predicting what he might encounter 
after his family arrives, and then (2) writing a journal entry for Sam. Encourage 
students to compose section headings like those in the book, and to copy the first- 
person narration strategy. 

Start-up example: 

In Which My Youngest Sister Gets Lost in the Woods 

When my family came to live with me, 1 thought glumly that there would be no 
more excitement. But when my two-year-old sister went toddling off on her own 
into the forest, excitement poured in like crazy! At first, we tried to find her by.... 

Suggest that partners read their work aloud to the class. Ask the audience to decide 
and comment on whether the event is resolved in a realistic way. 

INDIVIDUAL PROJECT: Different Points of View 

Invite students to write about Sam’s experience using one of the following 
viewpoints and forms: 

♦ a newspaper article by a reporter who has not personally met Sam; 

♦ a magazine writer who has spent several weeks with Sam; 

♦ a poet who thinks Sam is a great example of a human living 
in harmony with nature; 






♦ a report by a social worker who is concerned about Sam’s relationship 
with his parents; 

♦ an imaginary viewpoint: a report about Sam by one of the many animals 
he befriends or gets to know; 

♦ a letter-to-the-editor from Sam’s mother, explaining why 
she lets Sam explore the wilderness alone. 

You might have students compile their written work in a Sam File. Invite kids to read 
the file on their own, then engage the class in a discussion of how situations can be 
seen differently, depending on the observers. 

EVALUATION IDEAS 

Involve students in assessing their work by asking them to help construct rubrics for 
projects they work on. A rubric for What’s Next? might include the following questions: 

♦ Does the section heading summarize what happens in the anecdote? 

♦ Does the anecdote tell about something that happens with Sam and/or with 
his family? 

♦ Is the event realistic, like the rest of the book? 

♦ Does the narrator keep the first-person point of view (I, me) throughout the story? 

Possible Answers for Worksheets 

All worksheets call for responses based on individual or group ideas; so, responses 
will vary. The important instructional and learning point is to ask kids to support 
their responses. Sample responses: 

page 14:1. CHART—Natural: fish (use as food); tree (use as shelter). 
Manufactured: flint (use for making fire); twine (use for fishing). Human: trucker 
(use to get ride); librarian (use to get information). 2. You might ask students to tell 
what they learned through conferring with group members. 3. Students may note: 
Books are a manufactured resource and a human resource (librarian’s knowledge). 

A stone wall is made of a natural resource (stone) fashioned by a human resource 
(the wall-builder). Ideas are resources when we use them to accomplish things; e.g., 
Sam successfully uses his idea for making an efficient fishhook. 

page 15: While answers to 1, 2, and 3 may vary widely depending on sites stu¬ 
dents have chosen, students’ responses to 4 should demonstrate the following: 
Planning ahead takes a lot of time! Sam is intelligent and cautious: he takes off for 
his adventure only after he’s sure he has the know-how to survive. To undertake an 
escapade like Sam’s, you have to be willing to put in a lot of forethought. 

page 16: Most groups will conclude that My Side of the Mountain is realistic fiction 
because, overall, it meets the criteria in column 1 of the chart. Ask students to sup¬ 
port their book choices by applying to them the column 1 criteria. Fantasy and fairy 
tale elements that students might inject are: other-worldly settings like mysterious 
kingdoms or other planets; plots and problems that rely on and get solved by 
“magic”; characters who have unrealistic powers and/or goals. 







Name:_ 

Classifying Resources 

A resource is anything you use to accomplish a goal. A resource can be natural, manufactured, 
or human. The chart shows examples of resources Sam uses. Study the examples, then follow 
the directions below the chart. 


Kind of Resource: 

How Sam Uses It: 

NATURAL: 

deer 

for food; for hides to make clothes 





MANUFACTURED: 

penknife 

to carve fishhooks 





HUMAN: 

Bill 

to learn how to make a campfire 






1. Review the first part of the book to find other examples of each kind of resource. 
Write the resources and Sam’s uses of them in the chart. Use a pencil! 


2. With a group of classmates, review your chart, then add to or change it as you wish. 

3. With the group, discuss these ideas and questions: 

♦ Sam uses a library. Is this resource human? manufactured? both? 

♦ How does Sam use a stone wall as a resource? Is this resource natural? human? both? 

♦ Are ideas resources? Support your answers with examples from the story. 


14 


















Name:_ 

Planning Ahead 

Recall that Sam did a lot of research and planning before he 
set off for the Catskill Mountains. Now imagine that you 
leave home for a while to live in another wilderness area. 

Use the following questions to do some research and plan¬ 
ning of your own. Use atlases, encyclopedias, globes, maps, 
and other resources to answer the questions. You might also 
interview people who’ve visited your chosen hide-away. 

1. To what isolated place will you go? Name it precisely._ 

2. Where in the world is your area located? Describe the location so that your classmates 

can find it on a map or globe. For example, give its latitude and longitude, or describe its 
relationship to other regions, countries, and continents._ 



3. Note vital survival facts about your hide-away: 


Climate:_ 

Some natural food resources: 


Resources for building shelter: 


Clothes and manufactured tools 1 might need: 


4. Get together with a group of classmates. Discuss: 

♦ how much time it took you to research accurate answers to the questions above; 

♦ how your research helps you to understand Sam better; 

♦ whether or not you’d be willing to undertake an adventure like Sam’s. 


15 
























Name:_ 

Realistic Fiction 

With your group, read the statements in the first column of the chart, and then discuss and 
respond to the questions in columns 2 and 3 of the chart. 


1. STATEMENTS 

2. REALISTIC FICTION 

Does it seem real? 

Why? 

3. MY SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN 

Are there parts 
that seem unreal? 

If so, explain. 

PLOT: 

The PLOT is made 
up, but sounds like 
something that could 
really happen. 



SETTING: 

The SETTING is a 
real place in an 
identifiable time. 



CHARACTERS: 

The CHARACTERS 
behave like real, 
lifelike people we 
know. 




After entering answers into the chart, work with your group to respond 
to the following: 


♦ Is My Side of the Mountain realistic fiction? Explain why or why not. 

♦ Name some other realistic fiction books you’ve read. Support your ideas by referring 
to column 1 in the chart. 

♦ Suppose you wanted to turn My Side of the Mountain into a fantasy story or a fairy tale. 
What changes could you make to pull this off? 


16 
















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■ ■ 


Look for these other 
Scholastic Literature Guides 


• The Great Fire by Jim Murphy 

• Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George 

• Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan 
Guests by Michael Dorris 

• Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson 


ISBN 0-5^0-0bS71-fl 

pROFESSIONALgOOKS 

Scholastic Inc., 2931 East McCarty Street, Jefferson City, MO 65102 




o 78073 06571 


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