Friday, August 26, 2016

Winter Unit Study-Julie of the Woves TLP

Our co-op is doing Julie of the Wolves this year and I promised my friend Tammy, who is teaching, that I'd share my unit study we did long ago to go with it.  It was one of the best unit studies we did, Ariel especially enjoyed it!  Hope some of you can use it this fall or winter too!  So here's the re-post, enjoy. (This was originally posted in my original homeschoolblogger blog, then as a column for homeschool mosaics and again in my new blog.)  

Winter Unit Study

I’m digging back into our homeschool archives – way back to 2008, in fact – to a time when my kids and I did a unit study on winter. If you were to survey my children, who are now 21, 19, 16 and 15, they would probably still list this as one of their top learning adventures we have had. It made a big impact on Ariel (my now 16 year old); she still wants to have sled dogs!

As I looked it over, I realized how good it was; too good, in fact, not to share with you.
So if you’re looking for some end of winter fun, look no further. We’ll look at some great literature, artwork, sled dogs, the Iditarod and more, all with a multi-age study. Part of the study is following the Iditarod race, which starts March 7th this year. It lasts for days, even weeks; so, if you’re a few days late, no worries.

As a base for our study, we decided to do the Total Language Plus Julie of the Wolves  as a multi-age read aloud, along with a little study on the Iditarod.  The study guide for Julie of the Wolves has a lot of comprehension and critical thinking questions, even compared to some of the other Total Language Plus guides on other books.  Also, it’s short, only 5 units, so that makes it fit my purposes as well.

If you’ve “heard” about Julie of the Wolves and have concerns about “controversial content” I encourage you to check out my original blog entry where I go into this and quote the book. We had a wonderful time reading it and it was not at all controversial for us. (But please be your own judge.)

With that said, the book is wonderful.  It’s a great nature study book with lots of animals of the tundra to study and discuss.  My daughter has wanted to study the tundra and it fits nicely with that topic.
For some reason, over the last few years, I’ve seen information on the Iditarod and been drawn to a study of it, but it just hasn’t panned out (till now).  I think the race and all that goes along with that will be appealing to my boys.  With the combination of Julie and the race I think we’ll have an interesting study for all four kids!

Product DetailsMost of the time we use the Total Language Plus (TLP) guides in their entirety, but we are going to pick and choose a little with this one to make it fit our needs.  We’re using all the comprehension and thinking questions, some of the writing suggestions, and some of the vocabulary, but skipping the dictations and spelling entirely.  I love that the program is flexible so you can do what you want with it!
We’re also using some elements from the following things:
I like my children to create their own lapbook elements and pages so, with the template link and the basic notebook pages, they can print off the ones they want to create.  The sled dog lapbook was one that had been free awhile back so I had it “sitting” on my computer just waiting to be used and the notebook pages I had also gotten for free awhile back and use those regularly.  I did order the Draw Write Now specifically for this study (my kids drawings could use some help!)

So here’s our plan:

Iditarod/Alaska/Julie of the Wolves unit study (7 day study, do over 2-3 weeks, doing “days” as you want or all at once, your choice.)

Day 1

Read Julie of the Wolves aloud p. 1-36, discus comprehension and thinking questions from TLP guide.
Research Lemmings
boys (age 12 +14) – 1 page paper
girls (age 8+ 10) – lapbook element
Draw Wolves- from Draw Write Now p. 42, research wolf behavior (behavior and audio of howls, growls etc…)
Notebook page
Assign books for book reports:
  • Lexie (age 8)-Kiana’s Iditarodby Shelley Gill
  • Ariel(age 10)-Balto and the Great Race by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel
  • Taylor(age 12)-Black Star, Bright Dawnby Scott O’Dell
  • Logan(age 14)-Dogsongby Gary Paulsen
Do ½ hour of independent reading.

Day 2

Read Julie and discuss question in Total Language Plus guide for pages 37-70
Research Caribou 
Make lapbook element, can use reindeer from Draw Write Now to draw your own.
Make lapbook element or notebook page on Caribou.
Print out and label Alaska map with places Julie lived or is at now.
Maps –
Vocabulary words (take from TLP guide) on board, discuss and copy into notebook.
Put vocabulary on lapbook element.
Older students (my boys) – one Personally thinking question (TLP guide) from any of first two days questions.
30 minutes of reading on independent books.

Day 3

Read p 75-104 of Julie.  Discuss comprehension and thinking questions from TLP guide.
Draw and research seals. Make lapbook or notebook page.
Make a page (or lapbook element) about the state of Alaska.
Research Eskimos- Yupik and Inuit.  Boys (older students) – write a one page paper.  Girls (my younger students) do lap booklet on each.
Finish reading independent books today and tomorrow finish and make report.

Day 4

Read page 109-138 from Julie of the Wolves, discuss comprehension and thinking questions from TLP guide.
Read about Iditarod history – serum run, look at state map you made yesterday, print Iditarod map.
Make oral and written book reports or here.

Day 5

Read 139-170 from Julie of the Wolves.  Discuss reading and comprehension questions.
Research sleds – Do lapbook elements, draw sleds.
Northern lights art project.
Aurora story and facts.
Make Aurora fact cards for lapbook or notebook page.
Start researching dog – types of dogs used.  Make lapbook element or notebook page.

Day 6

Start read aloud Woodsong.
Choose mushers.
Research musher commands. Put on a Vocabulary flap for lapbook.
Make excel spreadsheet to follow chosen mushers. (Logan, older students)

Day 7

Finish Woodsong.
Start race journal.  Take on persona of musher or fictitious story of yourself running the race and journal each day.  Do several days.  Day 1 – At the start, etc…
Research food and medical for dogs.
Continue to follow race, chart the progress in excel, and journal as interest warrants…..
The official Iditarod has lots of information on the history of the race, mushers, dogs etc…
So there’s our plan. Feel free to modify and do what you want with it, but have fun!

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