6-8 Core Literature Themes and
Dogsong by Gary
Russel is a young Eskimo who feels drawn to the old ways of his people.
Taking as a teacher the old man who remembers the old days he learns
to hunt with the bow and spear and to run a dogsled as his ancestors
did. Dogsong is a rite-of-passage adventure told in three parts: "The
Trance," "The Dreamrun," and "Dogsong."
grade Core Literature
and Vocabulary Words
Inuit, endangered animals, Eskimo, Alaska, Iditarod, civilization,
Responsibility, Endangered Species
What and how
do responsibilities increase as people get older?
An Interdisciplinary Unit
A unit plan by Janis C. Harless that contains examples, instructions,
and activities that include research and writing cross curricular
Gary Paulsen Website
This is the official Gary Paulsen website that includes a library
of his books, his biography, information on writing him, and more.
make a Then-Now list of expectations that show Russel's passage
into adulthood. Do a quickwrite about the most difficult thing
students have ever attempted, what happened, why and how it was
difficult, whether they succeeded or failed, and how the experience
has affected their views of themselves. Then ask them to compare
their responses with Russel's.
Arts Content Standards
3.0 Literary Response and Analysis
Narrative Analysis of Grade-Level-Appropriate Text
3.2 Analyze the effect of the qualities of the character (e.g.,
courage or cowardice, ambition or laziness) on the plot and the
resolution of the conflict.
Dogsong tell you about the effects of the modern-day world on
This site is by David Morrison for the Canadian Museum of Civilization
and provides a 1,000 year history of the Inuits along with timelines
This site provides textual information about Eskimos, their history,
culture, and daily life.
culture, its past and present. Create a timeline of historical
events. Write a report on how climate and modern day culture affected
the growth of the Inuit civilization.
2.0 Writing Applications
Write research reports:
a. Pose relevant questions with a scope narrow enough to be thoroughly
b. Support the main idea or ideas with facts, details, examples,
and explanations from multiple authoritative sources (e.g., speakers,
periodicals, online information searches).
c. Include a bibliography.
are Polar Bears endangered?
dog makes the best sled dog?
of the Arctic
A ThinkQuest about information on the animals in the Arctic,
including activities and resources.
This PBS site provides teaching guides and activities on dogsledding
that complement several video series on dogs and dogsledding.
Iditarod: Teacher Page
This site contains many pages of information on the Iditarod
and the Jr. Iditarod, teaching activities, and a teacher forum.
students research polar bears and other endangered Arctic animals,
and explore what is being done to protect them.Students will view
the PBS video “Dogs: the Early Years” and write about
the best type of dog for sledding and the best type that would
fit their personality.
compare temperatures with a city in Alaska with students’
Science Standards: Life Science
3. Living organisms depend on one another and on their environment
for survival. As a basis for understanding this concept:
b. Students know that in any particular environment, some kinds
of plants and animals survive well, some survive less well, and
some cannot survive at all.
c. Students know many plants depend on animals for pollination
and seed dispersal, and animals depend on plants for food and
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