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Literature Connections

6-8 Core Literature Themes and Connections

Boy of the Painted Cave by Justin Densel
Philomel, 1988 (158p)
Tao wants to be a cave painter but it is forbidden because his lame foot is seen as a curse that prevents him from becoming one of the Chosen Ones. Author’s note and map add other dimensions of information and clarify historical thinking about time and place.

6th grade Core Literature

Key Concepts and Vocabulary Words
Ancient world, caves, gnarly, artistic, painting, apprentice, prehistoric, archeology

caves, early man


English/Language Arts

Theme Questions


Extensions/ Activities

Why is Tao’s lame foot seen as a curse?

ESL Version of the Boy of the Painted Cave teacherlessons/marg_costello/Teacherguide.html
This Language Arts unit is designed for intermediate English Language Development students in middle school. Nick Bartel has writtenthe unit in an easy to read downloadable version of Boy of the Painted Cave for ESL students along with a version for advanced readers. Activities along with class sets are included for each chapter for teachers and students. Well worth using with any students.

Quickwrite activities
Create a Pictionary or Jeopardy Game with vocabulary words

Spend time reviewing this site for Into, Through and Beyond activities for each chapter.

Why is it important to do what you believe in?


Questions on Painted Cave
Ms. Staiger uses these questions as prompts for student writing.

Form groups and brainstorm answers to the questions about Boy of the Painted Cave. Discuss ideas. Write hypothesis on why Tao did what he did?

Language Arts Content Standards
Reaches most reading comprehension, vocabulary, writing standards for 6th grade.


History/Social Science


Theme Questions


Extensions/ Activities

How does art play a part in historical thinking about time and place?

Cave Art (WebQuest)
A WebQuest by Carlos Royal asks students to take the role of clan members during prehistoric times. They are asked to recreate cave art about their daily life.

Cave Murals by Middle School Students
After reading the book, students became apprentices and created their own cave murals.

Each student creates their own cave under their desk or as a group on the wall.

Discussion board on different caves – look at discussion board from CV

How did people survive as hunter/gatherers during prehistoric times?

Early Man Websites
This site is a collection of websites on prehistoric man and caves created for homeschoolers yet good for 6th grade students.

Go for a virtual visit of the Caves of Lascaux and do some of the activities. Do the food quiz on Flints and Stones site.

6th Grade History/Social Science Content Standards
6.1 Students describe what is known through archaeological studies of the early physical and cultural development of humankind from the Paleolithic era to the agricultural revolution.
1. Describe the hunter-gatherer societies, including the development of tools and the use of fire.
2. Identify the locations of human communities that populated the major regions of the world and describe how humans adapted to a variety of environments.
3. Discuss the climatic changes and human modifications of the physical environment that gave rise to the domestication of plants and animals and new sources of clothing and shelter.





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