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My Side of the Mountain

Last updated Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Author: Jean Craighead George
Date of Publication:
ISBN: 0525463461
Grade Level: 5th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Apr. 2006

Synopsis: Every kid thinks about running away at one point or another; few get farther than the end of the block. Young Sam Gribley gets to the end of the block and keeps going--all the way to the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York. There he sets up house in a huge hollowed-out tree, with a falcon and a weasel for companions and his wits as his tool for survival. In a spellbinding, touching, funny account, Sam learns to live off the land and grows up a little in the process. (from amazon.com)

Note to readers:
•  This is a chapter book that you won't be able to finish reading. Try to read to page 28.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Have you ever wanted to live in the wild? What do you think it would be like? What would you eat and where would you live?
•  What would you need if you had to live in the wilderness? What would you take with you? What do you think would be the most difficult part about living without electricity?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  What time of year does the story take place? Where does the story take place?
•  Where is Sam living? When did he leave his home? Where would you want to go?
•  What did Sam take with him when he left his home? What would you have taken?
•  How was Sam going to survive in the wilderness? What are some adjectives to describe him?
•  What did Sam eat? Where did he sleep? What were his main problems when he lived on his own?
•  What are some things that you would miss if you didn?t live at home anymore?
•  What are some plants you would eat in the woods? Have you ever gone camping or fishing? Did you like it? Why or why not?

Craft ideas:
•  Draw the place where Sam is living or draw a picture of a shelter you could build in the woods.
•  Cut pipe cleaners into shorter pieces and try to build a shelter using the pipe cleaners as sticks or branches.
•  Make a hanging fish. Draw a fish and cut out two of them. Cut out circles and paste circles on as scales. Staple the two fish together and hang it on a string. Bring ahead option: aluminum foil or old magazines to make colorful scales, crepe paper for the tail, and string.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!