I'm going to keep a record here of the activities we do with each chapter. I have been using the Four Roles of the Reader to develop these activities. Feel free to use and/or modify these ideas with your students.
For the complete Rowan of Rin unit (in reverse order!) click here.
Chapters 1 and 2 - Summary
In these chapters we meet the characters and find out that the village Rin is in trouble. The stream from the mountain has stopped running and the bukshah have no water. The bukshah provide dairy, wool and transport to the people of Rin. Without the bukshah, Rin will die. The town meets to develop a plan. It is decided that someone needs to go up the mountain to find out what is blocking the stream. Strong Jonn, Marlie and Rowan consult Sheba (the village's Wise Woman) to get advice about the best way to approach the mountain. Sheba tells them a riddle that they don't understand and throws a stick at Rowan.
- Work on developing reading fluency with the first three paragraphs.
- Highlight nouns in this passage. Convert singular nouns to plural eg. morning - mornings
- Create a diary entry from the viewpoint of Rowan
- Create a newspaper article about the first chapter. Edit and publish. Insert text into this newspaper generator to create a newspaper clipping.
- Create a cause and effect diagram for the first chapter. (We used Kidspiration.)
- Discuss features of a first chapter in a Narrative. It needs to create interest and capture the reader. It introduces the problem that the characters need to solve. (To aid discussion we watched snippets from The Simpsons episode 8 of 18, where Homer gets hooked into a "Harry Potter" parody).
- Take a closer look at ideas about witches and debate whether Sheba is a witch or just a crabby old woman. We used the following PowerPoint slideshow to guide the discussion. Students had 2 minutes to individually brainstorm a list of adjectives to describe witches. We then made a class list on the PowerPoint presentation. After discussion about where these ideas came from, we read the scene with Sheba and considered her witchiness. Students discussed their opinion and then we did "Lay it on the Line". Students who thought Sheba was a witch stood at one end of the line. Students who thought she was just a crabby old woman stood at the opposite end. Students who thought something in the middle lined up accordingly. We then got a couple of spokespeople to share the logic behind their thinking. There were some really well formed arguments based on examples from the text.
2014 Update: Having just taught this section of the book again, I added a Padlet page for students to share their thoughts about whether or not Sheba is a witch. Feel free to have students contribute responsibly.