Journals: Make a journal with a construction paper front to decorate and notebook paper inside. The alternative would be to have the students bring in a new spiral notebook or composition book.
Instructions for Students:
There are twenty-five chapters in this book, each about five pages long. In each chapter an event shaped Matt’s feelings and enhanced his learning, as he tried to survive alone in the forest. Write a journal entry as if you are Matt, the main character. For each chapter a keyword is given. It is meant as a guide to help you get started. Describe each experience and perhaps how it changed Matt in some way.
A summary sentence is given for you beneath the keyword for each chapter. It will help you, as you are writing your journal. Before you begin to read each chapter, write the keyword(s) downs so you will know what to listen for in the chapter. For example, before you begin to read Chapter 1, write "Counting Days".
Chapter 1: Counting Days
Matt and his father built a small cabin on their newly purchased land in Maine. Father left Matt at the cabin to guard it and tend the crops while he went back to get Mother, sister and new baby in Massachusetts. Without a calendar, his father told Matt to make a notch every day on a stick. Seven notches per stick on seven sticks and then Matt’s family should return to the cabin.
Chapter 2: Chinking and Chores
Matt was beginning to enjoy being along to do his chores without parental advice. He had to chink the spaces between the logs with clay from the creek bank. He also tended the crops, chopped wood, killed something for dinner and cooked.
Chapter 3: Ben
A bold stranger comes to visit. He eats lots of food and while Matt is sleeping the stranger steals Matt’s rifle. What will Matt use to get his dinner and for protection?
Chapter 4: The door
Matt forgets to bar the door securely and a bear gets into the cabin, wasting food and making a mess.
Chapter 5: Bees
Hungry for something sweet, Matt climbs up a tree and breaks into a beehive. Angry stinging bees chase him to the creek. Swollen and poisoned by the stings he is carried back to his cabin and cared for by two Indians.
Chapter 6: Treaty
Old grandfather Indian makes “treaty” with Matt. Matt will teach the Indian’s grandson, Attean, how to read in exchange for food from the Indians.
Chapter 7: ABC’s
How would Matt teach Attean how to read? He’ll start with the ABC’s; apple, bone, candle, door and so forth.
Chapter 8: Robinson Crusoe
Matt grabs Attean’s attention by reading Robinson Crusoe. Attean compares the white man’s way of doing things to the Indian’s way.
Chapter 9: “Not be slave”
Matt asks Attean to show him how to trap a rabbit. Then, when reading Robinson Crusoe, Attean becomes upset when he hears that the native becomes a slave to Crusoe.
Chapter 10: Fish
Matt smooths over the idea that the native was a slave to Crusoe and seems to calm Attean. Attean takes Matt fishing the Indian way.