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Create a Survival Guide: Hatchet Lesson Plan

written by: Melissa Elizondo • edited by: Sarah Malburg • updated: 9/11/2012

Hatchet is a classic book that gets many students hooked on reading. It is a definite must read for any upper elementary classroom. This Hatchet lesson plan will take advantage of the survival scenes in the story to teach summary and point of view.

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    Use this Hatchet lesson plan as part of a unit on Hatchet by Gary Paulsen. This lesson plan works best after you have finished reading the book. It would be wonderful to use as a cumulative project.

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    Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

    Construction paper (9x12)



    Yarn (optional)

    Hole punch (optional)

    Article on survival (optional)

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    Prior Knowledge

    Review the major events in Hatchet, including Brian’s parents’ divorce, the plane crash, and Brian’s survival in the wilderness.

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    Review specific instances of Brian using survival skills. Review eating the berries, his ability to make a fire, and catching fish. Talk about other instances of survival that your students bring up too. Then, ask your students would they would do in that situation with the same materials Brian had to use. Would they do the same thing or do something differently?

    Talk about summary and point of view. Show students examples of a good and bad summary. Show students how a good summary has something from the beginning, middle, and end of the event. Then, talk about point of view. Discuss how point of view can change depending on someone's experiences.

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    Explain to students that they are going to create a survival guide based on the book Hatchet. Students will need to choose a set number of major survival events from the novel and give a short summary of what happened. A good number of events for students to use is between five and eight.

    On one side students will write a short summary of a survival event from the novel. On that same page, they will draw a picture of what happened. On the page across from that, they will then use their own point of view and put themselves in Brian’s situation. Then, they will write about they would do. They can do the same thing, or they can do something different. Make sure to explain to your students that they would not do the same thing in every instance. Also, make sure students know that they need to have a reasonable response to the situation. Go over reasonable and unreasonable responses.

    Once students are done writing and illustrating their survival guides, have them color them. Also, have students give their survival guides a title. They can be creative and use whatever title that they like. After students have finished all of that, bind the books. You can use a stapler, or you can use a hole punch and yarn. If you use the hole punch and yarn, punch three holes along the margin and use small pieces of yarn to tie the pages together.

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    Have students read an article on survival that you have provided, or a story from their Reading text books. Then, have students write a summary of the article or story.

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    Teach about other literary elements in Hatchet. You can even use a lesson plan on Hatchet right here at Bright Hub!