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Four Comprehension Activities for "Stone Fox"

written by: Patricia Gable • edited by: SForsyth • updated: 7/12/2012

Little Willy needs to win the race to save Grandfather's farm. Can there be more than one way to win? Students listening to this story will hear about a 10 year old boy possessing more determination than most adults.

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    Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardner is a remarkable book about determination,bravery and love. You can use this Stone Fox lesson15066186.JPG  plan for a math measuring lesson, research project in social studies, story comprehension and a class memory game. Just a warning--grab your tissues if you are going to read this book aloud to your students.

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    Here are questions for each chapter. If you are reading the book to your students, give them the questions ahead of time so their listening will be focused.

    Chapter 1

    1. How did the dog get his name? (Page 5)

    2. What finally made the doctor believe that Grandfather was really sick and not joking? (Page 7)

    3. What was wrong with Grandfather? (page 10)

    Chapter 2

    1.How did Grandfather and Little Willy communicate? (page 17)

    2. List the words to describe Little Willy.

    3. What did you learn about the potato plant? (page 19)

    Chapter 3

    1. How did Little Willy prepare for winter. (page 23)

    2. Describe a day for Little Willy when he had to go to school. (page 24)

    Chapter 4

    1. What was the real reason why Grandfather was ill? (page 36)

    Chapter 5

    1.Why was Little Willy being raised by Grandfather? (page38)

    2. List all the people with whom Willy discussed the tax problem.

    Chapter 6

    1. What did we learn about Stone Fox?

    Chapter 7

    1. What happened in the deserted barn?

    Chapter 8

    1. What can you tell about Little Willy’s character and bravery on page 65 and 67?

    Chapter 9

    1. What happened when Willy passed Grandfather’s farmhouse during the race? How did it make Willy feel?

    Chapter 10

    1. What did you learn about the character of Stone Fox?

    2. The story seems to leave some loose ends. What do you think happens to Willy? To the farm? To Stone Fox? (In my mind, I think the Indian gives Little Willy one of his dogs.)

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    Maps and Measuring

    Wyoming is one state that can be drawn with a ruler. Provide each student with plain paper and a ruler. Set the dimensions that you want your children to use when drawing Wyoming. For example, you might say the north and south borders should be 6" and the east and west borders 4 ½". Instruct the students to add the major cities, rivers and the Teton Mountains that Little Willy described. Also add Jackson, Wyoming where Willy lived.

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    Stone Fox was from the Shoshone tribe. They were peaceful seed gatherers. The white men forced them to leave Utah and join the Arapaho tribe in Wyoming.

    Learn about the Shoshone or the Arapaho Indians:

    1. Show where they lived on a map

    2. In what kind of shelters did they live?

    3. Who were their enemies?

    4. Who is Sacajawea?

    5. Who are Lewis and Clark?

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    Character Game

    Prepare cards using one color of 9x12 construction paper. Write the character’s name on one piece of paper and their description on another.

    Little Willy- Brave 10 year old boy

    Grandfather-Owned a potato farm

    Doc Smith- Elderly woman& town doctor

    Searchlight- faithful pet

    Stone Fox-Shoshone Indian

    Lester-Owned the general store

    Miss Williams-Teacher in Jackson

    Clifford Snyder-the taxman

    Mr. Foster- Bank President

    Mr. Smiley-Town Mayor

    Place cards face down on the floor in the middle of two teams of students. Each team takes turns turning over two cards trying to make a match. The team with the most matches, wins.

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    This book could leave a lasting impression on some of your students. Use the Stone Fox lesson plan and spend time absorbing the book by asking comprehension questions, drawing maps and doing research.

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