A Distant Enemy

by Deb Vanasse

Page 1 of 2


Have students create Know – Want to Know – Learned (KWL) charts about Alaska, Eskimos, and the Arctic.

Have students free write and share their responses to the following questions: What might people from outside your region and/or culture assume about you and the way you live? How do you feel about these assumptions? Compare with the KWL activity; some "Know" items may actually be stereotypes or assumptions.

Personal Applications
Have students free write on these questions: What do you think of when you hear the word "enemy"? How do people become enemies? What hope might there be for reconciliation in these situations? Students may wish to use hypothetical names or initials rather than refer to real people in their responses.


Upon completion of various chapters, ask students to write in their journal or discuss their predictions.

Ask students to work collaboratively to map Joseph's relationships with other characters in the book. Encourage them to create a visual representation in a meaningful format such as a geometric shape, a tundra scene, or an appropriate metaphor such as fishing, hunting, or trapping. Map relationships midway in the book and again at the conclusion of the novel. Then, compare the maps.

Point of View
Review point of view choices, noting that the novel is written in the third person limited, using Joseph's point of view. Ask students to rewrite a scene or scenes from the novel using another character's point of view, in either first or third person. Share and discuss.

As the novel unfolds, ask students to identify emerging themes. Collaborative groups may log their observations on particular themes, presenting their findings in visual and oral form upon completion of the novel. Among the themes they will likely discover are friendship, anger, honesty, cultural conflict, change, family, and survival.

Cultural Connections
As a class, chart the old ways and new ways of living within Joseph's culture. Discuss the value of traditions and the ways in which we can hold on to traditions. Ask students to write letters to Joseph in which they comment on his efforts to hold on to the traditions of his people and offer suggestions for the future.

 Previous   1   2   Next 


Brought to you by Penguin Young Readers Group.

The Penguin Group is the second-largest English-language trade book publisher in the world. The company possesses perhaps the world's most prestigious list of best-selling authors and a backlist of unparalleled breadth, depth, and quality. Penguin Young Readers Group features books by authors and illustrators including Judy Blume, Brian Jacques, Eric Carle, and beloved characters like Winnie-the-Pooh, Madeline, The Little Engine that Could, and many, many more.

Free 7-Day Trial for TeacherVision®

Sign up for a free trial and get access
to our huge library of teaching materials!

Start Trial


Thanksgiving is just around the corner! It's (Thursday) November 26, this year. Use videos, lessons, and worksheets to teach the history and cultural significance of the holiday. Then, enjoy our crafts to celebrate and decorate!

December Calendar of Events
December is full of events that you can incorporate into your standard curriculum. Our Educators' Calendar outlines activities for each event, including: World AIDS Day (12/1), International Volunteer Day (12/6), Hanukkah (begins at sundown 12/6), Handwashing Awareness Week (12/6-12), Computer Science Education Week (12/7-13), Human Rights Day (12/10), Winter Solstice (12/22), Christmas (12/25), Kwanzaa (begins 12/26), Visit the Zoo Day (12/27), and New Year's Eve (12/31). Plus, celebrate Bingo's Birthday Month, Universal Human Rights Month, and Write to a Friend Month all December long!

Hour of Code
Introduce your students to basic coding and computer science! Celebrate Computer Science Education Week from December 7-13, 2015 with our Top 5 Free Coding Tools for Kids, Top 5 Free Coding Tools for Teens, or the Hour of Code resources provided by Code.org®

Interested in using different types of media in your classroom? We have a growing collection of videos, with related activities, for holidays and events, including: slavery & the Civil War, American History, U.S. Presidents, handwashing awareness, the Common Core, women's history, Memorial Day, the American Revolution, and the environment. Enjoy!

Teaching with Comics: Galactic Hot Dogs
Reach reluctant readers and English-language learners with comics! Our original teaching guides to the Galactic Hot Dogs comic series (chapters 1-4 and 5-8), as found on Funbrain.com (and now in print!), will take students on a cosmic adventure while engaging their creative minds. Plus, find even more activities for teaching with comics, featuring many other classic stories.