Project 1 - Language Arts-Social Studies Project

  General Information

Lead Teacher(s): Brendan Walsh

Margaret Hammond

School: Holy Trinity Elementary
1240 Torbay Road
Torbay, NF
A1K 1A6
Tel: (709) 437-7433
Fax: (709) 437-1134
Grade Level: 7 and 8
Number of Students: 10
Project Start and Finish Dates: May 4 to June 12
(Approximately six weeks)
  Project Overview

The project originated as a result of the reading and sharing of the novel Frozen Fire by James Houston. During the in-depth study of this novel it was decided by the teacher to complete a wood carving activity. The carvings were to be a connection between the young readers and "Kayak" one of the central characters in the novel Frozen Fire.

  Curriculum Connections

Learning Outcomes:

The students will:

  • read the novel with the teacher
  • listen to sections read by the teacher
  • participate in discussion of the main conflict areas in the novel
  • complete comprehension activities prepared by the teacher
  • complete character sketches of the two main characters Kayak and Matthew
  • use the Internet to research Baffin Island and the Canadian Arctic region
  • use the Internet to research Inuit carving styles
  • use the Internet to research Inuit life
  • use the school's resource room to research Inuit carving
  • complete a carving of a Good Luck Charm from wood
  • complete a story to accompany the Good Luck Charm and to explain the meaning
  • type the story using word processing software such as Word Perfect 6.0
  • edit, correct, revise, and then present the finished copy to the teacher by saving it to a floppy disk in a form that is ready for printing
  • read their stories aloud to the class while wearing the Good Luck Charm

  Resource Connections

Project Materials:

Novel: Frozen Fire (A Tale Of Courage)
Author: James Houston
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart Inc.
481 University Avenue
Toronto, Ontario
M5G 2E9

The following is a list of suggested materials used by this teacher. You may of course have other ideas that would work just as well:

  • Balsa Wood, 1 meter long by 6 centimeters wide cut into equal pieces. The amount of wood is dependent on the class size. (Hobby Stores)
  • Rawhide 10 meters cut into lengths so as to hang around the students neck. (Hobby Stores)
  • Clear Plastic Spray, to coat the finished carving. (Hardware Store)
  • Wood Burning Kit, to burn in the outline of the carving. NOTE: The TEACHER should supervise this activity very closely.
  • Hacksaw, to cut pieces of the wood if necessary. NOTE: The TEACHER should supervise this activity.
  • Scissors, classroom safety scissors to cut rawhide.
  • Ziplock Sandwich Bags, to keep the unfinished carvings in while the project is on going.
  • Sandpaper, fine grain is sufficient for this project. One-half sheet per student is sufficient.

Carving Procedure:

  1. Obtain pictures of Inuit carvings or use the pictures at the end of the chapters in the novel Frozen Fire by James Houston.
  2. The student chooses a design they feel they are capable of doing.
  3. The teacher photocopies the picture and reduces it to fit the student's piece of balsa wood.
  4. Students trace the outline of the picture onto the balsa wood. A geometry set compass works well. The student lightly and carefully pierces the outline of the design through the paper using the tip of the compass. The paper may be held in place by two or more thumb tacks.
  5. Trimming may be done by the teacher using the hacksaw.
  6. The students use sandpaper to shape the balsa wood into an oval or into the shape of the picture if the outline permits.
  7. The students highlight any prominent features of the carving by using the wood burning kit while under the supervision of the TEACHER. The carving may also nee to have a hole burned through it to allow for the rawhide string.
  8. When the carvings are completed they should be given a light coating of clear plastic or clear varnish. This will harden the wood.
  9. When the carving is completely dry string the rawhide through the hole and knot the ends. Place it in a ziplock bag or some other container.

Preparing for Writing (Metacognitive Strategies and Advanced Organizers):

To prepare the mind set of the students the following materials were presented to the students prior to the carving and writing process.

  • the students read the novel Frozen Fire to chapter 11
  • the idea of superstition, belief in spirits, and Inuit traditional way of life was discussed
  • the students viewed four National Film Board videos depicting Inuit traditional hunting
  • the students viewed two film strips on Inuit carving styles and techniques
  • the students viewed pieces of Inuit style carving supplied by the special education teacher Mr. Brendan Walsh
  • the students used the Internet to review web sites dealing with Canada's North
  • the students used Internet search engines to locate and view examples of Inuit soapstone carvings
  • the students read the books Building an Igloo by Ulli Steltzer and Houses of snow, skin and bones by Bonnie Shemie

Writing Activity (Students Breathe Life into Their Carvings):

This teacher incorporated a writing component with the carving of the Good Luck Charm. This activity involved the carver (student) writing a short story to explain the significance of the carving and to explain the history of why this carving is a Good Luck Charm. When all of the stories were finished, a photocopied picture of the carving was pasted beneath the students story. All of the stories were compiled into booklet form and each carver (student) received a personal copy of all of the Good Luck Charm stories. The students read their stories aloud to the class while wearing the carving of the Good Luck Charm. To bring closure to this activity the members of the carving group signed the covers of the individual booklets.

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