The Sign of the Beaver
Age 8-10: Concept 1 - Interdependence: Unit 2

Examine the relationship between two boys from different cultures as they come to appreciate each other and learn from one another. Explore how the lives of both the Native Americans and the pioneers were dependent on resources found in their natural environment. Practice research skills, learn new vocabulary, and practice persuasive writing. Review story elements and character development. Write, plan, and direct a movie that incorporates new learning.

This unit can be used independently but is designed to be taught in conjunction with the science and social studies unit Native Americans.


  • Able to read and comprehend chapter books at a 4th or 5th grade reading level
  • Able to write an organized paragraph
  • Usually used by children in fourth grade

Table of Contents

  • Lesson 1: Background Information
  • Lesson 2: Alone
  • Lesson 3: A Stranger
  • Lesson 4: A Treaty
  • Lesson 5: A Story
  • Lesson 6: The Beaver
  • Lesson 7: Real Life Learning
  • Lesson 8: The Bear
  • Lesson 9: Attean's Past
  • Lesson 10: Manitou
  • Lesson 11: A Choice
  • Lesson 12: Persuasive Writing
  • Lesson 13: The Return
  • Final Project: The Sign of the Beaver Movie (2 Days)

Summary of Skills

Moving Beyond the Page is based on state and national standards. These standards are covered in this unit.
  • Accurately use capitalization and punctuation, such as commas, in writing. (Language Arts)
  • Analyze characters, including their traits, feelings, relationships, and changes. (Language Arts)
  • Answer open-ended questions related to a text. (Language Arts)
  • Compose a draft that conveys major ideas and maintains focus on the topic by using preliminary plans. (Language Arts)
  • Compose a variety of literary genres, including fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama, using self-selected topics and forms. (Language Arts)
  • Compose elaborate written sentences and use appropriate end punctuation. (Language Arts)
  • Conduct research for assigned and self-selected projects from a variety of sources. (Language Arts)
  • Connect his or her own experiences with others' life experiences, languages, customs, and cultures. (Language Arts)
  • Determine the author's purpose, plot, conflict, sequence of events, resolution, and theme of a text. (Language Arts)
  • Draw and discuss visual images based on text descriptions. (Language Arts)
  • Edit writing for standard grammar and usage. (Language Arts)
  • Focus reflection and revision (with assistance) by clarifying ideas, adding descriptive words and phrases, sequencing events and ideas, and strengthening word choice. (Language Arts)
  • Identify (with assistance) the purpose, the audience, and the appropriate form for an oral or written task. (Language Arts)
  • Identify and discuss similarities and differences in events, characters, and ideas among selections and support them by referencing the text. (Language Arts)
  • Identify and interpret elements of fiction and nonfiction. (Language Arts)
  • Identify cause and effect patterns found in text. (Language Arts)
  • Identify parts of speech within a sentence. (Language Arts)
  • Identify root words, prefixes, and suffixes. (Language Arts)
  • Identify similarities and differences such as in topics, characters, and themes in texts. (Language Arts)
  • Increase vocabulary through word study. (Language Arts)
  • Interact with text by making connections. (Language Arts)
  • Practice different kinds of questions and tasks. (Language Arts)
  • Present dramatic interpretations of experiences, stories, poems, or plays. (Language Arts)
  • Produce work that follows the conventions of particular genres. (Language Arts)
  • Read fiction and nonfiction texts. (Language Arts)
  • Recognize correct sentence structure. (Language Arts)
  • Relate plot, character, and setting to own experiences. (Language Arts)
  • Respond to fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama using interpretive, critical, and evaluative processes by participating in creative interpretations. (Language Arts)
  • Respond to stories and poems in ways that reflect understanding and interpretation in discussion, writing, and through art. (Language Arts)
  • Respond to text by reflecting on learning, gaining new insights, and identifying areas for further study. (Language Arts)
  • Share written and oral products in a variety of ways. (Language Arts)
  • Summarize main ideas from written or spoken texts using succinct language. (Language Arts)
  • Support interpretations or conclusions with examples from text. (Language Arts)
  • Use oral and written language to share information and ideas. (Language Arts)
  • Use prepositions and prepositional phrases in writing. (Language Arts)
  • Use text and own experiences to verify facts, concepts, and ideas. (Language Arts)
  • Use word reference materials such as a dictionary or glossary to confirm decoding skills, verify spelling, and extend meanings of words. (Language Arts)
  • Explain what people can learn from observing the habits of animals. (Science)
  • Compare how people in different communities adapt to or modify the physical environment to meet their needs. (Social Studies)
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