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Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George

Teacher Guide by Bridget Baudinet

Find this Common Core aligned Teacher Guide and more like it in our Middle School ELA Category!

Student Activities for Julie of the Wolves Include:

Julie of the Wolves tells the story of a young Eskimo girl, Miyax, who survives in the Arctic by making friends with a wolf pack. Throughout her adventure, she falls in love with the majesty of the natural world and struggles to accept that she must return to civilization. So vivid is Jean Craighead George’s depiction of the animal world that readers will fall in love with the wolves alongside Miyax. The novel introduces readers to the unique biome of the Arctic and the unique behaviors of the gray wolf. It also depicts many aspects of traditional Inuit culture and explores the challenges of assimilation and modernization felt by the native peoples.

By the end of this lesson your students will create amazing storyboards like the ones below!




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Before Reading

Julie of the Wolves contains many meticulously researched details about the Arctic gray wolf. Nevertheless, it is a work of fiction and takes liberties in the depiction of Miyax’s interactions with the wolves. Students may be curious about the accuracy of the story, and might benefit from supplementing their novel study with some science background. Consider having students begin or end the novel by watching a documentary like the one linked below. Students can use this information to inform their reading and compare and contrast real wolves with those in the novel. Other useful scientific pre-reading might include background on plants of the tundra and the unusual pattern of sunlight during the Arctic summers and winters.


In addition to the scientific background, students may also benefit from an introduction to Inuit culture and history. The Inuits belong to an ethnic group that once extended from Siberia, Russia, through Alaska and Canada, and as far as Greenland. For thousands of years, these people survived in the cold Arctic climate through hunting. Their lives began to change with the coming of Europeans and, in particular, with the rise of the whaling industry and introduction of new diseases in the late nineteenth century. The whaling industry eliminated the Inuit trade patterns, forcing many hunters to find a new way of surviving. New jobs, combined with a declining population due to disease, caused many Inuits to resettle on the coast in more populated areas. Although the U.S. government provided support and opportunities for the Inuit population, it also forced assimilation at the expense of Inuit heritage and preferences. The tension between the old ways and the new is one of the most important thematic elements of Julie of the Wolves. For further study of this topic, have students explore the following web page: http://www.everyculture.com/multi/Ha-La/Inuit.html.


Essential Questions for Julie of the Wolves

  1. When do you think it might be better for a person to endure rather than escape a difficult situation? When might it be better to leave or escape difficult circumstances?
  2. What is your family heritage? In what ways does your heritage influence your life?
  3. What kinds of relationships can humans have with animals?
  4. How does setting influence the plot and characters in a story?
  5. What role do flashbacks play in a story?

Julie of the Wolves Lesson Plans, Student Activities and Graphic Organizers

Julie of the Wolves Summary


Copy Assignment



A common use for Storyboard That is to help students create a plot diagram of the events from a story. Not only is this a great way to teach the parts of the plot, but it reinforces major events and helps students develop greater understanding of literary structures.

Students can create a storyboard capturing the narrative arc in a work with a six-cell storyboard containing the major parts of the plot diagram. The structure of Julie of the Wolves can be difficult to outline since it jumps around in time. To help with students’ understanding of the sequence of events, have them trace the plot events in chronological order. For each cell, have students create a scene that follows the story in sequence using: Exposition, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.



Example Julie of the Wolves Plot Diagram

Exposition

Miyax, a 13-year-old girl in the Pacific Northwest, lives between two worlds: the world of the Eskimo and the world of 1970s America. Although she has inherited Eskimo knowledge and pride from her father Kapugen, she now lives with her Aunt Martha in the modern village of Mekoryuk.


Conflict

To escape Aunt Martha, Miyax agrees to a marriage arrangement with an Eskimo boy named Daniel. Being married to Daniel is like having a brother until Daniel tries to attack Miyax. After this, Miyax decides to run away to her pen pal, Amy, in San Francisco.


Rising Action

On her way to San Francisco, Miyax becomes lost on the vast Arctic tundra. She is desperate for food and befriends a nearby wolf pack in order to gain meat and protection. As Miyax studies the wolf leader Amaroq and his family, she learns their ways and finds a way to survive in the frigid Arctic wilds.


Climax

When autumn arrives, Miyax uses the course of the migrating birds to direct her back to civilization. As she sees increasing signs of human presence, she realizes her wolf pack is in danger. When a plane flies over the tundra, hunters wound the young wolf Kapu and kill Amaroq, Miyax’s adopted wolf father.


Falling Action

Miyax stays on the tundra until Kapu’s wounds have healed. Then, she returns to the human world in search of her long-lost father. She finds Kapugen, but realizes that he has begun to assimilate to the gussak ways. Miyax decides to return to the wild.


Resolution

As Miyax heads back to the tundra, her pet plover Tornait dies. She understands this as a sign that “the hour of the wolf and the Eskimo is over”. The days of living closely with nature are no longer realistic. Miyax turns back toward her father’s village.


Julie of the Wolves Plot Diagram
Create your own at Storyboard That EXPOSITION CONFLICT RISING ACTION CLIMAX FALLING ACTION RESOLUTION Miyax, a 13-year-old girl in the Pacific Northwest, lives between two worlds: the world of the Eskimo and the world of 1970s America. Although she has inherited Eskimo knowledge and pride from her father Kapugen, she now lives with her Aunt Martha in the modern village of Mekoryuk. To escape Aunt Martha, Miyax agrees to a marriage arrangement with an Eskimo boy named Daniel. Being married to Daniel is like having a brother until Daniel tries to attack Miyax. After this, Miyax decides to run away to her pen pal, Amy, in San Francisco. On her way to San Francisco, Miyax becomes lost on the vast Arctic tundra. She is desperate for food and befriends a nearby wolf pack in order to gain meat and protection. As Miyax studies the wolf leader Amaroq and his family, she learns their ways and finds a way to survive in the frigid Arctic wilds. When autumn arrives, Miyax uses the course of the migrating birds to direct her back to civilization. As she sees increasing signs of human presence, she realizes her wolf pack is in danger. When a plane flies over the tundra, hunters wound the young wolf Kapu and kill Amaroq, Miyax’s adopted wolf father. Miyax stays on the tundra until Kapu’s wounds have healed. Then, she returns to the human world in search of her long-lost father. She finds Kapugen, but realizes that he has begun to assimilate to the gussak ways. Miyax decides to return to the wild. As Miyax heads back to the tundra, her pet plover Tornait dies. She understands this as a sign that “the hour of the wolf and the Eskimo is over”. The days of living closely with nature are no longer realistic. Miyax turns back toward her father’s village.