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Two Old Women

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Home  >  Teaching and Learning  >  Two Old Women  >  Assignment Ideas
Assignment Ideas

A list of Assignment Ideas:

1.  Have students draw a picture, make a collage, or create a piece of artwork in response to a scene in the book.

 2.  Ask students to write how they would survive if they were left out in the wild right now, with only the clothes on their backs. What could they use from their clothing and the items in their pockets to survive in Alaska?

3.   Have students locate another popular book about survival and compare the tactics or methods the two old women used compared to characters in the other book. Students might also list the different survival skills each book shares with the readers.

4.  Velma Wallis suggests the two old women had heard stories of cannibalism amongst their people in desperate times. Have students research events of cannibalism in history. (Alive, Donner Party, etc.)

5.  Explore Sustainability: The book suggests The People had used up all the resources in the area - the women traveled to a place The People hadn't traveled to in a long time.  Describe parallels between our modern use of resources and The People before they left the two old women.

6.  Ask students to pretend they are book critics. Have them write their own book reviews.

7.  Suggest students imagine a movie based on Two Old Women, using screenplay formatting (write a scene for the movie).

8.  Have students write an alternate ending to the story. They could explore the question: What if The People never came back to find the two old women?

9. Ask students to imagine if the two old women carried a laptop with them and wrote a blog.  Have students write a weekly blog about their survival from Sa' or  Ch'idzigyaak's point of view.

10.  Students could write a diary from the daughter or grandson's point of view.

11. For the tech-savvy students:  Build a website that other students could use to better understand and appreciate the story. (Include photos, captions, lessons, etc.)

12.  For the high-tech animators:  Create a flash animation from a scene in the book.

13.  Ask students to compare the survival skills of the two old women with Sacajawea and the skills she used to help Lewis & Clark.

14.  Writing Idea: Write a letter to one of the characters in the book.

15.  Writing Idea: Write a letter to Velma Wallis in response to the book.

16. Writing Idea:  Choose three themes that appear in the book. Explain each theme and give evidence from the text that shows how the theme is woven into the story.

17.  Have students draw a map of the places the two old women hunted, traveled, and camped.

18.  Writing Idea: Write a modern version of the same story.

19.  Writing Idea: Compare Cultures - The two old women realized that they possessed the knowledge that would help them survive (knowledge The People could have tapped into).  How do we treat our old people or elders today, and what knowledge do we take from them? Are we more respectful than The People were when they left the old women, or less? What have we learned about living or life from our elders or grandparents?

20.   Have students scan the text for words they don't know and look them up on-line or in a dictionary. Have them find elders who might be able to pronounce the Gwich'in words.

21.  Short Writing Idea: Write a one sentence summary of the book.

22.  Multi-Media Idea: Have students pretend they are marketing executives and create an advertisement (print, web, or video) that would interest other students in purchasing and reading the book.  (Or create one that would interest teachers in having their students read the book!)

23.  Use Two Old Women as a parable for a modern teen trying to survive in the city.  Have students describe how it would feel being left behind, and explain what survival tools and skills they each have.

24.  Have students create a newscast.  Prompt: As a news reporter, create a newscast and interview one of the survivors from Two Old Women. (Students could video this, or just write out the script.)

25.  School to Work:  Have students pretend they are one of the old women, now looking for a job - what skills could be put on a résumé? (List the character attributes and actual talents and skills.)

26.  Search the Alaska Digital Archives and find video and pictures that could represent characters and scenes from the book.

27.  Group Activity: Act out a scene from the story in a play.

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