Island of the Blue Dolphins Reading Response Project: Amazon Gift Card GIVEAWAY

February 25, 2013

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Week at a Glance:

  • GIVEAWAY of the Week: $25.00 Amazon Gift Card
  • Island of the Blue Dolphins Project
  • Reading Response for Elementary Students
  • Teaching Children how to Search Internet
  • Teaching Children how to use Publisher
  • Teaching Children how to Paint with Natural Materials

Island of the Blue Dolphin

GIVEAWAY of the Week: $25.00 Amazon Gift Card

Book of the Week: Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell

Why we love this book:

I read Island of the Blue Dolphins for the first time when I was 9-years-old. Since that first reading, it has remained one of my favorite books. My independent, adventurous side is drawn to Karana’s story of survival. Through many readings, I have bonded with Karna’s strength, loneliness and harmony with nature. Scott O’Dell actually based Karana’s “Robinson Crusoe” story on a young women found living alone with a dog on the Island of San Nicolas in 1853. This bit of real-life mystery makes the book even more intriguing.

This week’s GIVEAWAY is a bit different. Rather than a specific book, we are GIVING AWAY an Amazon Gift Card so you can purchase several novels for your home library. Of course, I recommend Island of the Blue Dolphins!

Island of the Blue Dolphins Reading Response Project

 (Teaching Students How to Use Publisher)

Island of the Blue Dolphins

Island of the Blue Dolphin Reading Response Project, MacGyver, 8-years-old

Book Selection

  •  I always give MacGyver a choice when selecting novels for independent reading.
  • I do a book talk on several books and let him make the choice.
  • Island of the Blue Dolphin was NOT his first choice. He picked Hank the Cow Dog!
  • What can I say, Hank the Cow Dog is a great book for an 8-year-old boy.
  • Nonetheless, Island of the Blue Dolphins made the cut the second time around! Yeah for me!

Publisher Introduction

I taught MacGyver how to:

  • make a text box,
  • select a font
  • select a size
  • center text
  • space lines
  • create color designs
  • scan original painted artwork

Island of the Blue Dolphins

 Cover Ocean Scene Artwork


  • As he read, MacGyver kept note of important characters, the setting, the problem and the solution to the story.
  • In his reading response journal MacGyver wrote a summary of the book.
  • I edited the corrections.
  • MacGyver typed his summary in publisher.

Island of the Blue Dolphins


La Isla de  San Nicolas

  • Many days after reading, MacGyver searched the web for important details in the story.
  • He located the San Nicolas Island off the coast of California.
  • Since we visited San Diego and the Tidepools at Cabrillo National Monument this brought the setting to life for MacGyver.
  • MacGyver copied and pasted the map into a publisher page.

Island of the Blue Dolphins

Navigating the Island of the Blue Dolphins

  • I taught MacGyver how to highlight important descriptive details about the island.
  • Next, we looked up the length of a league.
  • MacGyver multiplied the size of the island.

Island of the Blue Dolphins

Navigating the Island of the Blue Dolphins

  • Using the above description, MacGyver drew his own map of the island.
  • This gave him a frame of reference while reading.

Island of the Blue Dolphins

Getting to Know the Characters: Who are the Aleuts?

  • Again, with a little research the Aleuts became real rather than abstract people in the story.
  • The maps brought an element of geography and history into the story.
  • MacGyver continued to copy, paste and crop into publisher.

Island of the Blue Dolphins

Getting to know the Setting and the Natural Environment

  • With the introduction of each new animal, MacGyver researched and created a new publisher page.
  • For this beginning introduction to publisher, I simply taught MacGyver how to copy, paste and crop.
  • Since then he has learned to research, take notes and write his own summaries.
  • He is also learning how to credit photos.

Island of the Blue Dolphins

Learning New Vocabulary

  • While watching an episode of Chopped on the Food Network, the basket included abalone.
  • MacGyver exclaims, “Look, they are cooking abalone like Island of the Blue Dolphins!”

Island of the Blue Dolphins


Island of the Blue Dolphins


Island of the Blue Dolphins

Island of the Blue Dolphins

Island of the Blue Dolphins

  • MacGyver copied, pasted and cropped to create his pages in publisher.
  • I currently do not let MacGyver search the web without my assistance.

Island of the Blue Dolphins

It has been a year since we read Island of the Blue Dolphins and MacGyver still likes to look through his notebook. And of course, I’m still in love with this classic novel. When teaching I try to incorporate many different subjects and skills. Reading a book like Island of the Blue Dolphins lends itself to many learning opportunities as well as an amazingly entertaining story.  This is a hectic day so I hope you can follow my posting of our little journey with Karana on the Island of the Blue Dolphins.

We read much of this book together. MacGyver would read a couple of pages and then I would read a page. Miss Enigma, age 5, listened to the story as well. In our home, reading is a form of entertainment. It is an activity the children like to share. MacGyver could have read this book independently and purely enjoyed the adventurous story.  However, taking a little time to research and develop a richer understanding, gave him a deeper appreciation for the characters and the setting.

Okay, I’ll stop! Just read this book!

We’re GIVING AWAY one $25.00 amazon gift card.

To enter this contest, use the Rafflecopter to answer the following question. After you leave a comment, you can move ahead with more entries.

To enter this contest, just answer the following question in the comments section of this post.

What is the first novel with which you remember falling in love?  (Or just say “Hey.” We’re flexible around here.)

The Rules:

One entry per person, please.

No entries after 8:00 pm Central Time, Thursday, February 28, 2013

The winner must be a resident of The United States.

The winner will be selected at random and announced Friday, March 1, 2013. Check back to claim your prize. It might be you!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sharing this week at:

Hip Homeschool  Moms

3 Boys and a Dog

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Robin February 25, 2013 at 7:40 pm

first novel.. old yeller

Misty February 25, 2013 at 7:50 pm

Fell in love with Gone With the Wind in junior high.

Amy February 25, 2013 at 7:53 pm

Island of the Blue Dolphins and A Tree Grows In Brooklyn are 2 of my favorites.

Ellie February 25, 2013 at 8:05 pm

I fell in love with the Anne of Green Gables series when I was in 6th grade, followed by the Emily of New Moon series, also by L.M. Montgomery. Amy (above) mentioned A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, and I remember liking that book a lot, too. Others that really struck me were The Witch of Blackbird Pond and The Wolves of Willoughby Chase. I would love to go back and re-read these novels!

Stephanie February 25, 2013 at 8:07 pm

Sarah Plain and Tall

Tara H February 25, 2013 at 8:19 pm

Sorry to say that I wasn’t much of a reader growing up. Now I read biographies and such, not many novels.

Gidget February 25, 2013 at 9:28 pm

I read all the time when I was younger, but sadly I can’t remember anything I fell in love with – until Harry Potter…. but, that may just be the bad memory of old age setting in :-)

Julie February 25, 2013 at 10:05 pm

I read such Twaddle when I was a kid. My mom didn’t know better as English wasn’t her first language. The series I wanted to jump into and be part of was the Babysitter’s Club. Thankfully, my third grade teacher read us some gems that I will never forget – The Boxcar Children and The Indian in the Cupboard, and The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. I loved Anne of Green Gables, but I saw the movies first, and I don’t think I knew about the Little House books until I was a teenager.

Stasia February 26, 2013 at 9:22 am

My first favorite novel was and still is The Secret Garden.

Jeannine February 26, 2013 at 11:25 am

The Witch of Blackbird Pond . . . love it! I think my kiddos are still a little young for that one. Can’t wait to read that again. I also found Roll of Thunder Hear my Cry very powerful. Looking forward to all of the books still to come with my children!

All of these book lists are making me want to grab a book and start reading. Sooooo many good ones listed. Thanks for sharing!

Bernice Mattila Garcia February 26, 2013 at 7:41 pm

Little House on the Prairie series was my first “wow, I love this and I want more NOW” love affair when I was in 3rd grade. I had a wonderful 3rd grade teacher that opened my mind to books – before that grade I struggled to learn to read. By the end of 3rd, I was in the highest reading group and went on to high school level reading by 5th grade. Books are wonderful treasures.

Jamie February 27, 2013 at 6:34 pm

I remember my mom reading The Hobbit out loud to me when I was in about 2nd grade or so. Yes, I was in love! I remember also enjoying the Ramona Quimby books and Roald Dahl novels (especially James and the Giant Peach). Yeah, I, too, can’t wait to share some of my all-time favorite books with my kids!

Karen G February 27, 2013 at 9:56 pm

I loved Mysteries when I was younger…Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys Series

Jeannine February 28, 2013 at 7:40 am

We rented The original Hardy Boys series by Disney from our library. The kiddos absolutely loved the suspense in the movie. I think the Hardy Boys might be on our summer fun reading lists!

Tiffany February 28, 2013 at 1:37 pm

I had this crazy aunt who loved to give books for gifts. I think my first novel love was the Little House series. Some of my other favorites include Hatchet and Bridge to Terabithia.

Jennifer February 28, 2013 at 3:10 pm

The Secret Garden

Jenn February 28, 2013 at 3:28 pm

Anne of Green Gables

Little House on the Prairie and Witch of Blackbird Pond. February 28, 2013 at 10:36 pm

Great website-thanks!

Little House on the Prairie and Witch of Blackbird Pond. February 28, 2013 at 10:39 pm

I mostly enjoyed reading poems when I was younger.

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