K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

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Learning outcomes

Students will visualize their own feelings and needs in the event they should become stranded. This will help them identify and be more sympathetic with the main character, Brian Robeson, as the first few chapters of the book deal with his struggle to survive the first three days.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

1 hour


  • Journal
  • Drawing paper and crayons
  • Hatchet by Gary Paulsen


  1. Teacher asks students to respond in journals as follows:
    • If you were stranded on a deserted island, list at least 5 items you would need to survive. (5 minutes)Draw a dividing line under this response.
    • Explain the first thing (literally) you would do upon being stranded on this deserted island. Keep in mind you are completely alone. (5 minutes)Draw a dividing line under this response.
    • Brainstorm adjectives - describe how you feel after being stranded on this deserted island. (5 minutes)
  2. In your Think-Pair-Share Groups, discuss your responses to the above questions. In your pairs, decide which three things you would do first after landing on the island. Have some pairs share with the class their plan of action. (10 minutes)
  3. Now combine with another group. Discuss the first question in depth - Survival Items. Make a list of five items only that you would like to have with you. Remember these items must be able to fit into your pockets or on your person as you were not prepared for the crash landing onto the island. While the group is deciding, prepare a free-form map with drawing paper and crayons, illustrating your choices. (10 minutes)
  4. Presentation to class and teacher input.
  5. Teacher is now ready to tie in the story of Brian Robeson and his plight, stranded on a deserted island with little or no survival skills. You can also mention that students are preparing for survival when they pack an overnight bag to stay at a friend’s house (they only pack what they need and what they can survive with until they get back home - although this is certainly not a life threatening situation).(10 minutes)


Have a group spokesperson present the free-form maps to the class as they explain their choices. Teacher discuss each chart when they are finished for validity. (15 minutes)

North Carolina curriculum alignment

English Language Arts (2004)

Grade 6

  • Goal 1: The learner will use language to express individual perspectives drawn from personal or related experience.
    • Objective 1.03: Interact appropriately in group settings by:
      • listening attentively.
      • showing empathy.
      • contributing relevant comments connecting personal experiences to content.
      • monitoring own understanding of the discussion and seeking clarification as needed.
  • Goal 5: The learner will respond to various literary genres using interpretive and evaluative processes.
    • Objective 5.01: Increase fluency, comprehension, and insight through a meaningful and comprehensive literacy program by:
      • using effective reading strategies to match type of text.
      • reading self-selected literature and other materials of individual interest.
      • reading literature and other materials selected by the teacher.
      • discussing literature in teacher-student conferences and small group discussions.
      • taking an active role in whole class seminars.
      • discussing and analyzing the effects on texts of such literary devices as figurative language, dialogue, flashback and sarcasm.
      • interpreting text by explaining elements such as plot, theme, point of view, characterization, mood, and style.
      • investigating examples of distortion and stereotypes.
      • recognizing underlying messages in order to identify recurring theme(s) within and across works.
      • extending understanding by creating products for different purposes, different audiences and within various contexts.
      • exploring relationships between and among characters, ideas, concepts and/or experiences.