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There is much more to explore in our calendar. Find other important events in literary history, authors' birthdays, and a variety of holidays, each with related lessons and resources.
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Author Scott O'Dell was born on this day.
|Grades||5 – 12|
|Calendar Activity Type||Author & Text|
Scott O'Dell was born on May 23, 1898. In 1982, the author launched the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction. Each year, a book for children or young adults that was published the previous year is honored. O'Dell established the award to encourage other writers to focus on historical fiction, hoping to increase children's interest in history. O'Dell wrote dozens of works for all ages, including Island of the Blue Dolphins, his first book for children, in 1960. He died in 1989.
Have your students explore an historical topic using text sets that include both fiction and nonfiction books. Using nonfiction titles, Scott O'Dell's books and Scott O'Dell Award-winning books, create text sets on history topics relevant to your curriculum. Have each student select a set to read, and then have them answer these questions:
- How is the information different in the fiction you read, compared to the nonfiction titles? How is it the same?
- What kinds of information did you learn from fiction texts that you couldn't learn from nonfiction?
- What kinds of information did you learn from factual texts that you didn't find in the stories you read?
- Why are there differences in stories about the same historical topic?
After students have answered these questions, come together and discuss them as a group. Then have students write original short stories about the topics they explored.
- Scott O'Dell
Scott O'Dell's website features biographical information, a list of his works for children, book reviews, and more.
- The Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction
This list includes a list of Scott O'Dell Award winners from Elizabeth George Speare's 1984 The Sign of the Beaver to the 2006 winner, The Game of Silence, from Louise Erdrich.
- Explore Island of the Blue Dolphin
This interactive site, created by three California educators, allows students to explore the geography, natives, and wildlife of O'Dell's Island of the Blue Dolphins.
- Why & How I Teach with Historical Fiction
Scholastic offers this resource on using historical fiction in the classroom.
Grades 3 – 5 | Lesson Plan | Minilesson
Students work as a class to explore a character in a book they have read by identifying traits and finding textual references to support their choices.
Grades 3 – 5 | Lesson Plan | Standard Lesson
Students write resumes for historical fiction characters. They first explore help wanted ads to see what employers want, and then draft resumes for the characters they’ve chosen.
Grades 6 – 8 | Lesson Plan | Unit
After a discussion about courage and adversity and reading Scott O'Dell's Island of the Blue Dolphins, students examine Karana's character development and look for examples of courage in their community.