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May 23

Author Scott O'Dell was born on this day.

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Author Scott O'Dell was born on this day.

Grades 5 – 12
Calendar Activity Type Author & Text

 

EVENT DESCRIPTION

 

 

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.

CLASSROOM ACTIVITY

 

 

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.

WEBSITES

 

 
  • 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.

RELATED RESOURCES

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Grades   6 – 8  |  Lesson Plan  |  Unit

Examining Island of the Blue Dolphins through a Literary Lens

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.

 

Grades   3 – 5  |  Lesson Plan  |  Minilesson

Bright Morning: Exploring Character Development in Fiction

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

Book Report Alternative: Writing Resumes for Characters in Historical Fiction

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.