This resource is designed to be used during the study of the novel My Brother Sam is Dead, by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier. It is not a novel study, but rather a package of three informational texts and other supplementary activities that provide students with information about the authors, the background of the novel’s setting (time and place), and the historical background of the opposing sides of the conflict (the Patriots and the Loyalists)
1) The resource begins with a “student survey”: place students in groups or have them work on their own to ascertain how much they know about the different political views that existed in the Thirteen Colonies. The area on the right of the page is where they can write their initial answers - their final answers can be inserted on the left when the correct information is found (this survey can also be done as a webquest), either when the class comes back together as a group, or you supply the answers, or after students read the texts.
2) The second activity is a figurative language worksheet: 9 expressions/idioms from the three reading passages are listed and students are asked to define them. This could be done before or after reading (the separate question at the end of the sheet should be done after reading page 11);
3) There are three texts: “James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier, Authors of My Brother Sam is Dead” is a page and a half in length; “The Setting of the Novel”, a 2-page look the North American British Colonies at the beginning of the Revolution as well as the specific area in Connecticut where the novel is set and the passage includes some history, geography, and demographics - a map is included of the Thirteen Colonies; and the third text, "Who were the Patriots?”/“Who were the Loyalists?”, a 2-page and 2-part text about the opposing sides in the conflict and what the war meant in their everyday lives.
The texts total about five pages of writing with added illustrations.
3) All three texts include vocabulary and comprehension/opinion questions;
4) An answer key is provided for the survey, as well as the figurative language, vocabulary and question pages.
I have other prereading packets for the following historical novels:
Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
Number the Stars