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Out of the Dust - Novel Study Unit - Print & Digital for Distance Learning

Joy Sexton
Grade Levels
6th - 9th
Resource Type
Formats Included
  • Zip
  • Microsoft OneDrive
  • Google Apps™
120 pages
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Joy Sexton
Includes Google Apps™
The Teacher-Author indicated this resource includes assets from Google Workspace (e.g. docs, slides, etc.).


This Out of the Dust Novel Study is sure to engage your students with meaningful, standards-aligned learning activities. Now includes a DIGITAL version great for distance learning! Get students thinking deeply, close reading, acquiring new vocabulary, and discussing meaningful ideas as they read Karen Hesse’s compelling novel. Section-by-Section Response Pages challenge students to dig into the text to explain and make inferences. Perfect for partner work or small groups! The pre-reading Web Search acquaints students with historical background on the Dust Bowl.

The DIGITAL version offers colorful slides that allow students to type their responses into text boxes.
To access the DIGITAL version of this resource, you will find:
--a PDF that contains links to every resource listed for the unit
--directions for uploading the resources and using them with students

With both a print-and-go version AND digital, you'll be equipped for all teaching situations! Plus, you'll be able to differentiate according to your students' needs.

Resource Contents:

1. NOVEL RESPONSE PAGES - (sequenced by sections/seasons) - On attractive, ready-to-use pages or slides, students respond to standards-aligned prompts regarding setting, characters, important plot details, mood, imagery, point of view, figurative language and meaning, inferences, and development of theme. Students are drawn back to the text to “close read,” which enhances comprehension.

2. WEB QUEST - A pre-reading short research activity to acquaint students with the 1930's Dust Bowl setting - Students read informational text from web sites and record notes and reactions.

3. 10 Journal-style FREE-WRITES - Attractive projectable slides with thought-provoking prompts based on the text - Great discussion starters! Includes Free-writes Log for student responses.

4. 6 VOCABULARY pages or slides focusing on 30 challenging words from the novel

5. An end-of-novel "DETERMINING THEMES" graphic organizer, which leads students from thinking about “theme topics” in the novel to determining the author’s themes for the reader

6. PLOTLINE CHART - Students analyze plot structure on a creative organizer by charting details from the novel for Exposition, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution. The definition for each of these literary terms is visible on the organizer!

7. OBJECTIVE SUMMARY - Students practice summarizing skills for a short section of text: Summer 1935. This activity is directly aligned with CCSS RL.2

8. TYPES OF CONFLICT - A graphic organizer where students identify a conflict and explain how it was resolved for each type: Man vs. Man, Man vs. Nature, Man vs. Society, and Man vs. Self.

9. A creative "FRIENDLY LETTER" NARRATIVE WRITING assignment that can be used once you are well into the novel or at its end

10. A WRITING RUBRIC for grading the Friendly Letter Narrative Writing Assignment

11. A 40-item short TEST (characters, settings, events, and vocab) is provided for use at the end of the novel. Digital version of test was created in Google Forms (NOT Microsoft compatible).

12. ANSWER KEYS INCLUDED for the Novel Response Pages, Web Quest, Vocabulary Pages, Determining Theme organizer, Plotline Chart, Types of Conflict, and Test.

13. TEACHER GUIDE and COMMON CORE STANDARDS- Specific guidelines for teaching the novel and using these materials with students are provided.

If you are looking for materials that are engaging, student-friendly, standards-aligned, and address a variety of skills, this novel guide will be a useful resource!

Please download the PREVIEW to get a closer look.

(This is a 120-page product: 45 pages for students, 46 slides for students (digital), 26 pages of Answer Keys, plus a 3-page Teacher Guide)

Thank you! --Joy

You might also like:

Short Response for ANY Literature - DIGITAL Distance Learning- Differentiated

Character Traits Essay - DIGITAL for Distance Learning - Literary Essay Writing

Non-Fiction STATIONS - Group Activities for ANY Informational Text Middle School

Research Q & A: Short Inquiry-Based Research Project – Informative Writing 6 - 9

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Total Pages
120 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.
Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.
Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.
Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.
Conduct short research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question), drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused questions that allow for multiple avenues of exploration.


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