Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Look To The North: A Wolf Pup Diary by Jean Craighead George

Why I use Study Guides in my classes. I love reading about animals and I have always had students that love reading books about animals. The Informational Narrative, Look To The North: A Wolf Pup Diary by Jean Craighead George is the sweetest nonfiction book that tells the story of three wolf pups as they grow up in the north. Jean Craighead George loved animals and this love comes through in all of her books. The book is beautifully illustrated by Lucia Washburn. The lexile level is 580L. (

I didn't choose the book because of a certain grade level, I wanted my students to enjoy reading a beautifully illustrated book, with a clear sequence, and one that they could find details in the text to answer questions and new vocabulary words. I don't think anyone is ever too old to read a story with beautiful illustrations. To make sure that my students were receiving the instruction that followed the Common Core, I made a Study Guide. You can download a preview of this study guide at my teacher store on Teachers Pay Teachers.

Student has finished the research section and is now working on connections  to the story.
I made this Study Guide so that my students can get all the information needed, plus work at their own pace. I included some research, phonics, spelling, vocabulary, lots of critical thinking questions and writing. I also included a Science and Social Studies Integration. While students are busy working together or independently, I can pull students in small groups and monitor other student's progress. I always makes sure students have access to a computer, dictionary, pencils and erasers, and always a book and a nice box of crayons.

The Vocabulary section pulls in the vocabulary words that a student might not be familiar with. There is a section at the bottom of this page where students must come up with a word from the text that they think should have been a vocabulary word.

There is a poem with relavent questions to answer and also a section on personification. 

My favorite part of the study guide is the front cover. Students draw a new cover and they must use color and details from the text!

Each student uses a dictionary for the Vocabulary section.

Students reference the text to answer the Comprehension Question. Each question has the Revised Blooms level so students know why this question is important.

Each section has the Common Core alignment. You can also see the Revised Blooms Levels above each Comprehension Question.

The Science Research has the Essential Question and give students a chance to learn more about an Arctic animal. I also post urls and videos on Edmodo so students have a starting point for reference.

Finished cover showing the Alpha pup. 

Finished Cover. This is before I look over the Study Guide. Students will be given a chance to correct handwriting and grammar mistakes before turning the guide in for grading.

Another sweet cover.

All my students wanted their cover on my blog. They did a great job of using details from the story to make their cover. If you have read the book, you know that Talus is smelling the grizzly and alerting his siblings. The blue flowers are Harebells.

Cover showing originality. 

Fast finishers spend time coloring and usually find parts where they might need to erase and start over. Coloring not only gives my students a chance to process the information they learned, it also gives them a chance to check back over their work.

I like the way this student illustrated her vocabulary word. Not only did she draw the harebells she also illustrated that they bloom in July.

I always include a Phonics section. Students in 4th and 5th grade still need phonics instruction, even if it is just reinforcing what they already know.

This is a very creative cover, this student wanted to include the title after drawing so she put it into her moon and clouds.

A lot of pictures I know! My students love seeing their work on my blog. I wish I could show their sweet faces while they are working on these study guides. This guide has 12 pages. This might be daunting if I had given them 12 pages of worksheets. In a nice booklet, they are able to read and study the book without being intimidated by the workload. And I have a product showing their learning and growth.

Study guides can be useful tools teaching the Common Core way. Students are involved, there is a section where they must read a poem to a buddy and then listen while their buddy reads back to them. Students are working independently but can discuss and collaborate as needed. I can monitor, check for understanding and also work individually with a student or with small groups. Students are using the computer and a reference book. They are involved with their learning and delving deeper into the text with the comprehension questions.  This book seems like a nice picture book, but students are learning to infer, evaluate and question the text they are reading.

Let me know if you have any ideas about using Study Guides in your classroom.

As always, thanks for visiting! 


  1. Thanks for your detailed post and the great pictures! I am going to check if we have this book in our book room or ?. I love using booklets for the same reason you do - the students take more ownership, I can pace it out over a week, and they can work independently or in pairs while still completing their own booklet.


  2. Joanne, thanks for the comment. You always give me something to think about! The story is also included in the Harcourt Trophies, 4th grade student reading book. ISBN0-15-345256-0. In case you are interested. We do not use this reading series anymore, but the stories are still relevant. Pam

  3. Hi Joanne, this looks like a fantastic unit! I just found your blog, I'm your newest follower!

    Science for Kids Blog

  4. Hi Sue, thanks for stopping by! My students will be finishing this unit the end of this week. I like the way they get involved with Study Guides!
    I am going to hop on over to your blog for a visit! I love Science.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Pam, I am impressed by how beautiful your Study Guide is, and I love that it has so many different sections for the students to fill out. It looks great!
    TAS Teachers Rock! - Francie

  7. Francie, thanks so much! I put a lot in to this since I want my students to really get into the story. I did add a 4 page rubric that I am not showing on this blog. The rubric is helping them to know exactly what I want, plus it holds them accountable! Thanks so much dear friend for visiting! Pam

  8. I totally LOVE this resource, but I am totally lost when it comes to rearranging the pages in order. I don't get it. Am I supposed to print double-sided, or fold, or cut? Can you help?

  9. I totally LOVE this resource, but I am totally lost when it comes to rearranging the pages in order. I don't get it. Am I supposed to print double-sided, or fold, or cut? Can you help?

  10. First, thank you so much for buying this study and rubric! Now hang in there and I will tell you exactly how to assemble. Print out the pages for the study guide from your printer. Then take it to your copier. You will be copying the pages front to back. The first page is the one that says cover and back. The next page is 1 and 14. In my copier when I print back to front I have to turn the second page upside down. I don't know how yours works, but you will print the page that says cover and back and the one that says 1 and 14 back to front. You will do this to the pages exactly as you have printed them from your printer. You can do this one at a time until you feel comfortable doing it all at once. The next two pages you will copy front to back will be page13 and 2 and page 3 and 12. Keep doing this will all the pages. The sequence of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, will be on opposite sides of the paper. When these are all printed front to back you will fold them in half and staple the middle. The same with the rubric. I know it seems wierd to have page 1 and 14 on one page, but when it is all printed it will be like a perfect little booklet. Does this help? Please email me at if you need more help.
    I forget that not everyone used to work for a printer! This is such a wonderful little study guide and I love this book so much! I want to make sure you get it printed right. Try this and let me know please! Pam