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This unit study includes lessons and activities based on the book A Lion to Guard Us by Clyde Robert Bulla.
Thanks to Christina Harris and Michelle Light for collaborating to create this A Lion to Guard Us Unit Study.
A Lion to Guard Us Summary
Amanda Freebold doesn’t know what to do. Her father left three years ago for the new colony of Jamestown in America, thousands of miles away. But now that her mother has died, Amanda is left to take care of her younger brother and sister all alone back in England.
As the new head of the family, Amanda finally decides to take her brother and sister to America to find Father. The ocean crossing is long and hard, and the children don’t know whom to trust. But with her father’s little brass lion’s head to guard them, Amanda knows that somehow everything will work out.
A Lion to Guard Us Activities and Lessons
Here is a sample of the lessons found in this A Lion to Guard Us unit study:
Language Arts: Character Study
It is a commonly accepted view that character is the single most important element in fiction. Characters bring the stories to life for us giving us someone to relate to, something to laugh at, someone to cry with. Clyde Robert Bulla does an excellent job of creating characters for this story. He doesn’t simply tell you about his characters (the cook is a grouch; the cook is mean; the cook doesn’t care about other people); he SHOWS you this in their actions.
We are introduced to quite a few characters in the first five chapter of A Lion to Guard Us. We have Cook, Ellie, the maid, Amanda, Jimmy, Meg, Mistress Tippet, Dr. Cider and Mother. We can make some conclusions or statements about the characters by studying what they say and do and even sometimes by how they look.
Bulla says Jimmy, Amanda’s brother, is a small boy (pg. 5); he liked to wear the red velvet curtain for a cloak to play gentlemen (pg. 10), and he asked Amanda if she were going to tell him a story (pg. 11).
We can conclude from what we are told about Jimmy that he is young, he likes to play and hear stories. Notice how Bulla doesn’t just say Jimmy’s young and likes to play and hear stories, Bulla shows us by having Jimmy talk and act.
Using the characters in the book, complete the character study charts (a sample chart is provided to help you understand how the charts should be completed).
You may not have your student complete one for every character (choose a number you would like completed and let your student choose which characters to study). This exercise will help your student understand the importance of creating real characters and why he should write about character in a way that shows a character instead of simply writing to tell about a character.
Amanda’s father left England to go to the colony of Jamestown in Virginia. A colony is a settlement. People who live in a colony are called colonists.
The colonists, like Amanda’s father, are still English citizens, they have to abide by English laws. The English People are called the British because England is called Great Britain.
Jamestown was founded in 1607 and is thought to be the first permanent English colony in the New World we now call the United States.
Jamestown is named after King James I from England. King James I gave the land of Jamestown to the Virginia Company. We will learn more about the Virginia Company later in our reading of this novel. One of the early leaders of the Jamestown colony was Captain John Smith. You will remember from your studies that John Smith is the man who Pocahontas befriended.
You can grab a copy of the entire A Lion to Guard Us unit study in an easy-to-print file at the end of this post.
How to Get Started with the A Lion to Guard Us Activities and Lessons
Follow these simple instructions to get started with the A Lion to Guard Us unit study.
- Buy a copy of the book, A Lion to Guard Us, or grab one from your local library.
- Print the A Lion to Guard Us unit study.
- Choose the lessons you want to use with your student (a highlighter works great for this).
- Enjoy a book-based unit study with your student.
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