Canyons

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Two boys, separated by the canyons of time and two vastly different cultures, face the challenges by which they will become men. Coyote Runs, an Apache boy, takes part in his first raid. But he is to be a man for only a short time. More than a hundred years later, while camping near Dog Canyon, 15-year-old Brennan Cole becomes obsessed with a skull that he finds, pierced by a bullet. He learns that it is the skull of an Apache boy executed by soldiers in 1864. A mystical link joins Brennan and Coyote Runs, and Brennan knows that neither boy will find peace until Coyote Runs' skull is carried back to an ancient sacred place. In a grueling journey through the canyon to return the skull, Brennan confronts the challenge of his life. From the Paperback edition.
Curriculet Details
31 Questions
39 Annotations
3 Quizzes

This free digital curriculum for middle school students contains interactive videos exploring tone and mood and historical fiction, as well as annotations describing various types of figurative language, pictures from the desert Southwest, and a textual connection to Edgar Allan Poe. Students will explore the themes of freedom and determination. The Common Core aligned questions, answers and quizzes in this free online unit will increase student engagement in the book while supporting reading comprehension.

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Chapter 1 - Quickening

Watch the short video below on exposition. In the highlighted text, we learn that Coyote Runs has been longing for two summers to go on a raid -- an event that will signify his transition into manhood.  (This annotation contains a video)
Did you know that you can look up any word in the text of the book or the text of the questions and answers? Just click (or press on mobile devices) the word you want to define and hold until the blue text selector pops up. When you release, a define option will appear. Since it's so easy to look up words, make sure you use this feature frequently... Is there a word on this page you need to look up? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.1
Which detail does not accurately describe Coyote Runs? 

Chapter 2

Chapter One follows Coyote Runs, an Apache boy living in the 1860's. However, Chapter Two switches characters and settings to follow Brennan, who is living in present day, El Paso, Texas. Details such as "fast-food jobs" helps us to recognize this switch.  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.3
Explain why Brennan runs. Give at least one piece of textual evidence to support your answer. 
Watch the short video on foreshadowing. In the highlighted text, Brennan foreshadows that there will be positive and negative effects to come from his meeting with Bill. His statements build suspense for readers and make us want to continue reading! (This annotation contains a video)

Chapter 3 - Dust Spirits

Watch the video below. Coyote Runs’s story can be characterized as historical fiction. The tension that we see in the highlighted text between the Apache and whites really happened. During this time in U.S. history, Native American tribes continued to be mistreated by the government and many white authority figures.  (This annotation contains a video)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.5
Give two details from the highlighted passage that would support that Coyote Runs's story is historical fiction. 

Chapter 4

Watch the short video on similes and metaphors. In the highlighted text, we see Brennan use a simile to compare Stoney's voice to gravel. This image helps us to understand that Stoney's voice is hard and abrasive. (This annotation contains a video)
In the picture below, you can see how close El Paso is to Juarez, Mexico.  (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.3
What makes Brennan different from other kids he knows? Be sure to give an example from the text and explain how that example supports the claim that he is different.  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.4
Which type of figurative language is primarily used in the highlighted text? 
Watch the short video on tone and mood. In the highlighted text, we see that Brennan's tone can be described as either sarcastic or resigned. This creates a feeling of compassion or empathy in us as readers.  (This annotation contains a video)

Chapter 5 - Nightride

Below is a picture of "Jornada del Meurto" which is located in New Mexico.  (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.4
The description of the setting in the highlighted text creates what type of mood? 
As a reader, the word "thought" makes you think that Coyote Runs is mistaken when he believes Magpie is ahead of him. This heightens the suspense and tension because you are now anticipating that Coyote Runs will find himself in trouble! Will he meet up with the "bluebellies" or something or someone else? 

Chapter 6

Watch the short video on hyperbole below. The highlighted text is an example of this type of figurative language.  (This annotation contains a video)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.4
The highlighted text utilizes which type of figurative language? 
Below is a picture of a canyon to help you visualize the setting.  (This annotation contains an image)
Watch the short video below on imagery. Which details in the highlighted text help you to visualize the beauty of the setting? (This annotation contains a video)
Read the definition and examples of personification in the picture below. This type of figurative language is used in a subtle way in the highlighted text because the location or "place" reaches into Brennan. What type of tone is created through the use of personification? (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.3
Give a reason why Brennan is annoyed with himself, and a reason why Brennan is annoyed with someone else on the camping trip.  

Chapter 7 - Visions

Below is an illustration of Calvary officers from this time period to help you picture the "bluebellies." How does Coyote Runs feel about these soldiers? (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.1
What does Santa command the raiding party to do near the end of Chapter Seven? 

Chapter 8

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.5
Why is the highlighted text important to understanding the plot of the story? 
Below is a picture of a mountain lion to help you visualize the animal that Brennan refers to in the highlighted text. (This annotation contains an image)
Quiz One 

Chapter 9 - The Raid

Below is a picture of a mesquite tree growing in the desert to help you visualize the scenery surrounding Coyote Runs. (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.1
What is restricting or blinding Coyote Runs from seeing clearly? 
Watch the short video on point of view and cultural perspective. In the highlighted text, Coyote Runs believes that he is bullet-proof and protected by his "new medicine." This is a cultural reference to his Apache heritage.  (This annotation contains a video)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.6
How does Coyote Runs's statement in the highlighted text reveal his young age and inexperience? Be sure to explain your answer. 
Here, we see Coyote Runs struggle internally in this moment with wanting to be courageous and help save the herd and heeding Magpie's warning to run. He believes that his "medicine" will continue to protect him and make him invincible. Do you believe this is true? 
Onomatopoeia, like the word "hissing" in the highlighted text, is a word that imitates the sound it represents. In the picture below, you can read other examples of this type of figurative language. (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.4
Which type of figurative language is used in the highlighted text? 
Notice how Coyote Runs' has changed his perspective. Earlier, he asked Magpie a question and vowed to never ask another for fear of looking stupid. He know desires to "ask what I do not know." This demonstrates maturity on his part. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.1
What or who betrays Coyote Runs in the end? 

Chapter 10

What or who do you believe is causing this sensation within Brennan?  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.1
What does Brennan discover? 

Chapter 11

Here we see the rational or logical side of Brennan urging him to do the right thing and call the police. What might be causing Brennan to keep the skull a secret? Is this wise? Why or why not? 
Read the quote below by author Edgar Allan Poe and consider how Poe's words might apply to Brennan's situation. (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.9
In the last annotation, you read Poe's quote, "The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends, and where the other begins?" Demonstrating your knowledge of Poe's viewpoint from the quote and Brennan's experiences in Chapter Eleven, would Brennan agree or disagree with Poe's quote? Be sure to explain why with at least one example from Chapter Eleven. 
Watch the short video on internal and external conflict. We see Brennan, who has been struggling internally, finally reach the decision to look for answers to bring him peace.  (This annotation contains a video)

Chapter 12

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.1
Who knows about the skull that Brennan found? 

Chapter 13

Below are different types of beetles.  (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.1
According to Homesley, what is studying about? 
Listen to an excerpt from Mahler's Resurrection Symphony below.  (This annotation contains a video)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.7
After watching and listening to an excerpt from Mahler's Resurrection Symphony in the last annotation, choose one word to describe the tone of the musical piece and explain your choice. Would Brennan agree or disagree with your answer? 

Chapter 14

Homesley refers to the Vietnam War in the highlighted text. This war took place from 1950-1975; however, it was during the 1960's that America's involvement escalated. Below is a series of images from this war.  (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.4
Use the define feature to define "pathologist." Using your knowledge of the definition, which action below would most likely be performed by a pathologist? 

Chapter 15

This scene might as well be out of a crime show like CSI (pictured below). Based on the description of the morgue, how do you suppose Brennan is feeling? Which details are responsible for creating a creepy mood? (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.1
How old does Tibbets believe the victim was when he was killed? 

Chapter 16

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.4
Which type of figurative language is used in the highlighted text? 
Below is a picture of Dog Canyon. (This annotation contains an image)
Quiz Two 

Chapter 17

Below is a diagram of a skull. In the highlighted text, Paulsen uses personification to create tension and suspense.  (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.5
Why does Paulsen include the highlighted text? What purpose does it serve? 

Chapter 18

Why might the newspaper articles from this time period have capitalized and stirred up fear in its readers? How might these articles have perpetuated the myth that the Native Americans were savages? What is the danger in news sources doing this? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.1
Which word would not be used to describe Brennan based on the highlighted description? 

Chapter 19

Watch the short video on tension. In the highlighted text, the description helps to elevate the tension in the story because Brennan is finally discovering what really happened to Coyote Runs. (This annotation contains a video)

Chapter 20

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.1
Why does Mrs. Amelia Gebhart write the letter to the Commander of Fort Bliss? 
Watch the short video on summaries. Which events would be most important to include in a summary that starts from the moment Brennan begins to open the boxes of documents? (This annotation contains a video)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.1
What can a reader infer from the highlighted text? 

Chapter 21

Here, we can see Brennan is resolved to return Coyote Runs to his rightful resting place. What obstacles do you think Brennan will face? 

Chapter 22

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.1
How far must Brennan walk or run to get to the campground? 
Below is a picture of the Big Dipper and Little Dipper constellations. You'll notice that the North Star forms the handle of the Little Dipper. Brennan is resourceful and knowledgeable to use the stars to help him navigate. (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.4
Which type of figurative language is used in the highlighted text? 
In the highlighted text, we see Brennan's sense of remorse kick in. He feels badly for causing his mother to fear for him. Do you think this will be the end of Brennan's journey to help Coyote Runs? 

Chapter 23

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.1
What can readers infer about Brennan's mother in the highlighted text? 
We can see that Brennan is seeing what Coyote Runs saw on the tragic day of his death. The past and the present are becoming intertwined.  

Chapter 24

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.4
Which type of figurative language is used in the highlighted text to convey how hot it is? 
Notice here that the tension is once again building. Will Brennan have what it takes to make it to Coyote Runs' medicine place before the men catch him? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.4
Which type of figurative language is used in the highlighted text? 
Quiz Three