Isabel Of the Whales

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Curriculet Details
34 Questions
37 Annotations
3 Quizzes

This free digital curriculum designed for sixth grade students contains interactive videos exploring topics such as mood and tone, characterization, conflict, and forms of figurative language. In addition, you will find annotations describing foreshadowing, text structure, and a hero's journey, which encourage students to dig deeper into elements such as context and author's purpose among others. Students will explore themes such as a great journey, coming of age, and love and loss. 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 One

The opening sentence in the first chapter is playing homage to the first sentence of the classic novel Moby Dick. The first sentence in that novel is "Call me Ishmael." 
Why does the narrator have to pinch her nose to keep from laughing when Kristen confesses she used to think that she was adopted? 
Select a word and left click the mouse for a couple seconds, or do the same with your finger on a touch screen to use the define feature or add your own annotations. 
According to the author, how is Mr. Peake different from most adults? 
Mr. Peake appears to reveal a personal bias by asking Isabel how whales have been mostly exploited rather than studied. A bias is prejudice in favor of or against one thing, person, or group compared with another, usually in a way considered to be subjective (unfair). 

Chapter Two

Examine the interaction between Isabel and her brother. How would you describe their relationship? Support your response with textual evidence. 
In the higlighted selection, the author uses figurative language to express the feelings of the narrator, which allows the reader to better picture her state. Please see the video below for an explanation of figurative language.  (This annotation contains a video)
Why does the narrator have a knot in her stomach? 
A group of whales is most commonly known as a pod; however, the author probably chose the word congregation instead to illustrate how special (even spiritual) it was to be surrounded by such a large group of whales. 
How does the narrator feel about being completely surrounded by whales? 

Chapter Three

Most stories follow a predictable sequence of events as illustrated in the diagram below. This is what is known as plot structure. Study the diagram then answer the question on the next page. (This annotation contains an image)
At this point, where along the plot diagram is the story? 
The highlighted text is an idiom; the narrator is not supposed to literally listen to her heart. It's a figure of speech. View the video below for a more detailed explanation of idioms.  (This annotation contains a video)
When the author compares the whale's lower jaw to a tank, he is using which type of figurative language? 
The author uses concise sentences and exclamation marks to relay the narrator's elation and express the tone. Watch the video below to see how to distinguish tone from mood. (This annotation contains a video)

Chapter Four

How did so many whales know Isabel was coming? 
In the highlighted paragraph, the author uses long sentences full of imagery to slow down the pace of the prose because the subject matter is serious and requires contemplation. This appears to be done deliberately to show the importance of the ceremony. 
Explain why the author opened the above paragraph with such a long introductory sentence. 
Mermaids appear in the folklore of many cultures worldwide. Mermaids are sometimes associated with perilous events such as floods, storms, shipwrecks and drownings.  (This annotation contains an image)
Which word best describes Isabel's feelings about her assigned mission?  

Chapter Five

There are several theories for how whales hear; the most logical theory is that the ear canal is closed off in most toothed whales and has become redundant. Instead, toothed whales may be able to receive sounds through their lower jaw which contains oil-filled sinuses that may be able to transmit sounds directly to the inner ear.  
How do we know that Isabel is winded when she is following Onijonah? 
First Isabel of the Whales Quiz 

Chapter Six

Isabel is conflicted about traveling to the North Pole; on one hand, she wants to travel with her pod, but on the other hand, she is nervous about being so far away from her human family. See the video below for an explanation of internal conflict.  (This annotation contains a video)
From which point of view is this story told? 
There should be an apostrophe between the "e" and "ll" in shell. Do you think the spelling was done deliberately since this story takes place in the ocean? 
Use the define feature to derive the meaning of solemnly; which of the occasions below would most likely be a solemn event? 

Chapter Seven

Notice how the author uses a colon before listing all of her dazzling new discoveries. One correct way to use a colon is to punctuate the end of a sentence when a list of items follows. 
Explain how the author builds suspense. Mention specific details from the text to support your response. 
The highlighted text shows that Isabel is starting to take on the leadership role that is her destiny, even though she still thinks like a human rather than a whale. 
How does Onijonah stop the bleeding? 
One of the themes in this story is a great journey. How is this evident?  
According to the text, why does Isabel feel awkward talking to Moonglim? 
By referring to the horn as a corn, the author may be using foreshadowing to hint at a relationship between the horned whales and unicorns. Click the link below to learn more about how foreshadowing is used. (This annotation contains a video)
Why did humans hunt unicorns? 
In the highlighted text, the author uses imagery to paint a picture of the beautiful queen. See the video below for a more detailed explanation of this literary device.  (This annotation contains a video)

Chapter Eight

Using the text and the information learned in the video, what is the purpose of a bubble net and how are they made? 
Watch a video of this fascinating process below.  (This annotation contains a video)
Jessaloup slows down and allows Isabel to catch up with him. He then offers to swim with her, which takes Isabel's mind off of missing her human family. Do you think Jessaloup could sense that Isabel was sad? 
Which literary device is the author using in the highlighted sentence?  
Enduring the storm is an example of external conflict (character vs. nature). 
The impact of Tengapoul's death on Isabel supports which of the following themes? 

Chapter Nine

The highlighted text is a revelation for Isabel; she always thought whales went near boats because they were curious. 
Why is Onijonah so tired upon reaching their destination? 
Isabel had to describe television in a context that the whales could understand. Do you think she does a good job? 
Explain how the highlighted text could be the author's commentary on the American obsession with materialism. 
Some whales live in a social setting with a dominance hierarchy. They express dominance in a variety of ways, including using their teeth to “rake” other whales, in the open ocean as well as in parks.  
Why is Isabel's reaction to the fight so different compared to the other whales? 

Chapter Ten

The author makes reference to flukes on several occasions. The flukes are the sides of a whale's tale.  (This annotation contains an image)
Why is Isabel not having fun anymore? 
It seems likely that Jessaloup likes Isabel too, and that is why he has treated her coldly. He knows that he cannot be with her. 
What type of conflict is described in the highlighted text? 

Chapter Eleven

Throughout the story, Isabel has acted very mature like an adult. Her interaction with Onijonah reminds the reader that she is still a child. The author uses dialogue to indirectly characterize Isabel. View the video below for an explanation of character development.  (This annotation contains a video)
What does Onijonah ask Isabel to help her calf do? 
The author is using his characters to inform the readers about the endangered state of humpback whales. According to the chart below, humpback births are on the rise.  (This annotation contains an image)
The author seems to be implying that humans __________ the water is causing whale mothers to have fewer calves. 
Second Isabel of the Whales Quiz 

Chapter Twelve

The author uses long sentences to help convey Isabel's boredom. 
How does Isabel stop the boat? 
Onijonah's figure of speech is a reference to the biblical story of Jonah and the whale. 
How does the author use indirect characterization to show that Isabel is scared of attracting sharks? Support your answer with details from the text. 

Chapter Thirteen

The highlighted text illustrates Onijonah's strong maternal instinct. In the wild scientists have witnessed humpback whales protecting their pups from predators such as killer whales out of maternal instinct.  (This annotation contains an image)
Which word would best describe Isabel's decision to sacrifice herself to save her friends? 
It's beginning to look like this narrative is following the pattern of the hero's journey, also called the monomyth. Look at the diagram below. Where on the path is Isabel?  (This annotation contains an image)
Which type of figurative language is highlighted in the text? 

Chapter Fourteen

Seaweed is thought to be effective for treating a variety of ailments and boost the immune system. 
How does the author use text structure to convey the emotional exchange between Isabel and Mistenbel? Support your response with textual evidence. 
Isabel tries to use humor to make their emotional goodbye a little easier. 
Based on the highlighted text, we can infer that ________ is a theme in this story. 

Chapter Fifteen

This exchange between Isabel and Jessaloup illustrates the deep love that they have for each other. The author uses dialogue to portray the depth of their feelings. 
When does Isabel first realize that she is human again? 
The text is italicized to show the reader the narrator's thoughts. 

Chapter Sixteen

Although the novel is over, read on for information about the lives of humpback whales.  
Last Isabel of the Whales Quiz