Fourteen-year-old John Barron is asked, like his father and grandfather before him, to spend the summer taking care of their sheep in the haymeadow. Six thousand sheep. John will be alone, except for two horses, four dogs, and all those sheep. John doesn't feel up to the task, but he hopes that if he can accomplish it, he will finally please his father. But John finds that the adage "things just to sheep" is true when the river floods, coyotes attack, and one dog's feet get cut. Through it all he must rely on his own resourcefulness, ingenuity, and talents to survive this summer in the haymeadow.
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Below is a short video on setting. You should notice details about this novel's setting in the highlighted text. As you read, pay attention to how the setting shapes the characters, especially John. (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?
The author uses short phrases in the highlighted text. What is most likely the reason he chooses to use these phrases here?
It's very clear that John wants change. The chapter begins and ends with him talking about change. What sort of change might he be looking for?
Authors use indirect characterization to tell the reader about a character. Which of the following is not an example of indirect characterization?
How does John seem to feel about his father? How do you know?
Which of the following is a way in which the setting impacts that characters?
From the text, it's clear that John idolizes his great-grandfather, even though he's never actually met him.
Denotation is the dictionary definition of a word. Connotation is the implied meaning of a word, or the feelings associated with that word. After reviewing the chart below, answer the question that follows. (This annotation contains an image)
What does the author accomplish by using the word rot in the highlighted text? Think about the connotation of the word.
Think about the setting, both time and place, in this novel. How do you think John will change during his three months away? How will the setting affect him?
John isn't looking forward to staying in the wagon. Which of the following lines does not demonstrate John's feelings toward the wagon?
John seems to regret not talking to Tink when he had the chance. Is this a regret that people often have in real life?
The highlighted text uses which type of figurative language?
Pulling seems natural to the horses, and they appear to take commands very well. How do you think this will help John once he is up in the haymeadow?
Based on the text, how does John seem to feel about heading to the haymeadow to care for the sheep on his own for the summer?
The author uses a simile to describe the sheep in the pasture. Think about why he would say they were like a "gray carpet." What image does this create in your mind?
Below is a short video to give an idea of how dogs herd sheep. As you watch, consider how many sheep John's dogs are herding. (This annotation contains a video)
John realizes that Cawley knew the answer all along, but he was trying to let John be the one to figure it out. John was able to come up with a plan, and he was able to realize what Cawley was doing. What do these two facts tell you about John?
Imagine living like John and Cawley are right now. Notice he ate a can of cold chili. Think about how environment shapes characters.
Based on the highlighted text, how does John seem to feel about his great-great grandfather?
Think about why John really wants to like coffee. His father and Cawley drink it all the time. Maybe he just wants to be like them and be an adult. (This annotation contains an image)
Why doesn't John ask Cawley any questions about what to do with the sheep once they are in the haymeadow?
Just like the horses seemed to know what to do once they were harnessed, the dogs and the sheep know how to interact with each other. It's one of the amazing things about nature.
Which of the following does Gary Paulsen use to describe the setting in the highlighted section?
Notice how the author uses short sentences and fragments here. By writing this way, he is able to show John's feelings about staying in the wagon alone.
Which of the following does Gary Paulsen use to describe the haymeadow?
Now that John is getting ready to be left all alone in the haymeadow, he is really feeling nervous about things. Imagine being isolated from everyone and everything. How would this situation be different if it were taking place today?
John never actually met his great-grandfather, but he clearly admires him because of all of the stories he has heard about the man. What purpose does his great-grandfather serve in the story?
Oxygen levels differ at different altitudes. Because John is now at a higher altitude than his body is accustomed to, he is not able to run as far as he would normally be able to. (This annotation contains an image)
Below are the guidelines for an animal that has been bitten by a snake.Snakebite Facts & FictionsDo not kill the snake! Snakes are an integral and necessary part of the ecosystem. You only need to identify it for proper treatment, since treatment can depend on type of snake.Do not clean the wound area.The more you manipulate the pet and the wound, the more the venom can be absorbed.Do not cut the wound and try sucking out the venom.This does not work and only causes more pain and harm to the pet and puts you potentially at risk of secondhand venom poisoning!Do not apply ice to the wound. Ice can keep too much poison in the isolated area, causing extensive muscle and tissue damage. Do not try using electricity or electric shock on the snakebite. This is ineffective and will cause more pain and tissue damage to your pet.Do not give any human medicines other than on the advice of Animal Poison Control or your veterinarian.Based on the above information, which of the following would be the best action for John to take with the lamb?
John is very observant. He remembers things that he has seen his father or one of the other men do, and he is able to apply those memories to the situation at hand. Hopefully, this will help him survive his time in the haymeadow.
John thinks about whether or not he should have come up to the haymeadow or not, and about whether or not he will be able to make it. This is an example of which of the following types of conflict?
The striped skunk seems to be aware of the repulsiveness of its own odor — it will not spray in confined spaces and or in its own den. (This annotation contains an image)
The highlighted line is an example of which of the following?
Think about everything that John has dealt with already on his first day in the haymeadow. He will need to be very strong not to give up. Does he really have any choice though?
Which of the following is the best description of how John is feeling at this point?
The video below describes how authors use a sequence of events to tell a story. After watching, think about the events that have unfolded in John's first twenty-four hours alone in the haymeadow. (This annotation contains a video)
John has a feeling that something is wrong, but he can't figure out what it is. The author is giving us a clue that something bad may be coming. What is this an example of?
The video below shows a flash flood. Notice how quickly the water moves, and how it starts to move faster as it gains momentum. Think about the dangers that John, the animals, and his camp all face. (This annotation contains a video)
The highlighted text is an example of which of the following?
The video below discusses theme. After watching, think about what themes are developing in this novel. (This annotation contains a video)
John was ready to give up, but he decided to look for his belongings. Which of the following themes is supported by these actions?
Unlike this cartoon of Wile E. Coyote, coyotes present a serious danger to sheep. Notice how the author ends the chapter with this sentence. He creates suspense and makes the reader want to turn the page. (This annotation contains an image)
Which line from the text contains a simile?
Shock is a dangerous physical condition in which the flow of blood throughout the body is drastically reduced, causing weakness, confusion, or loss of consciousness. It can result from many kinds of serious injuries and illnesses. If shock is not treated quickly, a victim can suffer permanent organ damage and die.
What does the highlighted text suggest about John?
When an author repeats the same sound at the beginning of words, it is called alliteration. While it is mainly seen in poetry, you will also notice it in other types of text as well. (This annotation contains an image)
John has just suffered through a tremendous amount of pain, but he gets up and starts to survey the situation. Which of the following themes, or central ideas, does this passage support?
When you come to a word that you don't know, you can use context clues to figure out the meaning. Since many words have more than one meaning, you can also use context clues to determine which meaning the author is using. After watching the short video below, can you determine which meaning of "handle" the author is using in the text? (This annotation contains a video)
What does the author accomplish by including this line of text? What does it show about John? Be specific and use details from the novel to support your answer.
The fact that John didn't want to shoot the coyote shows that he is not a mean person. He only shoots because he knows that if he doesn't, he will lose the lamb first, and probably even more sheep after that.
When the author makes a reference to the Bible, he is using an allusion. The image below explains what an allusion is. (This annotation contains an image)
Why does Gary Paulsen include the highlighted text?
Did you know that occasionally dogs will cut the pad of their paw and require some first aid? Clean the cut out with an anti-bacterial wash, put some anti-bacterial cream on the cut and bandage the paw. (This annotation contains an image)
What does John begin to realize about the sheep?
As he has done in other chapters, the author ends this chapter with a sentence that makes the reader want to turn the page to find out what will happen next. What do you predict will happen?
An idiom is a group of words whose meaning is different from the meanings of the individual words. In the highlighted text, what does the idiom "hit the ground running" mean?
The American black bear is the smallest of the three bears species found in North America, and are found only in North America. Black bears have short, non-retractable claws that give them an excellent tree-climbing ability. (This annotation contains an image)
The author writes using one long sentence in the highlighted text. What is the most likely reason that he writes this sentence in this manner?
Based on context clues, the reader can infer that a skid is some type of sled or device used to drag an object. Which of the following lines of text best supports this inference?
Iodine can be used for first aid as a wound cleaner, but it can cause a burning when it is applied, and it can also stain the skin, as seen in the picture below. (This annotation contains an image)
After watching the video in the annotation above, what is the tone of the highlighted text? How do think the author feels about war based on the text?
After watching the brief video below that discusses tone and mood, please answer the question that follows. (This annotation contains a video)
Judging by the description of John's reaction, he was very glad to see his father. Do you think his father will notice a change in John?
John's father says, "Now it's time." Why do you think he has decided that it's time to talk? Use details from the text to support your answer.
John is surely disappointed to learn the truth about his great-grandfather. Think about why his father never told him. Do you agree or disagree with him for keeping the truth to himself?
John doesn't think he is mean. Based on incidents that have happened in the novel, do you believe John is mean? Why or why not? Use specific incidents from the text to support your statement.