Last updated: 6/8/2016

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English 7th May

English 7

This curriculum map may differ from actual content in the classroom based on many factors. May/June

Youth: Ah, youth! A time for fun and games and puppy love. Well, sort of. Over the years, Tom Sawyer has become shorthand for a mischievous, carefree boy. And he is, for the most part. That said, you can't forget that, no matter what audience Twain is writing for, he's looking back on his own childhood. Tom may be a kid, he may have a kid's feelings, and a kid's way of looking at the world, but, well, kids can be strange. And remember: Twain's all mixed up in there too, calling the shots, and giving the colorful commentary.

Hopes, plans, and dreams: Here's the thing: Tom's got so many hopes, plans, and dreams that it's hard to know where to start. He's got all your usual boyish notions about being a robber or a pirate. He, like so many other kids, wants to find buried treasure. Why should we care about his dreams if they're so ordinary? Well, that's the point, really. In The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, we're supposed to identify with Tom and his desires. We're supposed to rejoice when they're met and be disappointed when they're not. And when his dreams they're just plain silly and confused? Well, then we're just supposed to laugh.


Visions of America: Tom Sawyer's America is, more than anything else, small. All he really knows is St. Petersburg, Missouri. And for him, for Twain and for us, that's fine. In The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, America is in the details, in the way the townspeople talk, in the look of things. When America shows up – as it does, in the person of a senator – it's met with disappointment. Not because there's anything wrong with it, really, but because, for Tom, it's not as incredibly grand and fantastic as he thought it would be.

Maniputlation: Without manipulation, there wouldn't really be many adventures of Tom Sawyer to speak of. If Tom couldn't coerce his friends into joining him on kooky adventures, they would never have happened. And if Injun Joe weren't so cunning, well, he wouldn't be much of a villain. By allowing these two manipulators to co-exist, Twain muddies the waters a bit. It's a lot of fun watching Tom dupe unsuspecting fools, but as a result we have to ask ourselves: are we being duped? Tom may always be the good guy, but he's not the "model boy," and his motives aren't always clear. (To learn more about the similarities and differences between Tom and Injun Joe's trickery, check out "Character Roles.")

Twain's main purpose is to capture (and remind us of) the complex emotional and social wold of a boy on the edge of adolescence.  While reading students will pay attention to how Tom deals with the following issues:

  • his changing view of the world
  • the ways his emotional state fluctuates
  • Tom's cleverness in manipulating the world around him
  • his misunderstanings about the golas and values of the adult world
  • he lives in his relationship with Becky Thatcher 

Notice how Tom matures throughtout the novel.  It is important to note that the first words Tom speaks are a lie.  As he develops, pay attnetion ot how he deals with telling the truth versus lying.


2) Tom's world is a well-preserved snapsho of the life and times of a youth in the years before the Civil War.  Notice how the follwing issues relate to this time period:

  • his treasures
  • recreations, such as games and imaginary activity
  • daydreams
  • the romance books he reads
  • the allusions that Twain uses throughout the novel
  • racial prejudices

3)  Tom's relationship with Becky Thatcher is particularly difficult for both of them as they try to learn the best way to understand their feelings for each other.  As their relationship progresses, pay attention to the following:

  • their first encounter
  • the way TOm treats Becky while at school as opposed to when theya re in the cave
  • the ways in which they demonstrate affection and jealousy
  • the effect of Tom's previous "engagement" to Amy Lawrence

4) Huck Finn acts as a foil for Tom, contrasting the differences in their lifestyles and what they would like to become.  Not their differneces:

  • Huck's lack of family
  • Toms' interest in romantic novels
  • dialects

5) Notice how Twain critiizes and various elements in Tom's wold in the following ways:

  • Twains use of superstitions
  • the portrayal of religion
  • the depiction of "Injun Joe" and "niggers" as characters
  • the use of dialect

6) Tom has a vivid imagination, whihc he uses with great effect thfoughtout the novel.  Pay particular attention to how Tom;s imagination impacts the following:

  • the games he plays with his friends
  • the rules and roles of members in society
  • the loyalty Tom demonstrates to his family and friends
  • hi superstitious actions

While Tom uses his imagination extensively, there are circumstances that force him to face reality.  Be aware fo the fololowing forces:

  • the murder in the cemetery and the preceding court trial
  • Aunt Polly's hurt feelings
  • the adventrue Tom and Becky have in the cave


7) Difficult or unusual vocabulary words.



1)  What does it mean to grow up?

2)  How does imagination enrich life?

3) What is a challenge?

4) How do writers use figurative language to convey feelings and ideas?

5) How can we use our creativity to face challenges?

(1) RL.7.1 Cite several pieces of textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
(1) RL.7.2 Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text; provide an objective summary of the text.
(1) RL.7.3 Analyze how particular elements of a story or drama interact (e.g., how setting shapes the characters or plot).
(1) RL.7.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of rhymes and other repetitions of sounds (e.g., alliteration) on a specific verse or stanza of a poem or section of a story or drama.
(1) RL.7.6 Analyze how an author develops and contrasts the points of view of different characters or narrators in a text.

Differentiating between literal and figurative language

Identifying types of figurative language

Memorization strategies: repetition, writing, recording/listening

Speaking in front of a group.

Identifying and summarizing theme

Citing textural evidence

Drawing inferences using textural evidence

Determine the meaning of unfamiliar words using context clues



Chapter I

adamantine- like a diamond

ambuscade-an ambush


diplomacy- being sensitive with others

in high feather- upset;over-reacting

kindlings- items used to start fire



vulgar- crude; common people

Chapter II

alacrity- moving or responding with great speed and tnthusiasm

melancholoy-deep sadness, usually lastine a long time

obliged- constrained

personating-impersonating; pretending to be something you are not

pomp-self importance

starboard- the front, right side of a ship

vigor- with energy


Chapter III

audacious- bold; adventurous

beseeching- requesting

blighted- ruined

dismal felicity- tom is enjoying feeling sorry for himself

ecstasies- intense emotions

eminence- person of high rank

evanescent- lasting only a brief time

omission- something omitted; meglection

patiality- having a perference for


Chapter IV

audacious- bold; adventurous

Barlowknife- a pocketknife or jack knife



lickerish-licorice a kind of candy

scarcity- a lack of somethinf desirable


Chapter V

benediction- a blessing

despotisms- absolute authorities

ferule- a rod or pointer that can be used for punishment

gantlet-lines of people

hogshead- a large barrel

laggards-those who stray behind



supplication- to request

Chapter VI


expectorate- to spit



pariah-an outcast; isolated from society


spunki water-a superstitious remedy for warrts

traversed- moved across or through

Chapter VIII

accounterments- equipment


caitiff-a coward; despicable

cogitating- thinking carefully


incantations- magic spells

nettle- a stinging weed; antying that irritates

zephyr-a breeze


Chapter IX

caterwauling- crying out like an angry cat

ingenuity- cleverlness


Chapter X

fetters- chains;shackles

incantations- magic spells

jingoes-an expression of surprise

lugubrious-excessibely sad

red keel-a chalk-like substance used to mark lumber


verdigrease-verdigris- a greenish coating that sppears on old copper or bronze

Chapter XI

balefully-full of menace

branch-a small stream that flows into a larger one


miscreant-a villain

palsy-shaking uncontrollably

vogue-current fashion; popular

Chapter XII






periodicals-newspapers; literature

Chapter XIII

imminent-about to occur



rendezvous-an arranged meeting

succumb-to give in

transpired-became known

Chapter XIV



notoriety-unfoavorable known

Chapter XV

ejaculations- exclamations


Chapter XVI




Chapter XVII



loitered- lingered

vestibule- small entranceway

Chapter XVIII

dignified-distinguished; honorable

menagerie-a group

vanquish-to conquer

vicinity-in close range


Chapter XX

conned- thought about


imminence-about to occur


lethargy-feeling extreme laziness

trounce- to beat

Chapter XXI


ferule-an object used to strike children



muslin-cotton fabric

transcendent- supreme


votary-devout, committed

Chapter XXII

convalescent-return to health




Chapter XXIII

delirium-mental confusion


Chapter XXVI



serape-a blanket-like shawl

sombrero- a large hat made from straw or felt

spade- a tool used to dig

Chapter XXVII

gunwale-the upper edge of a vessel's side

Chapter XXVIII


thimblefuls-small amounts- (thimble- a metal cover that protects the thumb during sewing)


Chapter XXIX

agues- uncontrollable shivering, usually associated with disease

bowlder (boulder) a large rock

chasms- deep openings in the ground; a gorge

 craggy-rugged; uneven

inclinations- though

labyrinth-a maze

ominous- threatening


rollicking-having actibe noisy fun

sixpence-a small sum of money (British)

stile- a ladder like structure attached to fences so people can cross

sumac- a plant that causes rashes and skin irritation

swag- loot; things that have been stolen

tallow- melted candle wax

wharf- a pier; a landing place for ships.

Chapter XXX

anatomy- body structure

be littled-degraded

canvassed- examined; studied; reported

countenacne-facial expression

embellishment- adding details to make the story more interesting or dramatic

Hairtrigger-a gun that required very little pressure on the trigger

powwow- a meeting to discuss something important

relic-cherished object

skiffs-small rowboats

stupor-mental numbness;dazed

vagabond-one who waders from place to place with no particular goal

vicinity nearby; proximity

Chapter XXXI

apathy-lack of interest or concern

frescoed- painted with plaster



stalactites- rocks formed in caves by dripping water

zeal-passion; devotion






Prompts for Blogging:

Classic Blog Post

  • Go to the blog tab
  • Post one original comment about the classic literature article
  • Your post MUST include:


       - Your original idea      

      - Evidence from the book to support your idea (Remember: " " around text, page number in parenthesis)      

      - Explanation of your evidence                  

- HOW does the evidence support your idea?                

 - This quote shows......because....                  

-  Breakdown and look deeper at (ANALYZE) the evidence      

      - An open-ended question (cannot be answered with yes or no) that the class can work on answering                  

- You do NOT need to know the answer to the question.
POST--Your original idea/comment supported and explained with evidence. You will need one post per week during this unit. 


  • What is a classic text article? Do a close reading of the article and make notes (annotate) on the page as you go to show your thinking and analysis. 


Background Knowledge: Mark Twain Webquest

You will need to pick up a Webquest Packet in the classroom to complete this activity.  Please write your answers on the packet.
Page 1)  Please click on the following website to read a short biography on Mark Twain. Biography Pages 2-3) You will click on the following link to tour the Mark Twain House in Hartford Connecticut.  Mark Twain House Please click on the tab that says "The House" in order to see the house and answer questions. If the virtual tour gives you trouble, click on "Rooms in the House" and scroll down.
Page 4) Click on the following link to look at Mark Twain's family tree. Family Tree
Page 4 cont) Look at the map of Hannibal and trace the path of the Mississippi river through the state. Then Check out river boats. Read about the kinds of boats the floated down the Mississippi. Answer the questions on the page.  To look for boats that might have passed Hannibal, click on steamboat pictures then select the individual boats.
Page 5) Visit The Mark Twain Museum to see Becky Thatcher's house, and learn more about Hannibal, Missouri.
Page 6) Caves play a large role in the final sections of Tom Sawyer.  Explore a virtual cave here and see just what's inside the rocks.  Check out Bridal Cave Kids'Page to see how rocks grow and what caves are made of.


Qualities of Classic Books

Mark Twain defined a classic as,  "Something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read."  What characterizes a classic work of fiction?  Is a book a classic when  it has a great number of printings? Or is it the number of languages  into which it has been translated?  Is it called a classic because some  distinguished soul said it is a classic? While these are interesting,  even significant, they do not determine that a fiction book is a  classic.  


First, a  classic is timely.  It either expresses or influences the times in which  it was written. Uncle Tom's Cabin opened the eyes of America to the  dark side of slavery.  Oliver Twist revealed the difficult lives of the  homeless children in England. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl,  though not fiction, revealed the realities of the Holocaust and what it  was like to hide from the Nazis during their occupation of Netherlands.   A classic is not only timely but also timeless.   Classics  deal with themes that touch all periods of history, all societies, and  all cultures.  Some such themes include good versus evil and the  consequences of both, love and forgiveness, success against all odds,  personal values (for example, Beauty and the Beast proclaims that the  exterior is not what really counts), et. al.  Many classics show the  value of resisting temptation to compromise in order to reach the goal.  In most, if not all classics, the hero overcomes one or more major  obstacles at the climax of the story so that his ultimate goal is  reached and success achieved. Real classics present truth.  Any author  can develop a story so that evil appears inevitable, lying pays off,  hate and revenge are good.  Though this may indeed seem to depict real  life, it is really just pseudo-reality.   A classic will still be around years after it first appeared.  It may  or may not get good reviews at first, but a classic work still be  recognized for its literary value long after it is first published.   "Some books are undeservedly forgotten; none are undeservedly  remembered" W.H. Auden said.  Shakespeare's writing is certainly classic  in this sense. In this sense, then, a true classic must have been  around for a while.  A classic is readable in its style. Mark Twain  said, "Great books are weighed and measured by their style and manner  and not by the trimmings and shadings of their grammar." However, that  does not mean they are poorly written so that they are difficult to  read.  Variety is possible, from the ornate language of The Yearling to  the plain language of The Good Earth.  The story in a classic almost  tells itself, though not without surprises.  The characters are  believable even in their depth.  This is exemplified in Hamlet. The  author does not tell you how to feel or what conclusions to draw.   Instead, he or she makes you feel or conclude what they want. The story  does not preach a moral, but illustrates a moral so that the message is  clear, though hidden.   A  classic connects authors and times. You can study a classic and  discover influences from other writers and other great works of  literature. At once a classic both expresses the period and style and  struggles of the time, and uniquely stands on its own.   In  conclusion, what are your favorite fiction books?  Do your  favorites measure up to being real classics?  Do you think other traits  besides these mark a book as a classic?  If you own a true classic book,  how are you preserving it so that others in the future can also enjoy  it?




Fence Painting Persuasive Writing

In chapter 2, Tom uses his persuasive ability to convince others to paint the white picket fence for him.  Think about a chore you might be asked to do and write a persuasive letter to a friend or relative where you convince them to do the chore for you.  Make sure to use persuasive techniques and explain why that person "should" be doing the chore for you.
Persuasive techniques:

  • Ethos
  • Pathos
  • Logos


Keep in mind:

  • What is the purpose of this letter?

  • Who is your audience?

  • Your purpose and audience will dictate how you organize your writing, the word choice, types of sentences, etc..



Dialect Writing


The language in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is very unique.  In addition to using antiquated terminology, the novel is also written using a Southern dialect.  A dialect is form of language that is unique to a specific region or social group.

Take a conversation you have had recently (in normal conversational English) and translate it into an older Southern dialect as found in the novel. Use the novel to help you. Also, don't be afraid to do your own research on the dialect. 


Growing Up Poems - SIFTT


Many themes from Tom Sawyer relate to the concept of "growing up."  Your task is perform a SIFTT analysis of the two poems listed below.  Focus on their connection to "growing up" whenever possible.
Write down each keyword and answer the questions (you must do this process twice, once for each poem).
Symbols – What significant symbols are in the title? What important symbols are in the poem? Why do you think the poet included these objects? What do they represent?
Imagery – What is the author trying to get you to feel, smell, taste, hear, and see? What phrases and/or words stand out to you? Why?
Figurative Language – What similes, metaphors, or personification examples stand out to you in this poem? Why?
Tone – What is the tone of this piece? (What do you think the poet’s attitude was when writing this poem?)
Theme – What is the life lesson of this poem? What is the poet trying to teach us? Explain.
1) Nature's Green Is Gold by Robert Frost
Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
2) If by Rudyard Kipling
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;
If you can dream---and not make dreams your master;
If you can think---and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build'em up with worn-out tools;
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, Or walk with Kings---nor lose the common touch, If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you, If all men count with you, but none too much: If you can fill the unforgiving minute With sixty seconds' worth of distance run, Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it, And---which is more---you'll be a Man, my son! 
Chapter Tests/Quizzes
Projects for end of novel


Tom Sawyer-by Mark Twain

engageny,org reading list


Here is a copy of the book on tape:


Resources for online Tom Sawyer




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