Rugged guardians of the wild west or noble guardians of ancient Japan? | Mentoring in the Middle

Rugged guardians of the wild west or noble guardians of ancient Japan?

 In January, I blogged about ways to make the study of ancient civilizations fun.  I included some things I did in my classroom, and a few that a friend made for her Social Studies classes.  This week, I'm turning to ancient Japan and looking at samurai warriors.

The Way of the Warrior

Years ago, a 5th-grade teacher told me about reading a book to his students that they went wild over.  The book was The Way of the Warrior by Chris Bradford, and it's the first in an 8-book series. 

I bought the books for my classroom library and talked about them with my students.  I wasn't surprised that more of my boys were interested, but I was pleased to see some girls who wanted to read it, too.

I wish I'd known then that Chris Bradford had a website with free PDFs that are filled with questions for each book in his series!

Samurai and Cowboys?

Time went on and I forgot about the series until I was talking to my son last year, and he commented on the similarities between Japanese samurai and American cowboys.  What?!  

The rest, as they say, is history.

He did the research and I wrote a passage about the two, comparing and contrasting them.  Then, just to make it fun, I added a cipher game for students to assess their reading comprehension.

If you're looking for your students to be close-reading more nonfiction, this passage might appeal to them!  I would let each student read on his or her own, but team up to work through the digital cipher.  The best part?  They have to reread the passage to find the text evidence they need.  WIN-WIN!

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