1. In this story, we learn about the meaning behind Sal's full name - Salamanca Tree Hiddle. What do you know about the meaning of your name? If you don't already know, use a reference book to find out more about what your name means. Why did your parents choose your name for you? Were you named for someone? Why are names important? Write an essay about the significance of your name.
Teachers may want to provide name reference books to help students learn their name's meaning. The results of this activity would provide a good opportunity for class sharing.
2. Trace a map of the United States, and mark Sal's journey west from Kentucky to Lewiston, Idaho. Draw symbols to indicate important landmarks and geographical features that Sal visited along the way. How does Sal's geographical journey represent an emotional journey for her as well?
Teachers may want to provide maps for students to mark. Many students may have visited the places that Sal visited so they will have a personal context for places on Sal's journey. This activity could also take on a research component, with students researching some of the significant places that Sal saw on her journey.
3. In his sixth grade class, Mr. Birkway asks his students to draw their souls. How would you draw your soul? Take five minutes or less to draw your soul, and then compare your drawing with a friend's. Do you think this is a good assignment? Explain why or why not.
This would be an interesting assignment for an entire class. An alternative would be to give students additional time to complete their drawings, and then discuss the differences between the timed and untimed drawings.