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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

What We're Reading: Kingdom of Oceana

I've decided this year to start a new series on my blog.
On the first Wednesday of each month, I'll be sharing

 I think we would all agree that reading is a crucial skill for our upper elementary students. We want them to read fluently, understand what they are reading, and enjoy the books they read as well. That means the goal is to fill our classrooms with books that our students will love. Hopefully, this series will give you some ideas of books that you can put in your own classrooms.

This summer, I read the book Kingdom of Oceana by Mitchell Charles.
The very first page starts with two brothers headed home after a day long adventure. Suddenly the older brother attempts to kill the younger brother by jumping over a huge waterfall! 
I was hooked. Add in a little magic, a beautiful princess, and a horrific curse threatening the entire island and you have a spell-binding story.

Of course, in true teacher fashion, I read the book while thinking of how I could use it in my classroom. Here are just a few of the ways this book would be easy to include in your lesson plans.

Finding Word Meaning from Context Clues
 Kingdom of Oceana is full of fun and interesting words that your students may not be familiar with. Words like "capsize" and "aghast". Even better, most of these words are surrounded by sentences that make the meaning clear. 
You could make a list of words your students might not know and have them figure our the meaning based on the context in the book. This would be a great exercise to use especially after teaching context clues.

Teaching Conflict in Literature
Kingdom of Oceana would be a perfect novel to use during a unit on conflict. The book includes each of the types of conflict I discuss in my unit. 
Internal conflict - Man vs. Self: the main character, Prince Ailani, struggles with the knowledge that he may one day be king. He has to overcome his feelings of inadequacy to accept his place.
External conflict - Man vs. Nature: The kingdom is set on a Hawaiian island so the boys encounter several dangerous animals. At one point, Ailani even has to save his brother from a great white shark!
External conflict - Man vs. Society: On a rival island, the leaders are burning whale oil which goes against everything Ailani has been taught as right. Revealing this secret ruins a plan for peace between the two islands.
External conflict - Man vs. Man: Probably the main conflict in the novel is the animosity between Ailani and his brother, Nahoa. The two boys are constantly arguing and fighting. Ultimately, Nahoa wants to be king instead of Ailani.

To help you review conflict, feel free to download, print, and use this free graphic organizer with your class. Just click on the picture to download. 

Conflict within Kingdom of Oceana graphic organizer

You can pick up your own copy of Kingdom of Oceana from Amazon by clicking on the title above. I can't wait to share the novel with my class, and I'm sure yours will love it too! 

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