Pastures of Heaven - Activities

Journal of Key Terms

Difficulty: Easy

Time: Moderate

Learning Type: Visual and Hands On

Materials:

  • Journal/Pieces of blank paper

  • Writing Instrument

  • Dictionary/Encyclopedia

Keeping a journal of Key Terms is one of the easiest ways to make the text interactive. Anytime that you cross a word or phrase that you do not understand, jot it down in your journal. Right after you have written down the word, you have the option of either looking up the word/phrase at that moment, or after you have finished the chapter. 

Write down the definition or explanation of the word/phrase in your journal so that you have it as a reference throughout the rest of the story.

 


 

List of Characters

Difficulty: Easy

Time: Moderate

Learning Type: Visual and Hands On

Materials:

  • Journal/Pieces of blank paper 

  • Writing Instrument

Keeping a List of Characters is another way to make the text interactive. Anytime you come across a new character, write their name down in your journal. Keep a bulleted list prepared underneath the name of each character and write down defining characteristics of their personality or significant events that they are involved in. 

This will help you create a clearer idea of each character and their purpose in the story.

 


 

Mapping the Valley

Difficulty: Medium

Time: Moderate

Learning Type: Hands On

Materials:

  • Paper

  • Markers/crayons/colored pencils

Can you draw a map of the valley from the descriptions of the farms in the book? Though it is not possible to draw out the entire valley, you can draw a map with a similar size and scope of the farms and homes described throughout the book.

 


 

Mapping the Stories

Difficulty: Medium

Time: Moderate

Learning Type: Hands On

Materials:

  • Paper

  • Markers/crayons/colored pencils

The characters in The Pastures of Heaven are influenced by one another, and especially by the Munroes, in very subtle ways. Make a list of the characters that appear in each story. See if you can connect the characters to visualize how they interact with one another and how they are responsible for what happens to one another in each of the stories.

 


 

Family Tree

Difficulty: Medium

Time: Moderate

Learning Type: Hands On

Materials:

  • Paper

  • Writing Instrument

  • Internet Access

Do you know your family tree? Your lineage? Consider creating a family tree. With a little bit of research, and talking to a few older family members, it is possible to track back farther than you imagine. It can be even more interesting to construct a brief description of who each person is and what they did for a living. This will help you to create and understand that sense of immortality people seek: by remembering who they were, they live on in your memory. This resource will help you create your own family tree: http://googolplex.cuna.org/32763/5spot/familytree/start.htm

 


 

Practicing Good Husbandry

Difficulty: Medium

Time: Lengthy

Learning Type: Hands On

Materials:

  • Patch of land in your yard

  • Gardening tools

  • A variety of seeds or bulbs

Plant a small vegetable or flower garden in the springtime. Weeding, watering, and fertilizing take time and effort. Think about how much work and love for the land it took to have a productive farm at the turn of the twentieth century. Do you feel a satisfaction when the plants start to bear fruit or flowers start to bloom? Can you understand how difficult life was one hundred years ago when farmers were working twenty to forty acres to earn a simple living? Start with a small number of plants or seeds as it can be very challenging and requires patience.

 


 

The Fall of the House of Whiteside

Difficulty: Medium

Time: Moderate

Materials:

  • A copy of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher."

Read a copy of Edgar Allen Poe's short story "The Fall of the house of Usher." Note the parallels between the Whiteside's house fire and the collapse of the Usher house. You can access a copy of Poes story at: http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/etext97/usher10h.htm