Teacher Resources

Note: If you would be willing to share a successful teaching unit based on one of my books and have it posted on this website, please Contact me if you’re interested.

Special thanks to the teachers who’ve shared their classroom ideas from the following schools:Waseca Junior High School, Waseca, Minnesota; New Prague Middle School, New Prague, Minnesota; Willow Creek Intermediate School in Owatonna, Minnesota; Jeffers School in Painesdale, Michigan; Michaelson Middle School, Brookings, South Dakota; Little Falls Community Middle School in Little Falls, Minnesota.

School-wide Reading Program [MS Word]

The Winter War

An ideal companion for my Winter War novel is the documentary film
Fire and Ice, available from Masterworks Studio and elsewhere. http://www.mastersworkmedia.com/fireandice/

A Winter War re-enactor site with great photos and technical
articles: http://www.kevos4.com/

A complete history of the Winter War, including a timeline, news
stories, and archival photos: http://www.winterwar.com/

Voyageur Resources for studying The Broken Blade & Wintering

White Oak Society:  Includes a many links to fur trade resources.  http://www.whiteoakhistoricalsociety.org/historical-library/fur-trade/

A PowerPoint with information about the White Oak Fur Post in Deer River, MN.
Credit: Connie Quirk, Mickelson Middle School, Brookings, South Dakota.

Heartistry Music Has both voyageur and lumberjack music.

Note:  Cross-curricular, school-wide units on The Broken Blade often include studies of fur trade history (the Great Lakes basin 1600-1850), geography (the fur trade routes), sociology (cultural interaction among the Ojibwe, French-Canadian, and British) economics (market forces that drove the fur trade), foreign language (French studies), literature (contemporary and historical pieces), creative writing and art (lots of possibilities for modeling and story/character extensions), music (fur trade songs), physical education (cardio vascular effort of paddling and portaging), health (diet of fur traders), biology (ecosystems of lakes and rivers), mathematics/physics (forces paddling 36 ft. canoe with 8,000 lb. load), shop class (building a model of a voyageur canoe), home economics (food preparation and fashion trends).

Grand Portage National Monument

Voyageurs National Park

Fur Trade at Lachine Historical Site, Montreal, Canada Includes teaching activities.

Program on How to Build Birch Bark Canoe

A History of the Voyageurs Making the Voyageur’s World, Travelers and Traders in the North American Fur Trade, by Carolyn Podruchny.

Complete BROKEN BLADE Study Guide, 22 Pages [PDF – Large File – 6.8 MB] from Willow Creek School, Owatonna, MN

THE BROKEN BLADE study guide, 11 pages [MS Word]

THE BROKEN BLADE test [MS Word] from Schoolcraft Learning Community, Bemidji, MN

BROKEN BLADE Response Packet [MS Word]


Wintering reading response packet [MS Word] from New Prague Middle School, New Prague, MN

Wintering study guide [MS Word]

El Lector

Lost and Found Sound: El Lector – He Who Reads
Minnesota Public Radio link to William Durbin interview

Ybor City Museum  http://www.ybormuseum.org/


Logging History/Lumberjack Resources


Daylight in the Swamp by Robert W. Wells, NorthWord Press, Inc., Minocqua, Wisconsin (1978).

Early Loggers in Minnesota, Volumes I-IV by J.C. Ryan, Minnesota Timber Producers Association, Duluth, Minnesota (1973-1986).

Holy Old Mackinaw by Stewart H. Holbrook, Macmillan, New York (1956).

History of the White Pine Industry in Minnesota by Agnes Larson,
Arno Press, New York, (1972).

The Loggers by Richard Williams, Little Brown & Company, New York (1976).

The Maine Woods by Henry David Thoreau, Penguin USA, New York (1988).

Tall Timber: a Pictorial History of Logging in the Upper Midwest, by Tom Bacig and Fred Thompson, Voyageur Press, Bloomington, Minnesota (1982).

Timber! by Ben Rajala, North Star Press, St. Cloud, Minnesota (1991).

Under the Tarpaper by J.C. Ryan, St. Louis County Historical Society, Duluth, Minnesota (1985).

Blackwater Ben Resources

Lumberjack Study Guide for my article, “Sweat Pads, Logging Berries, and Blackjack,” published in the Minnesota Conservation Volunteer magazine, November 2008
Blackwater Ben study guide (thanks to Little Falls Community Middle School) [MS Word]
POST-test [MS Word]
Draw critter [MS Word]
study guide KEY [MS Word]
Letter writing assign [MS Word]
Jeopardy questions [MS Word]
Friendly letter format [MS Word]
Skeleton notes for Blackwater [MS Word]


The Cradle of Forestry in America, CFAIA
100 S. Broad St.
Brevard, NC 28712

The Forest History Center
2609 County Road 76
Grand Rapids, MN 55744

Forest History Society, Durham, North Carolina
701 Wm. Vickers Avenue
Durham, N. C. 27701-3162

The Minnesota Historical Society,
345 W. Kellogg Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55102-1906

United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service,
USDA Forest Service
P.O. Box 96090
Washington, D.C. 20090-6090

The World Forestry Center
4033 SW Canyon Road
Portland, Oregon 97221

The Darkest Evening


They Took My Father by Mayme Sevander, Univ. of MN Press

Karelia, A Finnish-American Couple in Stalin’s Russia by Lawrence and Sylvia Hokkanen

Vocab – Darkest Evening [MS Word]
Compare working conditions – MN & Russia [MS Word]
Quote Research template [MS Word]
Quote Research template – examples [MS Word]
Study Guide [MS Word]
Test [MS Word]

Song of Sampo Lake

Random House Teachers Guide

My Name Is America

Until the Last Spike (The Journal of Sean Sullivan)


The Journal of C.J. Jackson

C.J. JACKSON Discussion Guide

The Journal of Otto Peltonen

Mining History Resources [MS Word]
The Journal of Otto Peltonen Lesson Plan [MS Word]
OTTO PELTONEN Discussion Guide

Assignments Based on The Journal of Otto Peltonen

Book Discussion [MS Word]
Family Tree Project [MS Word]
Map Assignment [MS Word]
Vocabulary Assignment [MS Word]

Credit: Cheryl Ruohonen and Jennifer Pera of the Jeffers School in Painesdale, Michigan

The Broken Blade Wintering The Journal of Sean Sullivan The Journal of Otto Peltonen The Journal of C.J. Jackson Song of Sampo Lake Blackwater Ben The Darkest Evening El Lector The Winter War