The TeachNet Project sponsored with major funding by the AT&T Learning Network

seeks to improve student achievement by providing training, grants, networking and resource sharing to teachers at four of the Teachers Network affiliates nationwide.


Sign of the Beaver 
Animated Literature

Sign of the Beaver

How it works:

After reading Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare, students will respond to the literature by creating animations and paragraphs that summarize the story. Each student in the class is assigned a different chapter to retell in writing and to visually retell through animation. This unit lets students use animation to display their reading comprehension skills. This is an exciting way to get students motivated about reading. Use this project as the culminating activity for your Sign of the Beaver unit. Give students plenty of opportunities to experience some of the related sites on the Internet.


Students are assessed on the writing process using a writing rubric. Scoring guides can be found at:


Teachers can use the following site to generate their own rubrics for the animation project:


The student completes projects relating to works read.

The student reads, comprehends, interprets and begins to evaluate materials appropriate to the grade level.

The student identifies the main problem or conflict of the plot and how it is resolved.

The student demonstrates knowledge of comprehension of the text as a whole.

The student writing includes appropriate facts and detail.

The student stays with the assigned or selected writing topic.

The student maintains a clear focus throughout a piece of writing.

The student creates a simple document using electronic media.

The student uses technology to edit and revise a manuscript. The student improves the meaning and focus of the writing by adding, deleting, consolidating, clarifying, and rearranging words and sentences.

The student uses technology to enhance learning, increase productivity, and promote creativity.

The student uses productivity tools to produce creative works.

What you need:

Star Office 5.2

This project will take an estimated 6 to 8 class periods to complete. Each class period should be approximately 45 minutes.


Sign of the Beaver, literature, reading, comprehension, writing, writing process, expository writing, animation

The Students: 

This project is designed for students in fourth or fifth grade, but can be adapted using other literature books for higher or lower grade levels.

Overall Value:

The students will be able to create visual representations of significant portions of each chapter of the book. These animations may then be displayed on a webpage for other students and familiy members to observe.

Tips for the Teacher:

Many web sites are available to help the teacher plan for Sign of the Beaver. Teachers may want to visit the following sites before beginning the project:

Go to the Lessons: