Discussion Guides and other Resources


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My House of Dreams:

Study Questions

1.      Who are the two main characters of My House of Dreams?

2.      What are Noki’s main concerns in the first chapter? How does that change after he actually sees the Sosabitom (white men)?

3.      Eti and others talk about the similarities between their gods and the white men’s gods. What are they? What are the differences? Use the Internet or a book to find out more about the Southern California Native American religions. Summarize one of the Luiseño myths and tell it in your own words to a classmate.

4.      The Payomkawichum (Luiseños) give several reasons for joining the white man’s church. What are they?

5.      After Kawawish’s defeat at the hands of Father Antonio, what did the shaman prophesy for the priest? Use the Internet to research Antonio Peyri’s life. How did the prophesy come true?

6.      Why was Noki hesitant to join Father Antonio’s church? (There are several answers.)

7.      What were Father Antonio’s reasons for getting so much done on the mission before winter?

8.      This novel is based on factual events as well as a real person. Why do you think the Mission San Luis Rey was eventually called the “King of the Missions” even though it was one of the later missions built?

9.      Noki was introduced to a way of life totally different from what he had known. Compare this to the following characters’ experiences:

Brian’s experience in Hatchet

Julie’s experience in Julie of the Wolves

Stanley’s experience in Holes

Mowgli’s experience in The Jungle Book when he lived with the villagers

Harry Potter’s first year at Hogwarts

Maybe your experience if you moved to a new school, neighborhood, or in a new family.

Use a Venn diagram to write down the similarities and differences between one of those and Noki.

10.  Near the end of the book, Noki sees several people, (during the Dance of the Dead). Who are they? What do you think they were trying to say to Noki and to you, the reader?


Related Activities

11.  After completing My House of Dreams, use several research/reference materials to find out what happened to the Mission San Luis Rey. Do a timeline of the mission (or any other southwest mission.)

12.  With the popularity of the ABC and number books (Jerry Palotta, Mike Shoulders, etc.) have the students create their own ABC or number book of a mission or Native American group assimilated by the Spanish missions. These could be done individually or in small groups. Students would not only write the words, but illustrate each page and then bind them.

13.  Students choose a person from the Spanish American or Mexican era. They will learn about this individual, dress like their person and give a short presentation as though they were the person.

14.  Students can work in groups to create a ‘mission magazine’ or ‘newspaper’ with different students presenting articles from the Native American and missionary viewpoints.



The Mendel Experiment:

Educational Materials

Thought/discussion questions:

1.     Corree changes in several ways during The Mendel Experiment? How does she change physically?  How do her thoughts and feelings change?

2.     What are some examples of how the Federation used propaganda?

3.     Why does Corree feel it’s important to contact other groups?

4.     Corree finds out that she and her family aren’t the first genetically altered humans on Mendel. Who are the first?

5.     How are the cave people different from Corree’s, Ris’s, or Lendon’s groups? How are they the same?

6.     How did Corree’s feelings about the Ologrians change after meeting Greelon? How did her feelings change toward the Federation?

7.     In shows like Star Trek, the Federation (or similar governing body) is the “good guy.” Why isn’t that the case in The Mendel Experiment? What does the Federation do that could be considered unscrupulous or ruthless. Give examples. List them and add a short reason why you chose them.

8.     Why would Greelon choose to take such good care of someone different from his people?

9.     The Ologrians were ruled by two leaders. Why do you think they did that? How were The Head and The Tail suited for their roles?

10.    Why does Corree ally herself with the Ologrians, rather than the Federation?

11.    The Mendel Experiment ends in what is called a cliffhanger, which is a term for a story that isn’t resolved or a story that finishes with someone in danger. Why do you think cliffhanger is a good term for what happens at the end of Mendel?

12.     If you were given mutant powers, what would you like your power to be? Why? What would you do with this power?  (Write several paragraphs to answer this.)

13.     Consider various habitats Corree traveled to: rain forest, sea, mountains, caves, desert, even another planet. What other habitat could she or her friends visit and how would they have to change to be able to live in this habitat? (You could write this as an essay, or use excel to create a flow sheet. You could make your own graphic 'novel.' You can even give more detail on the habitats mentioned in the book.)




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