Louis sachar

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Section 1: Pp. 1-40 Read these pages carefully and answer the questions below.

Code breaking


  1. Everyone enjoys puzzles. Make a crossword puzzle using the following vocabulary from the novel:

perseverance desolate grimaced

gestured expanse stifling

expelling excavated preposterous

deftly perimeter forlorn

scarcity juvenile spigot

  1. Quiz time! Use complete sentences in your journal to answer the following questions about chapters 1 through 7.

      1. What is the worst thing could happen to you at Camp Green Lake?

      2. What choice does the judge give Stanley?

      3. What does Stanley learn that he will be doing every day?

      4. Why are there no guard towers or electric fences at the camp?

      5. What is the most important rule at Camp Green Lake?

      6. What does Stanley determine a nickname indicates?

      7. Why does Stanley lie about stealing the sneakers?

      8. What does Stanley think when the sneakers fall on his head?

      9. According to Mr. Pendanski, why are the boys digging holes every day?

      10. When each boy finishes digging his hole what is the ritual he does?

Meaning Making


1. Louis Sachar uses figurative language to describe the setting and/ or some aspects of the characters. Two types of figurative language are Similes and Metaphors.

Copy out the table below into your journal. Using the extracts below identify the similes or metaphors used and the image created. See example below:


Simile/ Metaphor

Image created

“Her brain and heart had been spinning ever since Sam kissed her.”


A feeling of confusion inside as everything goes round and around

“His throat felt as if it was coated with sand paper.”


Her throat was sore and rough

“He ate it all, and used his slice of white bread to mop up the juice.” p. 21

“…where the sun had baked a crust about eight inches deep.”p. 28

“Stanley smiled, ‘I’m a camel’, he said.”

2. The boys at the camp have nicknames: X-Ray; p.19, Armpit; p.20, Zero; p.19, Caveman; p. 53, Squid; p. 44 and 72, Magnet; p. 84 and 84, Zigzag; p. 37 and 128. Choose any two characters and give reasons why you think the nickname is appropriate. Look up the page numbers given to help you explain.

Text User


  1. Write a paragraph in your journal about a time when you felt angry or worried about something that had happened. Use similes and metaphors to make your feelings come alive.

  2. What would be an appropriate nickname for you and why?

Text Analyst




1.Create one of the following:

  1. Model of Camp Green Lake


  1. Map of Camp Green Lake


  • Draw a map or make a model showing the various features of Camp Green Lake during Stanley’s time there, eg; Green Lake or “frying pan”; Mountains; Old town and School house; extent of the holes; Warden’s cabin; boys tents; group D’s holes, including Stanley’s and X-Ray’s hole; truck in a hole; Stanley’s route to the mountains; boat; cliffs; Mountain where Stanley carries Zero; Sam’s onion field; water hole; God’s thumb; peach trees; Trout Walker’s land; Kate Barlow’ cabin.

  • Create a legend for the map or model. For each feature you mark on the map, write a short note explaining the events that happen there, number these notes and use arrows to point to each location.


Section 2: Pp.41-79 Read these pages carefully and answer the questions below.

Code breaking


  1. Create another crossword using this vocabulary. Remember write your clues before using the crossword maker.

predatory scowled paranoid

prey fossilised excess

upholstery radiated presumably

intensity appropriate etched

stationery engraved evict

  1. Quiz Time! Use complete sentences in your journal to answer the following questions about chapters 8 through 17:

    1. Describe the yellow spotted lizard.

    2. Why do Armpit and X-Ray decide Caveman is tough?

    3. Why does Stanley lie about Camp Green Lake when writing to his mother?

    4. What is the first thing Stanley finds as he is digging?

    5. What does X-Ray ask Caveman to do the next time he finds something?

    6. Which of the boys is the understood leader? How do you know this?

    7. What does Magnet say he wants to do when he is an adult?

    8. What does Stanley find next?

    9. How does giving X-ray his second ‘find’ affect his status with the boys?

    10. How does Zigzag release his anger towards Stanley?

Meaning Making


  1. The author creates humour or comedy in different ways. Think back over your reading of the novel and make a list of the humorous moments in the story. Recall and locate:

    1. Comic characters – who are they? Do you think they were ridiculed by the author?

    2. Running jokes – what joke about digging holes is made at several points during the story?

    3. Repartee – what examples of witty replies or conversation can you find?

    4. Irony – it is ironic that the people of Green Lake will let Sam fix the schoolhouse roof, but not attend night classes. Can you find other examples of this dark kind of humour?

  1. Now write a piece in your journal about: two or three funny moments in the story and what made you laugh or smile.

Text User


The witty way the author tells the story: Form a group of readers and present a dramatisation of Mr Pendanski’s counselling session with the boys. (chp 12) Include all of the following points:

  • Work out how many readers you will need and form a group of that size.

  • Discuss the way the author tells the story in the passage

  • Allocate parts for the characters

  • Decide on how much of the author’s words will be read by the narrator

  • Practice the reading so that the readers bring out the jokes in the passage

  • Think about the distinctive tone of voice that the author uses throughout the novel and try to catch that tone in your narrators voice.

  • Make the presentation and afterwards explain how you tried to convey the humour in the passage.

  • Listen for the ways the humour is created in other groups presentations.

  • Write a report in your journal about the ways the author creates the humour in this passage.

*Oral presentation assessment part A

Text Analyst




* Fossil Science Depart

In Holes, Stanley’s father is trying to become rich by inventing a way to recycle old sneakers. All Stanley has noticed is the terrible smell of burning rubber. Let’s take a look at some inventions that were truly successful with a partner use the library or internet to research these inventions:




vulcanisation of rubber

Charles Goodyear


Maria Allen

Water thermometer



Baron Karl von Drais


Wright Brothers





Air conditioning

W.H. Carrier


Charles Gerhardt

Cotton gin


Sewing machine modern


Motion picture

Eadward Muybridge

Projector (kinetoscope)



Levi Strauss


Earle Dickson

On your own come up with something you would like to invent. Draw and describe your invention in your journal. What does it do? How does it work? Remember to be successful, an invention must be practical, useful and serve a specific purpose. Good luck!


Section 3: Pp.80-123 Read these pages carefully and answer the questions below.

Code breaking


  1. Play vocabulary concentration (memory) – the goal of this game is to match vocabulary words with their definitions. In groups of two, make two sets of cards the same colour and size. On one set of cards write the vocabulary words, and on the other set write the definitions. All the cards are shuffled and placed face down on the table. One student picks two cards. If the selection is a match, the student keeps the cards and takes another turn. If the cards don’t match the student turns them face down again and the next student gets a turn.

calloused concoction systematic

writhed refuge situated

defiance condemned precipice

venom recede increments

extraordinarily penetrating dread

  1. Quiz time! Use complete sentences in your journal to answer the following questions about chapters 18 through 28:

    1. What does Zero want Stanley to teach him to do?

    2. When Stanley is sent to the Warden for stealing sunflower seeds what does she do to him?

    3. In what subject does Zero excel?

    4. After the warden punishes Mr Sir, how does he get even with Stanley?

    5. What did Hattie Parker see?

    6. Why does the sheriff want Sam to hang?

    7. How does Sam die?

    8. Why does Stanley save his strength during the day?

    9. Why won’t Stanley drink from his canteen?

    10. Why does Trout threaten to kill Kate Barlow?

Meaning Making


Understanding Cause and Effect relationships is important to complete comprehension when reading. Look at the examples of cause and effect below, then work with a partner to match the cause and effect using arrows.

Cause Effect

The student studied very hard The student earned an A on the test

Magnet steals Mr Sir’s sunflower seeds

Mr Sir does not give Stanley any water

The warden scratches Mr Sir

Stanley is sent to Camp Green Lake

Stanley agrees to teach Zero to read

Stanley does not have many friends

Stanley is great-great-grandfather forgot to honour a promise.

Stanley writes home about swimming and water skiing.

Stanley was caught with stolen shoes

Stanley’s family is cursed with bad luck.

Stanley gives X-Ray the gold tube he finds.

The other boys in group D harass Stanley.

Stanley is over-weight

Stanley is taken to see the warden.

Stanley does not want his mother to worry.

Stanley moves up a place in the water line.

Zero digs part of Stanley’s hole everyday.

Stanley and Zero become friends.

Stanley digs a hole everyday

Stanley becomes stronger

Text User


Identifying the Roles of the Characters in the Side Stories

What roles do you think the characters such as Elya, Kate Barlow and Sam the onion man, play in the story of Stanley at Camp Green lake?

  • Create a concept map using the computer program Inspiration that shows information about each character and their relationship with Stanley.

  • Pick a symbol to represent an image that each character represents in your mind. Eg – Sam & onions.

To help you create your concept map make sure you include information about the following:


Personal Details

Role in the story

Relationship with Stanley


Where was he born?

Why did he go to America?

What does he have to do to marry Myra Menke? Why wouldn’t he?

Was he really a no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealer?

? Use your own ideas!

Madame Zeroni

How old is she?

Do you think she is the gypsy in Stanley’s family history?

What promise to Madame Zeroni does Elya break?

In what way does Madame Zeroni appear in Stanley’s life?


Kate Barlow

Why is she called, “Kissin’ Kate Barlow”? How did she die?

Why does she refuse to marry Trout Walker?

Why does she become an outlaw?

What does she steal from Stanley’s great-grandfather?


Sam the Onion Man

What skills does he have? Where is the secret onion field?

Why was kissing Kate such a crime for Sam?

What saves Stanley and Zero twice?

Why did people use Sam’s onion remedies?


Text Analyst




Choose one of the following tasks:

  1. Write one recipe that include Kate Barlow’s spiced Peaches. The recipe must include a list of ingredients and a paragraph of cooking instructions. Remember to use verbs at the start of each instruction. (e.g. – seal, cook, stir, slice, chop). Make sure you include a picture of the finished dish! Include the finished result in your journal.


  1. Complete the Holes Maths challenge –Work in pairs to time each other competing the questions and record your answers and times in your journal.

    1. Katherine Barlow made 30 jars of spiced peaches. She gave 12 to Sam and ate 2. She sold 5 jars to Doc Hawthorne. She accidentally dropped one on the floor and broke it. How many did she have left? Answer? Time?

    2. Magnet ate 40 sunflower seeds. Armpit ate 35. X-Ray ate 58 seeds, but Zig-Zag only ate 18. If there are only 200 seeds to begin with, how many were left? Answer? Time?

    3. If it took Stanley 5 hours and 30 minutes to dig a hole, how many seconds did it take him? Answer? Time?

    4. If Stanley was sentenced to Camp Green Lake for 18 months – from 1st Aug 1997, through 31st Jan 1999 – how many days would he be at Camp Green Lake? Answer? Time?
    5. Stanley had to dig, one hole everyday, including Saturday’s and Sunday’s. After 6 weeks at Camp Green Lake, how many holes had Stanley dug? Answer? Time?


Section 4: Pp. 127-176 Read these pages carefully and answer the questions below.

Code breaking


  1. Play vocabulary charades. In this game, words are acted out. Take turns presenting each of the vocabulary words.

Humid jut unconscious

Drenched hesitated fidgeting

Horizon feeble lurched

Delirious investigation mirage

Depriving cluster protruding

  1. Quiz Time! Use complete sentences in your journal to answer the following questions about chapters 29 through 39:

    1. Why do the boys give Stanley a hard time about being “better” than them?

    2. What does Mr Pendanski do about the boys harassing Stanley?

    3. Why does Zero hit Mr Pendanski with a shovel?

    4. Why does Stanley drive off in water truck?

    5. Where does Stanley find Zero?

    6. What does Stanley plan to tell the Warden to ease their sentence upon returning?

    7. Where do Stanley and Zero decide to go?

    8. What is Stanley’s warning to Zero?

    9. How do the boys distract themselves from their hunger and pain?

    10. When Zero collapses what does Stanley do?

  1. Conflict is the struggle against an obstacle or opposing force. Writers use conflict to keep you interested in reading so you can discover how the situation or conflict turns out. Conflict can be broken down into six types. Using the words listed, fill in the gaps to complete these sentences in your journal.

Tool, force, struggles, emotions, machine, nature, physical, force, society, conscience, representative, character.

    1. Person vs Self – The character faces a struggle his own _______, __________, or ___________ abilities.

    2. Person vs Person – The character ________ against another _________.

    3. Person vs Society – The character struggles against something presented by __________ or a r___________ of society.

    4. Person vs Nature – The character struggles against a _____ of n_____.

    5. Person vs Unknown – The character struggles against an unknown f _______.

    6. Person vs Machine – The character struggles against a _________ or t_________.

Meaning Making


  1. Read the following situations from Holes and determine which type of conflict is presented. In your journal write the corresponding letter from above on the line provided.

_____ 1. Stanley was often teased by other kids because he was overweight.

_____ 2. Stanley was convicted of a crime he did not commit.

_____ 3. The boys knew that the longer it took to dig their holes, the longer they would be out in the suns heat.

_____4. Armpit shoves Stanley to the ground for calling him by his real name, Theadore.

_____5. At first, Stanley’s hands are blistered and bloody from digging with the shovel.

_____6. Elya was in love with Myra Menke, but he could not compete with Egor’s offer of his fattest pig.

_____ 7. Elya told his wife, Sarah, that she should leave him because he was cursed.

_____ 8. Stanley tried to pull himself out of his hole, but he was too exhausted.

_____ 9. Stanley talks back when another boy confronts him in the “Wreck Room”.

_____10. Stanley believed that they were not digging to build character. He felt that they were digging to find something; he just did not know what.

Text User



In Holes, there are several situations, which involve bullies. For instance, Stanley describes Derick Dunne, the bully at his Middle School. Stanley continues to be bullied at Camp Green Lake by X-Ray, who pressures him to turn over his valuable find. He is also bullied by Zigzag who is angry about Zero digging Zero’s hole. A less obvious bully is Mr Pendanski. He antagonises and puts Zero down.

Most people will encounter bullies in their lifetime. As a class brainstorm about the best ways to deal with bullies. In table groups discuss and plan your responses and/or actions in the following scenarios. Act out one of your scenarios for the class.

  1. A large student for a reputation for meanness catches you alone in the bathroom at school. He threatens to beat you up if you do not pay him five dollars.

  2. Another student in your class wants to copy off you during a test. He threatens to spread false rumours about you if you do not let him.

  3. A popular girls offers you drugs. When you decline, she makes fun of you and says you will never be popular.

  4. A coach often makes fun of you and other students who are not athletically gifted.

  5. A student who is a grade above you has a locker above yours. She is always blocking your locker until the last minute, intentionally making you late for class.

  6. You and your friends are playing basketball in a park. A group of older kids arrive and take over the court.

*Oral presentation assessment part B

Text Analyst




Create one of the following creative tasks. Include the finished result in your journal:

  1. Brochure: Imagine the Camp Green Lake is a typical camp. The people who run the camp would probably want to advertise it in some way. Keeping in mind what Camp Green Lake is really like; design a brochure to advertise the camp. Your brochure could be realistic and serious, telling parents what their children will experience if sentenced to Camp Green Lake. It could be persuasive, trying to encourage judges through Texas to send boys to the camp. It could be humorous, a parody of a fun summer camp.


  • Information about the location

  • Organised activities

  • Skills that campers will learn

  • Sleeping/ eating/ bathing facilities and any other special features


  1. Newsletter: Create a camp newsletter for Camp Green Lake. A newsletter should include a variety of sections, explore viewpoints of the different people at Camp Green Lake and inform readers about the events and everyday life at the camp.


  • Interviews from campers

  • Up coming events at the camp

  • Insights into the campers life at the camp

  • Sections that teenage boys would enjoy reading, e.g. latest music, latest computer games.(Your Newsletter could even include a sample CD attached)

*Writing Folio Piece


Section 5: Pp. 177-233 Read these pages carefully and answer the questions below.

Code breaking


  1. Write either a short story or a poem using the following vocabulary words. Record your piece into your journal underlining the words as they appear:

contritely authenticated pursuant

inexplicable commotion legitimate

distinctive amid evicted

adjacent precarious incarcerated

pronounced jurisdiction delirium

  1. Quiz Time! Use complete sentences in your journal to answer the following questions about chapters 40 through 50:

a) What does Zero confess to Stanley?

b) Why didn’t Zero know the shoes he took belonged to Clyde Livingston?

c) Why does Stanley decide he is glad the shoes hit him in the head?

d) As the two boys make their way down the mountain, what is the unspoken challenge between them?

e) After returning to the hole where Stanley found the lipstick tube, what do the boys uncover?

f) What does Mr. Sir reveal to Stanley about his guilt?

g) Why doesn’t Stanley want to leave camp when he is released?

h) Why does Stanley’s attorney take Zero with them when they leave?

i) Why aren’t Stanley and Zero attacked by the yellow-spotted lizards?

j) How does the author account for the sudden success of Stanley’s father?

Meaning Making


What does it Stand for?

Symbolism is a technique used by writers in which an object or idea is used to represent something other than itself. For example, the dove is often used a symbol of peace. The following is a list of symbols used in Holes. Choose from the box the appropriate meaning for each symbol. Provide specific evidence from the book that supports your choice. Draw a picture to show your symbol. Record into your journal.

warning a better life hope

missing pieces obstacles layers of hope

  1. Rattlesnake tattoo



  1. Holes



  1. Onion



  1. Mountains



  1. Big Thumb



  1. Hot Fudge Sundae



Text User


Find the Main Idea

1. Louis Sachar did not include titles for his chapters in Holes. Go back and review each of the following chapters and come up with titles for each one. Make your titles as creative or catchy as possible, but be sure each reflects the main idea! Complete the following into your journal:

Chapter 1



Chapter 2



Chapter 8


Chapter 13


Chapter 25


Chapter 32


Chapter 38


Chapter 42



That’s Ironic!

2. Irony is the general name given to literacy techniques that involve surprising, interesting, or amusing contradictions. When an event occurs that directly contradicts the expectations of the characters or reader, that is irony. Read the following quotes from Holes. Using complete sentences, explain what is ironic about the following quotes:

  • ‘Welcome to Camp Green Lake’.(p. 10)

  • ‘Nobody had believed him when he said he was innocent.’(p.22)
  • ‘ “I bet she was real pretty”, said Zero. “Someone must have loved her a lot, to name a boat after her.” “Yeah,” said Stanley. “I bet she looked great in a bathing suit, sitting in the boat while her boyfriend rowed.”’(p. 161)

  • ‘ “You’re not in the Girl Scouts anymore”, Mr. Sir said.’(p. 13)

  • ‘Clyde ‘Sweet Feet’ Livingston was a famous baseball player’.(p. 22)

Text Analyst




Understanding Point of View

In any situation, people are going to have different points of view about what happened, what is happening, and what should happen. In Holes, the story is presented by Stanley’s point of view. As readers, we are given a firsthand account of how he feels about what is happening and how he views the events. What about other points of views? Using complete sentences, explore some different viewpoints in the following activity. Write as a draft in your journal to be then re-written as a folio piece.

  1. In chapters 45-48, Stanley and Zero discover the suitcase, are descended upon by the warden and the lizards, are rescued by Stanley’s lawyer and the Attorney General and leave Camp Green Lake with the suitcase. Write a possible entry the warden might make in her diary describing the day’s events. Remember that you are writing from her point of view.

  1. In chapters 45-47, Stanley is standing in a lizard’s nest. The author describes what he is feeling and how he escapes mentally, in order to handle the situation. Write an imaginary conversation between Stanley and Zero after this incident. In the conversation, Zero should tell Stanley what he feel during the time and how he coped with the situation. Remember you are writing from Zero’s point of view.

  1. In chapter 49, we learn that on the very same day that Stanley carries Zero up the mountain Stanley’s father invents a cure for foot odour. Write a monologue (a one person speech) in which Stanley’s father ponders his possible change of fortune. Remember, things have happened to the Yelnats before which seem positive at first but turn negative in the end.

  1. Throughout Holes, there is mention of Clyde ‘Sweet Feet’ Livingston’s foot-odour problem. Write a letter from Clyde to his personal physician, which details the problem and explains what it is like to be famous and to have an embarrassing secret. Remember that you are writing from Clyde’s point of view.

  1. Pretend you are either Mr. Sir or Mr. Pendanski and you are submitting an article on the justice system to a local newspaper. Write an editorial describing your views on children who commit crimes and how those children should be punished. Remember that you are writing from either Mr. Sir’s or Mr. Pendanski’s point of view.

*Writing Folio Piece

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