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DIDACTIC TABLE OF
‘ON THE PATH TO WAR’

PLOT
This is the story of Cyril and his siblings and how they meet a group of ‘redskins’ or Native Americans. After reading ‘The Last of the Mohicans’, Cyril lets slip that he wishes he could meet them and the Genie of the sand, as usual, grants his wish. At first, the ‘redskins’ want to smoke the peace pipe with the children but soon afterwards they become more hostile and want to scalp and burn them instead. Luckily, the spell lasts only until sunset. Martha, the housekeeper, returns home just after all this has happened and notices nothing of the day’s perilous adventure.

DIDACTIC POTENTIAL (AT LANGUAGE LEVEL)
This story is interesting from the point of view of grammar. It is common to find constructions that are present in previous stories of the same volume, such as “wish something”, “want somebody to do something”, comparisons with “like”, connectors, etc. Lexically, the following words have been defined in the text: redskins / genie / disturb / vanish / draw up a plan / washbasin / piggy bank / a matter of life and death / reluctant / mischief / polish off / stand your ground / net curtain / unmistakable / daub / pitch black / scalp / chief / tribes / henhouse / ochre / shred / handkerchief / fierce / savages / howl / blades / yearn / trunks / scorch / recover from something / unpaired.

DIDACTIC POTENTIAL (OTHER COMPETENCES)
This story refers to real past events which have confronted people of different nationalities and ethnias in America. It is a good opportunity, therefore, to tackle historical facts but also some negative episodes due to human mistrust, intolerance and racism. Linked to this is the issue of national stereotypes. The students can, therefore, consider this as an opportunity to go through historical events and create alternative courses of action avoiding violent conflicts as they once occurred. On a lighter note, they also have the opportunity to use their imagination to create, for example, a Native American tribe of their own invention. Apart from this, this story brings the possibility of discussing how to best deal with conflict, how to behave when you have problems with people around you (which, according to the culture, may imply shaking hands; smoking the peace pipe; etc.).

LIMITATIONS & POTENTIAL DIFFICULTIES
The reader needs to have basic knowledge of Native Americans and the First Nations Wars (also referred sometimes as the American Indian Wars or the Indian Wars) and some of their legendary practices (like sculping or smoking the peace pipe) to make sense of the story.

PROPOSALS FOR WORKING WITH THE STORY IN CLASSROOM & AT HOME
Like the majority of the other stories in the book, the activities that are proposed to work on this story can be undertaken individually at home first and then completed in the classroom or, alternatively, they can be started collaboratively and then completed at home, although the final part of some of them involves social decision making.

SUGGESTIONS FOR BRAINSTORMING OR PRE-TASKS
There are several themes that come up in this story that could serve for a pre-task. Possible pre-tasks could be thinking/discussing about: -Native Americans. How much do you know about them? Could you name famous chiefs and what they are well-known for? Could you name Native American tribes and locate them on a map of North America? What do you know about them? Did children went to school? How were they organized socially or politically? Were they nomadic or sedentary? What did they believe in? What was their diet like? And their clothes? More importantly, what was their relation to nature and their environment like? -Human conflict. Why have societies quarrelled in the past? Could the wars have been avoided? How? What are the main differences between a war a hundred years ago and a war these days?

SUGGESTIONS FOR WORKING ON RELATED FIELDS & STORIES
This story can be approached from several perspectives, the main two being History and social values. From the former, the history of the last centuries of American history, particularly since the arrival of Europeans, can be explored. From the latter, the reasons which underlie the attitudes of societies towards other ones can be questioned, and how they have ended up in war conflicts more often than not. There is an extraordinary repository of films and books related to native Americans. The genre, Westerns, includes titles like ‘The Last of the Mohicans’, ‘The Magnificent Seven’, etc.

TABLA DIDÁCTICA DEL CUENTO
“EN EL SENDERO DE LA GUERRA”

RESUMEN
El deseo espontáneo de Cirilo de vivir entre Pieles Rojas tras la lectura de El último Mohicano llevará a los niños al borde del peligro.

POTENCIAL DIDÁCTICO
Este cuento tiene gran atractivo pues en él los niños protagonistas vivirán una emocionante aventura digna de una película del legendario oeste norteamericano. Por un lado, las anotaciones del cuento invitan a trabajar el concepto de raza y las diferencias culturales. Por otro, se abordan cuestiones relacionadas con la ecología, como son la deforestación y la pérdida de biodiversidad. El cuento también ofrece la posibilidad de trabajar la historia de Norteamérica, en concreto la Guerra de los Siete Años.

PROPUESTA DE ACTIVIDADES
Actividades de escritura creativa y dibujo. Actividades de lectura crítica e inteligencia emocional.

VOCABULARIO
Definición de las siguientes expresiones, palabras o grafías: Jofaina, cepillo, restituir, atisbar, nos escalpen, parlamentemos, plática, blandían.

Text, intertextuality and context: Activity to scaffold reading comprehension and notes on intertextual and historical or cultural contextual information.
Oral interpersonal communication: Activity to improve oral production and interaction.
Collaboration: Activity to be undertaken totally or partially in a group.
Critical capacity: Activity to promote explicit learning through analysis and critical reasoning.
Oral comprehension: Activity for the acquisition of oral receptive skills.
Gamification and digital skills: Activity to promote gamified and technology-based learning through exercises and small interactive games with the computer.
Oral interpersonal communication: Activity to improve oral production and interaction.
Didactic guidelines for the English teacher: Table with a summary of the story and recommendations for the use of the tool in the classroom.
Audio: Listening of the enriched audio embedded in each page.
Comprensión lectora y contexto Explicación de información contextual, histórica o cultural, difícil para el lector actual.

Creatividad Propuestas para trabajar la imaginación, la fantasía y la sensibilidad a partir de la lectura.

Trabajo colaborativo y emocional Propuestas de actividades para desarrollar el trabajo en grupo y el conocimiento de las emociones.

Capacidad crítica e intertextualidad Anotaciones que promueven el pensamiento crítico y la profundización en el conocimiento de las estrategias literarias.

Actividades auditivas Anotaciones orientadas a desarrollar la recepción auditiva, utilizando la dimensión oral del lenguaje, los sonidos y la música.

Elementos interactivos (Puzles, galerías de imágenes, ejercicios, etc.) Anotaciones que han requerido algún tipo de programación especial orientadas a fomentar la lectura activa.

Audio Pista de audio del cuento por página.

What’s the name given to the process of sleeping through the winter in the animal kingdom? Why do some animals do that? How do they manage to survive? Do they wake up to eat and drink?

Talk to others about this and look for the answers to these questions if necessary.

Do you think that humans and snakes hibernate?

ANSWER:

Una ciudad de libros

Comprensión lectora y contexto Explicación de información contextual, histórica o cultural, difícil para el lector actual.
Creatividad Propuestas para trabajar la creatividad a partir de la lectura.
Trabajo colaborativo y emocional Propuestas de actividades para desarrollar el trabajo en grupo y el conocimiento de las emociones.
Capacidad crítica e intertextualidad Anotaciones que promueven el pensamiento crítico y la profundización en el conocimiento de las estrategias literarias
Comprensión sonora Ejercicios que trabajan la comprensión auditiva (para la versión en inglés).
Elementos interactivos (Puzles, galerías de imágenes, ejercicios, etc.) Anotaciones que han requerido algún tipo de programación especial
Icono audio Se utiliza este icono para escuchar el audio incrustado por página en la versión en inglés y en la bilingüe.

En el sendero de la guerra

Este relato es una adaptación del cuento de Edith Nesbit titulado “Cabelleras” (“Scalps”), que era el capítulo X de la colección de cuentos Five Children and It (1905), ilustrado por H. R. Millar.

En este cuento, el deseo de Cirilo de vivir una gran aventura provocará una situación realmente peligrosa en la que los niños se enfrentarán a unos temibles adversarios. ¿Tienes ya una idea de a quién se enfrentarán en este cuento?

El último mohicano

Es una novela histórica del autor estadounidense James Fenimore Cooper, publicada por vez primera en febrero de 1826. La historia se desarrolla en el año 1757, durante la guerra franco-india (la guerra de los Siete Años), cuando Francia y Gran Bretaña combatieron por el dominio de las colonias de Norteamérica, sobretodo en Canadá y el noreste de los Estados Unidos. Durante esta guerra, los franceses consiguieron la ayuda de tribus nativas americanas para luchar contra los más numerosos colonos británicos en esta región. Cooper llamó al protagonista Uncas.

El título habla del último descendiente de la tribu de los mohicanos, que va a desaparecer. ¿Cómo te sentirías si fueras el último de tu tribu o gran familia?

Si te apetece saber más sobre el tema puedes ver la película El último mohicano, o ¡leer el libro!

Ilustración de El último mohicano (The Last of the Mohicans), realizada por F.T. Merrill para la edición de 1896.

Pieles rojas

La expresión “Piel roja” se utiliza para referirse a las personas que pertenecen a los pueblos indígenas de América y a su raza. Sin embargo, para algunas personas este término puede resultar ofensivo. ¿De qué color es tu piel? ¿Te gustaría que te llamaran “piel rosa”, “piel pecosa” o “piel blanca”?

Fotografía de niña de la tribu Cheyene, c. 1905.

Jofaina

Las jofainas eran unas grandes vasijas redondas de poca profundidad que servían para lavarse la cara y las manos cuando las casas no tenían agua corriente. Iban acompañadas de una jarra llamada “aguamanil”.

Dibujad una jofaina e imaginad cómo sería la vida sin agua corriente en los grifos. Aquí tenéis un cuadro de un pintor alemán dedicado a una jofaina.

Óleo de Konrad Westermayr (1883-1917) titulado “Jofaina azul” (“Blaues Waschgeschirr”), 1917.

Restituir

Atisbar

El verbo “atisbar” se puede utilizar en dos sentidos:

Nos escalpen

Este verbo no aparece en el diccionario, pero se refiere a la supuesta costumbre de algunos indios de quitar la cabellera de sus enemigos.

Jefes de poderosas tribus


Aquí tienes los retratos de algunos de los jefes indios más importantes de la historia de Norteamérica. Seguro que te dan buenas ideas para disfrazarte tú también de indio.

Gerónimo (Apache, 1829-1909)

Toro Sentado (Lakota Siux, 1831-1890)

Nube Roja (Lakota Siux, 1822–1909)

Oso Levantado (Ponca, 1829-1908)

Brazo Roto (Siux Oglala, c. 1836-?)

Oso Blanco (Kiowa, c.1.830 - 1.878)

Washakie (Shoshone, c. 1804/1810-1900)

Pájaro Negro (Siux, ca. 1750 – 1800)

Parlamentemos

Hablar o conversar para llegar a un acuerdo o solución.

Plática

Charlar, tener una conversación.

Blandían

El verbo “blandir” significa mover con la mano un objeto, normalmente un arma, de un lado a otro para prepararse para la batalla.

No había un árbol en todo el contorno

Con esta frase el cuento introduce otro efecto gracioso, situando a los indios, acostumbrados a la vida salvaje en la naturaleza, en un domesticado jardín donde no hallan nada útil para sus propósitos. De este modo, también se nos recuerda a los lectores el problema de la deforestación. El avance de nuestra civilización ha provocado la tala masiva de árboles, creando un grave problema ecológico, pues la pérdida de árboles ha dañado la calidad de los suelos, del aire y ha hecho que desaparezcan muchas especies animales y vegetales.

Piensa cómo puedes ayudar a disminuir este problema. Para que te inspires, aquí te dejamos este poema de Leonardo Antivero:

¡Oh, quién volviese a la selva nativa!

Ante este deseo de volver a la naturaleza, te proponemos dos actividades de escritura creativa: Puedes escribir un relato en el que tú eres el protagonista y vives en plena selva, o bien puedes inventarte el resto de la canción, acuérdate de que el estribillo es “¡Oh, quién volviese a la selva nativa!”.

Te dejamos con una maravillosa galería de fotografías de indios nativos americanos del famoso fotógrafo Frank A. Rinehart para que te inspires.

El cepillo del Pan de San Antonio

Además del significado de “cepillo” que ya conoces y que sirve para peinarse, hay otro significado para la palabra completamente diferente, pues se refiere a una caja, con una abertura y cerradura, que suele estar en las iglesias y sirve para guardar limosnas. ¿Te gustaría tener en casa una hucha donde ir guardando dinero para luego usarlo en una causa justa? Sería lo mismo que el cepillo del Pan de San Antonio que tienen los protagonistas del cuento en su casa.

Fotograma de la película Historias de la radio, de José Luis Sáenz de Heredia (1955). El cura que aparece en esta comedia le ha cambiado el letrero al cepillo y ha dejado un bocadillo dentro, después de que un ladrón muerto de hambre lo abriese repetidamente sin permiso en busca de pan, dejando sin tocar las monedas que allí había.


Do you know which book Cyril was reading? This is the the front cover of the book, showing two Mohicans fighting:

ANSWER:


Cyril wished to have Indian Americans in his country. Do you know who the "Redskins" are?

The term "Redskin" is the name given to the Native American people in the United States before the arrival of the Europeans. Although it is considered to be derogatory, it was a very common term during the 19th and 20th centuries.

However, "red" was the term the American Indian selected to refer to themselves when they came into contact with the Europeans and their African slaves, who referred to themselves as "white" and "black".

Nowadays, it remains as part of the name of some sport teams in the United States, although they are gradually changing their names.

Redskins

An old (now considered improper) way of referring to Indian Americans.

Example: When the Europeans in North America started referring to themselves as "white skins", the Indians called themselves "redskins".

Genie

A spirit with magical powers.

Example: When Aladdin rubbed the lamp, a genie appeared.

Disturb

To interrupt.

Example: You shouldn't disturb a cat or a dog when they're eating; they don't like that.

Vanished (to vanish)

Disappear.

Example: The magician made the cards vanish during the trick.


None of the siblings remembered the wish one of them had made. Are you a forgetful sort of person? Have you ever lived a similar situation where you forgot something important and it had negative consequences?

Tell the others in your group about a real or imaginary anecdote. Explain what you forgot (an object or an action), where you looked for it or what you tried to do to solve the problem of losing it. Finally, explain the outcome of the story and if you now have a strategy (do something specific) so that it doesn't happen again.

Remember to be coherent with the relation between the verbal tenses, like: "I searched for the book that I had lost in..." and "I was worried that my parents would...". When you narrate anecdotes, it is also important to use connectors, like: firstly, then, moreover, furthermore, however, although, etc. Using them helps your listener follow the story better.


As we can read in the story, the children broke a washbasin. It was quite different from today's washbasins.

Washbasins at the beginning of the 20th century were similar to a big bucket made of porcelain and used together with an aquamanile, a jug-type of vessel, also made of porcelain.

This kind of washbasin had been used by the ancient Greeks and Romans. In those times, washbasins and aquamaniles used to be made of brass or bronze and were decorated with animal motifs.

When technology advanced and running water extended to public and private buildings, washbasins evolved into the fixed containers that we have nowadays in our bathrooms.


The children took the money from St. Anthony's Bread collection box. There is a story from the 13th century about a woman who promised to donate a large amount of bread to the poor if St. Anthony saved her drowned son. The saint saved the child and the woman fulfilled her promise.

Since then, people who believe in St. Anthony put money in charity boxes for the poor's needs.

Drew up a plan (draw up a plan)

To make a plan; to decide in detail what you are going to do.

Example: The government needs to draw a plan to reduce air pollution in big cities.

Washbasin

A large bowl used for washing your face and hands.

Example: In the old days, people didn't have a sink in the bathroom. Instead, they had a washbasin in their bedroom.

Piggy bank

A container where children can keep and save money, often in the shape of a little pig.

Example: I broke my piggy bank with a hammer to buy a few books to take on my summer holidays.

A matter of life and death (better: a matter of life or death)

A very important, very serious situation.

Example: Don't worry about missing the train, it's not a matter of life and death. You can catch the next one.

Reluctant

Not really wanting to do something; unsure; hesitant.

Example: The teacher was reluctant to let the students leave 5 minutes early.

Mischief

Naughtiness; something that you shouldn't do.

Example: The teacher is bringing lots of board games to stop us from getting into mischief at the summer camp.


The children of our story are trying to get rid of Martha, the housekeeper, in order to protect their little brother.

Now, imagine you want to get rid of Martha (and your baby brother) without breaking anything :-) Think of a plan... What do you think you could do? Share it with your group and decide together which idea is the best one.


The children are talking about someone called "the Sandy". Do you know who this is and the origin of such a peculiar name or nickname?

ANSWER:


The children are debating about the wish for that day. Do you know which wish they asked for?

ANSWER:

Polishing off (polish off)

To eat something quickly, without leaving anything.

Example: He polished off the last piece of cake.

Stood his ground (stand your ground)

To stick to your opinion; especially when someone else tries to contradict you.

Example: I stood my ground during the meeting and I was brave enough to insist that my team's idea was a better solution to the problem.

Net curtain

A very thin, white curtain that is a little bit transparent.

Example: In the summer house we use net curtains so we can continue to see the sea from inside.

Unmistakable

Without a doubt; impossible to take for someone or something else.

Example: He didn't tell me his name on the phone when he called, but his voice was unmistakable: it was grandpa.

Daubed (daub)

Cover in paint.

Example: We daubed the canvas with colourful paint, tried different brushes and by the end of the class it looked exactly like an expensive modern painting.

Pitch black

Very very black.

Example: At night, without any light from the moon, everything was pitch black.

Scalped (scalp)

Some (not all!) Native American tribes used to cut the hair from the heads of their victims in battle. They did this to show how many enemies one person had killed. To cut the hair from the head is called "scalping", because the top part of the head (where the hair grows) is called the "scalp".

Example: We went to the museum and saw a scalped head. Fortunately, that is not done anymore.

Chief

A leader of an Indian American tribe.

Example: The chief of the tribe was the first one to smoke from the peace pipe.

Tribes

A traditional society or community whose members are linked by strong ties.

Example: In the Amazonian forest, there are still nomad tribes.


When Cyril becomes aware of his responsibility, he doesn't know what to say. Do you think he should apologize?

Imagine you make a mistake during class and have to apologize to the teacher or a classmate. You may even remember one occasion when you made a mistake. Practise different ways to apologize and then swap roles.

Remember you can use expressions such as "I am sorry about...", "Forgive me for..." or "I didn't mean to...". In return, you may say things like: "Don't worry..." or "It's OK, don't feel bad for...".


There is an Indian American hiding outside the house. Imagine you were in their situation and somebody potentially hostile, like an alien, was observing you through the window of your own house. What would you do?

Think of an idea and a sequence of actions and discuss them with your group to improve them together until you are all satisfied.

Once you are done, keep reading to see how the children of the story reacted to the presence of the "Redskin".


The children seem to be in trouble but Anther thinks that everything will be solved soon. Why do you think Anther has this opinion?

ANSWER:


Many books and films depict Indian Americans like cruel savages, who generally did all of these horrific things. However, if you read trustworthy history books, you'll find out that many of these tribes were peaceful and their values were comparable to ours (for example, they loved their families and took care of their elders and children; they were respectful towards nature, traditions and beliefs; they shared their resources with their communities; etc.).

Try to think of one of two social stereotypes that should be reconsidered and share them with your group.


There are many stories about Indian Americans. A very famous one is The adventures of Blueberry, a French comic book series written by Jean-Michel Charlier (1924-1989) and illustrated by Jean Giraud (1938-2012).

This story narrates how Mike S. Blueberry, an American soldier who fought in the American Civil War and travelled through the American Old West. During his trips, he dealt with Indian Americans, bountyhunters and soldiers of all types.

By the way, the American Civil War was a bloody conflict that took place between the North and the South of what we know today as the United States of America during the 19th century. Find out what initiated it!

ANSWER:


This is an old picture of a group of Indian chiefs.

Imagine that, like the children in the story, you want to dress up as an Indian American. Get a couple of garments or accessories that would help you look like an Indian. Now prepare a little speech of who you are (you may be a famous chief or an Indian child, for example) and what you do (you may speak about a great achievement or just your daily routine).

If you are not a famous chief, remember to invent a wonderful Indian-sounding name with its meaning in English!


In the time the story was written, it was common in families of high society to have many servants. In the story, we found out there are different house helpers in the children's house: a housekeeper, a maid and a cook.

Working in groups, write down three different tasks each of them do.

Once you are done, each member of the group should write who in his family does all that tasks.

Henhouse

A house where chickens live.

Example: Every morning, the farmer went to the henhouse to get a few eggs for breakfast.

Ochre

A natural red-brown clay earth pigment used to make paint.

Example: Some of the prehistoric paintings in the Cave of Altamira, in the north of Spain, were made using red ochre.

Shredded (shred)

To cut (or tear) into long, thin pieces.

Example: She didn't like her composition so she shredded it and started again.


If you have been reading with attention, then you should know how to answer this question: why is it a problem that the children have blond hair?

ANSWER:


The white flag is recognized worldwide as a sign of peace. It can be used to indicate that you surrender or as a request for negotiation. Also, a white flag signifies that the holder is unarmed. Therefore, people waving a white flag are supposed not to be attacked.

What is the reason why the children are carrying a white flag?

ANSWER:

Handkerchief

A napkin; a tissue made of cloth.

Example: Before there were paper tissues, everyone used handkerchiefs made from cloth.


Anther invented the name of a tribe. Can you invent the name of your tribe too? What does it mean in English? What are your symbols? Where do you live? What are you like? What do you do for a living? etc.


Ceremonial pipes were used and shared by Indian Americans who wanted to seal an important treaty or covenant (agreement). This is represented in the following statue:

Surely this is not what you do when you want to make peace. Discuss with your group what you and the people around you do when you want to make peace after quarrelling or disagreeing, or to seal an agreement.

Fierce

Very angry or scary.

Example: The tiger looked fierce.

Savages

Uncivilized; a cruel and violent person.

Example: The anthropologist spent a month in the jungle studying a tribe of savages.

Howling (howl)

To make long, loud cries like a wolf.

Example: Wolves and dogs often howl at the moon, or when they're sad.


In the picture you can see a representation of a 'scalp dance', which some Native Americans used to dance before taking the hair off their enemies.

Can your group think of other tools with blades? You can say one each out loud. Let's see who's the one with the largest vocabulary!


Indians in the story wish to go back to their native forest and after that they disappear. Do you think the Sandy granted them their wish?

ANSWER:


As we have read, the children asked to the Sandy if he doesn't want to fulfil his wishes. Do you know about what wish are they talking?

ANSWER:

Blades

The sharp metal part of a knife.

Example: Careful! The blade is very sharp.

Yearning (yearn)

To want something very much.

Example: I yearn for the summer, when days are long and warm and there's no school.

Trunks

The thick, main part of a tree from which the branches grow.

Example: Planks of wood are cut from the trunk of a tree.

Scorch

To burn.

Example: The iron was too hot and scorched the T-shirt.

Recovered from (recover from something)

To return to a normal state after something unpleasant has happened; recuperate.

Example: He is recovering from the cold really well. He doesn't have a temperature anymore.

Unpaired

When there is only one piece from a set of two things that are used together.

Example: The washbasin and the jug were both unpaired; they belonged to different sets. That's why they were so cheap.

Have mercy on (someone)

To show forgiveness; to be nice to someone who did something wrong.

Example: The king had mercy on the thief and forgave him his crime.

Putting the youngest child to bed (put someone to bed)

To take somebody to their bed to rest or sleep.

Example: Dad always puts us to bed with a story and a kiss.