2 What are your first impressions of the novel? The coverWhat are your first impressions of the novel?Does the front cover attract you and make you want to read the book or does it put you off? Why?Without reading any of the novel, or even the blurb, try to guess what the story is, using only the title and book cover to help you.Worksheet One accompanies this slide.You may wish to ask students to consider this question:Do you think Holes is a good title?Presuming students have the Bloomsbury edition you can ask:What might be the significance of the lizard?What might be the significance of the blue sky and desert landscape?
3 Part OnePART ONEYOU ARE ENTERING CAMP GREEN LAKE
4 The word hostile means unfriendly or unwelcoming The settingRead the first chapter of the novel.Sachar gives his novel a very harsh setting.How has he managed to do this?Worksheet One accompanies this slide.Students’ attention might be brought to the following:The fact that there is no lake at Camp Green Lake.The camp is a ‘dry, flat wasteland’ – The heat is unbearable and there is no shade available.The town, lake and people who once lived there have ‘shrivelled and dried up’ which suggests that it is a dead place.There is only one hammock, but it is reserved for a figure referred to mysteriously as ‘the Warden’.The camp accommodates rattlesnakes and scorpions – animals dangerous to humans.The author uses many short sentences in the first chapter, which serve to add tension to the story.Suggested extension activity:Students could be asked to use Sachar’s opening to help them to create their own hostile and unfriendly setting for a story.Make a list of all the words or phrases which make Camp Green Lake sound hostile.The word hostile means unfriendly or unwelcomingHow does Sachar create a sense of tension?
5 OpeningsRead Chapters 1 and 2 thoroughly before answering the questions below.Why are openings important in stories?Has Sachar managed to create an engaging opening to Holes?Now that you know a little more about the setting, can you guess what the main themes of this novel will be?What questions are raised in these chapters which you are interested in finding the answers to?The first three questions could be answered verbally as a class.You may wish to ask students to write down their questions, in response to question 4, in the table on Worksheet Two. They can then complete the answers as they read the book. An example question is provided.
6 Stanley Yelnats – true or false? You may wish to ask students to complete the character card for Stanley Yelnats, on Worksheet Three, before showing this slide.
7 Camp Green LakeStudents will need to have read as far as the second page of Chapter 7 (page 27 in the Bloomsbury edition) to complete this quiz.
8 What’s in a name?This quiz is best completed once students have read Chapter 5. You may like to ask students to name each character’s nickname on Worksheet Two first, and then check their answers by completing the interactive activity as a class.
9 Character profiles What do you think the characters look like? Draw a picture of two characters from the book and label them to show why you have decided to draw them in the way you have.Here is an example to help you think about it.StanleySunburned due to working in the heat all dayFriendly face to show he is kindtired eyes
10 The sub-plotA sub-plot is the part of a story which is told alongside the main plot, but is different from it in some way. Often the significance of a sub-plot is not revealed until the end of a story. In Holes, there is a sub-plot which runs parallel to the main plot set at Camp Green Lake.What is the sub-plot of Holes? Who are the main characters of this sub-plot and how are they related to the main storyline? Write down your ideas.loveClick to give students a few clues.Direct students to Chapter 7. The sub-plot is the story of Madame Zeroni and Stanley’s great-great-grandfather, Elya Yelnats who is in love with a brainless girl called Myra. You may wish to ask students to write their own summary of the sub-plot so far using the words shown.Worksheet Four accompanies this slide, and includes extension questions.Madame ZeroniAmericastreampig
12 Stanley’s diaryRead Chapters 7–9, which describe Stanley’s first full day at the camp.Can you explain Stanley’s letter to his mother? Why does he lie to her?Imagine that as well as writing home to his mother, Stanley also keeps a diary in which he is completely truthful about his life at the camp. How would it differ to his letters home?Worksheet Five accompanies this slide.This diary entry could be the first in a series which students are asked to write providing an ongoing summary of the novel. This would allow you to assess the extent to which students know the text and understand the characters’ situation and emotions.Write an honest diary entry for Stanley’s first full day at Camp Green Lake.
13 ComprehensionRead Chapters 10 and 11 and then complete the questions below, using full sentences and giving reasons for your answers wherever possible.Chapter 10How can you tell that Stanley is tired?Why does Stanley show the fossil to Mr Pendanski?How can you tell that Mr Pendanski is not interested in the fossil?Chapter 11Why does Stanley agree to give anything he finds in the future to X-Ray?What prompts Stanley to think of Derrick Dunne? How does he feel about Derrick Dunne?Worksheet Six accompanies this slide.These questions require more than a factual knowledge of the text, required by the quizzes. Students should be encouraged to write extended answers which show understanding and which are supported by evidence from the text.
14 PredictionsCan you guess why this object might be more ‘interesting’ to the Warden than the fossil which Stanley also found?What do you think the tube is?
15 The Warden In Chapter 14, we meet the Warden. Read the description of the Warden from ‘A tall woman…’ until ‘Her voice was soft’.This description does not say the warden is a bad person. However, how has Sachar hinted at a darker, or more sinister side to her?This description appears on page 66 of the Bloomsbury edition of the novel.Possible ideas in response to question:The Warden is responsible for the boys at Camp Green Lake and therefore responsible for their hot days digging holes.The Warden is unafraid to walk straight up to X-Ray (the toughest boy in the group) even though she does not know him.The Warden is amazed by Mr Pendanski’s question and does not seem to like it because she stares ‘hard at him’. The softness of her voice is not intended to sound friendly but to be quietly threatening and frightening.Finally (and arguably), the Warden is a woman, when the reader may well have been expecting a man. It could be suggested that it takes a strong or harsh woman to be responsible for such a tough camp which is run for boys only. Her clothes are cowboy-like and therefore quite masculine.Extension question:In what way does the remainder of Chapter 14 convince you that the Warden has a sinister side to her personality?
16 Complete the Warden’s identity badge: Name:Age:Occupation:Duties and responsibilities:______________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________You may like to ask students to complete their own identity badge for the Warden on Worksheet Seven, before feeding back to the class.Some of the details will have to be invented – the purpose of the task is to get students thinking about the roles of the adults at the camp. It will also require students to have carefully read the description of the Warden.
18 Reading and writingIn Chapter 18, Zero asks Stanley to teach him to read but Stanley refuses. Stanley seems to be quite kind, so why doesn’t he want to help Zero?What kinds of things do people who cannot read or write miss out on?Why is it important to learn how to do these things?
19 ZeroYou may wish to ask students to complete the character card for Zero, on Worksheet Seven, before completing this activity.
22 Kissin’ Kate Barlow – comprehension The love story between Katherine and Sam is important in the novel. Can you guess why?When do Sam and Katherine fall in love and how do they manage to see each other regularly?Why do the people of Green Lake disapprove of the relationship between Sam and Kate?What do they do as a consequence of their hate?Who is the main instigator of the trouble?Can you work out why Camp Green Lake becomes dry and barren?These questions relate to Chapters 23, 25, 26 and 28. Worksheet Eight accompanies this slide.
24 Atmosphere Read the first page of Part 2 until ‘a barren wasteland’. What atmosphere is created by Sachar at the start of Part 2?How can you tell that something important is about to happen? What do you think it is?Part 2 begins on page 127 of the Bloomsbury edition of the novel.The fact that there is a change in the weather is significant because the weather has been consistent up until this point. The bad weather seems to be a warning to the boys at the camp that something important, and possibly bad, is about to happen because it does not only change, but changes ‘for the worse’. These words get their own line in the text which gives them weight.Teachers may wish to discuss the relevance of weather in Shakespeare plays (such as Macbeth) or even in the Bible where poor weather is often a communication or punishment from God.
25 Zero, Zigzag and X-RayStudents will need to have read to the end of Chapter 30 to complete this activity. Worksheet Nine accompanies this slide. Students could be asked to complete Worksheet Nine with as much information as they know about the three characters. This interactive activity could then be completed as a class, with students then volunteering any additional information they have noted about the characters.
26 Conflict – comprehension In Chapter 30, Stanley and Zigzag fight.How does the argument start between Stanley and Zigzag?Why does Mr Pendanski encourage the fight?How can you tell that Zero and Stanley have developed a bond?How does the Warden try to humiliate Zero?Why do you think Zero runs away?Why do none of the adults try to stop Zero from escaping?Worksheet Ten accompanies this slide.
27 Stanley’s diaryWhen Zero runs away, Stanley is left alone and another boy, Twitch, arrives in Zero’s place. Finally, Stanley decides to leave too.Imagine that you are Stanley. Write a diary entry in which you are completely truthful about what has happened at camp and why you decided to run away.Think especially about how Stanley would feel about the Warden’s attitude to Zero’s disappearance. Remember to mention any fears he might have as well.Worksheet Eleven accompanies this slide.Students should have read up to and including Chapter 33 in order to complete this task. It may be useful to run through conventions of diary writing for less able students.Remind the students that the Warden’s solution is to destroy all Zero’s records and pretend that he never existed.
28 Sploosh!A food company has decided to produce bottles of Sploosh! Imagine that you are part of the marketing team.SpoolshStudents should have read up to and including Chapter 35 in order to complete this task.N.B.: Students are being asked to create a label for Sploosh which is a peach-based food here, not an odour eater product, as is advertised by the character Clyde Livingstone in Chapter 50.You may wish to ask students to create their design within the box on Worksheet Twelve. You can then cut these out, paste them around old glass containers and display them.You may also like to show students examples of fruity products’ packaging before discussing persuasive techniques used on packaging.Your task is to design the label for the bottle of Sploosh to encourage shoppers to buy it. Think carefully about the words and pictures on the label.
30 Treasure mapsDraw a detailed treasure map of Camp Green Lake and the surrounding area.XWorksheet Thirteen accompanies this slide.This exercise tests students’ knowledge of the text and their ability to understand the significance of places in the novel.Locations students may mark on their maps include:The big thumb, where Zero and Stanley go for safetyX, where the treasure is buriedHoles, where the boys have workedThe Warden’s hut, where the Warden scratched Mr Sir on the face.Differentiation is by outcome – only the most able students will be able to fully complete the second part of the task.Once you have done this, write down an important thing that happens at each location.
31 Test your knowledge What was the curse on Stanley’s family? Why were Stanley Yelnats’s family cursed in the first place?How was the curse lifted?How did the Warden know there was treasure buried at Camp Green Lake?Why was Stanley’s name written on the buried treasure?Worksheet Fourteen accompanies this slide.These questions are basic and test only the students’ overall knowledge of Part 2. Students should have finished the book before answering these questions.
32 Test your understanding 1. How can you tell that Stanley and Zero are friends?2. In what ways do the Warden and Mr Sir reveal themselves as villains in Part Two?Worksheet Fifteen accompanies this slide.These questions are more taxing and test the students’ overall understanding of Part 2.3. In what ways do Stanley and Zero undergo a change in their lives once they have left Camp Green Lake?
33 Holes – evaluationWhat kinds of qualities make a character a hero or heroine? Make a list.Which of these qualities does Stanley possess?Write a short article entitled:Worksheet Sixteen accompanies this slide.These questions are the most difficult and help teachers to assess students’ overall ability to evaluate the novel.Before students complete the worksheet you may wish to run through with them the typical style of writing in newspaper reports.Qualities to suggest might be some of the following:DeterminationKindnessPhysical strengthStrength of mindThe ability to overcome obstaclesHonestyBraverySelflessnessYou may, if you wish, write it as a newspaperreport.