Guided Notes
The Creation/ Sky Woman/When the Earth Shakes

The Creation

Summary: This free-verse poem depicts God’s creation of the universe. Lonely in dark and empty space, God smiles and creates light. He makes the light into sun, moon and starts, and he places the earth between the light and the darkness. Then, he creates mountains and valleys, the seven seas, rain, plants, and animals. Still lonely, he creates humankind by shaping clay into his own image and breathing life into it.

Comprehension Questions:
  1. 1. The events in “The Creation” take place at the beginning of the universe.
  2. 2. In this poem, the earth is created because God is lonely.
  3. 3. In this poem, God seems to be humanlike.
  4. 4. In “The Creation,” God puts the most thought into creating humans.
  5. 5. God creates the light and the rainbow by smiling.
  6. 6. God creates the mountains and the valleys from his footsteps.
  7. 7. “The Creation” shows in particular God’s great power and love.

Poetry Elements
  1. 1. The refrain of this poem shows that the speaker is happy about the creation of the world.

Written Response:
Sermons-whether one hears them in church, in school, or even from one’s parents- are meant to teach an important lesson. “The Creation” is a sermon in the form of a poem. What lesson doe you think this poem teaches? On a separate sheet of paper, write a paragraph summarizing the lesson and use at least two details from the poem to support your answer.

Sky Woman

Summary- Before the world existed, people lived in the Sky World. There, a huge tree gave light and food. After dreaming that the tree fell, the chief ordered it uprooted. His pregnant young bride fell through the hold where he roots had been buried. With the help of animals, she landed safely on the world below, a place made up only of water. The earth from the bottom of the sea became a continent. Later, Sky Woman gave birth to a daughter.
Disobeying her mother, Sky Woman’s daughter traveled west and gave birth to the gentle Good Mind and to the harsh Flint, whose birth she did not survive. His grandmother, Sky Woman, soon despaired of Flint’s evil deeds and left the earth to watch over the Good Mind from the moon. The Good Mind fought Flint and cast him out, but because Flint’s evil thoughts and deeds remained in the world, humans must guard against his influence.

Comprehension Questions:
  1. 1. In “Sky Woman,” the original home of all humans is a world in the sky.
  2. 2. The creation of the earth begins when Sky Woman falls out of the Sky World.
  3. 3. The original island that Sky Woman lands on is expanded into a continent by the muskrat bringing up earth from the sea floor.
  4. 4. The father of the Good Mind and Flint is the West Wind.
  5. 5. The first major event in the story is when the chief of the Sky World marries.
  6. 6. Sky Woman falls through a hold in Sky Land before Sky Woman’s daughter dies.
  7. 7. “Sky Woman” is called an origin myth because it explains the origin of the earth.
  8. 8. The myth explains the presence of good and evil in the world.
  9. 9. According to this myth, Sky Woman is responsible for creating the trees and the plants.

The following is a list of clichés that are popular:
  1. 1. as fast as lightning
  2. 2. wet behind the ears
  3. 3. from dusk till dawn
  4. 4. caught between a rock and a hard place
  5. 5. fit to be tied

Essay Question
A number of specific animals and plants are mentioned in this myth. What does the myth’s concern with these plants and animals tell us about the Seneca and the way in which they traditionally lived? On a separate sheet of paper, write a paragraph in which you present at least three specific plants and animals and discuss why they might have been significant to the Seneca.

When the Earth Shakes

Summary-This article about the causes of earthquakes begins with an example of the effects of a quake. In 1964, a fierce earthquake shook most of Alaska, causing severe damage and dramatic changes in the state’s topography: The ocean floor rose, a peninsula moved, and a mountain split apart.
What causes such catastrophes? The planet is composed of layers of rock, much of it under intense pressure. When the strain becomes too great, the rock shifts or snaps. Energy from the shifting or snapping rock travels in waves. Waves traveling in the air produce the rumbling sound of the quake, but the waves on the earth’s surface are more destructive, as the effects of the Alaska quake, and many others, demonstrate.

Comprehension Questions
  1. 1. Of the events relating to the earthquake described in “When the Earth Shakes,” the one that happens first is people hearing a rumbling sound.
  2. 2. One of the causes of earthquake is stress on the inner layers of the earth.
  3. 3. Patricia Lauber compares an earthquake to breaking a stick in half because the disrupted layers of the earth vibrate like the ends of a snapped twig.
  4. 4. Patricia Lauber’s primary purpose in writing “When the Earth Shakes” is to show people how earthquakes occur.
  5. 5. The creation of water waves is an effect of an earthquake.
  6. 6. Air waves causes the rumbling noises that earthquakes sometimes produce.

  1. 1. Tiny pieces- particles
  2. 2. Shaking or stirring violently- churning
  3. 3. Steep cliff- bluff
  4. 4. Collapsed- buckled
  5. 5. Buildings equipped for scientific observation- observatories

Essay- “When the Earth Shakes” has two main parts: a description of an actual earthquake and a scientific explanation of how earthquakes happen. How does each section help the reader learn about earthquakes? Write your answer on a separate sheet of paper. Support your ideas with at least two details from the essay.