Monthly Archives: October 2015

Remsenburg-Speonk’s Virtual Whaling Museum

Last week, we decided on our museum exhibits.  For the remainder of our time with “Revenge of the Whale,” we are going to create our physical and virtual museum.  Here’s how…

  1. Open our Remsenburg-Speonk Virtual Whaling Museum Google Slideshow by clicking on this link:  Note:  You must be logged into your rsufsd account to access this file.
  2. Research using our school’s Virtual Reference Collection and our Book Club Research Links.  Add your findings into the slideshow. Help each other!
  3. Create your 3D model using paper mache, clay, and/or the 3D printer.
  4. Determine the Scale (Actual Size in inches / Model Size in inches = 1/xth Scale).
  5. Add your scale and photo of your 3D model into our online museum for the world to see!



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Research for Whaling Museum

I hope everyone has already ordered or obtained a copy of the Revenge of the Whale. While we wait for our books and the documentary to arrive, let’s get started on our next hands-on project…

The Remsenburg-Speonk Whaling Museum!

Which exhibit will you build?  Here are some ideas:

  • A model ship from the time period
  • A scientific model of a whale
  • A life-sized whale bone
  • A scrimshawed tooth
  • Something else inspired by the book

Use the links below to browse ideas and gather data.  Think about the materials you will need.  Talk with Ms. Andria and make a plan!  Happy researching! 🙂

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Revenge of the Whale Overview

It’s official!  Our first Book Club selection is “Revenge of the Whale: The True Story of the Whaleship Essex.”  Please check out the professional reviews below.

Tentative Schedule:

  • Friday, 10/16 Book Club Meeting: Discovery Channel’s documentary.
  • Monday, 10/12 @ 2pm (Columbus Day… School is closed!):  I’m heading over to the Sag Harbor Whaling Museum with my family at 2pm and it would be terrific if you could meet us there!  Please remember that this is not a school-sponsored event.  Parents are responsible for all transportation, supervision, and ticket purchase.  It is completely optional and voluntary.
  • October/November Book Club Meetings:  Our hands-on project will be to create size-models of whale bones. Dress for art!
  • December:  The movie will be released in theaters.  Look for more information about this optional gathering closer to the release date.
Full-Text Reviews
Horn Book Guide starred (Spring, 2003)
Adapting his National Book Award-winner for a younger audience, Philbrick brings readers onboard for the tragic voyage of theEssex from Nantucket. In 1820, a sixty-ton sperm whale rammed and sank the ship, leaving the twenty-man crew stranded in the Pacific Ocean. After three months, eight men remained alive–barely. Maps and black-and-white photos and reproductions illustrate the gripping narrative. This is a real-life survival story of epic proportions.
Kirkus Reviews (July 15, 2002)
Philbrick cuts down his National Book Award-winning In the Heart of the Sea (2000) for a younger audience, but leaves in plenty of gruesome detail. In a notorious incident that later inspired the climactic scene in Moby-Dick, the Nantucket whaler Essex was attacked and sunk by a huge sperm whale, leaving 20 crew members in three small boats, “just about as far from land as it was possible to be anywhere on Earth.” After three months of terrible privation, eight survivors were rescued; two of whom went on to write about the experience. Philbrick draws expertly from these sometimes contradictory narratives, as well as other documents and modern research, all to create a stomach-churningly precise account that includes just how whales were hunted and cut up, the effects of prolonged thirst (“The tongue swells to such proportions that it squeezes past the jaw. The eyelids crack and the eyeballs begin to weep tears of blood . . . “), and the fact that most of the survivors lived by eating their shipmates-African-Americans and non-Nantucketers first. The author tucks in plenty of maps, diagrams, and contemporary prints, and rounds off this horrifyingly engrossing entry in the annals of anthropophagy with a look at the survivors’ later lives. Fans of Marian Calabro’s Perilous Journey of the Donner Party (1999) and the like will lick their chops. (bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 12+)
Publishers Weekly (September 16, 2002)
For older readers, Revenge of the Whale: The True Story of the Whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Philbrick describes a tale worthy of Ahab: on November 20, 1820, an angry sperm whale took vengeance on the men who would slay it for oil. Adapted from Philbrick’s bestselling title for adults, In the Heart of the Sea, the narrative draws from primary sources, including the account of cabin boy Thomas Nickerson, who joined the crew at age 14.
Publishers Weekly (April 5, 2004)
In what PW called “a tale worthy of Ahab,” this book describes the events of November 20, 1820, when a sperm whale took vengeance on the men who would slay it for oil. Adapted from the bestselling title for adults, In the Heart of the Sea. Ages 10-up. (Mar.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal (September 1, 2002)
Gr 6-10-Philbrick has carefully adapted and abridged his adult title, In the Heart of the Sea (Viking, 2000). He tells the story of the Nantucket whaleship Essex, which sank in the Pacific in November 1820, after being deliberately rammed twice by an apparently enraged sperm whale. Three months later, five emaciated men were rescued from two small boats filled with the bones of their unlucky companions. The whale’s attack on the Essex gave Herman Melville the idea for the climactic scene in Moby-Dick. The abridging is primarily accomplished by limiting descriptive passages and focusing more tightly on the narrative elements. However, sufficient description is retained to give readers an understanding of both whaling and life in Nantucket in the early 19th century. Other than these elisions, the text is largely unchanged from the original, although in a few places a simpler synonym replaces a more evocative word; likewise, in passages where he had assumed background knowledge, Philbrick skillfully supplies context and explanation. The lengthy section of notes following the text has been omitted, and the extensive bibliography has been replaced by a short, briefly annotated list of related reading. Useful maps, diagrams, and other illustrations have been retained. The story of the Essex crew is a compelling saga of desperation and survival that will appeal to young people. The grisly details of cannibalism necessary to the telling of the story may provoke shivers but should not give anyone nightmares. Walter Brown’s Sea Disasters (HarperCollins, 1981) includes a brief chapter on the Essex, but there is nothing else for young readers on the subject. With this masterful adaptation, Philbrick’s work fills a void.-Elaine Fort Weischedel, Franklin Public Library, MA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

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Welcome to Book Club 2015-2016!

For the first day we will discuss how we would like to run book club and vote on our first book from the “Book to Movie Lists.”  If you want to see a movie preview, try Internet Movie Database, but be aware that this is an external site and while we hope our school’s filter keeps us safe, let Ms. Andria know if there are any problems so we can fix it.

Ms. Andria’s Book to Movie List 

Miss Scherback’s Pairs of Books and Movies

A few important notes…

  1. Once we choose the book, it is YOUR responsibility to get the book. Due to a change in loan policies at the Suffolk County Libraries, sadly, I can no longer provide books for our members. I suggest that you or your parents call the Westhampton Free Library at 288-3335×4 so they can Interlibrary Loan the books for you.
  2. All of our books choices must be professionally reviewed as appropriate for 6th grade students. However, often times these “Young Adult” books are turned into movies that are rated PG-13 instead of PG. Please remember all movies are optional and at the discretion of parents’ comfort levels.  If parents would like a copy of the book you are reading to help make an informed decision, please ask the public library to order two!
  3. If you have any questions about Book Club, please ask Ms. Andria at school, email at, or call 325-0203×128.

Happy Reading!

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