A Week in the Woods

A Week in the Woods

For Ages: 9 - 13
  • 6
Collision course
The fifth-grade Week in the Woods is a beloved tradition of Hardy Elementary, where Mark Chelmsley (the Fourth) is pretty much killing time before his parents send him off to an exclusive prep school. But then Mark realizes the Week might be a chance to prove to Mr. Maxwell that he's not just another of the slacker rich kids the teacher can't stand.
But it may be too late for Mark to change Mr. Maxwell's opinion of him. On the first day of the Week, the tension between teacher and student explodes, and in a reckless moment, Mark puts not only himself, but also Mr. Maxwell, in grave danger. Can two such strong adversaries work together to save their lives?
  • Atheneum Books for Young Readers | 
  • 208 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780689858024 | 
  • April 2004 | 
  • Grades 4 - 8 | 
  • Lexile ® 820L
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Reading Group Guide

A Week in the Woods About the Book Mark Chelmsley is not going to try anymore. He’s not going to adjust to his new house in New Hampshire. He’s not going to make friends at his new public school. And he is not going to get excited about the highlight of the fifth-grade year—a week-long trip to Gray’s Notch State Park—even when his science teacher, Mr. Maxwell, offers him encouragement. Still, as Mark snowshoes through the woods, camps in a century-old barn, and watches the snowy winter melt into spring, he forges his own connection with this new place. He begins to feel happy and to make an effort in school. Mr. Maxwell, however, is not ready to forgive the kid he sees as a spoiled slacker. When he catches Mark with a knife on the first day of the trip, discipline is fast and furious. Mark, unwilling to admit he is taking the blame for a friend, stalks into the forest, where a few wrong turns get him dangerously lost. Mr. Maxwell realizes what has happened and rushes heedlessly after Mark, injuring his ankle. As chill night falls, the two find each other. With the benefit of Mark’s supplies and his teacher’s navigational skills, they return to camp. More importantly, they find a way to forgive one another. Safe once more, Mark realizes that his week in the woods has taught him the lesson of a lifetime. Discussion Topics 1. Why do you think Mr. Maxwell enjoys preparing for “the Week in the Woods”? Why are most Whitson stude see more

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About the Author

Andrew Clements
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Andrew Clements

Andrew Clements is the author of the enormously popular Frindle. More than 10 million copies of his books have been sold, and he has been nominated for a multitude of state awards, including two Christopher Awards and an Edgar Award. His popular works include About Average, Troublemaker, Extra Credit, Lost and Found, No Talking, Room One, Lunch Money, and more. He is also the author of the Benjamin Pratt & the Keepers of the School series. He lives with his wife in Maine and has four grown children. Visit him at AndrewClements.com.