There is no Frigate like a Book - Emily Dickinson


The story of the life of Christopher McCandless has been an intriguing one and has only increased in popularity over the years.  What was he running from, what was he running to, was he a hero or an idiot? Could it be these unanswered questions that have kept his legacy alive? Or is there something of each of us in his story, something we recognize in our own struggle to understand the world we live in?   This years English Challenge was created in that very light.  It was not created with the answers to this mystery in mind, but rather with questions.  Questions that may lead us to each discover something new about ourselves, questions that may help us make a little sense of our place and role in society, and questions that may lead us to more questions. 

So pack your mind, you’re invited to journey into the wild.

Challenge Quests (Quick List)

I. Your Challenge Name

Just as Christopher McCandless chose Alexander Supertramp as his road name, you will need to choose one too for your journey of self-discovery. 

This is a necessary step in registering for the challenge so that your points can be tracked.  You will receive 50 points immediately.

So, you can create a name yourself, using your real first name and your new challenge name, like Pierre Supertramp.  Or, you can use the Native American name generator to create your name.   Click here to go to the Native American name generator.

Once you have your name, simply send it in an email to EnglishChallenge@hotmail.com, with the following information:  Your name, your English group, year and faculté.

For Example: Gregg Akecheta, Group 99, L1 Science Vie

If you are not at the University of Strasbourg, simply send an email with your name, age, city and country.

II. Video/Reading Log

Simply complete a Reading & Video Log booklet for 200 points. The first page of the booklet explains it all.  See me if you would like a printed copy of the log booklet.

Download a printable copy of the booklet here.   Or you can download "fillable" pages here: Reading Log Entry Page, Video Log Entry Page

III. Skills and Knowledge Puzzle Book

Test yourself while you train your brain.  Print and complete this puzzle book for 250 points!

Download the free PDF here.

IV. Design your own tiny house

In this task you will design your own tiny house and submit it for 350 pointsRemember to label everything in English. Dowload the project sheet here.

How much do you really need?  Could you live minimally?  The "Tiny House" movement in the U.S.A. and Canada is growing quickly. In the face of commercialism people are simplifying their lives.

People are choosing to live minimally like Thoreau on Walden Pond,  or Christopher McCandless in a bus, but why?

 "I had three chairs in my house; one for solitude, two for friendship, three for society." - Henry David Thoreau, Walden

What is a tiny house?  Check out these links for more information and ideas.

The possibilities are endless, so design what's right for you!

Here are some online apps to help you create your dream tiny house:

Once you've designed your tiny house, save it, print it or submit it to englishchallenge@hotmail.com.  Remember you can also draw your tiny house plans by hand.

V. Movie Guides/Reviews

Write a movie guide containing a 50 word lexicon, an overall review of the movie, your recommendation and a discussion about transcendental themes that may be found in the movie. 
150 points for each movie guide.

The following is just a list of suggestions, you are welcome to write about any movie in which you have identified any American Transcendental theme.

For tips on writing a good movie guide, download this PDF.

NB. The following links are provided for educational purposes only.  Please check your local library for access to the following films.  AdBlock is highly recommended for viewing the sites below.

Write a movie guide containing a 50 word lexicon, an overall review of the movie, your recommendation and a discussion about an event or situation in the film that can be viewed as a metaphor/allegory to the human condition.  300 points for each movie guide.  - See more at: http://www.englishcaddy.org/zombiechallenge.htm#942704333

VI. Journal Project

Are you an American Transcendentalist? 

This is the big one!  Complete this self examination journal project for up to 600 points!This is a great project for self-examination and self-expression as well as learning English.  Highly recommended!

Download the PDF here or click on the document on the left.

Dedicate a special journal to your project.  Moleskine makes one the perfect size.  See it here.

VII Tactile Writing

Connect your imagination to nature through writing for 75 points for each activity.  (You can do more than one.)

This one is easy, just grab a pen and some paper and head out to nature!  A park, a forest, a mountain, a riverside, a field, even a cave, anywhere where you can be alone in nature.  Don't forget to print out the guidelines sheet on the left before you go! 

 Download the PDF here.  And for 100 extra points, continue your writing by creating a story using this guide.

VIII. Into the Wild comprehension booklet

500 points! Read the book Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer and complete the Comprehension Booklet.


Follow the account of the adventures of Christopher McCandless as he stepped into the wild.

Download the PDF here.

Click here to purchase a copy of the original book.


IX: Music Playlist/CD

This is a fun media project where you will identify American transcendental themes in popular culture by creating a CD cover or playlist of transcendental music.  It's surprising how many songs exist that reflect the major tenets of American Transcendentalism.

To receive up to 500 pts. download and follow the directions on the task sheet, have fun and turn in your finished CD cover or playlist.

Click here to download in PDF

X. Zoology Museum

Visit the Musée Zoologique de la Ville de Strasbourg and learn about the animal world around us.  To earn 50 points toward your English Challenge, simply present the ticket or take a selfie in front of your favorite exhibit.

Musée Zoologique de Strasbourg
29, boulevard de la Victoire
67000 Strasbourg

XI. Into the Wild Challenge Notebook

Assemble all of your Into the Wild English Challenge activities into one dedicated notebook for 75 points.

XII. Tour de Force

Receive an extra 250 points for completing at least 1 item from each of the activities and tasks in the challenge!


Check here regularly to see your progress in the challenge!

 Click here to be taken to the Google Sheet


Here is a quick list of online resources you may find helpful for the challenge.



  1. "Replica of Thoreau's cabin near Walden Pond and his statue" by RhythmicQuietude at en.wikipedia. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.