Indentured Servitude grade level: 5 background information

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Grade 5 – Persuasive Essay

“Indentured Servant”

Directions: Write a convincing five-paragraph essay discussing why a person would WANT to come, or would NOT WANT to come, to the Colonies in the 1600s become as an indentured servant. Be sure to give at least three reasons to support your point of view (opinion).


  • Before writing you may organize your ideas and thoughts by completing a graphic organizer, web, cluster, list or map.

Some ideas to consider:

Want to be an indentured servant:

Would not want to be an indentured servant:

Could leave a country with a bad economy

Could have an unkind master who physically punishes you

Eventually have freedoms with endless opportunities

Possibly die of disease or starvation

Be given a parcel of land to use as desired

Considered property of another person

Have corn for a year

Give up seven years of your life

Get arms for protection

Terrible work and living conditions

Allowed to have tools for trade

Wouldn’t see your family again

Have animals of your own to use for necessity

Could not marry or have children until servitude was over

  • In your first paragraph, state the issue, make your point of view statement, include the other point of view (opposing point of view), and state at least three reasons why you would have wanted or not wanted to be an indentured servant who came to the colonies in the 1600s.

  • In the body of the essay, support your reasons with clear details and examples.

  • Your concluding paragraph should restate your point of view, summarize your reasons, and leave the reader with an understanding of the importance of supporting your point of view.

  • Use transitional language between and within each paragraph to connect ideas.

  • Reread your paper to be sure it makes sense. Revise and edit your paper checking for spelling, punctuation, grammar, and sentence structure.

  • Your finished essay should be neat and easy to read.

Name: ___________________

Persuasive Essay Graphic Organizer

Introductory Paragraph:


Opposing Point of View:

Point of View:

State three reasons to support your opinion (in one sentence using commas between ideas):

Body Paragraph #1

Transition with reason number one:

Support reason number one with at least two more sentences:
Body Paragraph #2

Transition with reason number two:

Support reason number two with at least two more sentences:
Body Paragraph #3

Transition with reason number three:

Support reason number three with at least two more sentences:
Conclusion Paragraph:

Restate your point of view:

Restate your three reasons to support your point of view (in one sentence using commas between sentences):

End with a strong concluding statement:

Name: _______________________ Date: _____________
Persuasive Essay- Grade 5

Writing Rubric – Trimester 3

Applications (Content)

Strategies (Organization)

Language Conventions

Scoring Criteria

Student is able to:

  • Clearly state the issue

  • Clearly state the point of view (opinion)

  • Clearly state at least 3 appropriate reasons why the point of view is valid

  • Support each reason with evidence/ examples

  • Address reader concerns by recognizing opposing viewpoint

Student is able to:

  • Write a clear, coherent, and focused essay

  • Indent all paragraphs

  • Begin with a formal introduction that focuses the reader on the issue and states 3 reasons

  • Include 3 body paragraphs

  • Use transitional expressions that link one paragraph to another in a clear line of thought

  • Conclude with a paragraph that summarizes important ideas and details

Students write with a command of standard English language conventions appropriate to this grade level. Errors do not cause distraction.

  • Meets previous grade level conventions

  • Sentence Structure (1.1)

  • Grammar (1.2)

  • Punctuation (1.3)

  • Capitalization (1.4)

  • Spelling (1.5)


  • Advanced

Meets ALL 5 scoring criteria + one of the following: develops more than 3 reasons with supporting evidence, uses advanced vocabulary, or uses strong voice to persuade the reader

  • Advanced

Meets ALL 6 scoring criteria + one of the following: writes a powerful lead, uses more advanced transitional expressions within paragraphs, or includes more than 3 body paragraphs

  • Advanced

Meets ALL 6 scoring criteria + one of the following: uses varied sentence types, or spells many expanded vocabulary words correctly


  • Proficient

Meets ALL 5 scoring criteria

  • Proficient

Meets ALL 6 scoring criteria

  • Proficient

Meets ALL 6 scoring criteria


  • Basic

Meets 3 - 4 Scoring Criteria

  • Basic

Meets 4-5 Scoring Criteria

  • Basic

Meets 4-5 Scoring Criteria


  • Below Basic

Meets 2 or less

  • Below Basic

Meets 3 or less

  • Below Basic

Meets 3 or less

  • WC Score:

4 3 2 1

  • WS Score:

4 3 2 1

  • LC Score:

4 3 2 1

10 – 12 points = Advanced 8-9 points = Proficient 6-7 points = Basic 3 -5 = Below Basic
Must have 3 in Applications and Strategies to be Proficient. Must have 4 in Content to be Advanced Proficient.
Night Journeys

Name and Page

Character Traits

Night Journeys: Characters

Night Journeys: Settings

Night Journeys: Comprehension Questions

Answer on separate sheet of paper

Read pages 7-18

1. How did Peter come to live with the Shinns?

2. Explain who Jumper is and how Peter feels about him.

3. Describe the late night emergency that brought men to the Shinn house.

4. Compare how Mr. Shinn views Peter’s offer to ride along to how Mr. Toliver sees things.
Read pages 19-31

1. Add the setting where Peter and Mr. Shinn are watching and waiting to your settings page.

2. Why does Peter say that it might be wrong for Mr. Shinn to be a Justice of the Peace?

3. What does Peter see? What do you think it is?

Read pages 32 – 46

1. What are the three errors Peter feels he has made?

2. Where is Peter now? What is his plan to get the gun and his pride back?
Read pages 47 – 56

1. Describe the young girl Peter meets.

2. Add her location to your settings page.

3. Explain their plan. Do you think it will work?

Read pages 57-67

1. The author keeps making references to Betsy’s hand. Why do you think this is? (refer to page 26)

2. Summarize the journey to the island.
Read 67 – 78

1. What does Peter discover in these pages?

2. What is his plan now? Is this a good plan?

Read pages 78 – 89

1. Explain Peter’s emotions after shooting Betsy.

2. What lies has Peter told? Is he justified in telling these lies?
Read pages 89 – 101

1. Describe the second person they found.

2. What had the two felons done in England to get into trouble?

3. Should Peter help them get free? Cite evidence to support your thoughts.

Read pages 102 – 116

1. Why is Peter so angry at Mr. Shinn?

2. Explain why you think Peter would not go with the men on the search.

3. Describe Peter’s plan for himself and the two servants.

Read pages 116 – 123

1. Explain how the Shinn family treats Robert.

2. Add the setting where Robert stays at night to your settings page.
Read pages 123 – 138

1. How does Peter get Betsy off the island?

2. What do you think Mr. Shinn will do based on what you know about his character?
Read pages 138 – 147

1. Page 141 says, “They had their freedom. But in that same moment I knew I did not want mine.” What does Peter mean by that?

2. How has the horse been a ‘burden’ to Peter, as he tells Robert and Betsy?

3. Explain the new development in the relationship between Peter and Mr. Shinn at the end of the book. How is that different than earlier in the story?

Night Journeys: Extension Ideas

  1. Research indentured servants and write a summary of the information you find.

  2. This book takes place in 1767. Use your social studies book to find what else was happening in the colonies in this time period. Create a timeline of at least 5 items with illustrations and captions.

  3. Write a different ending to the book. Imagine if Peter does not choose to help Betsy and Robert. How would the story have ended?

  4. Rewrite a portion of the story that you can act out with a friend or two. Be prepared to show us your dramatic reenactment!

  5. Have your own ideas? Let’s share!

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