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CL5-A

Westward Expansion Unit

Lesson 4: Culminating/Assessment Activity:

Writing a “Pioneer Narrative”

By Corey Morton, Jennifer Veveiros, and Shauna Kadel
Grade 5: Language Arts and History/Social Science


  1. LESSON OVERVIEW:




Students will write a historical fictional narrative “journal” entry as though they were a “pioneer” heading west. They will have to select their “identity” from an aspect of the Westward Expansion Era of the United States, for example: a Native American child, a pioneer child on one of the trails westward, a child member of one of the expeditions “discovering” the west, a Mexican child, etc.





  1. STANDARDS ADDRESSED:




  1. History/ Social Science


  • 5.8 Students trace the colonization, immigration, and settlement patters of the American people from 1789 to the mid 1800s, with emphasis on the role of economic incentives, effects of the physical and political geography, and transportation systems.

  • 5.3 Students describe the cooperation and conflict that existed among the American Indians and between the Indian nations and the new settlers.



  1. English/ Language Arts




  • 1.1 Organization and Focus: Create Multi-paragraph narrative compositions

  • 2.1 Write narratives






  1. TEXT RESOURCES/ MATERIALS NEEDED:




  • Student created documents from prior three lessons in this unit: Lesson 1-journal, matrix, Daniel Boone biography, and map; Lesson 2-map continued from Lesson 1, and persuasive paper; Lesson 3- answers to questions, 3-Way Venn diagram, and class poster of “Allies/Enemies.”

  • White Board

  • (optional) graphic organizer of your own choosing or one of the suggested ones listed in the activity below:



IV. ACTIVITY:

1. After reflecting upon the three prior lessons in the unit, students will select a “persona,” or “child” to “become.” This child should have been a participant in one of the areas of the Westward Expansion Era: a Native American child, a pioneer child on one of the trails westward, a child member of one of the expeditions “discovering” the west, a Mexican child, a child living in Oregon, a child living in Texas.

2. The students will be writing a narrative in the form of a journal entry describing the beginning of their “event” in history, its middle, and its end. Each section may be considered a “day” or an “hour,” with the entire essay comprised of three days or time periods in this child’s life, thus covering the “entire event.” The students will use the materials they completed/created during the first three lessons of this unit as resources for this essay. You can also encourage students to do further research to enhance their essays, such as using the internet, reading more selections from your classroom or school libraries, or using some of the supplemental resources listed in the prior three lessons.

3. Using your own writing program’s steps, or the suggested organization plan below, have your students complete a 3-5 paragraph Journal Narrative Essay. The essay should include:



  1. three focused diary entries, i.e. “days” or “time periods,” that offer a clear description of what this child’s life was like in this event or aspect of US history.

  2. Clear idea of “beginning, middle, and end” of the event or journey

  3. The entries follow the standards for narrative writing

  4. The entries include appropriate details and facts gathered from the three prior lessons.

  5. Spelling and grammar are correct.

4. You may use your own rubric or assume that an essay fulfilling the requirements above would constitute a “top score” and “mastering” the standard.

5. Suggested Organization Plan:

a. Graphic Organizer: “Draw a rough map of [a trail] on the board and add the labels ‘Beginning,’ ‘Middle,’ and ‘End.’ Brainstorm with students details of life at each stage [using one ‘child’ as an example.” (History-Science for California: Our Nation “Unit 8: A Nation Moves West,” Pearson Scott Foresman, 2006, p. 204, T28)

b. “Writing Tool My Pioneer Story Model” in History-Science for California: Our Nation “Unit 8: A Nation Moves West,” Pearson Scott Foresman, 2006, p. 204, T28

6. Extension Activity: Have your students dress the part of their “child” and present or perform his or her journal entries.





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