From: Teaching American History, Helen Tross, 2008
History Standards: 5.4
Students understand the political, religious, social, and economic institutions that evolved in the colonial era.
CCSS Standards: Writing, Grade 5
2. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
4. Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1–3 above.)
5. With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach. (Editing for conventions should demonstrate command of Language standards 1–3 up to and including grade 5 on pages 28 and 29.)
8. Recall relevant information from experiences or gather relevant information from print and digital sources; summarize or paraphrase information in notes and finished work, and provide a list of sources.
10. Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.
What are Martha Ballard’s character traits? How has her diary helped you understand the significance of women during Colonial times?
Overview of Lesson:
Days 1-3: As you read through Martha Ballard’s diary, ask students probing questions and have them add to the T Chart below.
Once students are done, you should have a chart like the completed version. Explain to students the words “traits” and “infer”, and then have them work in partners or small groups to infer some of Martha’s traits. Make sure they can point to the evidence that gave them their clue.
Introduce students to the prompt. Break it down and look at how the essay should be organized – what the prompt gives you should be an introduction, body, and conclusion. Have students complete a flow map individually, similar to the one below. Once maps are completed, students may orally “rehearse” them with their elbow partners.
Have students write a complete essay, with peer revision as time allows.
Appearance/ Wore Information about others around her
People sent for Martha & depended on her for their illnesses & births, deaths, etc.
Husband gone a lot
What she thought/said
Told about the weather daily
wished she felt better
Had severe pain in foot
plain clothing, hat, shoes
What she did
cooked, bought food, supplies, & medicine, grew food & herbs, housework, tended to sick people, assisted in childbirth, gave medicine, walked for long hours, stayed up all night with sick people, carded cotton and wool, spun skeins for weaving and cloth, sewed & mended, rode to fort, crossed a river for midwifery, stayed out late to take care of people kept notes on spending & who had paid her, etc.
Traits: hard working, diligent, tired, dependable, etc.
Prompt: What are Martha Ballard’s character traits? How has her diary helped you understand the significance of women during Colonial times? Defend your answer with evidence from the diary.
Thesis: In the diary of Martha Ballard, written (cite source, context, etc like 1785 – 1812)), The midwife, Martha Ballard was (state several traits). This diary gives us incite into what life might have been like for the every day woman of this time.
State first trait Diligent
State final trait: dependable
State next trait: hard working
Conclusion: The significance of the diary. Students own thoughts about Martha Ballard.