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Adaptor Grants Home:
Teachers Network: Adaptor Grants: Through the Looking Glass - Life in Colonial Times

Adapted By:
Angela Turnier

Ms. Turner is a 17 year veteran teacher. Four of those years were in parochial schools and 13 years as a Talented and Gifted teacher in NYC Public Schools. She has a MSED in guidance and counseling with 30 credits above this degree (plus 30). Ms. Turner is certified to teach Talented and Gifted children. She was an adjunct professor at Fordham University in the Graduate Teacher Education Program.

P.S. 124
New York, NY


I modified the unit by moving the historic time period from Colonial Times to the Westward Expansion of 1800.

Instructional Objectives

Sudents will learn the reasons why families decided to move west in the 1800's and the obstacles and hardships they faced

Students will study the relationships between the movement of people and the development of societies (pilgrims to America, modern day immigrants to new countries).

Students will write first person narratives, in the voice of a member of a pioneer family, using historical facts of that time as a basis.

Students will learn the difference between historical facts and historical fiction. They will compile a "Journal Book" of their experiences using the "Dear America" series as mentor texts.

Technology Integration

Technology is used to help in the simulation with an interactive game (Oregon Trail). Students used experiences in this game to help write historical faction journal entries. The following resources were used for my students to get information on the pros/cons of traveling by covered wagon and wagon train, supplies, the hardships, food, and pioneer life in general:


www.kidinfo.com//AmericanHistory/Pioneers.html www.endoftheoregontrail.org/



Children were evaluated on their Venn Diagram, covered wagon, their pioneer book (journal collections), accuracy of research, and vocabulary. A rubric was used.

Tips for Teachers

Students needed guidelines for the amount and type of research found on the websites.

Students needed daily read alouds to put information in the proper context.

Student Work Samples

Click on each thumbnail to see a full-screen version.



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