Lesson Plan on the Trail of Tears
Teacher: Christine Ramirez Subject: Social Studies Grade Level: 5th Grade Date: March 12, 2004
I. Content: I want my students to understand that The Trail of Tears is the name given to the tragic exodus of the Cherokee from their homes to an unfamiliar land, and to be familiar with the events that lead up to the migration.
II. Prerequisites: The students should be aware of the conflict between Native Americans and the Settlers. They should know of the constant struggle for land between the two and how the discovery of gold was a key factor for the Settler’s desire for the land.
III. Instructional Objectives: Upon request the students will compose a journal entry writing from the perspective of a Cherokee Indian, a solider, or a person who had a significant part in The Trail of Tears. The journal entries should contain: 1. Reference to at least two historical events that lead up to the mass migration, choosing from the events and laws we discuss in class. 2. Mention of at least two important persons, one that stood by the Cherokee and one that supported the removal of the Cherokee from their land. 3. Writing in first person as if the students are experiencing all the emotion and strife themselves.
IV. Instructional Procedures:
Lesson Initiating Activity: The teacher will write the words "The Trail of Tears" on the board, then ask the students if anyone knows what it means. Record the student’s responses. Then read pages 4 – 7 of We The People The Trail of Tears By Michael Burgman. Ask the student what they think "The Trail of Tears" means now that they have heard this, and record their answers. Then give them a brief explanation of what it is and tell them they are going to be learning more about it.
Core Activities: The teacher will read more excerpts from the previously mentioned book, pausing for student opinions, feedback, comments and discussion. While reading the students and the teacher will work together to construct a time line depicting the events that lead up to The Trail of Tears, and those that conspired during. The timeline should include names of influential persons, names of laws, and dates. The teacher should supply a large sheet of paper for each of the students, and demonstrate how to place the paper and do the timeline. The teacher will write the timeline on the board while the students each copy it onto their own sheet of paper.
Closure Activities: The teacher will hand out a packet with copies of journal entries from the book, The Journal of Jesse Smoke A Cherokee Boy by Joseph Bruchak, as well as a sample journal entry written by her. She will then read those excerpts from the book aloud. Next the teacher will explain to the students that using their time lines and the packet she handed out as a reference, they are to compose a journal entry as described in the instructional objective. Next the teacher will read the students a sample journal entry that she wrote which meets the criteria as stated in the instructional objective so that the students know exactly what is expected of them.
ESOL Consideration: When the teacher is reading from the books, she should be sure to read slowly, pronounce the words clearly, and frequently ask if there is anyone who does not understand. It would be helpful if the teacher defines difficult or uncommon words. Allowing the ESOL students more time or even letting them take the assignment home to complete is a good idea. If the ESOL student does not write very much in English, allowing them to draw a picture journal with 1 to 2 sentence captions under the picture would be a good idea.
V. Materials and Equipment: The materials needed for this lesson are the books: The Trail of Tears by Michael Burgman and The Journal of Jesse Smoke A Cherokee Boy by Joseph Bruchac. Copies of the excerpts you will be reading from The Journal of Jesse Smoke A Cherokee Boy by Joseph Bruchac. Large paper for the students to do their timelines on, along with paper and pencils for the students to compose their journal entries should also be provided.
VI. Assessment: The journal entries should be written in the first person as if the students were people associated with The Trail of Tears. The students should include a factual accounting of at least two historical events that lead up to the mass migration, choosing from the events and laws that were discuss in class. The journals should make mention of at least two important persons, one that stood by the Cherokee and one that supported the removal of the Cherokee from their land. By reading the journal entries the teacher should be able to tell if the students have an understanding of the events that lead up to The Trail of Tears and the roles of the individuals involved.
VII. Follow-up Activities: The teacher can read some of the journal entries aloud to review and reinforce the information. The journals can be bound and made into a class book. The teacher could take the students to the library and have them check out books on The Cherokee Nation, The Trail of Tears, The Indian Removal Act, the Treaty of New Echota, Chief John Ross or other appropriate persons, and have them write a short research paper on the topic. Students can do research to find other Indian tribes that were forcefully removed from their land and write a short paper to share with the class.
VIII. Self-Assessment: The best way to see if this lesson was effective is to review the journal entries and see if the students communicated a good understanding of the material covered and met the objectives set by the teacher. Another thing the teacher can do is analyze the lecture and discussion time. Take note of whether the attention of the students was maintained and if their interest was aroused or if they were bored and unresponsive to the discussion.
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